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I'm not entirely convinced that pointlessness deserves a page of its own. I'm boring myself already.

CRASH TEST CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER

I forgot to mention that I have the perfect solution for the personal banking crisis. We should all start using community-led, not-for-profit credit unions. In a nutshell, a credit union is a member-owned financial co-operative - in other words: a monetary democracy, for the people, run by the people, where every member has a voice and a vote. More importantly, everybody knows where the money is. We haven't got a credit union round here, except the one in my purse, and my daughters appear not to understand the basic principle of 'what you borrow you must pay back.' Anyway. I think it's a brilliant idea. I'd set one up myself except I'm a bit busy today.

THE EURO

For chrissakes, all this Euro crisis stuff is really starting to get on my nerves. The thing that really beats me is how anyone could have thought it was a good idea in the first place. The principle of the Euro was that all countries would be the same from a monetary value point of view. Well. That's just plain ridiculous, isn't it? In the good old days, we would all decide where we wanted to go on holiday depending on how much we wanted to spend. Greece was really cheap, with inedible food and undrinkable wine and no public services because nobody pays any taxes. Italy cost a bit more because they have more than 3 cooking ingredients and the wine doesn't burn a hole in the table. France, well, we don't talk about France. And now it's all gone tits up. Quel surprise.This is what happens when politicians start doing that thing when they move their hands very quickly and hope nobody sees the ball going under the cups. Tossers. All of them.

GAY MARRIAGE

I notice the BBC headline this morning, Church warning over gay marriage, accompanied by much blah blah that gay marrirage would "dilute an institution vastly important to a healthy society". Want to know what I think? Of course you do. So here it is: the church can piss off. I abhor religion. It is a disgusting and grotesque fabrication and has no place in civilized society. By all means, go ahead and believe in god or gods if you want to (note here that I refuse to capitalise when god is used as a singular). I have no problem with god or gods. What I do have a problem with is MEN creating false constructs and then insisting that we live by their rules.

Marriage should have nothing to do with religion, because when the chips are down on the LTR* front, the god thing doesn't really come into it. God doesn't pay the bills or do the school run or tackle seven metric tonnes of laundry every week. Marriage is also a blindingly unreasonable contract, which is why so many of them end in divorce. Anyone stuck in an unhappy marriage should, in my humble opinion, hit the eject button, get out fast and move on. Life's too short to be miserable.

If a gay couple want to get married and experience for themselves all the ups and downs and, sometimes, divorces that go along with it, then why the hell not? And what the f*** has it got to do with the church? And who is "the church" to preach to us anyway when it's inner sanctum is populated by so many paedophiles and perverts? I say YES to gay marriage. I also say DOUBLE YES to abolishing religion.

(*LTR - Long Term Relationship)

GLOBAL WARMING - THE TRUTH

Right. I've just about had enough of all this. With that big climate change summit going on at the moment, and all the conflicting opinions being bandied about willy-nilly, I thought it was about time I set the record straight. So here is it: we're all going to die. There. Happy now?

Now I suggest we all get on with our lives and stop worrying about the fact that there are too many of us and that we are hurtling unstoppably towards a perfectly logical conclusion of our time on this planet. I very much doubt that it will happen in the next couple of years, but it won't be that much longer, either. Trust me. I did a scientific experiment in my kitchen to check the theory and it came out bang on. It's syanara, baby. Humans have come along and done their thing and will soon be on their way out.

There's no point in getting all hysterical about it. And what's to complain about? At least you and I were born in the part of that particular epoch that featured such things as chilled Sauvingnon Blanc and pickled-onion flavour Monster Munch. Things could be a whole lot worse. We could have been born far too early and had to live in a cave with no central heating or Nurofen. So do yourself a favour and stop worrying about silly little things like whether or not you can leave the bathroom light on all night. Of course you can. Your bathroom light will make not the slightest jot of a difference to the outcome of the human race. And there's no need to worry about the state of the planet either. Once we're out of the way, I can assure you with every confidence that good old Mother Earth will breathe a huge sigh of relief and sort herself out in her own sweet time.

So, there we are. Have a nice day. You ain't got many of them left.


THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD
(unless of course it's being wielded by Grodnod Brown)

Upon the arrival of a piece of unsolicited mail, via UCAS, aimed at Teenager No.1, encouraging her to take out massive loans from NatWest bank, I couldn't help but give vent to my disapproval. First came the stiff letter to UCAS, asking them what on earth they thought they were doing, then came a similar letter to Grodnod, demanding that he do something to rein in the banks as they try to foist unmanageable debt upon our young people before they've even set foot in the big wide world. (Have we learned nothing from all this reckless lending?) Then, because I was in that kind of mood, I wrote to the editor of The Sunday Times as well.

Fast forward a week, and I received a very lovely letter from a senior lady at UCAS who flatteringly described my letter as 'erudite'. (Between you and I, I have no idea what erudite means. It looks a bit like 'crudité', but I don't recall many erudites being handed around at cocktail parties.) The next day, I received an equally nice letter from The Sunday Times, agreeing (in sweeping terms) with the general sentiment of my letter and saying that perhaps their financial person ought to do a piece on it. So far, so good, although, conspicuously, no letter from Grodnod. So I wait, and wait, and wait. And, lo and behold, weeks later a letter finally arrives from Downing Street. To call it a pathetic missive would be far too generous. A single one-line reply written with about as much charisma as a mildewed face flannel. Now, Tony Blair would never have let such an opportunity pass him by. When Teenager No.2 wrote to him some while ago when she was about 11 years old, to complain about her computer not working, he promptly forwarded her letter to the Department of Trade and Industry who investigated the matter properly, as well they should have done.

Thus, the point of today's rant is neatly proved: Do not bother writing to Grodnod Brown with your complaints. He has far better things to do with his time than to listen to the voice of the nation.

FUTURE IMPERFECT

I heard some shop-floor union man spouting on the radio the other day, attempting to justify a planned strike by staff at a regional health authority. The reason they are going on strike, said he, is that their workers have suffered a reduction in the "real-terms" value of their pay due to the current economic meltdown shennanigans. You know how much they've "lost". Well, I'll tell you: we're talking about a couple of hundred pounds per year. Haven't we all, mate. The news reporter woman dared to point out to him that his members (ie, people who work in the health service and are therefore paid out of our taxes), have cast-iron pension plans, excellent benefits, and are much better off than most people, (ie. anyone who doesn't work in the public sector). The moron man from the trade union, who was barely able to string a comprehensible sentence together, went on to say that the union had to protect "worker's rights", blah, blah, blah, and that they'd be starting industrial action within a week.

You know what? I think we should sack the lot of them. That would give them something to moan about. What's more, I firmly believe that public sector pensions should be scrapped. Everyone who holds a public sector job will be given a relatively huge pension out of the public purse. Just to be clear about this, the weekly bill will run to billions of pounds, and there's no money ever been set aside to pay it. Particularly not by this squandering Labour government who can't waste money fast enough.So a massive - and I mean unacceptably massive - slice of all tax revenues will, and indeed does, go towards paying this grotesque bill. Meanwhile, anyone who saves into a private pension may well end up with nothing, because there are no guarantees that their hard-earned savings won't turn to dust, and there's no-one there to protect them.

In New Zealand, they have a thing called the Superannuity (or something like that), which is kind of the same as the state pension, except that everyone gets the same. It doesn't matter if you were a brain surgeon or a stay-at-home mum. As far as the government is concerned, everybody has contributed to the country in one way or another, and they will all therefore be paid the same. Can you imagine, if we took all the pension money - the public sector ones and the state ones - chucked it in the same pot, then redistributed it with everyone getting the same, then this country would be a much happier place, wouldn't it? Or is that just too simple to make sense to the smart arses who run this country? Oh, I dunno. Sometimes I think the whole world's gone mad.

FROM YOUR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

Now, I don't usually like to get in to the viper's nest of international politics, but I must say that I am very pleased indeed that America has seen fit to get rid of that grotesque, war-mongering excuse of a president. I couldn't stand the man. I used to have a favourite fantasy while standing with the ironing, usually under the influence of raging PMT, that he might turn up on my doorstep one day with all this secret squirrel bodyguards, asking if he could use the loo. Naturally, this would be a PR scam on his part, with cameras handily present as he takes a friendly walkabout in an English village, trying to promote himself as a reasonable human being. In the script that I had written in my head, I told him, in that very clipped, polite English way that only we know how to do, exactly what I thought of him and that he could jolly well stand there and piss in his pants. Now, if Mr Obama decides to turn up one day, I'll roll out the only mug without a chip in it and offer him a scone.

WIFE SWAP? I DON'T THINK SO.

Never mind Wife Swap, I think there should be a television programme dedicated to the concept of Role Swap. Yep. Get the husband to do what the wife does for two weeks, and vice versa. In other words, wife goes to a nice comfortable job, pretends to exert herself while doing, well, not very much really, then comes home insisting that she's knackered. Let the husband get the kids to school, do the shopping, laundry, ironing, cleaning, (add various other tasks according to your own personal list), and have a nice supper waiting on the table when she gets in. She can then glance him up and down, say that he's looking a bit rough these days, curl her lip at the dinner he's cooked, and go down the pub with her friends. Sounds like a smash hit to me.

THE CREDIT CRUNCH

Autumn 2008 and the shit has been hitting the fan for some time now, with banks going tits-up and politicians sweating profusely on Question Time. Wanna know what I think about all this? Of course you do. I think that we should put all these braying, money-trading city-boy wankers in jail. This high falutin' club of rich arseholes are responsible for more damage than the likes of you and I can possibly imagine. The whole financial 'industry' is nothing more than a parasite on humanity, with tiny numbers of people making vast amounts of money by trading on things that don't actually exist. Oh yes - all very clever because they found ways to dress this up that didn't sound like embezzling - but that's only because most of the people responsible for running the country couldn't be bothered to get their heads around it, and were probably too thick to try in the first place.

We're all in for a very rough ride, you mark my words, and the only people who won't be suffering are those who had carefully lined their own pockets, selling on and taking a very careful sideways step before the wheels fell off. I really think that we should resurrect a few good old-fashioned medieval traditions, like hauling people like that up in front of the great unwashed, and ripping their gizzards out to the cheering delight of the crowd. Shame on them all. Shame, shame, shame.

I'VE GOT THE X FACTOR

Has anyone watched this rubbish? Unbelievable. God knows how many grillions of pounds were sunk into this miserable excuse for prime time viewing. The only good bits were the insane delusionals in the early auditions. So anyway, I've had to endure weeks of hideously mediocre singing from a very strange bunch of finalists, only to find that weirdo Rhydian staring out menacingly from the screen on Saturday night and being tipped as the next big thing. Are you kidding me? Mr Phantom Of The Underpants -vs- The Scots Porridge Oat? The moment little Leon started snivelling, I said to the husband, 'That's it. He'll win now.' Because we, as a nation of loser-lovers, simply cannot resist a crybaby. It must be something in the food chain.

A WORD FROM
OUR SPONSORS
AT TEAM DUREX


This is what happens when you don't use contraception. One minute you're just minding your own business, and the next, there's bloody millions of surplus human beings everywhere.

We used to be a nice little bunch of friends, but then the breeding started and everything got out of hand. There's a whole lot more on the other side of the camera.


WARNING

I found this icon thingy on the BBC website. It said 'feed'. Just to let you know, it doesn't work. I clicked it, and no food arrived. I feel compelled to withhold my license fee.

THE WORM THAT TURNED

I deliberately got drunk on Sunday. After charging around all morning doing this and that for a queue of ungrateful children/husbands/parents, AND doing all the supermarket shopping, AND unpacking all of it, I opened a bottle of wine and drank the whole lot while making lunch. Then I opened another one, but I couldn't manage it after the first glass and went to bed. My husband appeared around the door and asked how lunch was coming along. 'It's done,' I told him, knowing full well that the beef was still moo-ing, the roasties were already burnt, and I had abandoned the vegetables after the peeler became a bit lively in my hands. Then I locked myself in the bathroom, put on some very loud music and refused to come out for nearly two hours. The kitchen was a scene of devastation. The teenagers walked out and went to eat at their friends' houses. Husband was suitably alarmed (I have never done such a thing before), ate his raw beef and didn't say a word. I enjoyed Sunday very much. Must do it again sometime.

FNAR FNAR

It doesn't take much to brighten up my day. I was driving to the supermarket when a man in a hat (isn't it always?) pulled out from a side road without looking. Given the almost certain consequence of an immediate impact, I stood on the horn. He slammed on the brakes. Then, rather than waiting for me to pass and pulling out, he decided to whack his car in reverse and scuttle back to his starting position. Naturally, a white van was now sitting there in his place and he hit that instead.

RANT: TALK TALK

I signed up for that broadband for life offer from Talk Talk. Now, nothing in my house is working, I'm getting bills from both them and the old supplier, and it's impossible to get through to their non-existent customer service (hah!) department. The only way you can even talk to anyone is to go to a Carphone Warehouse and use one of their desk phones, then try not to lose your temper while you talk to some spotty idiot about why you're not actually in front of your computer. My tip of the day? Don't touch them with a bargepole.

GLOBAL WARMING

I'm very impressed with the summer so far. We didn't get one at all last year. I've decided to increase my carbon footprint and have instructed my family to leave all appliances on standby and to burn as much energy in the house as they can. I shall also be changing my Fiat (Fix It Again Tony), for something with a seven litre engine. (posted August 2006)

POTTERY PLUG

A nice CTM reader called Pam asked if I would include a link to her Cornish pottery website. I had a quick look and it all seems rather nice, so if you've exhausted all your crockery throwing it at your husband's head, you my wish to pay her a visit.

EUROPEAN ANTI-TERROR SECURITY LEVELS

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved."  Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."  Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz began in 1940 and tea supplies all but ran out.  Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued "A Bloody Nuisance" warning level was  during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and  "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability. It's not only the English and French who are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing". Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose." Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels. The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.