Posted by Big John on December 3, 2013
Once again it is time for my .. Bah, Humbug ! .. Christmas rant, and this year it concerns the deluge of seasonal
sh.. offerings on the telly.
I’ve no objection to the children’s channels showing films about Santa and Rudolph, and I’ll even accept the occasional snowy ‘rom-com’ or Christmas ‘classic’, but this year it seems that almost every other channel is showing non-stop Christmas crap, and has been for the past month or so.
I scrolled down just one menu page of my TV planner which showed eight movie channels, six of which were showing films with a Christmas theme 24/7 !
One movie title caught my eye … “Annie Claus is Coming to Town” … A story about Santa’s daughter leaving the North Pole to visit California. Can you guess which channel is showing this film ? … Yes, that’s right …
… ‘True Movies’ !
Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »
Posted by Big John on November 28, 2013
Just like the call to bring back the death penalty, every so often some politician puts forward a proposal to reintroduce ‘National Service’. In fact there is a private member’s bill before Parliament right now to do just that, and, as usual, publicity seeking idiots think that it is a good idea !
The following is an extract from a post I published in 2008 …
“Many people today would like to see national service reintroduced. Most of them have no experience of service life and think that a good dose of military discipline would ‘straighten out’ our current crop of yobs and layabouts. I doubt that it would, for even in my day we had our share of tearaways and rebels and although many of them finished their service as better people it was not due to screaming drill sergeants or a few days in the guardhouse, it was because we were all in it together and being ‘exposed’ to our fellow man made us into more tolerant and mature human beings.
I think that a short period of some form of ‘service’ may benefit many of our present youth, but not in the military, for unlike my generation they have not been brought up to expect to serve in the armed forces, and attitudes in general and the military itself have changed beyond recognition.”
I am relieved to see that the new bill does not call for military conscription for all, but for young people between 18 and 26 (surely over 19 is a bit late?), to spend a year doing charitable work or public service, in which the armed forces would be an option alongside the emergency services, the NHS, elderly or disabled care, social action and overseas development.
Now comes the dodgy bit; for the scheme would include … ”educational assistance for those participants who have yet to attain basic educational requirements of reading and writing in English and mathematics”, as well as “instruction to attain basic levels of fitness, personal discipline, smart appearance, self-respect and respect for others.” … In other words, illiterate, innumerate, obese, nasty, scruffy, anti-social morons !
Does the ‘honourable member’ from ‘another planet’, who has introduced this bill really believe that those same ”participants” would actually get out of bed and …
… report for duty ?
Posted in humour, nostalgia, political, rant | 2 Comments »
Posted by Big John on November 22, 2013
Following on from my last post, I thought that if I continued my on-line research into my family’s history I might find at least one ancestor from the 18th or 19th century of whom I could be proud, for in the 20th century many members of my family had served their country in both war and peace, and a possible ancestor of mine, with the same name as me, is listed in 1415 as a “Yeoman Valettus Archer” on the muster roll of Henry V’s army at ‘Agincourt’.
I was hoping to find some record of, say, a soldier who had fixed his bayonet and held his ground in the British square at ‘Waterloo’ when the French cavalry charged, or of a young crew member on H.M.S. Victory, who braved the cannon balls at ‘Trafalgar’, or even a trooper at the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ who rode “Into the valley of death” with Tennyson’s famous “six hundred”: but no such luck; as once again my search turned up reports of petty theft, poaching and more sentences to ”hard labour”.
However, I did locate a copy of a newspaper dated 16th January 1832 which showed that my great-great-great uncle James was on a list of men who had volunteered to serve in The Royal Sussex Regiment of Militia.
At last ! .. I thought .. Could this be my family hero ?
I read on, and soon discovered that this was not to be, for, at the end of the list of names, there was an order to local officials for … “the Discovery and Apprehension of the foregoing Men who severally omitted to attend for Training and Exercise are deemed …
… DESSERTERS ” !
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »
Posted by Big John on November 18, 2013
This rather fierce looking old boy is my great-great-uncle Jesse who was born in 1841…
My ancestors had been farming folk ever since the 16th century and I suspect that they were a pretty ‘rough and ready’ bunch, the first one recorded as appearing in court was a ‘Yeoman’ John, it was in 1762 and for debt, although he was said to .. “have possessed a large stock of corn, hay and cattle” .. and Jesse’s father John (born 1816) died in 1876 .. “as a result of being thrown to the ground” .. in what was probably a drunken brawl, and his older brother John died in 1879, when an inquest at the local workhouse revealed that .. “he had died from injuries received on the railway” .. It would seem that he had fallen asleep (probably drunk) .. “alongside the rail” .. and been struck by a train ! In 1868 he had been .. ”sentenced to two months hard labour” .. when found guilty of larceny.
Now I knew that old John had ‘done time’, but I had to wonder what he had done that had deserved two months on the treadmill, turning ‘the crank’ or possibly breaking rocks ? .. Well I found out when trawling the web for more family history I came across this newspaper report of December 1867 …
(click on image to enlarge)
Blimey ! … He is described as .. “a respectable farmer” .. “charged with having stolen an overcoat, value £2.” (approx. £150 retail price today). It’s a good thing that he left the gloves, scarf and hat in the pub, or goodness knows what sentence he would have received.
Now before I leave my family’s somewhat ‘unsavoury’ past, I must report that my internet delve into history brought to light another sinner. This was old Jesse’s great uncle Simeon who was born in 1802, and in 1886 at the age of 84 pleaded guilty to the charge of ..”Attempting to commit an un-natural offence” .. He was discharged on a surety of £10 .. “to come up for judgement when called upon“. No details are recorded of the ‘offence’ nor any sentence, so we can only guess what happened to the old bugger, but he was 84 years of age, so the mind boggles, but, then again, the charge did say …
… “Attempting” !
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »
Posted by Big John on October 27, 2013
Once again it is that time of year when I trot on down to the local health centre to join in the old fart’s parade at the annual flu jab ‘jamboree’.
OK, so it’s ‘free’ on the NHS to all old codgers like me, but it only costs nine quid (about $13.50) at Sainsbury’s pharmacy and I’m sure that there is far less hassle there.
Of course the idea is that when we old gits turn up at the clinic, the nurse giving us our ‘shots’ can check our medical records on their computer system to see that the condition of our health is being correctly monitored.
“I see that you have not had your blood pressure checked lately” says the nurse.
I explain that I check my own blood pressure every few days and send the readings to my GP every three months or so. She looks at me as if she has never heard of such a system, and then tells me that I have not had my six monthly blood tests since February. I explained that I had the last one in September. I suggest that something is wrong with the system. She ignores me and sticks the needle in my arm. I can’t be bothered to argue with her as it is obvious that she can’t wait to stab the next silly old sod who comes through the door, and so I leave the treatment room.
On the way out of the building I noticed a very large red illuminated sign. It flashed a message which read … “PLEASE BEAR WITH US AS WE HAVE RECENTLY INSTALLED …
… A NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM !
Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »
Posted by Big John on October 15, 2013
I’ve ranted in the past about those press reports which tell us which everyday foods are supposed to be harmful to our health, and today I’ve just read that .. “a rasher of bacon a day can harm a man’s fertility” !
OK, so there is nothing funny about something which may reduce the chances of a man becoming a father, but what I do find more than a little amusing in this report from Harvard University is that the researchers say that the same results from eating a rasher of bacon could be caused by …
… “a small sausage” ! ..
Posted in humour | 4 Comments »
Posted by Big John on October 12, 2013
Remember my list of Vatican secrets ? .. Well, it would seem that I missed a document which showed the real name of the Messiah, and now some clumsy cardinal or other has revealed this name to the Italian State Mint and the name ‘Lesus’ now appears on some 6,000 Papal medals which were struck to commemorate the beginning of Pope Francis’s papacy.
What has not been revealed is that this document also shows that Lesus’s cousin was Ron the Baptist and his mum was the Virgin Cary.
Now if you read the Gospels you will find that old Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all got a bit confused when it came to the names of the twelve apostles and we all know that Peter was really called Simon (or was it the other way around ?), John was named Boanērges, Thaddeus was Judas and ‘Lesus only’ knows what the rest were really called; so it’s more than likely that most of the names in the Bible are wrong.
What’s the betting that Lesus’s Hebrew hooker girlfriend was known by all his followers as …
… Hairy Magdalene ? ..
Posted in humour, religion | 8 Comments »
Posted by Big John on October 5, 2013
I have just received an email from a florist reminding me that Sunday is ‘Grandparents’ Day’.
This is a ‘new one’ on me ! … and, so wearing my grumpy old git’s hat I can only guess that it is yet another ‘import’ from that great con the consumer market across the Atlantic Ocean.
We will soon have ‘Trick or Treat’, the US version of Halloween, thrust upon us. My local branch of Sainsbury’s is already stacked out with pumpkins !
Mothers’ Day, once Mothering Sunday. Valentine’s Day, once The Feast of Saint Valentine. Fathers’ Day, described as .. “a second Christmas for all the men’s gift-oriented industries.” are, like the modern wedding ‘industry’, far removed from the simple traditions of my young days.
Now, I’m sorry to say that many of our ‘traditions’ have been hijacked by greedy commercial organisations who ‘cash in’ on people’s sentimentality.
I wonder what will ‘cross the pond’ next ? … Well with all the nutters we now have wandering around, probably (and I’m not making this up) …
… National Fruitcake Day !
Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »