27 December 2010


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
-Bill Watterson


  1. Morning all!

    Lovely, quiet, family-free xmas.

    I read yesterday that three students are suing the polis for being kettled. Two suffered broken ankles and the third, shock.

  2. Two suffered broken ankles and the third, shock.

    Does that mean that two were bashed around the ankles with truncheons or night-sticks or whatever they are called now and the other one was tazered?

    Wait until the police get the chance to use tear-gas and water-cannon and rubber-bullets.

    Or anything else easily hyphenated, basically.

    The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

    Oh, yeah?

    So, where do the voices in my head come from, then?

    Like, duh!

  3. Atomboy, as I recall, one was clobbered over the head and shoved back into the crowd where his ankle was broken (cos there was nowhere to go).

  4. Morning Thaum

    Good to hear you had a nice Crimbo.

    I think Bethany Shiner, daughter of Phil Shiner of the Public Interest Lawyer's group is taking an action too. Should be an interesting test case, although it will take years to make its way through the system.

    What did santa bring for Saoirse? :o)

  5. Morning AB - nice documentary, that :p

  6. Talking about space, there was a really funny post on the "In Praise of... futile gestures" thread, which is essentially about a twitter campaign for us all to wave to the International Space Station as we see it going overhead to the south.

    One geezer called Baselisk says:

    "The Space Station passes directly over London roughly every 24 hours, so you do not need to look to the south to see it unless you are living well north of London's latitude. Its most northerly sweep is roughly at the latitude of Potter's Bar. As seen from the ground, it will be moving from west to east. Perhaps The Guardian could be more accurate in advising readers of when and where to look for it on a regular basis."

    And another called randandan rightly replies:

    "I know it may shock you but most of Britain is "well north" of London.

    A very difficult concept I know, but there you are."

    Kapow! :o)

  7. BB - Saiorse got a bone and helped herself to a chocolate orange and chocolate Santa. Bad dog!

    She is not suffering any after-effects, luckily.

  8. BB

    Yes, but in fairness to the North/South divide of "Two Nations" Broken Britain and The Guardian's crack team of reporters [Is that a pun on crap or crack as in drugs? - Ed], they did manage to send - who was it? - Boris Johnson's brother's wife into the far northern wastelands on an anthropological study to see whether the isolation and sequestration from civilisation had led to the creation of a distinct new species of humanoids.

    She even came back alive, according to some accounts.

    Oh, sorry - good morning, everyone.

    I'm going to follow the news format in future.

    Basically, you just shout out random bits of unconnected information, then play some music and finally say good day to your audience and onlookers, as if you were totally unaware that they were there at all; preferably, giving them a hard glare as if they had just walked in to watch you on the lavatory.

  9. BB - I assumed the 'potters bar' crack was a reference to 'Yes Minister', but there you go.

    the 'open door' thread is quite chuckle-worthy. definite seafood-obsession in the sub-eds team, think...

  10. LOL at atomboy. I will avert my eyes :o)

    Naughty Saiorse! I bet she bloody loved it though!

    Will make my way over there, Phil. Mmmmmm...seafood.....arghrghgrrgghhhh!

  11. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, I did, though I am happy to be back in my own little home on my own, people are hard work sometimes.

    Did lots of eating, drinking and being merry, and lots of Wii dancing, everyone in the world needs to see me do my All That Jazz dance, instant cure for misery. :)

    My sister got to spend some quality time with two of her daughters over the festive season, the eldest has had some serious problems over what happened in the past but is well through them now and for the moment they are one big happy family.

    We were also contacted by one of my Dads brothers (we haven't had any contact since he died) and have been doing some serious catching up.

    Little Christmas miracles all over the place this year.

  12. good to see you, jen, and glad you had a good one (i want to see that dance - will swap you my impersonation of the gopher at the end of caddyshack).

    missed the parents, but good friends stepped into the breach, and had a good time.

    i'd start on the post-noel detox, but i got a pie tin as a present, so feel an apple tart and custard coming on...

  13. Hi Jen! Season's greetings! (A bit late for Happy Christmas and a bit early for Happy New Year)

    Sound like you had a much-deserved lovely time. Good to hear that things are a bit more positive with your sister's kids. Hugs x

  14. Good morning from well north of London, where it is sleeting & snowing.

  15. Morning MsChin

    Hope you are feeling better and have at least managed to eat some christmas pud!

    We still have snow on the ground here in the centre of the grauniadista universe, but it is on its way out now.

    I need to skedaddle but will try and catch up with everyone later.

  16. Jen - glad you and your family had a good Christmas!

    Have some more hugs ((((((Jen))))))

  17. morning survivors!

    here in derbyshire it's snowing heavily......argh!

  18. Atomboy - thanks; that about sums it up!

    MsChin - hope you're feeling better!

    Jen - glad you had a good time.

    Thawing here today, but we're supposed to get another dumping tonight.

  19. thauma, BB

    MsChin is feeling somewhat better, thanks, but clearly isn't recovered yet as she has not opened the box of Belgian chocs wot was a pressie from some kind soul.


    I hope you manage to get away safely from rural Derbyshire. Would be nice to meet up next time you are home.

  20. Afternoon all. Hope all UT'ers enjoyed a good Christmas.

    Hi Jen - glad you had some Christmas miracles and your family had a good day.

    MsC - Sorry you are still not up to the chocs! I hope that within the next day or so the appetite returns.

    Not snowing here in Sheff now but looking like it might very soon!

    Off to try and find some waterproof boots in the sales - someone told me decathlon have some for thirty quid! Keep getting numb feet where the snow is getting in my boots - they were brilliant boots but have finally given up the ghost - but they are twelve years old.

    Forecast is for more snow - perhaps heavy - tomorrow over Yorks and Derybyshire.

  21. Hi princess

    Good luck with the shopping trip!

  22. Hi PCC - hope you find your boots. Nothing in the world would possess me to go out shopping today. Eek!

    I am a bit of a wuss when it comes to shopping, though. I buy as much online as I can get away with, and fortunately my ovver arf quite enjoys food shopping, so I let him do it if he wants... :o)

  23. I'm not quite sure why but I found this story almost unbearably sad:

    A 72-year-old man was rescued on Christmas Day by police after spending three days and nights driving up and down the M4 motorway, trying to get home.

    Mohammed Bellazrak lost his way while trying to drive back to Wiltshire from Gatwick airport on 23 December after dropping off his wife.

    He had set off from their home in Trowbridge to drive to Heathrow airport, but due to the snow, Mrs Bellazrak's flight to visit family in Morocco was diverted to Gatwick, so they drove on into Sussex.

    He left Gatwick at about 8pm to drive home, a journey which should have taken a couple of hours. When he failed to return – and as he had left his mobile phone behind – his family reported him missing.

    Police in Wiltshire asked colleagues in neighbouring forces to keep an eye open for him. CCTV footage showed him leaving the airport, but the trail ran cold until police fed his car details into their number plate recognition system. Officers discovered cameras had recorded him driving around in numerous towns in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

    He said he had been up and down to London three times, sleeping in his car each night and stopping to buy coffee and ask the way, but people did not understand his question, and so he kept coming back to the motorway.

    "I will never go out without my mobile phone again. I blame my satnav for what happened."--The Grauniad, Dec. 27, 2010

    ...so sad, in fact, that I made a music vid for Mr. Bellazrak...Blind Faith - Can't Find My Way Home

  24. If anyone has a few hours to kill over Christmas, here's the IMF report into the loan to the Irish economy and the extent of its indebtedness. Real fun seasonal reading, I can tell you.

    IMF Report On Ireland PDF

  25. PCC, you made me nod: "Keep getting numb feet where the snow is getting in my boots"

    My five year old, steel toecapped docs have given up the ghost. I'm left to wear ankle length spanish "cowboy boots". They look good, but make you do an involuntary Charleston when you walk down icy paths.

    Why don't blokes by more shoes?

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. Jenni, I found this by accident. I love silly people.

  28. Oh Jenni, I feel like you asked me to dance and then left the dance floor because I was so bad.

    Oh well...

  29. habib

    I am always up for a dance, not very good at it but man I am enthusiastic. ;)

  30. PH

    I read about that poor guy in his car on the Beeb website yesterday.

    My first though was "poor bugger, he must have been exhausted."

    My second thought was "Do men really think they will instantaneously combust if they stop to ask directions?"

    Just noticed Teena Marie has died - RIP.

    Behind the Groove

    Jen - if I can't dance I don't want to be a part of your revolution! :o)

  31. Afternoon everyone

    big hug Jenni - good to have you back x


    Dance away - dancing alone in my own inglorious way makes me happy. Dogge looks on in amazement before joning me.

    sad story about the man who was lost - surely people would have realised he was distressed and taken the time to understand him ? If they didn't then I have to wonder just where we are all heading.

  32. Hi leni

    Hope you had a nice crimbo.

    It is a sad and extraordinary story. He must have had to fill the car up with petrol to keep going for so long. I wonder how it was that nobody managed to realise he was in need of help.

  33. BB

    We certainly do not want a dour and self righteous revolution.

    In N Vietnam the Chinese community were forbidden to do traditional dancing - as wll as being deprived of their Chinese names.

    I have a pic of me dancing with a very old man - he had been confined bare footed for 2 years in a chicken coup prison - bars on the floor and too small for the prisoners to stand up in - they came out of it crippled.

    Revolutions of the violent kind can be very tricky.

  34. BB

    Very good Christmas thankyou - culminated in burst pipe- outside luckily - and what now begins to feel like incoming infection. The joys of winter. x

  35. Leni

    Sorry to hear the lurg is threatening to strike.

    And that is horrible about the N. Korean prisoners. The banning of cultural practices has always been one the totalitarian's ways of eradicating personal liberty.

    Nice choice of choon there Paul.

  36. PH/BB/Leni - I read that story too, and like Leni was bothered by the fact that he couldn't get anyone to understand him, even when he stopped for petrol - surely someone could have made an effort, even if only to show him a map in the petrol station?

  37. Just blew 2 fuses after reading the comments over on the rape thread. Fortunately it closed before I could post anything.

  38. MsChin

    I despair at some of them, I really do.

  39. Should I look Ms Chin? Busy having fun with tories on the NHS thread. Not sure I'm up to anything more upsetting than that....

  40. BB & Meerkatjie

    Where are all these trolls coming from? The homelessness thread also brought 'em out in droves.

    Which is the NHS thread, btw, I may join you there ...

  41. This one, Ms Chin:


    I dunno, they're not even the brighter version of tory troll.

    I see whaddya has returned. I haven't been about much this weekend, but even so, I thought it was a bit pants that they promised a festive replacement and didn't deliver. I'm surprised that no-one else has expressed irritation. I just think it's a bit disrespectful to your regulars to do that.

  42. Right! Off to meet Gandolfo for a pint! See you later, lovely Utters x

  43. evening all......

    next time mschin for sure...got out before the snow got heavy.........!!

    off to meet BB for a pint in an ol' haunt....

    load of utters you lot!

  44. Until next time then, gandolfo!

  45. Meerkatjie

    I thought it was a bit pants that they promised a festive replacement and didn't deliver. I'm surprised that no-one else has expressed irritation. I just think it's a bit disrespectful to your regulars to do that.

    I go anywhere on CiF so rarely now that I do not know what the festive replacement which never appeared was anyway, but I always thought that treating the Dribblies with contempt was part of the process.

    I always viewed it as JezzaBella playing Lady Bountiful with a mixture of froidure to the outsiders and haughty artificial bonhomie to those regulars who abased themselves sufficiently to be worthy of glancing notice.

    Quite why Dribbly's plug was pulled is a bit of a mystery, when the infallible moderators could presumably have kept their gimlet eyes on it just like any other thread.

    However, la Hanman has declared that there will be a thread for people to exchange recipes for boiled meerkat with drizzled melted Jaffa Cakes and a separate, thin, slightly desolate entity for actually suggesting articles.

    Having just seen everyone racing back, breathless and ecstatic to scrawl pictures and establish how they have been conquering the world while stamping their feet, flapping their arms and blowing into their hands from the other side of the locked door, it hardly manages to arouse anything other than tepid boredom and bewilderment.

    It's a bit like a queue at the Post Office or Asbo, but less interesting and less informative.

  46. Hello everyone; just been scrolling through the options for summat decent to watch on tele and in amongst the crap, shit and risible I came across this gem which I hadn't noticed before:

    There is a cracking documentary on the life of Marilyn Munroe (Marilyn; the last sessions) and it's great for brushing up on your French.

    Not sure how widely available it is, I have a phone television and broadband package with Virgin Media.com

  47. BTW; there's an acute accent over the e in "Cinemoi" if that's important for anyone trying to lob it into a search engine.

    Sorry, couldn't be arsed to work out how to slot it in meself!

  48. Hi All--Hope all are recovered from festivities and keeping well. Very quiet for me today, kids and grandkids have all started back to their own homes.

    Shall just relax and watch Chelsea-Arsenal, could be a fractious affair.

    BB and gandolfo--Just the two of you for drinks? Enjoy the company.

    Habib--Involuntary Charleston? Any pics of that?

  49. Talking of accents, which we rarely use in English but are prevalent in French and German (re umlouts) and all that stuff..... my daughter's name...Amelie should have an acute accent over the first "e" otherwise her name would be pronounced"Ameelie" rather than "Ameylie" if she were French which is where the name originates from.

  50. Trust me to be contrary.. I could have just called her Jane!

  51. Oh dear; now I've offended everyone called Jane!

  52. Yo Boudican! Hope you're having much jollity!
    "Any pics of that?"

    As much as I know that I am dead ace, wonderful, marvellous and important, the media don't seem to have caught on. So no paparazzi outside when I leave the building.

    Gives me an excuse to play Ferry and wish I was him, though...

    (Have a go at singing the subtitles, it's fun)

  53. (hold down alt, type "0233" then "e")

  54. Think yourselves lucky you weren't Christened "Richard" and are known as "Dick"!
    My sisters prefer the nickname "Tricky" which is fine with me.

  55. @Heyhabib; spot on.. unfortunatley my partner and some of the teachers at my daughter's school don't know the difference between a grave and an acute accent!

  56. "My sisters prefer the nickname "Tricky" which is fine with me."

    Oh, you shouldn't have said that, I'm going to a hear a theme tune every time I see you know, Chekhov!

  57. Evening all

    I once worked with a bloke called Richard Hedde.

  58. Btw: just to clarify... when I said the English don't use accents...I was refering to punctuation not "dialects" which are a totally different bunch to explore and we have many of them!

  59. Bloomin 'eck, Shaz, I had this one in mind when we were talking old boots.

  60. Ahem, piece gone up on 'nudge' theory by Francis Maude.

  61. Great stuff, Paul, makes you feel a bit erm... frustrated when your woman isn't with you, though.

  62. You want to pick up the beat Habib? Like this maybe?

    Regarding the other 'problem' i suggest you have a cold shower mate :-)

  63. Evening all

    Very nice evening with Gandolfo. If the world has not actually been set to rights yet it was not for want of two Sussex birds doing our level best in the pub! :o)

    Nice choonage as always, Paul and Habib.

  64. BB
    beat me to it! twas indeed a good evening!

    for admirers of franky maude's generosity...

    attending a charity event in 'appy 'orsham franky was not pleased to have been asked for the £3.50 entrance fee......responding humbly "Don't you know who I am? I'm your local MP..."

    bloke on door replied "Really....well, if that's the case you can pay special MP rate £10 quid..."

  65. "I like the name Jane."

    All the best people....

  66. I like the name Jane too! *cough* And I am not offended, Chekhov... not much anyway. :p

    That Maude thread is a fucking disgrace. And that is a nice little anecdote, Gandolfo - doesn't surprise me, the cheapskate git.

    Was great to see you this evening and look forward to meeting up again soon. x

  67. I see Mr Bracken has moved from be a linen clad peter fonda on a motorbike to Pierce Brosnan on a snow board..........

    i fear an article of personal liberation II is sliding down the snow clad slopes in our direction.........

  68. Leni

    On nudge - exactly. Made my head explode too, as you probably realised.

  69. BB
    ditto *cough*! Maude a shit...the best was his xmas message in the local rag.....of money saving......sending e xmas cards rather than the usual.......laugh I almost puked...indeed an example to those that want to bang a nail into the coffin of the postal service...

  70. Pierce Brosnan on a snowboard - LOL! :o)

  71. MsChin

    i am ever more amazed by the lack of intelligence of these people - what exactly do they think desperate people will do ? Just sit back and accept it without a murmour?

    It gives rise to serious questions about the kind of education these people recieved.

  72. Leni
    "It gives rise to serious questions about the kind of education these people recieved."

    an education to maintain their status in society...an education that has nothing to do with the real world where real people live not just the monied and privileged

  73. Leni

    I do wonder myself.

    And now we are to have e-petitions v2iii07a. Let's just ignore all those poor people, those disabled people, those older people who don't have access to the internet.

  74. Habib

    A final track from me from the Four Tops

    @Hi Leni

    Nite all

  75. MsChin

    Even a broad based opposition to the gvt. is not the answer - we are up against a global economy and very powerful and intertwined vested interests.

    Iam not an advocate for violence but I can see epetitions being delivered in which e = explosives if these excesses are not curbed.

  76. Leni

    I'm not at all pro-violence but I think even I could be violent if pushed - to defend my children, for example.

    I agree with you - the problem is one of political economy and vested interests therein.

  77. NN from me

    (The other half is working tomorrow and I am not, so I suspect loud slamming noises and 'have you got the car keys?' will be on the agenda ...)

  78. God, it's absolutely pelting down here in Manchester, but like the Tokugawa Shogunate, all reigns end.

  79. physical violence is usually the last resort for most people because they believe that what we have is democracy, there are of course those that use violence gratuitously. Unfortunately when governments systematically violate their power suppressing rights, democracy, destroying institutions that the majority and otherwise disenfranchised need the only means of being and getting heard is through violent demonstration......violence appears when democracy or the illusion of democracy disappears..........

  80. Who is that slowly unzipping the piste, with a copy of Proust's 'À la recherche du temps perdu' in one hand and Penélope Cruz in the other?

  81. habib

    doesn't it always rain in manchester ;)???? I remember seeing a t-shirt (c1980s) with the slogan:

    "dodging the rain and bullets in manchester"

  82. RE

    please god......he (pierce"bracken brosnan) is taking the piss isn't he....that or he is seriously *deluded* ;)

  83. Yo, Eddie! I've been meainging to tell you -- if you e-mail me, I can add you to the author list for UT2 & you can slap articles up there anytime you want to.


    I take it Bracken has a new thread up?

  84. We need a Jonathan Trott song, like Mickey Mantle (1953 baseball world series hero) had one. I love to watch the Aussies get humiliated.

  85. hey montana

    thank jeeze no....he hasn't.....not yet....he's eulogising about his new found super power ability to snowboard on waddya.....nuff said......

  86. Thanks Sue! I'll send an email out in the morning.

    The Brosnan-Bracken snowboarding references refer to this P Brax post, reproduced here in its throbbing, manful entirety:

    "Joyeux noel tout le monde.

    Bit late, but spent Xmas on a snowboard. Finally made the transition from skis to the plank, by which I mean I will never go back to the former. After thirty years of unstinting fidelity, it felt like I'd finally abandoned a fitful marriage (not that I really know what that feels like).

    Snowboarding is so much more interesting. There's no real harmony between skis and piste - there's merely the sensation of navigating and enduring a descent. But on a snowboard you are cradled by the snow, as if surfing a wave. That's because you sort of fall into its embrace, and let it carry you home.

    The first week is painful; it feels like you've been beaten daily by a baseball bat. Which is why most skiers attempting the transition to the board give up. Pity. The truer sensation of mastery of man over nature will forever elude them."

    Or to put it a less florid way, mid-life crisis is now in full, magnificent swing. Pony tail and pierced ear to follow shortly.

  87. Aah. Haven't read WTFYTA for quite some time. I've just been reading the Pollitt thread about Assange.

  88. Ta for that, Eddie. Feel a bit sick now.

    Surely he's a parody? He can't really mean the shit that he writes, can he?

  89. montana
    maybe too much Baileys over yuletide for our Pierce Bracken......or maybe.....not enough.....