“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” .. Bette Davis

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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.




    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




    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.




    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 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for July, 2012

“Fair and Balanced” … Umm ?

Posted by Big John on July 31, 2012

Want to know what chicken sandwiches have to do with gay marriage ? … Want to learn new words like “textualism” or “originalism” ? … Want to know about New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and his ‘nanny state’  ?  … Want to know about the Brooklyn Bridge Monster ? … Want to know about the man who was charged with feeding an alligator after he lost his hand ? … or perhaps you just want to know what the weather is like in Kansas City ?

Well you can find out about all this, and much more, if you tune in to watch ‘Fox News’, which I have resorted to only because of the non-stop Olympic coverage on all the British news channels. You may not get much news on what is happening in the rest of the world, but you will see what seems to interest, at least some of, our American cousins. 

In the past I’ve read that, politically, you needed to lean slightly to the right of Genghis Khan to appreciate this news programme, which is probably a bit of an exageration, although they sure don’t seem to be big fans of President Obama. However I was surprised to see ‘foot in mouth’ Mitt get a bit of a hammering from one presenter after he recently ventured abroad. 

Speaking of TV presenters the ones I’ve seen on ‘Fox’ mostly seem to be of the ‘plastic’ variety having spent too much time in ‘makeup’ having their bags camouflaged and their ‘syrups‘ adjusted, and I have to say …

… Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite .. they ain’t !


Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Boyle’s bizarre Britain.

Posted by Big John on July 28, 2012

I must admit that I have only seen some of the recorded ‘highlights’ of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, so I expect that I missed a lot of what appeared to be totally pretentious waffle, which I’m sure must have left 95% of foreign viewers wondering what the bloody hell was going on.

I thought that the forging of the rings was quite spectacular and in keeping with the event, but what was all that “Carry On NurseNHS crap all about, and why was Kenneth Branagh made up to look like Bradley Wiggins when we had already seen the Tour de France champion putting all that effort into ringing that big bell; and it must have puzzled most Americans as to why the Irish actor was dressed as Abe Lincoln.

It was good to see the great Muhammad Ali put in an appearance, but I was a bit disappointed that Dick Van Dyke didn’t do a voice over (“Gawd ‘elp us, luv a duck”) when all those Mary Poppins appeared. That would have been a good laugh, which is more than could be said for the very unfunny and embarrassing ‘Mr. Bean’. J.K.Rowling must have got more chuckles than him when reading ‘Peter Pan’.

It was a real treat to see ‘er Maj’s knickers, but my favourite moment was during the mass three minute bell ringing earlier in the day when Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt literally “dropped a clanger” ! I suspect that the bell had been tampered with by Mitt Romney. I understand that when people refer to Mitt as a Mormon they now leave out the second ‘m’.

The whole thing was summed up for me when some local ‘grime star’ (whatever that is ?) named Dizee Rascal  sang performed his hit … it’s title ? …

…  “Bonkers” !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Too many toasted ‘tats’.

Posted by Big John on July 26, 2012

School’s out and so is the sun with the temperature rising towards 90 degrees today. This means that every shopping mall and supermarket is full of screaming brats and half naked bodies. Not that I’m averse to half naked bodies (or completely naked ones come to that) provided that they come in the form of Elle Macpherson !

Unfortunately when I visited Sainsbury’s today Elle was nowhere to be seen, although acres of bare flesh was on display, most of it bulging out of skimpy shorts or too tight ‘boob tubes’ and much of it covered in sunburned tattoos. Peeling pink skin really sets off that cross-eyed dragon with it’s tongue hanging out. Especially when it is on the upper arm of some woman who has been on a Sumo wrestler’s diet. Not too long ago such women were only to be found in Circus sideshows. Now we can all see them for free !

Glowing red skin was also visible on the skinny torsos of macho pimply young men dressed only in surfers’ baggies (not a surfboard in sight), and on the legs of old gits wearing our national summer dress of socks and sandals.

Somehow many Brits don’t seem to have understood the dire warnings about what can happen if you don’t slap on the old sunblock. Blimey ! … You can even buy a sunscreen to save your tattoos from fading. Umm … Perhaps that’s not such a good idea.

Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays can be quite expensive, as most of the creams and lotions on the supermarket shelves cost more than a half decent bottle of wine. Ah! .. Now there is a good reason to sit in the shade …

… Pass the corkscrew !

Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »

Relay rage !

Posted by Big John on July 21, 2012

There is civil war in Syria, mass murder in the USA, the ‘Arab Spring’ is looking more like winter, Europe is going broke, our soldiers are still dying in Afghanistan and yet what do I see every time I turn on the TV news ? …

Some tracksuited twit carrying a flaming cheese-grater along yet another high street lined with rain soaked, flag waving wallies !

OK, I know that “twit” is a bit harsh, as there are some very worthy people taking part in the Olympic torch relay who in some way feel that they are being honoured by being invited to take part in this dreary commercial ‘spectacle’, but why an American rapper (complete with phone), a Chinese film star, a dodgy disc jocky and dozens of assorted ‘celebs’ were invited to participate is beyond me.

My local BBC TV news channel devotes nearly the whole of it’s thirty minute programme every day to the “latest” on the relay, with reporters interviewing mumbling morons in front of screaming crowds of kids. If I hear … “It’s a once in a lifetime experience” … one more time …

… I’ll go bloody berserk !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

A loo with a view.

Posted by Big John on July 17, 2012

I spotted this beach shop during my recent visit to France …

Could that really be the owner’s name above the door, or was someone …

… ‘taking the piss’ ?  … 😉

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Security shambles … What a surprise !

Posted by Big John on July 14, 2012

Don’t panic ! … Only two weeks to go and .. Oops! .. Someone forgot to recruit and train enough security guards for the Olympics.

We’ve got missiles on rooftops, snipers in helicopters, an aircraft carrier on the Thames and fighter jets ready to shoot down any aircraft on a 9/11 style terrorist attack, but not enough people to search visitors’ handbags and rucksacks.

So it’s time to call in .. “the poor bloody infantry” ! In other words it’s up to our servicemen and women to take on the roll of security guards alongside thousands of extra police. This will mean that we will have more British troops at the ‘Games’ than we have in Afghanistan.

What a bloody ‘cock-up’! .. and worst of all it would seem that many of those temporary staff who have been recruited to safeguard the public have not been properly vetted or trained. One report claims that .. “Staff brought in by G4S are unable to manage simple tasks like work X-ray machines, search people correctly or marshal crowds” .. and that .. “The calibre of people guarding us at the Olympics is just not up to scratch”.. Apparently some do not even speak English !

Now a solution to the problem seems to have been found which will use the well trained staff who already work in the Olympic Park. There are 2,000 of them; they know how to deal with the public and are already in uniform …

Yes ! … Here is the answer !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »

The ‘terror’ of not being able to text !

Posted by Big John on July 12, 2012

My friend Ramana has recently posted about the use of mobile phones and in the past I have commented on people’s addiction to smartphones and texting, so I was interested to read that the O2 service in the UK ‘crashed‘ yesterday for several hours.

Now I know that this must have caused great inconvenience to many users and a loss of business to some companies, but why was I not surprised when I heard some silly cow young woman being interviewed on the TV news describe the temporary loss of her mobile ‘phone service as …


Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

“Bon appétit” !

Posted by Big John on July 9, 2012

I’ve just returned from a few days holiday in France where I spent a lot of time doing what I do best. That is sitting about in cafés and bistros eating and drinking.

The French have a saying .. “le client est roi” .. the customer is king, but this does not always apply in the case of French waiters. So when I find an inviting place to eat, like the brasserie in the above picture, where the waiters are friendly and polite and put up with my attempts to speak their language I am well pleased.

I was just wondering if the present welcome “euro crisis” would allow me to go more ‘up market’ for my next meal and dine at this rather more posh establishment …

… when to my surprise horror I looked up and nearly choked on my ‘moules-frites’ on seeing this apparition …

…  A bloody ‘Subman’ ! .. Now I know that ‘McDonald’s’ has been around in France for quite some time, (remember … Pulp Fiction’s .. “Royale with Cheese” ?) but I have never understood how ‘fast food’ could be popular in the land of the two hour lunch break. Blimey ! You don’t even have pay to park your car from midday until 2pm when everything stops for ‘Le Déjeuner‘.

If you want take-away food in France there are ‘traiteurs‘ and ‘boulangeriepâtisseries’ to be found everywhere, selling mouth-watering delights aplenty, so quite what the appeal of a submarine sandwich would be to the French is a bit of an enigma.

One thing that doesn’t change in France when it comes to eating is the traditional trip to the ‘boulangerie’ before mealtimes to buy ‘les baguettes’ and you can still see people nibbling away at those delicious long loaves on their way home from the bakers. My daily visit to the bakers came at breakfast time, for although I am a fan of the full English breakfast I did enjoy my fresh croissant and brioche at the start of the day.

As the French have taken to ‘Le Big Mac’ and ‘La Pizza Sub’ I wonder if one day they will take to “Le Full English” and we will see British style ‘caffs’ opening in France where scruffy waiters shout orders to the kitchen for a breakfast of  … “Eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, tea, bread and butter and a fried slice !” … If they do ? … I know just the name for such an establishment …

…  “Le greasy spoon” !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »