Monday, February 26, 2007

B.A. ~ Bl**dy Awful!

BA offered me the chance to upgrade my flight for £50
I go on on-line and try to to do this.
I can’t.
I send an e-mail asking why this is.

The reply:

Dear Mr Weeks
Thank you very much for contacting us.
To be sure you have an answer from us as swiftly as possible, I would be grateful if you will speak to our customer support team. They deal with all pre-travel enquiries and they'll be happy to give you individual assistance.

Please phone them on 0870 850 9 850 and give your booking reference number when you call.

I'm sorry not to be more immediately helpful, but do please phone our customer support team. They'll do all they can to help you at once.

Best regards

Praveen Satheesan

British Airways Customer Relations

I phone the number given:
After an interminable wait I ring off and send another e-mail:

Your reply sent me back to your telephone enquiry service. Here I pay for the privilege of being held in a queue and listening to endless BA adverts and information.
Even early on a Sunday morning you experience and extremely high volume of calls ~ well it is a pre-recorded message so you always experience a high volume of calls ~ perhaps this should tell you something!

I have visited and failed to "manage my booking" and was told to ring you.
I ring you and your message suggests I go on-line.
I am quite dizzy going backwards & forwards. . . .
Most unimpressive.

Looks like the upgrade isn’t going to happen!

Friday, February 23, 2007


So at last, it seems, that those theatrically juvenile members of the public, who previously complained , have at last recognized that an actor is person playing a part in a play, not a 'character' from a film.

The Daily Mail on their web site (click the link) has a number of the audience, who attended a preview, admitting, at last, that this actor, Daniel Radcliffe, is a professional who is doing a good job in a magnificent and important play.

Good luck to him!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Smile awhile and whilst you smile, another smiles, and soon there are miles and miles of smiles.

You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.


© Brian Sibley & David Weeks 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The World's Easiest Quiz

Passing requires 4 correct answers

1) How long did the Hundred Years' War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

All done?

Scroll down to check your answers below.


Passing requires 4 correct answers

1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange, of course.

(And don't try to tell me you passed!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Trivia

Did you know that...

Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts.

15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.

More than 50% of cards are sold the week of the holiday, with the largest and most elaborate Valentine cards sold 48 hours before February 14.

About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.

Cupid, another symbol of Valentines Day, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love.

Hallmark has over 1330 different cards specifically for Valentine's Day.

In the United States, 64% of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.

70% of those celebrating the holiday give a card, followed by a telephone call (49%), gift (48%), special dinner (37%), candy (33%) restaurant meal (30%), and flowers (19%).

Valentine's Day Superstitions

To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky.

By tradition, a young girl was supposed to eventually marry the first eligible male she met on Valentine's Day.

In Great Britain, a woman would write the names of their sweethearts on small scraps of paper which would be placed on clay balls. The balls were dropped into water with the belief that whichever scrap of paper surfaced first would be the name of the man destined to be the future husband.

Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seed that remain on the stem, and that is the number of children you will have.

Seeing different animals on Valentine's Day can result in different ways; seeing a goldfinch, you will marry a millionaire; seeing a robin you will marry a crime fighter; seeing a dove, you will have a happy peaceful marriage. (Maybe it's a good day to go to the zoo!)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What a Load of Rubbish!

We are led to believe that councils up and down the country care about the environment and to this end they instigate and encourage householders to separate their rubbish so that glass and cardboard and paper can be recycled. A separate collection of this recyclable material is made on a weekly basis. What a good socially responsible thing to do.

This week in conversation with two restaurateurs, who operate in Lambeth, South London, I discover that those 'green' credentials are not what they appear.

These restaurants, between them, produce at least one hundred empty glass bottles per day and numerous sacks of paper and cardboard; in fact the bulk of their waste is not left-over food but this recyclable stuff.

Multiply this by the number of restaurants in this borough and it is clear that there is the potential for an enormous quantity of recyclable material to be collected from relatively few locations.

Is it recycled? Not on your life. It goes to landfill!
Why on earth would the council pass up on such a treasure trove?

It goes like this . . .

Domestic waste is split by the householder. There are two collections per week. one for landfill, one for recycling.

A different firm collects the waste from restaurants and even though it is bagged-up according to type of material, because it has to be collected daily the firm charges those from whom they collect £2.50 per bag; none of this is recycled.

So why don't the restaurateurs take their recyclable stuff to a depot or recycling place ~ because then they are fined for 'fly-tipping'.

It's no win position for them ~ more money is made out of them by charging per bag and increasing the land-fill rather than exercising the socially responsible option.

Any council that behaves like this really is ~ "RUBBISH!"
The point is these restaurants are not producing 'rubbish' but resources.

"Local councils are responsible for the collection and disposal of refuse and have an obligation to reduce waste and promote recycling." Greenhouse Trust


Today we went to the park for a photo opportunity and a coffee.

Here in south of London the snow came, and almost as quickly, it went.

A school decided to introduce a class to the joys of snow-balling.

A message paced into the snow, rather than a sandy beach, revealed at least one person was happy and demonstrated the multi-cultural nature of this area of London.

The Garden failed to attract anyone to take their ease. . . .

. . . except one intrepid fellow.

A coffee in the Cafe was needed:

© David Weeks 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Ten Commandments

Brian is busy writing away, creating an adaptation for reading and to be recorded by Sir Cliff, of the Holy Bible ~ in 50 sections.

Now, how long did the bible take to compile in the first place?
How long has Brian been given?
Nuff said.

Today he started on The Ten Commandments but then put that on hold until he's demolished the walls of Jericho ~ a much easier task.

So I thought: the ten commandments, why ten; how come it took so long for Moses to get them?
I 'Googled' (it is a new verb, even though spell check wants 'goggled')

I discover that God didn't have any modern implements with which to write; no paper and pen. Just look~

Quite fantastic! I expect he needed a manicure afterwards.

I then discover that these stone tablets still exist. even though they are somewhat the worse for wear, and cracked:

Imagine my amazement when, on closer inspection I discover that there is more than one
set of tablets. Each of them cracked in their own different way.

In truth, they are not tablets but a single piece of stone; so all those pictures showing Moses with one tucked under each arm are quite wrong.

Not only that, but God made other versions of His Laws:

The Lab's EEG/ERP Research

Some of the lab's resarch (sic) exploits scalp recordings of EEG signals to study the operations and neural circuits that support visual cognition. For some of our work, signals recorded from subjects' brains are converted into event related potentials (ERPs), which are synched (sic) to particular events or actions in experimental tasks.

And then there are Mickey's Laws

That's not all! You can still obtain the Ten Commandments without the fag of going up a mountain. Just see how nice they are, and you get discount for bulk purchases ~ not quite sure why you want more than one set, perhaps to send as presents . . . or to jog the conscience of a covetous neighbour, maybe.

Sensibly the single stone has been made into two proper tablets and the Holy Words now have a textual reference (Exodus) in order to find the whole of each law rather than just the first few words that are inscribed here. In addition there is now a nice little easel on which they can be displayed permanently, instead of hiding them away in a dark old box they called an Ark.

I'm sure that you will just be falling over yourself to obtain these wonderful items so here are some more details:

These Ten Commandments stone tablets weight about 10 pounds. Not too heavy then.

Each of the two tablets are about 8.5" x 15". See, TWO tablets, not one.

The tablets come with an easel. Artistic

These plastic stone composite tablets are guaranteed to last a life time. Not just one lifetime either, but many!

The Children of Israel displayed the Ten Commandments in stone.
I bet they didn't have a nice easel though.

Deuteronomy 4:13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

Cost per Set of Stone Tablets
Quantity Price
1 $59.95
2 $56.95
4 $55.00
10 $49.95

Add $5.95 for shipping.
I bet Moses wishes this service was available to him.

To get your Ten Commandments stone tablets, write to the address below, or call 931-935-2110 or toll free at 1-877-210-5266, or send us an e-mail. We appreciate your donations to help us continue supporting the Ten Commandments. These monuments would look great in front of your church or in your flower garden.

I am sure agree these are a simply 'must have ' item.

More thoughts about The Ten Commandments can be found here :o)

Friday, February 02, 2007


Celebrity Big Brother watched by thousands including children in the privacy of their bedroom TV, maybe reality, but is it art; does it have form , shape and structure; does it mean anything, have a point of view, communicate? Is it simply a sequence of relatively mundane, insignificant, random snippets broadcast with a spurious importance brought about by marketing and the promise of money, involving the viewer who can collectively affect who stays and who goes ~ all ultimately totally insignificant.

Yet, despite the inanity of it all, and yes intelligent friends who watch compulsively admit that it is a complete waste of time, this stuff has reached a level of importance out of all proportion to its worth.

The Telegraph has an article which sees CBB as being significant especially, it seems to Martians observing the nature of British Society! "...she (Jade) has established herself as the most successful Big Brother contestant ever, worth about £8 million."

The verbal racist abuse that has been so widely reported and indeed, the investigation by police continues, has reached to the highest levels of government ~ "British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Treasury chief Gordon Brown and Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram have commented on the incident, which South Asian and anti-racist groups said revealed the face of racism in Britain." Edmonton Journal

All this as a result of a manufactured, over-hyped programme, having no artistic merit.

By contrast there are the fictional books of Harry Potter read, and watched in the film versions, by thousands of children. Not, in my opinion, the greatest pieces of literature, but nonetheless, it is an art form with imagination, shape and a story to tell.

Daniel Radcliffe who plays the eponymous hero is an actor doing a job of work, rather well as it happens. So when this actor gets an offer of another job to perform in a stage play, a play that has proved its worth, is a modern classic that is superbly written, powerful, thought-provoking and containing a lead role that a young aspiring actor would die for, what happens?

Parents are up in arms and are bombarding Harry Potter fan-sites with emails. One reads, "We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. Our nine-year-old son looks up to him as a role model. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes."

A classic error in which a spectator confuses a fictional character with the real-life actor who plays that part. Daniel Radcliffe is to appear in Equus the play, not a film version. Of course nudity, even the mere thought of it, is utterly degrading, disgusting and morally debasing. Perish the thought that it is in any way appropriate to the context of the play that Anthony Shaffer wrote. The chances are that thousands of ‘Potter’ fans will not make the pilgrimage to the live theatre in London to witness the play.

Indeed whilst the play may not be suitable viewing for youngsters, it is it about nudity per se; it's a far more intelligent piece than that. That Daniel Radcliffe should be criticized in this way shows a very narrow, blinkered view of acting and theatre, and an ignorance about this play in particular.

Interesting to read the Washington Post which cites a number of child actors who grew up and played roles a long way from their cutesy beginnings.

What this silly reaction to Equus and more widespread complaint about CBB have in common is the use of sex to sell.

In an interview, David Pugh the producer reveals that spin and hype are the chief motivating considerations in his casting of Daniel:

“And now the world can see exactly what Daniel Radcliffe will look like in Equus, as the stunningly opportunistic beautifully staged publicity photos for Equus have been released. Did Pugh mention the versatility that Radcliffe displayed when asked to humanize the dichotomy of a boy who who is so aroused by horses that he is then forced to torture them? Did he comment on the moral dilemma at the heart of the play concerning the treatment of the mentally ill? No! He started talking about how big Daniel Radcliffe's penis is:

"We had never seen him with his clothes off before. We all went 'Wow!'

Celebrity Big Brother is also driven by sex in their choice of hapless victims and wannabes:

"31-year-old Shilpa has been included in the list 'to spice things up and sex up the show' in what is likely to be the steamiest season so far."

Possibly they got more 'steam' than they had bargained for ~ but then it is this kind of steam that drives the engine of publicity on which this show survives having, as it does, absolutely nothing else to commend it except pandering to the strange and slightly kinky desires of the voyeurs who tune in so avidly.

Sad that Equus should be caught up on a similar kind of promotional hook, but that the actor should be criticized for working on it shows that somewhere along the line we have our priorities sadly misaligned.