30 November 2010


Self-portrait - Lavinia Fontana

Nothing is more unpleasant than a virtuous person with a mean mind.
-Walter Bagehot


  1. Sad about Leslie Nielsen. I don't know if Police Squad was ever shown in Britain -- it was a short-lived tv series that was the precursor to the Naked Gun movies. Here's an episode, if you've never seen it:

    The Broken Promise, part 1

    The Broken Promise, part 2

    The Broken Promise, part 3

    (Part 3 is on a different 'channel' from the first 2 and has Japanese subtitles. For some reason, the 3rd part on the same channel as the first 2 has been flagged as possibly inappropriate and I haven't been able to get logged into my YouTube account in Opera for a couple of weeks now. No clue why.)

    The locksmith line.

  2. Thanks Montana. We used to watch it avidly in the 80s.

  3. Woohoo!

    Hannah Montana painting by numbers kit!

  4. @MW:

    Yeah, was a big fan of Police Squad! back in the day. I’ve got all six episodes on DVD at home.

    I guess Leslie Nielsen will be doing his act in the Statesville Prison in Heaven from now on…

    Oh, and Happy St Andrew’s Day to our Jock chums as well.

    ...dodges hurled haggis etc...

  5. Fab - six inches or more of snow and no chance of getting anywhere by car in Sheffield first thing this morning. Me & the other half are hopping between on-line, radio & TV traffic reports and watching vehicles getting stuck on the hill outside.

    I thought that Sheffield Council said it had bought in extra salt & grit to cope. Wonder where they put it ...

  6. Morning Chinners. Sorry, it's Swifty in drag - seems Google has taken to using one of my other handles.

    Can't seem to change it at the minute. Ah well, never mind - Shiloh's as good a name as any.

  7. Hmm, not too bad here, just a couple more inches overnight, it's about a mean 2 foot, crisp and deep and even. I have, more digging to be gettin on with, so a happy Stan Drew's day one and all, saor Alba!

  8. loved police squad - the credits with the flashing light in the car were enough to have me creasing up!

    remember seeing the poseidon adventure after seeing that and the naked gun, and being totally thrown by nielsen being the captain. kept expecting something funny to happen...

  9. Wooh Hooh ! Minus six , black ice, not going anywhere! And the stove was still just alight, now roaring. Coffee. . .

  10. So, Bridget Nielsen is dead.


    Who is going to play She-Ra now?

  11. All local busses are canceled here, looking like I'm not going to be able to get to my new job : (

  12. ah bollocks, turm! will everyone be stuck or are you an 'outlier'?

  13. Morning all! Nasty slippy "sprinkling" of snow here in Cardiff! Definitely NOT going anywhere!

    Fortunately son in-law here doing something very carpenterish. he's doing a bit of shopping for me later.

    Peter J thanks for the kind words at silly o'clock on the morning! Feeling better 'in the light of day - just sad she gets like this - just not always easy to remember its not her its her hormones :(

    Oh and re the bread - do you have a freezer? I slice mine(if its not already sliced), bag it up and freeze it. Rarely throw it out now.

    Don't like throwing out bread, v superstitious grandmother said it was unlucky to do so.

    This Marxist should do away with all her superstitions should she ;))

  14. Just phoned, doesn't seem to be a problem.. Phew. Still clearing the drive here, between fresh dustings. Started WalkingDead GN. Good so far ; )

    Remember Anne, 'superstition breeds bad luck!' : )

  15. Good man T-X-uss lucked out
    (Glad that he's still breathin')
    With a pizza in his house
    Deep pan, crisp and even

    Buses are no more O shite!
    His first day at schoo-el.
    Buddy don't give up the fight
    We know that you'll do well.


  16. Habib on this blogsite,
    your songs make me smile,
    but I must do more digging,
    I'll be back in a while.

    So keep up the good work,
    to all who post here,
    'cept P-Brax & Bitey
    who get a flea in the ear.

  17. Woohoo! Sprinkling of snow here at last.

    Anne, glad to see you back again (again). And Turminder; good luck with the job when you finally get there,

  18. Threw in the towel this morning and turned round and came home again before I got to court. Roads far too treacherous in Kent, with quite heavy snow by 8.30am - not to mention a very near miss where a small white truck lost traction as we queued on a motorway ramp and slid in slow motion in the direction of the offside front wing of my car. Luckily it manage to stop before it hit me, but after that I decided life and limb was more precious that a few quid from Kent CPS.

    So here I am with a snow day!

    Gonna take a peek at CiF...

    And yes, Montana, I loved Police Squad - one of my friends had the series on video in France, in original version with French subtitles, and we watched them til we wore the tape out just about.

    Happy St Haggis-Bashers day to Turm, His Grace the 13th Duke and Alisdair, if he looks in. (And a big raspberry to the uber-priviledged robber baron scumbag the Duke of Buccleuch for good measure)

  19. PeterJ

    Barely any snow here near Gatwick, which is why I set out with such confidence to Kent this morning. Was surprised they seemed to have had a hell of a lot more than us.

  20. @BB

    There's hardly any here, really. It's gone from the roofs already, and is only lingering a bit on top of the garden wall. Bloody weather's not really trying, in my opinion.

  21. I'm a bit disappointed with recent threads here and can't decide who to write about next on my ifitsasix blog.

    Monkeyfish has been very boring and repetitive lately and habib is, as usual, just too beige and nice and uninteresting. The buddhist barrister might be a possibility but she's just too perfect. Her son is the greatest guitarist since Jimi Hendrix and is incredibly handsome and has lots of groupies and gives his Xmas presents to charidee, and her husband is the world's leading expert on everything. burnout herself bashes the fash constantly and saves refugees from extradition for a pittance because she is so noble. It would be churlish (and much too easy) to make fun of her.

    Paul (you're all cunts and fuckwits except the fragrant and witty hermione) is just too drunk and angry for me to tangle with and I don't want to be exposed as the racist that I probably am. The real Bitethehand is not really one of the gang here, and as he is a incomparably pompous and deluded self-parody anyway, I could not do him justice. Hank and Scherpiggsie have fucked off in a big girly sulk because of terminal boredom and everybody else's inadequacies, and martyninlalaland has minced off back to waddya to talk about obscure Spanish communists and how he was once an expert on EU commissions. Even englishhermit has stopped quacking on the Undusted and is now trying to stop cyberterrorism on the 'Horse and hound' forum. Atomboy has sadly been reduced to making pathetic jaffacake one-liners about whatever picture Miz Motherfucking Manners puts up every day and one of those two French guys only ever talks about wood-burning stoves and his local pub. Nap the intellectual either gives the Sun-reading chav scum a good kicking or drones on about his travel arrangements. And everybody talks about the weather (yawn).

    I despair, I really do. Please people, can't you give a young aspiring satirist something decent to work with?

  22. remember seeing the poseidon adventure after seeing that and the naked gun, and being totally thrown by nielsen being the captain. kept expecting something funny to happen...

    Last night there was a clip of Leslie Nielsen being interviewed in the late 80s/early 90s, being asked if he minded that his 'serious' acting was being overshadowed by his Police Squad/Airplane/Naked Gun oeuvre. He started (seemingly) to give a serious answer which was interrupted by a loud flatulence simulating sound.

    Apparently, the man never went anywhere without a whoopie cushion in his pocket.

    Still, I'm a bit surprised that a programme that only lasted 6 episodes got exported.

    -6° here now, so we're finally getting our normal weather.

  23. Vince Cable has decided that he 'might have to abstain' on the vote for raised tuition fees. WTF

    Are they all literally insane?

  24. Hey all,

    Finally got snow! Hurray! Had to drive a minibus in it, boo!

    My housemate told me last night about Leslie Nielsen, I said "surely it's not true!", she didn't get it :-(

  25. @Jen

    I heard him say it, too. Apparently, if all the LibDem MPs decide to abstain, then he will as well. After presenting the policy in the Commons, presumably, as the responsible minister.

    We have entered a new political world! Hail, Hail Freedonia!

  26. Why the hell would they want to abstain anyway?

    I think even the great British public are capable of working out that given the mathematics of the Commons, abstaining means waving the legislation through.

  27. Luke

    "The buddhist barrister might be a possibility but she's just too perfect."

    True! :p

    "Her son is the greatest guitarist since Jimi Hendrix and is incredibly handsome and has lots of groupies and gives his Xmas presents to charidee"

    1. True 2. True 3. Vaguely true 4. Pretty much true if I let him give it all away.

    "... and her husband is the world's leading expert on everything."

    Well, quite a few things, but not as many as he thinks...

    "burnout herself bashes the fash constantly and saves refugees from extradition for a pittance because she is so noble."

    True. Well, not the noble bit, but anyway...

    "It would be churlish (and much too easy) to make fun of her. "

    Awww..shucks. That's really kind of you. But even if you did, I think I have seen so much shite written about me by the manuphage now that you would have to get up bloody early in the morning to beat him - and upset me with it. :o)

  28. @Spike

    There's been some gobbledegook about the coalition agreement allowing for abstention but not voting against on agreed policies, or something like that. Cable and the minions think that they might be able to weasel their way round the pledges to vote against using this.

  29. I know it’s not exactly breaking news, but what a shower of corrupt nest-feathering wankers that motley shower from FIFA are.

    Given the way business is done in Russia these days (“bring a large bag of dollars in small denominations, ta”), looks like the bookies aren’t too far off making Putin-land number one (8/11 generally) for 2018, us second (under 3/1 across the board).

    Looks like there'll be a few more yachts parked in the car park at FIFA HQ in the next couple of days...

  30. "Please people, can't you give a young aspiring satirist something decent to work with?"

    Sure we can, do you know one?

    (Sheff, I think it was you who asked which "twat" I was referring to...)

  31. Erm. Hi again. Unexpected day home for me. Bit of tummy trouble in the car before I ever got backed out of my parking space.

  32. Thanks very much habib, nearly choked on my strepsil!

  33. "Do you know one?"

    Very nicely done. :)

  34. Hope you feel better soon, Montana. French old wives tale is to eat rice and drink flat coke. Gentle hugs for you xx

  35. Sorry to hear that Montana, sick days are no fun at all when you are really sick. x

  36. Montana, ditto and second BB's suggestion on the flat coke: flat lemonade always works for me!

  37. I thought I was the only one who used the flat pop recovery trick.

    Flat cherryade and spring onion crisps for a hangover, if you can keep it down it makes you feel instantly better. :)

  38. Julian Assange from WikiLeaks says they will be releasing internal banking documents in the new year which will reveal corruption at executive level and may bring down a couple of banks.

    So, not all bad news at the moment.


  39. jenn

    I think the key words in that post were "if you can keep it down" :o)

    Can't be doing with cherryade, flat or fizzy, even without the hangover.

    Vimto, on the other hand - now that's proper pop!

  40. AB

    The only way it would bring the banks down is if any of their board members and senior staff had anything remotely ressembling a conscience that would shame them enough to actually want to pack it in.

    Think Fred the Shred...

  41. BB- French old wives tale is to eat rice

    Not only Old Wives ! In early '78 our daughter was only a few months old . BigPharma hadn't got to the GP in Savoie where we were skiing . I think he prescribed rice-water at first then more solids, mashed rice and then carrot too, with some of the cooking water.

    Oh shit, I forgot to mention that my stove's nearly out, and I may go down the Pub later :-)

  42. Afternoon all


    Hope you feel better better soon.


    Managed to hit the delete brush instead of the signing off button in my early hours post.Was basically just saying hello amd hope you're well.


    Paul (you're all cunts and fuckwits except the fragrant and witty hermione) is just too drunk and angry for me to tangle with and I don't want to be exposed as the racist that I probably am

    Do i think most people here are cunts,fuckwits and racists?-Certainly not.

    Do i occasionally get drunk and make a twat of myself-Sadly yes.

    Am i angry?Well yes about a lot of things but not with the UT.

    Do i think you're an aspiring satirist?Well no.For a good satirist needs to have a healthy self depreciating sense of humour before sending up the foibles of others.And you Lukie boy don't strike me as someone who has that.However i do think you can write well when you want to so you've got potential.And feel free to 'tangle' with me whenever you want:-)

  43. Atomboy, BB-- Haven't you seen the Risk Manager 'Whistleblower.IRL' around at Golem ? Yesterday.

    That is systemic since it goes far above the Board etc to the Regulator and the whole Political Class except one or two ignored individuals ?

    The Duke's link to Accountancy Age art on House of Lords attack on the Big Four Auditors completes the circle.

  44. Christ on a crutch, the whole house of cards looks like it is going to collapse, doesn't it Frog2?

    Maybe we need to start stocking up on tinned food and bottled and firewood for the revolution...

    (I actually did this at the time of the first Gulf War, so paranoid was I that it was going to escalate into nuclear armageddon at the time. Started stocking stuff in my cellar in France. Me ex-bf would take the piss every time we unloaded the groceries, picking up tins and asking : "Right, it this for us, or is it for the war effort?"

  45. @lUKE

    Meant to say 'Do i think you're a good satirist?
    Oh well!

  46. Hmm. Rice and flat Mountain Dew in a little while then. (MD is the only pop in the house. Joe's fave.)

    There was no warning, really. Felt achy yesterday, but assumed that sitting on the floor all day after 4 days of sloth was to blame. (We sit on the floor in pre-school. Ours, anyway. When we do sit at the tables, it's on little chairs designed for 4-5 yr olds, so not much better.)

    Felt as good as I ever do as I was getting ready this morning. Get into the car, turn the ignition, and all the sudden I'm talking about the Earp brothers.

  47. "Julian Assange from WikiLeaks says they will be releasing internal banking documents in the new year which will reveal corruption at executive level and may bring down a couple of banks."

    Now that would be seriously interesting. Also, Palin has allegedly asked on facebook why Assange hasnt been pursued with as much gusto as the Taliban and bin Laden. Which is interesting because firstly, he will probably be pursued with infinitely *more* gusto than bin Laden (Bush already made plain they had lost interest in capturing him) and secondly, that to Palin a man leaking state secrets and videos of war crimes is as much of a criminal as people who bomb civilians (which is more often the US than the Taliban in any case) and should be pursued as such. Funny old world.

  48. Sounds like what we call the winter vomitting bug here - not nice at all. I wondered if it might have been the other end (not to put to fine a point on it) which is why I suggested the rice. Might be good to just stick to the Morning Dew rather than eating anything just in case it comes straight back out again, you poor thing. :(

  49. BB--- It's certainly building up. And fast.

    Keeping the Zombie Banks alive so that they can speculate against your very own currencies and Sovereign Bonds may not have been the smartest policy. Hehe!

    Golem good on Pensions today . If he hasn't changed his spelling mistakes, well he's dyslexic.
    grenouille deux his spellcheckeur( but so far after publishing).

  50. "Do i think most people here are cunts,fuckwits and racists?-Certainly not."

    My apologies, Paul. I just got the impression that you had, at one time or another, insulted just about everybody on this thread. Perhaps turminder, hank, habib, scherpiggsie, monkeyfish, martyninlalaland, bitethehand, nap, sheffpixie and many others could put me right on this if I'm mistaken. Although perhaps if you kiss and make up afterwards, everybody can pretend that it never happened, and cross their fingers that it won't happen again. Although it will.

  51. Hello Luke

    Just back from a funeral - Welsh wakes are amazing. Alcohol intolerant as I am I am probably drunk.

    Rock and rule luke- rock and rule.

  52. Luke, Paul's never insulted me...

  53. Frog

    The link you sent by mail gives me a 404. Can you post it here please?

  54. And we have a winner! Step forward, dotterel.

    Disclaimer - all prizes will be withheld pending representations from other undusted members who have never been insulted by Paul. The closing date is midnight on December 24.
    Or if it,s a white Christmas, January 1.

  55. frog2

    Haven't you seen the Risk Manager 'Whistleblower.IRL' around at Golem ? Yesterday.

    Yes, I looked at that yesterday.

    However much we know, deep inside, that these people are complete and utter shits, it is still surprising to see quite how shitty they are in their complete and utter shittiness.

    No time to for individual notes, so:

    1. Commiserations
    2. Sympathies
    3. Congratulations
    4. Astonishment
    5. Amazement
    6. Rage
    7. Disbelief
    8. A poke in the eye with a sharp stick

    Please feel free to make an appropriate selection of none, one or more of the above.

    PS luke

    To be fair, the material I am working with at the moment actually runs all the way from Jaffa Cakes to meerkats.

  56. A fucking Spidey Musical? no wonder the opening was cursed ; )

  57. Leni ---

    "Earlier this month, the 57-year old Dutchman won Popular Science magazine's award for the best invention of 2010, beating 119 contenders, including Hehe ! Apple's iPad and the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid supercar"

    "It has been tested for three years in the Sahara desert , with convincing results. Trees that were planted during the summer with the Waterboxx survived well, whereas 90% of those that were watered on a daily basis, but planted without it, died.

    This year it has been tested in 30 places worldwide"

    Groasis waterboxx

  58. 'ello peeps!

    Sorry for the abscence.... reduced to a dongle and couldn't get into the UT... broadband is back on and rocking and I lasted less than an hour up in Norwood where it was like a blizzard this afternoon..... no buses to or from Crystal Palace, buses to be suspended after 3 p.m. this afternoon, but lots of anti-Coalition ranting on the bus! It started snowing heavily again about an hour ago and I'm feeling all toasty at home ;)

  59. All the best Leni.

    So, 'talking about my travel arrangements'. Ok, I won't anymore as I've arrived.

    Duke's heart will be warmed by the fact that the good children (and adults) of Glasgow are enjoying the snow, it is VERY heavy, something which happens rarely, I presume. My friend sent me this text bout it, 'better than the miserable, grey, windy, rainy shite we usually get'.

    In other news, I have been watching the Wikileaks release with interest. China and North Korea has been particularly engrossing.

  60. Frog

    The grow box is of infinitely more value than an ipod.

    There are lots of small experiments with closed systems - the early htdropnic stuff in Holand led to a buld up of nutrients and byproducts which eventually had to be dumped somewhere.

    People are looking again at old fashioned dewponds and dew towers.

    Too much attention - and investment - in technology which consumes resources and not enough in those which conservre or create them.

  61. Evening all

    Luke - we've learnt not to bear grudges here, at least we try. So if someone gets arseholed one night and flames people we forgive - at least mostly.

    Sorry we're boring you. Is it more fights you want or intellectual stimulation? You could of course, always fuck off to another site and visit your dissatisafactions upon them.

    Interesting to see that wikileaks are turning their attention to the banks...lets hope for a bit more than a little embarrassment between ruling elites. ! want the real shit and lowdown...so far its all a bit disappointing and I'm not very impressed. will we get it? not from the groan thats for sure.

  62. Hi Nap

    Thanks. Any more news on your visa.?

    We should all be free to travel whenever and wherever we choose. Borders are artificial constructs.
    Glad you are home safe and warm but I think I would have chosen an island over a city.


  63. You could shout it from the rooftops that politicians kill babies in return for their few years of power, you could show video of them doing it, with pitchforks and ovens, babies being delivered in trailers.

    Most folk would say, 'Well, at least they're cracking down on the immigrants n benefit cheats inni'?

  64. "We should all be free to travel whenever and wherever we choose. Borders are artificial constructs".

    I tried that one at immigration in Sao Paulo a while back....

    They didn't seem to agree!

  65. Turm

    Fascinating - and horrific - just how people can move several steps from reality in defence of cruelty, horror and murder.

  66. @Hi Leni

    Dunno about Welsh wakes but i've been to a few Irish ones and they usually turn out to be all-nighters.Hope you're not too upset.


    I'd always assumed that China would reign in the North Koreans in order to avoid a scrap with the American -backed South.Not sure i believe reports from wikileaks that China might accept what would in effect be a reunited Korea ruled from the South.-unless of course it was demilitiarised and strictly neutral which i don't think the Americans would buy.

  67. frog2

    Brilliant and heartening story.

    Perhaps we will all be saved by people like this apparently quiet and unassuming Dutch bulb-grower, instead of the braying masters of the universe.

    "It has been tested for three years in the Sahara desert , with convincing results. Trees that were planted during the summer with the Waterboxx survived well, whereas 90% of those that were watered on a daily basis, but planted without it, died.

    This year it has been tested in 30 places worldwide"

    It might be an idea to scatter the growing areas around the globe.

    There is a theory that the Saharan area used to be the Garden of Eden and that the whole lot went from lush vegetation like the pictures from "le Douanier" Henri Rousseau to a vast sandpit over a few generations, hence the stories.

    The theory then says that if we managed to re-plant the Sahara, this would create a new desert of the Amazonian rainforests.

    However, the bucket with a hole in it - Dear Liza - looks more likely to save mankind than an Apple (Garden of Eden - geddit?) or a Porsche.

  68. Hey LaRit - long time no see! Seems like everyone else is getting far worse snow than we are, here.

    Hi also Sheff, Leni and Nap (and anyone else I've missed)

    That Growboxx is bloody brilliant! Why is it not being shouted from the rooftops?

  69. Waterboxx


    Short term memory is... er...um...

  70. Hi LaRit

    Long time etc.

    We had more snow this morning but we are more frosty with biting wind now.

    Powys had temps of -18 last night - I fear the temp drop is marching south across the mountains.

    How is your mum faring in the north ?

  71. Hi Paul

    I left early - the average Welsh miner seems to be composed of stomach and bladder down to their boots.

    Had a chat with some of the old guys who were raising a metaphorical red flag outside in the freezing cold smoking shelter. Anger is building - there may well be real action soon.

  72. Charlie,

    I was speaking to my brother yesterday, he said that Glasgow is indeed a winter wonderland. Enjoy.

    The Dutch are currently suffering from Elfstedenkoorts- Eleven city fever.

    This happens when the weather gets so cold that the famous Elfstedentocht- 11 city skating race on natural ice may be on. It takes place in Freisland and normally attracts 15,000 plus skaters, so the natural ice has to be super thick.

    It hasn't been raced since 1997 and the Dutch take it extremely seriously. The papers and TV news have been going on about it non stop and they think this might just be the year.

    Regular UT updates will be available as a nation waits with baited breath.....


    St Andrew's day indeed. Can't get any haggis but I do have a bottle of 21 year old Auchentoshan of which I may have a small libation.

  73. Hi BB and Leni - nice to be back :)

    It's pretty insane this level of snowfall.... of course, Norwood, Penge, Crystal Palace etc. are all on pretty high ground so very wintery indeed and Brixton has been gradually enveloped....

    Thanks for asking after my Mum Leni, it's been pretty severe in the North - I've tried to force her to stop worrying about the bills and put the bloody heating on.... her dining room and bedroom are about 9 degrees.... for a woman of nearly 70, this is not good ;( She also lost a much-loved Cat on Sunday (Puss Puss) who was nearly 19.... my Mum was very distraught.

  74. Duke:

    Sounds amazing about the skating race - I'd be very interested to hear more about it.... I love ice-skating and went pretty much weekly when I was a kid ;)

  75. Vince Cable is incredible! You really couldn't make this stuff up. He produces a policy that he says he believes in, ie education fees - then says he may well vote against it! Certainly a 'new form of politics' as one LibDem pundit said on PM just now... Anyone care to explain to me what kind of 'new' form it might describe?

  76. LaRit

    I am not sure how te extra heating payments work - for long periods of below freezing temps. I seem to remember filling in a form for an old man - you apparently have to apply. Worth looking at for your mum - she should not have to go without heating.

    The loss of her cat will have hit her hard. Times like that when we seem so far away - just want to give loved ones a real life cuddle.

  77. Re: the Wikileaks and the internal docs from the Banks..... I've realised that the world has been flipped inside out.... previously there was no way of fighting back, but this is like a gift.

    Are we about to enter an era when all the formal power structures are chopped down to size?

    Oh and something to make us all smile - the school kids and the students have been giving the Rozzers the complete run-around in Central London all day.... apparently shouting "FUCK OFF BACK TO EATON CAMERON" and bringing traffic to a standstill.


  78. whoops... Eton not Eaton..... bollocks...

  79. Leni:

    Thanks so much for the information. I'll give her a call about it this evening. Her problem is, she doesn't ask for help when she really needs it. She lives near to the Age Concern office, she should go in and ask - they are extremely helpful. Also, losing the cat was terrible for her, she lost a very dear friend a year and a half ago and I know she's been pretty down since then. I desperately want to go and see her, so will try in the next week or 2...

  80. Leni, Atoms, BB, -- why not from the rooftops indeed ? (A serendipitous 404 there...)

    No Mammon Corporations or merchant bankers or Private Equity or Sovereign Wealth Funds involved, afaik just the one man with a few million from a family business.

    I shall now go and distribute more widely, to balance out my last few years of warnings on what we are seeing now.

  81. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/pensionsandretirementplanning/benefits/concessionsandotherhelp/DG_10018668


    Sorry can't do linky things but this site gives the info for Cold Weather Payments.

  82. Hi LaRit

    Long time no 'see'.I live in East London and things here seem to be slowly grinding to a halt.Obviously the wrong kind of snow:-)


    I think whatever credibility Cable had has evaporated with him getting into bed with the Tories.


    Thank god there's one person here who wasn't caught up in my 'night of madness'.Still feel guilty about it to this day whenever a lurker brings it up.

  83. I heard Vince Fable today. He's gonnered.

  84. Paul

    Don't make me cross - you know how fearsome I can be.

    Stop beating yourself about the head. x

  85. Cheers AtomBoy for the 17:16
    Good stuff !

  86. LaRit

    You can do a post code search to see if your area has triggered the payment. It is now apparently automatic - it is £25 for each week the temp stays below freezing. Other people on certain benefits can get ity too.

  87. Atoms

    Will print and distribute.

  88. Bitterweed, Leni and others.


    There are others and will add more here.

    Anything not working, let me know.

  89. That is now up on my fridge AB! will also distribute.

  90. Leni - thanks so much for that link. I found the right info and she is eligible for an additional Cold Weather Payment for her area. I'll send her the information....xxxxx a big, big hug xxx

  91. Just had a read of Waddya.

    You know Sheff said P Bracken wasn't a twat?

    Is she absolutely sure?

    Is he having some kind of a breakdown do you think?

  92. Leni.... just spoken to my Mum... she is very, very grateful (it was minus 13 last night. x

  93. La Rit

    The fact that people don't know about those payments is a disgrace, people will die because of it.

  94. Spending also fell on household goods and package holidays, but held up on sports admissions, cinema, theatre and concerts."

    The findings of the survey are compiled through detailed diaries of spending kept by 6,000 households throughout the UK.

    The research shows average spending on transport was £58.40 in 2009, a fall of 8% on the previous year.

    Spending on recreation and culture also fell slightly to £57.90 from £60.10 in spite of higher spending on items such as leisure classes, sports admissions, cinemas, theatres and concerts.

    Housing, fuel and power spending increased to £57.30 from £53.00 in 2008.

    But spending on clothing and footwear was £20.90 a week, slightly lower than the previous year and continuing a long-term fall to the lowest figures recorded for nearly a decade.

    Spending on household goods and services such as furniture and appliances also hit a long-term low, falling from £30.10 in 2008 to £27.90 in 2009.


    Above from ONS - for last year. Food etc has risen sharply recently so these figures are skewed.

    I think many families here would be amazed to see the average weekly spend is well in excess of £400.

    Which people do they actually survey ?

  95. Jen:

    Isn't it just? Why on earth is this not being broadcast on the News.

  96. It all sounds a bit apocalyptic over there. It's a bit chilly here in Paris, but there's just a bit of snow left on the grass and the tops of any cars that haven't moved since yesterday morning or been cleared by kids in search of snowballs.

  97. For the poetry lovers. Just came across this will browsing. So lovely, I think.

    Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Look, how tiny down there,
    look: the last village of words and, higher,
    (but how tiny) still one last
    farmhouse of feeling. Can you see it?
    Exposed on the cliffs of the heart. Stoneground
    under your hands. Even here, though,
    something can bloom; on a silent cliff-edge
    an unknowing plant blooms, singing, into the air.
    But the one who knows? Ah, he began to know
    and is quiet now, exposed on the cliffs of the heart.
    While, with their full awareness,
    many sure-footed mountain animals pass
    or linger. And the great sheltered birds flies, slowly
    circling, around the peak's pure denial. - But
    without a shelter, here on the cliffs of the heart...


  98. Jenn

    PBrax is different in the flesh - more congenial. Although his congeniality when you meet him doesn't appear to stop him from saying very twattish things on cif I agree.

    So what's he been saying on waddya? Suppose I'll have to go and look.

  99. Insulation is so important. My apartment building is 18 years old and beautifully insulated. I use an average 38 euros of gas a month for hot water, cooking and central heating to 22°, which seems pretty reasonable to me.

  100. I've just reread my last post. I do very definitely sound like a little old man, don't I? Argggh!

  101. Luke

    "Monkeyfish has been very boring and repetitive lately.."

    You just know I'm gonna assume that's "very boring and repetitive" as in Usain Bolt's brand of very boring and repetitive, or Xavi and Iniesta with another tediously perfect performance...or maybe Rembrandt and his tiresome habit of consistently knocking out masterpieces.

  102. Jenni

    Have you checked that site ? Perhaps you can some help - depending on which benefit you get.

    As you said - this should be publicised more. People are going without heating cos they don't know about it.

    It is several years since I helped my old man - now it is automatic. You sound as though you live in an elligible zone.


    Hope mum turns it up full blast for a few hours and warms up. Such a low temp is dangerous for her.

    -13 is too cold for anybody irrespective of age.

  103. Really Leni, it never crossed my mind that I might be eligible for anything, I will go and look now.

  104. evening all - hope you feel better soon Montana, and that everybody's managing to keep their body temp above zero.

    (have just realised that radiator in flatmate's room is jammed in the'off' position - cue grovelling apologies and a plan to drop in on the agency tomorrow, he must be feckin' freezing)

    have accountancy age done an interesting article? really? where?

  105. "PBrax is different in the flesh - more congenial. Although his congeniality when you meet him doesn't appear to stop him from saying very twattish things on cif I agree."

    That doesn't surprise me at all. I often find myself amused when reading his posts. I suspect he posts a lot for effect. you can practically see the stick in his hand when you read his posts.

    Clearly we are on different sides of the political fence, and clearly he can be very provocative. But I think I'd probably find it hard to be really seriously offended by him. But I guess perhaps I need to give it more time before drawing that conclusion!

  106. "You just know I'm gonna assume that's "very boring and repetitive" as in Usain Bolt's brand of very boring and repetitive, or Xavi and Iniesta with another tediously perfect performance...or maybe Rembrandt and his tiresome habit of consistently knocking out masterpieces."

    You almost assume correctly, mrs fish, but I was thinking more along the lines of the repetitively consistent 'masterpieces' of Benny Hill, Alan Shearer on MOTD, Keira Knightly, Bruce Forsythe, Graham Norton, Barbara Cartland, Julian Glover and Peter Alliss.

    And others of that ilk and of this parish. (Not you deano - you're startlingly original and not at all repetitive eg. knickers, my cock, young misses, I hate Tories, I love dogs and my sometimes beloved, I'm just a humble tramp, I'm not really racist but ....zzzzzzz)

  107. Atomboy:

    Those are brilliant - thanks ;)

  108. Leni - those figures are really interesting. Are they all per week? My housing and fuel costs (if you include the mortgage, which I assume you would) are a lot higher, but I spend a lot less on all the others.

    Over a thousand quid a year for clothes?!!! Wouldn't think I spend more than two hundred.

    Obviously I need to learn more about the Brussels lifestyle.

    (And the only year I spent that much on household appliances was when I had an entire house to kit out: fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher came to, I think, a couple of hundred less than that.)


  109. Meerkatjie:

    Beautiful poem.... do you have the German title?

    Leni - if she doesn't switch her heating on full-belt, I'm going up there and sorting her out!!!


  110. Meerkatje

    I get a picture of PBrax when he posts - sitting astride his monster bike, laptop propped on the tank, with the engine throbbing between his prodigious thighs, giving the throttle a vroom vroom everytime he pings off a post.

  111. Dot Gibson, of the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘Since 1997 we have lost more than 300,000 pensioners during the winter months because of cold-related illnesses, yet the Government seems incapable of acting. No other section of our society is so vulnerable and treated so badly.
    ‘Pensioners see rising fuel bills and are constantly worried about whether or not they can afford to put their heating on.’
    She added: ‘Around 3.5million pensioner households are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel bills and are living in fuel poverty


    National shame.

  112. La Rit:

    Ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens. Siehe, wie klein
    siehe: die letzte Ortschaft der Worte, und höher,
    aber wie klein auch, noch ein letztes
    Gehöft von Gefühl. Erkennst du's?
    Ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens. Steingrund
    unter den Händen. Hier blüht wohl
    einiges auf; aus stummem Absturz
    blüht ein unwissendes Kraut singend hervor.
    Aber der Wissende? Ach, der zu wissen begann
    und schweigt nun, ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens.
    Da geht wohl, heilen Bewusstseins,
    manches umher, manches gesicherte Bergtier,
    wechselt und weilt. Und der große geborgene Vogel
    kreist um der Gipfel reine Verweigerung. - Aber
    ungeborgen, hier auf den Bergen des Herzens . .

    Slightly different, I guess. The mountains of the heart - cliffs have a stronger association of isolation in English?

  113. desolation, more than isolation?

  114. Leni - I agree that is shameful, but we are still a lot better off than many places. I am pretty sure (Montana will know) that there is absolutely no fuel allowance in the US, where - in the northern parts, at least - the cold is a lot more severe than here.

    Boudican - does Canada have winter fuel payments for pensioners?

  115. @Meerkatjie

    The thing about PB's latest bit of thrashing about wildly, as with other similar episodes, is that he does have the tiniest smidgen of a point. This is lost in the sturm und drang he surrounds it with.

  116. This is lost in the sturm und drang he surrounds it with.

    Peter(J) - I (kind of) agree, although never more than a smidgen, and I've never understood why he weighs in with the invective rather than arguing his point when he posts - he doesn't do that when you're actually talking face to face.

  117. Sheff

    "I get a picture of PBrax when he posts - sitting astride his monster bike, laptop propped on the tank, with the engine throbbing between his prodigious thighs, giving the throttle a vroom vroom everytime he pings off a post. "

    Do you mind?!

    I've only just had me tea!

  118. That's what I mean, Sheff. If he just quietly suggested something, without suggesting that other posters inhabit a howling moral wasteland, he wouldn't get the reactions he does.

    Are you there, PB?

  119. Parking these here, from Ben Caute, as they are likely to get zapped for being in French.

    Looks juicy - from le Monde:

    WikiLeaks publiera début 2011 des documents compromettants pour la direction d'une "grande banque américaine", affirme le cofondateur du site Internet, Julian Assange, dans une interview publiée par le magazine Forbes, sans nommer la banque.

    (more to follow)

  120. "Cela donnera un aperçu vrai et représentatif de la façon dont se comportent les banques au niveau de leurs dirigeants d'une manière qui provoquera des enquêtes et des réformes, je suppose", a poursuivi M. Assange, dans des propos rapportés sur le site Internet du magazine. Il a refusé de dire quels agissements seraient révélés au grand public.

    "Tout ce que je peux dire, c'est qu'il est clair qu'il y a eu des pratiques contraires à l'éthique, mais il est trop tôt pour suggérer qu'il y a délit. Nous devons être prudents et ne pas coller une étiquette de délinquants aux gens avant d'être tout à fait sûrs", a-t-il.

    M. Assange a estimé que la banque était l'un des secteurs économiques qui protégeaient le mieux leurs secrets, avec le renseignement privé."Dans les secteurs où on est extrêmement bien payé, comme, disons, chez Goldman Sachs, ont est davantage incité à ne pas perdre son emploi", a-t-il expliqué. WikiLeaks cherche donc à obtenir davantage de documents de ces deux secteurs. "Ce sont les choses évidentes que nous voulons : ce qui concerne le renseignement et la guerre, et les grandes escroqueries financières. Parce que cela touche énormément de gens", a-t-il considéré.

  121. Quick precis to follow as can't be arsed to translate word for word

  122. Oh dear. May any gods that exist protect Mr Assange now.

  123. PeterJ/Sheff

    I think the Major has simply developed a bit of a siege mentality as a result of all the cyber batterings he's taken.FWIW i think he fits in better over here than over there even though people here often profoundly disagree with him.

  124. Right - Assange says there will be a leak of info from a big American bank, although he doesn't say which one.

    They will give a real representative idea of how banks behave with their directors which is likely to lead to banking reforms

    There are unethical practices, but it is too early to call them criminal

    The banking sector is one in which secrets are closely guarded as people don't want to lose their jobs.

    He says we evidently want to know about the things that affect the most people, about the war, big financial fraud etc.

  125. heyhabib - yeah

    Although who would have the cojones to bump him off now, frankly?

  126. The thing is, I don't recognise Dot Gibson's picture at all.

    The fluctuation of gas prices (up steady up, up) is certainly a scandal. But the deaths from "Cold related illness." Well, that has to mean things like pneumonia that many elderly people die of in nice warm hospitals (OK horrible warm hospitals).

    Every year I get phone calls from Channel 4 News or other such outfits looking for freezing pensioners that they can do a thing on. Every year I have to tell them sorry, I don't know any.

    Obviously there are going to be some people who struggle to afford to keep warm. In my experience these are either ignorant of their entitlements or home owners. Round here that means people living in rickety great Edwardian houses worth at least a million pounds.

    Which brings me to "fuel poverty." Someone living in a five bedroom house worth a million and a half that is big and difficult to keep warm and living on a pension, may well need to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel.

    But are they really living in any sort of poverty? Fuel poverty is an arbitrary wheeze someone thought up a few years back. I don't think it is very useful at all.

  127. "Although who would have the cojones to bump him off now, frankly?"

    Since the Israelis can kill with impunity, I'm sure others will be foolish enough to think they can.

  128. Spencer

    Here there are old folk getting cold. Many do not claim everything they are entitled to and, as you say, those who are home owners get less support than people in rented property. If they are in social housing - recently built - the houses or flats are better insulated and heated.

    Those living in older houses which cannot always have walls insulated get very cold.

    Houses here have no damp courses , are stone built with rubble infil - very difficult to insulate.

    Some have small occupational pensions which take them above tax credits by perhaps a few pence.

    The picture is very uneven.

    Hypothermia is often stated as a contributory factor to lung disease and heart attacks. The picture is a bit blurred but that people go without heating is a fact.

    We have pensioners who are asset rich but cash poor.

  129. Habib

    Netanyahu reckons these last leaks have vindicated the Israeli position vis a vis Iran so I don't think Mossad'll be jumping in there yet. Ecuador have offered Assange a haven I believe - it's just getting there that might be a problem.

  130. Spencer

    Pensioners are responsible for a sizeable chunk of the billions of £'s that goes in unclaimed benefits in this country every year.And consequently some struggle to make ends meet.Fuel poverty being a particular problem with some pensioners only able to afford to heat one room in their homes.

    I might be wrong but i think the elderly are/were eligible for LA grants to insulate their homes.Dunno what the take up rate was for these grants and whether they have survived the cuts.

  131. spencer

    There are elderly folk living in small terraced houses on the street where I used to live and struggling to keep warm. They are late Victorian houses, cold, draughty and expensive to heat. No cavity walls so you can only insulate by double glazing the windows, lagging the attic and the cellar ceilings.

    I found It made a difference but still needed the heating on pretty full blast in conditions like we've got at the moment to keep the place a decent temperature. Certainly couldn't have afforded that on a pension.

    The problem is if you don't keep old houses like that at least warmish they get damp and then you end up with damp induced infections which is what happened to one old dear I knew.

  132. Leni "We have pensioners who are asset rich but cash poor."

    True. A consequence of the fetishising of home ownership. 95% of our members are council tenants but the few who own their own homes are often the ones struggling the most.

    Of course they could unlock some of the capital but people of that generation tend to be horrified at the idea. Sometimes they don't even have anyone particular to leave the property to, but still refuse to countenance it.

    It may well be that the picture is different where you are because of housing stock but it is the case that with pension increases, cold weather payments and the hardship funds that the utility companies run (they have to) no elderly person needs to be getting hypothermia.

    Of course there are people who are not getting the information and I don't know how that works in other parts of the country. We come across someone every now and then who has been missed by all the support services but they are very rare now.

    Though Camden is better than many places.

    But I really do not recognise Dot Gibson's version. OK she is making a political point. But 300,000 in just over a decade dying from hypothermia?

    Bollocks. I bet if you were to pin her down on those figures it would be mostly pneumonia. Which is why she said "cold related illness" and not hypothermia.

  133. Habib

    Didn't wikileaks allege that Saudi Arabia wanted Israel to attack Iran? Don't think the Israelis would have any motive for killing Assange.

    Not sure how representative they are but i certainly have spoken to some Iranian Sunni Muslims here in London who would love America and her allies to rid Iran of it's Shia dominated government.

  134. Sheff "Certainly couldn't have afforded that on a pension.

    But you could. With pension and cold weather payments. And if you couldn't you can get the bill written of by the utility company.

    I have to say that I have forgotten the details of the hardship scheme but that is because I have never had to appeal to it for any of our members. This year might be the exception the way that it is going, of course.

    It is lack of information, rather than lack of provision of support, that is the problem here.

    Not that a lot more should not be done as far as insulation and housing stock improvement is concerned, of course. And that is all going to judder to a halt now.

    I am just saying, the media do love a freezing pensioner story and I would be only too happy to give them one if I could find anyone round here who was having problems. But in over five years I have not been able to come up with anyone.

  135. Now, if you want vulnerable pensioners being ripped off by dodgy builders, distraction burglars, high pressure salesmen, "friends" who persuade them to transfer their life savings into an account controlled by the "friend", "carers" who short change them...

    On the other hand

  136. spencer

    But you could. With pension and cold weather payments. And if you couldn't you can get the bill written of by the utility company.

    Yes you can in theory - but in practice it doesn't always work and lot of people don't claim what's there for them- for lots of reasons - for example - how many people know that utility companies will write off a bill? how old/ill do you have to be to get that done? How do you do it?

    The old dear who died on my street had no support as it turned out and had been very isolated and just got missed out. She was also slightly dotty and resisted assistance from neighbours i learnt later.

  137. Sheff "The old dear who died on my street had no support as it turned out and had been very isolated and just got missed out. She was also slightly dotty and resisted assistance from neighbours i learnt later."

    That is the sort of situation my scheme was set up to address. Actually, I think the case that set it off was one of those where someone was discovered who had been dead for weeks or months and no one had noticed.

    When I started on the scheme we had a lady who lived high up in a tower block. When she was referred to us she had not seen a doctor in decades and was completely off the radar of the social services.

    I was not running it then (I was the practical worker before getting this job when my boss left) but I think we got a referell because she defaulted on her rent and the housing department referred her.

    She is the most isolated person I have come across. Though I did deal with a guy last year who had had his flat taken over by a bunch of street drinkers. He was not exactly isolated but his "freinds" were not his friends, if you see what I mean, and his living conditions were amongst the most horrific I have seen.

  138. Spencer

    Sadly those kinds of stories are far from uncommon, so many lonely, isolated people in the world.

    I don't want to end up like that. :(

  139. Jenni, I don't want to bring everyone down, but after ten years of working with the elderly I am completely determined to work out a nice painless way to ease myself out before I get too decrepit.

    I see too many people who just aren't having much fun.

    Not for me.

    Now that would be a good subject for Waddya. Pleasant and painless endings. They would never stand for it though, would they?

  140. Spencer

    I've made requests on waddya for either a Peoples Panel or an article on the emotive subject of euthanasia but it didn't warrant a reply.

    My belief however is that the massive increase in elderly people in this country over the next 20 years is going to put such a huge strain on the NHS and Social Services the government of the day will possibly be more open to Dignitas or someone like them opening up here in the UK and helping the terminally ill to die if that's what they want.

  141. Changing the subject slightly - we have about 10 inches of snow here now and no sign of it letting up. Can't remember it being this bad in years.

    No doubt Sheffield will be closed tomorrow.

  142. Paul, I saw your post on that the other day.

    I disagree. I think it should become an issue but I really don't think it will. Don't underestimate the amount to which standards of health and social care will be able to deteriorate before anything changes.

    The rich will be able to afford private care whilst for the rest of us the slippage will be so gradual that no riots will ensue, and anyway, people with restricted mobility are not great at rioting.

    They can vote of course but for this to be an issue will require a major change in public opinion.

    And I am not sure that I see any signs of that.

  143. Spence

    People can be socially isolated for all sorts of reasons and other people will prey on their vulnerability. I recall a plea from a police officer some years ago, who was anxious to prevent a vulnerable adult from being further exploited by dealers using his flat. Also a young women whose 'partner' was using her for her meagre income (disability benefits) in collusion with her cousin; he battered nine bells out of her in the last few weeks of pregnancy, risking the lives of both mother & child.

    I also recall a researcher telling me about an elderly lady who was paying over £150K per year for care so she could spend the rest of her days in her own home.

    It all saddens me but it also makes me very angry that as as society, we have become so uncaring.

  144. re: Heat

    It varies from state to state, but in Iowa there is a tax on utility payments that goes into a winter heat assistance fund. Obviously, there are income guidelines, but you have to apply through a local services office, in person, to receive the assistance. Many elderly are of a generation that believe that getting assistance is something to be ashamed of, so they won't go to apply.

    There is also a law in Iowa that whichever utility supplies your heat energy cannot shut off for non-payment when the temperature goes below freezing for predicted highs. People who receive the aforementioned heat assistance cannot be disconnected between 1 November and 30 March, regardless of temps.


    You live in an urban area in the South where isolation is much less likely. I would imagine that the fuel poverty scenario is far more common outside London.

    I'm also a bit puzzled as to why you dismiss pneumonia as not worthy of inclusion in those statistics? They've still died because they couldn't afford to keep their house/flat warm -- even if it was because they didn't make use or were ignorant of the availability of assistance.

  145. MsChin "It all saddens me but it also makes me very angry that as as society, we have become so uncaring."

    Well, let us have a cheery note. Yes there are lots of fuckers who prey on the weak around. I cannot deny that.

    But tommorrow if the pavements are icy I will ring round to see if anyone needs getting milk or a prescription. And my experience of many years is that I will be surprised if anyone does. To some extent that is because people of that generation, having lived through the war, tend to prepare. Or they have carers.

    But it is also the case that they often say, no, it is OK, my next door neighbour called and got me a loaf of bread, or my son drove all the way from Watford to see I was alright.

    And this is Central London, the most alienated, uncaring, urban environment, supposedly.

    Out of 100 or so clients, I have rarely had to do anything for more than one or two, and often because their neighbours have called to check that they are OK, already.

    Seriously. There still is such a thing as society, even in London.

  146. Montana "I'm also a bit puzzled as to why you dismiss pneumonia as not worthy of inclusion in those statistics? They've still died because they couldn't afford to keep their house/flat warm -- even if it was because they didn't make use or were ignorant of the availability of assistance."

    Well, I cannot claim to know what exactly she meant. But that someone dies of pneumonia does nto mean that they have died because they have not had enough heat.

    Pneumonia is also called "The old person's friend" when the cause of death is "natural causes" that is often pneumonia.

    And my ten years experience of working with vulnerable and isolated elderly people, albeit working in London which is bound to be different than rural Wales or the Pennines, but is also going to be similar to the majority of people who live in urban areas, is that I have never come across anyone dying of cold related illness.

    Not a single one.

    So I think we are seeing exaggeration for political propaganda here.

    Hope that helps your puzzlement.

  147. Spence
    Out of 100 or so clients, I have rarely had to do anything for more than one or two, and often because their neighbours have called to check that they are OK, already.
    bloody glad to hear that. the important thing is that you're there for the one or two who don't have anyone, so keep on keeping on.

  148. Hello everyone: I can't get Atomboy's pdf links to download.

    What's the format? Is it on adobe reader?

  149. The Brackenator always reminds me of this guy.

  150. Hi All

    thauma--There is a heating allowance in Canada, and as Montana mentioned for different areas in the US, it is calculated on income. Don't know about specific amounts though.

    Paul--I also noticed your request for an article on late life care and assisted dying. More discussion on this is urgently needed as we can see hard evidence of strained healthcare right now.
    As you say, it is a touchy issue for many.

    Spencer--Agree with you on the caring in society. There are pensioners or people with disabilities in my neighbourhood ( probably in most ) and others always pitch in to clear snow, run errands and help out in other ways. Some, unfortunately, may fall through the cracks and that is worrying.

    Watched the expose of FIFA on the Beeb. Not completely surprised as we've had news of their malign and corrupt influence before.

  151. @chekhov

    Yeah, they're Adobe files. If you download them as files (right click on the link and choose 'save linked file' or similar, and then double-click the result, it should open in Adobe Reader. Some browsers will open PDFs in a browser window for you, but some don't, or sometimes open a blank window while downloading the PDF file somewhere else. The first method I describe will always work.

  152. RapidEddie

    That is funny is f00k! I had forgotten that character! :o)

  153. @PeterJ: thanks, I'll have a crack at that. However I'm thinking I might have to update the adobe program since I had the hard drive replaced on this lap top and I'm guessing some bits might have gone awol in the "re-install" process. If that makes sense!

  154. BTW: if I just want to read a document, can I just copy and paste it into a new window?

  155. @chekhov

    What sort of document, and pasting from where to where?

    BTW, if you need to reinstall Adobe Reader, just download it from adobe.com.

  156. @PeterJ: just checked and I have Adobe Reader 8.1.2 installed so I think it might just need up-dating.

    @RapidEddie: that Harry Enfield clip was mint!

  157. Montana

    Pneumonia is used - all too often over here - as a cause of death where no blame can be attached !

    Last week a good friend of mine lost his father to the same symptom !. He knows what killed him, and much as I hate to say it, the NHS do get it wrong occasionally. In this case it was mainly due to moving from one area to another, and records of illness / treatment not following in their footsteps.

    When these things happen it is easier to use pnuemonia as the cause of death.

    I am not decrying our NHS. I think they provide a magnificent service. My father wouldn't be on this earth without the help and assistance they have given. His identical twin brother died in 2002, but lived in a completely different part of the country.

    They both suffered from the same afflictions, but different doctors, and different prescriptions have meant my father living longer !. That also exhibits the drug lottery we live with. Certain types of drugs are only available if your postcode is in the 'right area'.

    Beats me !

  158. Bank of America stocks drop on WikiLeaks worries
    (AFP) – 36 minutes ago

    NEW YORK — Shares in Bank of America, the largest US bank, tumbled more than three percent Tuesday amid speculation it will be the next target of leaked documents from WikiLeaks.

    Shares closed 3.18 percent lower at 10.95 dollars.



  159. Time for bed.

    I'll leave this one from Dire Straits, the last track on the Dire Straits Album;


    GNite all...

  160. Pneumonia is a bastard. I spend two weeks in hospital with pneumonia and pleurisy. Nine courses of antibiotics and about four months before I recovered properly. I only realised later that everyone had been wondering if I was going to snuff it - including, I believe, the medical staff.

    I went back to the hospital for tests and saw one of the nurses who'd treated me. She seemed quite shocked and exclaimed how good it was to see me looking so much better. That was when I started to wonder how close a call I'd had.

  161. blimey spike, nasty. reminds me a bit of my mother's definition of 'fear': seeing a nurse run in a maternity unit...

  162. Gnite Spike, (havn't finished me fag yet !)

    Better track: Water of Love

  163. James - u back in Brazil ?

    I see the flag a flying !

  164. Spencer

    I think most people fear having a bad death.And growing numbers of people are aware of the abuses that elderly and sick people can be subjected too by those entrusted with their care.And some people just can't envisage living if they have no decent quality of life irrespective of the quality of the care they get.

    I think that at grass roots level increasing numbers of people want the right to die on their own terms.The problem however is that the political classes are just currently not prepared to address this issue.My point is that as demand on the NHS and care system is stretched to breaking point by the ageing population pure economics as well as public opinion may just drive this issue up up the political agenda.

  165. Nope, am still here, and enjoying the snow, so must've been somebody else!

    (Boa Noite, e tudo bom, outra Brasiliera)

    And goodnight to anybody else about.

    Ate amanha...

  166. Just for Luke the Lurker, back from the pub after closing it and putting the key in the leter-box. Re-lit the stove, and it's minus 7.

    Montana -- in France there is a law that you can't be kicked out of rental accomodation for the five cold months. Probably similar provisions on gas/elec/water .

    I see Leni is following the BOA share-price !

    More on the Corexit Dispersant Pollution in the Gulf . and finance at georgewashington2.