bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC. That's 'Before Computers'. Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all... Archbishop Temple's School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock 'n' Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during 'The Cold War'...and then

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    I became 'a family'. Which meant that I sort of missed the 'swinging sixties', but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the 'Thatcher Years' I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 50 years of happy marriage.
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Archive for January, 2013

But would Fiona fit in ?.

Posted by Big John on January 29, 2013

I’ve always enjoyed watching the BBC’s ‘Antiques Roadshow’. It’s so ‘British’ with rather posh presenters, even posher experts and it takes place in some very posh surroundings.

Everyone is so polite, and even when some poor ‘punter’ is told by some know-it-all wearing a Panama hat, that his cherished Ming vase was only recently made in Hong Kong and is worth just a few bob, he accepts the valuation without question and probably returns it to his attic to stand alongside the ‘jade’ Buddha he bought, at the same time, from that nice Chinese man he met near the cruise ship terminal.

Of course, sometimes, some old girl brings along a grimey painting in a beat-up frame which turns out to be a masterpiece and worth a fortune, and, occasionally, there is someone who has bought an old jug at a car boot sale or flea market for 50p (75¢) and discovers that it is a priceless artifact from the 14th century. 

Even then the good old British ‘sang-froid’ is much in evidence, as the owners of these treasures do not scream and punch the air, but usually just gasp and express their surprise to the blazer wearing art buff who is green with envy, but dares not show it.

It’s all very genteel and, as you would expect, and no money actually changes hands. Which is a far cry from my latest ‘antiques show’ discovery on ‘The History Channel’ …

It’s .. Wham ! .. Bam! .. and Bring it on ! … Yes, It’s .. ‘PAWN STARS’ ! .. and it’s a bloody long way from ‘an English country garden’ setting, and about as far removed from ‘posh’ and ‘genteel’ as you could possibly get.

I believe that the show has been around for some time, but I have only recently caught up with it. It’s both interesting and entertaining, and I just love it.

The ‘stars’ in question are .. Rick Harrison, Corey ‘Big Hoss’ Harrison, Richard ‘Old Man’ Harrison and ‘Chumlee’, none of whom wear blazers or straw hats, although I’ve a feeling that Chumlee, who’s intelligence, judgment and competence are constanty questioned, could turn up wearing a back-to-front version at any moment.

Just like the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ valuations on objects brought into their shop, often rely on the opinion of experts; but unlike the British programme deals are done on the spot after much haggling .. 

“I was looking to get $5,000″ .. says one customer.

“Well, keep looking” .. says the ‘Old Man’.

Some people get really pissed-off and walk away when they are not offered the price they had expected, but most seem to shake Rick by the hand, as we hear the familiar …

…  “Chumlee, write him up” !

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Would you cuddle a caveman clone ?

Posted by Big John on January 22, 2013

So Professor Church of Harvard Medical School believes that he can resurrect the Neanderthal species, which became extinct more than 30,000 years ago, by reconstructing it’s DNA.

Don’t bother Prof, as your research will cost a bloody fortune, and is a waste of time and effort; as you would find out if you visited any football (soccer) stadium or city centre pub on any Saturday, for there, with your own eyes, you would be able to see that our Paleolithic cousins are still around, only now they wear replica team shirts (and sometimes genuine ones) instead of animal skins and keep their hoodies up to hide their prominent brows.

Our present day knuckle draggers can also be found gnawing on ribs, late at night, outside any fast food joint as they try to decide who’s head to kick next, while their ‘macho’ male mates are vomiting in the gutter, or pissing through someone’s letter box before dragging off some brainless bimbo for a quick bonk in the bushes.  

Hang on a minute ! I’ve just read that Professer Church believes that Neanderthals were not the lumbering brutes of the stereotype and that their brains were roughly the same size as ours. In fact, he says ..”Neanderthals might think differently than we do” .. and that .. “They could even be more intelligent than us.”

Oh dear ! They sound more like dear old Fred Flintstone. How unkind of me to compare these sensitive prehistoric hunter gatherers, with their thoughts and feelings, to today’s cave dweller like cretins  ?

My sincere apologies to …

…  ‘Homo neanderthalensis’ !

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

What next … Quarter Pandas ?

Posted by Big John on January 18, 2013

How we British love a good ‘food scare’, but the latest is rather a big fuss about nothing, for as far as I know horse meat does not poison you or make you ill. In fact, I believe that it is one of the most nutritious red meats you can eat, high in protein and low in calories.

Yes, I know, everyone is getting their knickers in a twist about horse meat being ground up with beef (and Gawd knows what else!), but they don’t seem to be too concerned that it will end up in a bun which contains more preservatives than an ancient Egyptian mummy.  

If you eat pigs, cows and sheep why should you shy (Oops !) away from eating the cooked flesh of a horse ? Come to that, if you eat rabbit, why should you not eat rat or squirrel ? All over the world people eat all sorts of mammals, birds, fish and even insects, and I’ve eaten some very strange food in some very strange places. 

In many countries horses are seen as agricultural and food animals. Here in the UK, they have, to a large degree, acquired pet status, and the thought of munching on the minced remains of old ‘Midnight’ or dining on dear dead ‘Dobbin’ (I wonder if Daisy the Donkey qualifies as horse meat?) is just too much for many of us to stomach.

I’ve just read that 10,000,000 burgers are to be destroyed. What a waste ! Why not put them on the supermaket shelves marked with the a standard type warning on the packaging …

…  “May contain horse” !

Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »

Just call them all … ‘Brat’ !

Posted by Big John on January 15, 2013

In the past I have commented on children’s names, for as someone who grew up with Bills, Daves, Jims, Margarets and Beryls, I have found it a little strange in recent years to find myself addressing Kylies, Keanus and Keeleys, although I have yet to come across a Keisha or a Kayden.

Now, it seems, that to make their little darlings stand out from the crowd, and, in particular, from the rest of the class, some parents are not content with naming their angels Courtney, Jayde, Chanice and Tyler, but are taking perfectly acceptable names and messing about with the spelling: thus, Amy becomes Aimeey, Sophie becomes Sophee and Cloe becomes Kloe; and apparently, for some reason, teachers are associating such names with the ‘trouble makers’ in their classrooms. I suppose they assume that if you are a kid with a name like Chardonnay, Chanel or even Diesel then Mummy and Daddy (if there is a ‘daddy’ around ?) will probably not be the type of parents who are trying to instil in their offspring traditional values, including those of good behaviour at home and at school.

Of course, in our celebrity-mad culture, there are bound to be a few Britneys, Rihannas, Demis and Ashtons knocking about in any classroom, and according to one report, some parents are naming their children after Disney characters. OK, so some nutty pop star might get away with calling his daughter Tinker Bell, but what kind of  parent would send their child off to school with a name like ‘Buzz Lightyear’ ? .. but, then again, you can bet your life, that in the corner of some playground, there will be some poor little sod wishing that his parents had named him Norman …

… instead of .. ‘Nemo’ !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Rubbish reviews.

Posted by Big John on January 11, 2013

How much do you trust on-line product reviews ? You know, the sort of thing that you find, with star ratings, on ‘Amazon’ and on so called independant comparison websites.

My ‘stone age’ DVD player ‘gave up the ghost’ recently, spluttering and flickering it’s final images, before spitting out it’s last half viewed disc, so I decided to buy a new one and, not being too technically minded when it comes to modern day gizmos, I sought guidance from the ‘experts’ and those users who had recently purchased the type of equipment that I needed.

Now we all know that there is no such thing as a ‘simple’ electronic device anymore, so I spent bloody ages studying specifications and trying to decide if I needed .. multi-region .. upscaling to 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolution ..  HDMI connection ..  MP3 and JPEG support .. REGZA link .. SCART cable .. and a dozen other features which might just as well have been written in Chinese for all they meant to me !

After much deliberation I decided on a model which ‘suited my pocket’ and then I read the reviews which ranged from … “Excellent, great sound and picture” … “Fantastic value for money” .. to .. “Piece of crap ! Do not buy”, but the one that caught my eye and really ‘sold me’ on this item was .. “Easy to install. After unpacking it was up and running in two minutes”.

My very smart looking DVD player arrived today, and I’ve just spent two hours pissing about behind my TV, pushing buttons on the remote, reading on-screen menus, trying to understand the stupid diagrams in the installation manual, and using a lot of …

… very naughty words !

Posted in humour, rant | 7 Comments »

A ‘royal’ removed from reality.

Posted by Big John on January 7, 2013

So poor old Charlie is worried about who will sit on the throne in future. Well as far as I’m concerned, a chimpanzee would do just as well as another member of the ‘inbred’ Saxe-Coburg-Gotha line. In fact, it wouldn’t matter if the chimp was female or Roman Catholic, and it would certainly be a great deal cheaper to keep a whole family of apes living in all those palaces than the tribe inhabiting them at the present time. I doubt if many people would notice the difference once the more clever primates had been let loose with the old royal dressing up box. 

Ah! Palaces … That reminds me. I see that Willy and Kate are in line for a nice little ‘country pile‘ in Norfolk where, can you believe ?, Willy’s dad used to take Cruella Camilla for ‘dirty weekends’. They are also waiting to move into splendid luxury apartments in London’s Kensington Palace which are being refurbished, at present, with tax payers’ money which could have been better spent elsewhere.

When being interviewed the potty prince said he did not want to .. “hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world” .. to his future grandchild. He forgot to mention that the pampered little brat will be a member of one of the …

…  most dysfunctional families seen in recent times !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

‘Brief Encounters’ !

Posted by Big John on January 3, 2013

I have often posted about my shopping trips to my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, and about some of the characters I meet there. Remember the ‘zombies‘, screaming brats etc. and those couples who have never heard of a shopping list and walk the aisles constantly asking … “Do we need any milk ?” .. or .. “Have we any butter in the fridge ?”.

I don’t know if it is because I am a lone male doing the ‘weekly shop’, but I have noticed recently that I find myself being approached by ladies ‘of a certain age’. No, I don’t mean those little old girls who can’t reach a can of beans on the top shelf and politely ask .. “Can you help me young man ?”, but ones who seem to think that I am an expert on herbs and spices, or that I know the best way to cook a leg of lamb. I even get asked about “the right wine” when I am choosing my week’s supply of cheap plonk in the ‘special offer’ section of the booze department.  

Now I don’t dress like one of the store’s staff, so I have to ask myself why is this bald headed, miserable looking, bearded old bugger so often engaged in conversation by often well dressed and some not unattractive female shoppers when he is selecting his ‘BOGOFs’?… Blimey! I’m hardly ‘cougar’ bait, and I’m definitely well passed my ‘sell by date’.

Perhaps these ladies think I look familiar. Maybe they believe that they have seen me on television. I could even be a ‘Hairy Biker’ or some other “prick with a fork” TV chef, or perhaps they just want me to … Well, who knows ?

However, I do know one thing, and that is that they all tend to quickly move on, when I show them my shopping list, and ask them if they can … 

… decypher my wife’s hand writing ?

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »

 
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