Friday, 28 December 2012


Flies on my skin.
Rich on my world.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Email to Mike Brown of Transport for London

Dear Mr Brown


Had you limited yourself to sending me a note informing me of the ASLEF strike, while I might have tutted at your unsatisfactory level of literacy, that would have been that. I would have been grateful for your assessment of the likely disruption.

However, you went on to say

“This Trade Union is making scandalous demands. Staff have already been paid to work on Boxing Day and I cannot spend your money paying them again for this.”

I did not sign up to this email service for you to abuse it by sending me such unhelpful and apparently misleading statements.

I found what you said offensive so I went to the ASLEF website to see what they had to say.

They say: “Last year [TfL management – you] said they would begin talks ‘in the first quarter of the year’. They did not open discussions until a few weeks ago. "

Is this true?

I would be surprised if they would make such a statement if it were not substantially true. (As opposed, for instance, to the lie of omission of which I suspect you) If it is true, then you have failed to mention something rather importantly relevant. You have lied. So please do clarify that point. I want to know if a man in your position, paid with my money, is a liar.

ASLEF say: “And at those discussions [TfL] offered precisely nothing. They have put forward no proposals. Every initiative has come from the union side – and been rejected.”

What do you say to that Mr Brown?

They say: “What we are asking for is not complex. We want a volunteer service on Boxing Day with those working getting more than flat time. An enhancement for this day will ensure members will be able to swap duties with someone who wishes to work.”

What about that?

And what about the following? “We have also offered to join a Joint Working Party to look at other Bank Holidays and service levels required for the future. Management has sat on its hands and offered nothing constructive to resolve this dispute, which is why we will take action on Boxing Day. It is because of their failure.”

That's an awful lot you have failed to tell us.

It makes your email to me rather scandalous, to use your word. You seem to be trying to substitute calumny for negotiation. What do you say?

Lawrence Upton

Saturday, 15 December 2012

In the agora

Man with laptop: Excuse me, would you mind turning the sound on your phone down or using headphones?
Man with mobile phone: What?
Man with laptop: I said, would you mind turning the sound on your phone down or using headphones?
Man with mobile phone: Why should I? What's it to you?
Man with laptop: It's disturbing me.
Man with mobile phone: No it isn't.
Man with laptop: It's very loud and it's disturbing me.
Man with a mobile phone: No it isn't. How could it be? I can hardly hear it myself. I have turned it down as much as I am going to.
Man with laptop: Perhaps you have damaged your hearing. Please turn it down. It's disturbing me.
Man with a mobile phone: It can't be. Fuck off.
Man with a laptop: Why would I lie?
Man with a mobile phone: Maybe you're a cunt.
Man with a laptop: So you refuse to stop behaving antisocially?
Man with a mobile phone: Fuck off, cunt.
Man with a laptop: Well, it's very kind of you to share your music with me. I'd like you to hear some of mine. I'll just point the speaker at you so you can hear it. It's really very quiet. You'll have to listen cartefully.
Man with a mobile phone: Jesus Christ! You trying to deafen me? What's that crap? That's just noise. Turn it down.
Man with a laptop: No, Sir. Why should I? You can't hear it.
Man with a mobile phone: Do want me to hit you?
Man with a laptop: Grow up.
Man with a mobile phone: Fuck off! Fuck off! {exit],

Birdsong and human speech

There's a bit in one of the volumes of Hitchhiker's Guide where Arthur Dent learns to understand birdsong but is disappointed that it is all about wind speeds and the location of berries

I have been sitting in the midst of Saturday conversations...

Human speech is mostly about money and shopping and how stupid other people are

Maybe a few avians are interesting

Friday, 14 December 2012


When the Prime Minister says that Maria Miller has given excellent answers to inquiries into her expenses, he is not saying that he thinks she is telling the truth. That question did not occur to either of them, I am sure.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


Opera has crashed three times today.
Perhaps if it were left to be a browser instead of part of a plan for world domination it wouldnt do that
A few minutes have passed and now gmail is wobbly. Same comments.
Ooops, it said, gmail encountered a problem.

Watch Higher Education go down the pan

One of my colleagues works at a well-regarded university. They were part of a whistle-blowing on a senior member of staff behaving illegally and have found themselves threatened with disciplinary action.
Another colleague has been disciplined by their college for having taken time off, with agreement, as they have for many years, to carry out duties related to their teaching.
A third colleague tells me that they do not know how to complete all the tutorials required of them and that they have been told their career will be adversely affected if they do not also follow a teacher training course without any remission of hours – this third is an excellent teacher, I can personally attest, and no one has criticised their teaching: it is just nonsense dreamt up by those with management responsibility and no spine to stand up to senior management with no ideas.
Join me in watching Higher Education going down the pan

Perfidious Albion

While we are considering the case of the late Mr Litvinenko, now admitted to be an MI6 employee, we may reflect upon how little we know about the state involvement in the death of Pat Finucane and the government's evident alarm that the truth should be known. But clearly the economic situation is not as bad as all that and clearly there is no justification for all the cuts because we can pay two million pounds to avoid the public knowing about our rendition of Mr al Saadi to the Gaddafi regime. It all makes me proud to be British.
But on what basis do our politicians condemn Basher Assad for attacking his own people. There seems to be a question of degree, but no more. We are, after all, all pawns in the great nuclear stand off which the fools who claim to govern us delude themselves has kept the peace
I just signed in. Blogger accepted my login and then told me I do not have a blog. This is, I take it, a continuation of its automated warfare against my use of an email it does not own.

I logged in with Firefox and here we are.

But slowly, slowly, they get better at tying us down.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I stumbled on a website called grammerly. It is software to make writing betterer; so I gave it an 8 line poem I added to my work in progress this morning.
It found that my writing is original, but also found 13 critical issues, whatever that means, 5 concerning my sentence structure, which need correcting; and found that in one case I had chosen the wrong word. Score 41 out of a hundred – weak, needs revision. It offered me a free trial. I didn't know bad grammar was illegal. Vacuum help us all.
So I gave it my latest essay, about 5000 words, which the editor who accepted it for book publication called truly wonderful. Ha! What did he know. I have 28 critical writing issues
Grammarly detected unoriginal text. That's probably one of the quotations. It detected a spelling error. That's probably because I am writing in English.
I have 1 issue with adjectives and adverbs, says the software called grammarly; and 1 issue with faulty parallelelism (!) and 1 issue with a confusing modifier. That it thinks adds up to 11
I thought 1 + 1 + 1 = 3; so my arithmetic may be faulty as well.
I have 5 issues with punctuation within a sentence. My other punctuation must be ok.
I have 7 issues with writing style and 3 with vocabulary
It wants to change 48 words where I have made a bad choice in its opinion.
I scored 49 out of 100 although this report is far more damning than the first one.
This is software in the spirit of the electorate: views of things it has no interest in understanding and a faith in technology that is more touched than touching.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Recycling the pod people

There was a lot of fuss recently because a council didn't want members of UKIP adopting children. I think that's the way of it.
Yet they also said that they would ensure the children were raised in the religion of their parents. Why?
I think they were on the right track with the initial idea; but they didn't go far enough.
I can't see how anyone prepared to support UKIP is fit to raise a child. And as children are quite likely (but not of course certain) to follow their parents' beliefs, it becomes quite important to consider stopping whole classes of people from reproducing themselves.
A certain knowledge that they will not be able to keep their children would be a start. That should reduce the numbers considerably, especially if they still have to pay the costs.
They'll squeal about human rights; but it should be quite easy to demonstrate that the overwhelming fact which invalidates the call.
UKIP of course are more misguided, albeit dangerously, than pernicious; that honour belongs with the Conservative Party. We must, as a race, stop them reproducing before they swamp humanity.
There is no population explosion of humanity; only a population explosion of idiots who look like humans.
The Tories clearly see things from a similar perspective and are anxious to demolish all chance of productive labour by the remaining humans.
But who are they?
They are not human; that is certain. Some kind of interstellar virus perhaps. Let's just call them pod people.
In most places where the public gather, they carry out frequent sound tests - alarms, shrill bells and the like – and monitor the result. Most people take no notice; but that does not worry the monitors because they know that those people are not people; and they find that comforting.
It is those who look up, pained by the sound, that interest them. They watch us on cctv, noting with satisfaction that every day there are fewer of us.
We must resist these creatures. They do make mistakes. The pod person pretending to be Chancellor of the Exchequer demonstrably might as well be selling ice cream ffrom a van for all that he know what is expected of him; and he maintains a more smiley face than Kate Blanchette. I don't know about her; but he is clearly artificially.
You see, for all their cunning and ruthlessness, they are not that bright.
Because they go to so much trouble to look superficially like us, it is easy to see them as evil; but you might as well be angry with a bug. We need government action – though there is a small problem in that direction at present – to put them to sleep humanely. It is more kindly than their policy of humiliation; and our pets will have some fine meals until we are finished.


What is noticeable about the Australian hoaxers is that their primary aim seems to be to firefight the shit they are in. Saying they are sorry is part of that.
No one could have foreseen that someone would commit suicide, they say. Well, perhaps. I suspect that to them her response is incomprehensible; but then they seem to have no substance.
I see that they have offered 320000 pounds to the family. Hardly likely to cover loss of earnings for the projected rest of her working life, unless like good capitalists they count on her not earning much. And then there is the loss of her to her children, her spouse and the other members of the family. And that is just dealing with compensation.
Everyone hoaxes, says one of the slimes; but he doesn't say what, if any, conclusion he draws from that.
A manager accuses the British media of being unbalanced. Perhaps they are. I am sure they are. But what does he mean? Possibly that a story is only balanced if you attack someone else as well; that it is not fair to pick on the person responsible.
So stupid, he can't even understand the concept of fairness.
What about the hospital, he asks. What about them? Sometimes people who commit petty theft say “Shouldn't have left your stuff lying around, should you?”
The male hoaxer tells us that he is feeling bad all the time. I see. Compare that with the victim who no longer feels anything. But he is thinking of the surviving relatives, is he? Well, so he should.He seems to have few concerns. He tells us he has people paid by the company to decide his action for him.
It was unfair to compare him to cancer yesterday; diseases make their own decisions. Lower than cancer.
A few days ago another human being came running around the corner and crashed into me in the street. Instead of apologising, he cursed me. I told him what I thought of him too and he seemed to understand; but only to the point of arguing “Well I didn't know you were there, did I?”
There is more to the conversation; but it's equally stupid. You don't bother arguing with your vomit when you are ill, so I shan't bother you with that selfish creature.
The whole thing comes down to childishness, I think. Two little children in a childish company providing entertainment for presumably childish people. What they have to say comes down to “But I wanted to!” now qualified to “It's all horrible and I am really upset”
I hope deeply never to be forced to face up to all the unintentional hurt I have caused or turned a blind eye to; but I can just about admit that I have done it.

Monday, 10 December 2012

hoaxers of humanity

The hoax by the Australian 2day radio programme illustrates a number of fashionable idiocies.
The company has been reported to have said repeatedly that no laws were broken. Apart from the possibility that is not true, it is only a part of the main point which is to do with honesty.
It has been said no one could have foreseen the outcome... I suppose they thought it would be ok if they just humiliated someone.
The claim that the company tried to contact the people they had tricked, suggests such a shallow view of correct behaviour that I imagine them responding to anger with “lighten up” or some such nonsense.
What kind of defence is it to say that you tried to contact someone if you then fail and go ahead anyway? Even if I believe them, and I am inclined not to, they seem to regard ethics as optional.
What kind of shallow nonsense is their programme that they think it worthwhile making such a foolish and intrusive call?
Is this what we do with international telecommunications? We have enabled worse than senseless things to take the piss out of the world when they probably hardly understand it. The points of view of cancer cells.
And then one of them says he is gutted.
He can't even express sorrow without using a poor cliché.Nor has he attempted to gut himself; so he is not feeling the consequences of his action as strongly as his victim. Hyperbole and lies.
No wonder they did not foresee that someone would take their responsibilities so seriously as the dead nurse appears to have done. They are without any substance, just morning trumpets in front of microphones.
Not that British commercial radio is better. It may or may not be different but I can never stand to listen to it for very long because of its inanity.
I turned my radio away from Radios 3 and 4 at one point over the weekend, a rare occasion when one or the other did not please me, and got some fool on LBC who repeatedly corrected himself as he tried to multiply 50 by 10, couldn't believe the answer he imagined but finally settled for it because he couldn't see what else it could be. He thought the answer is 5000.
I turned the radio off before I heard what it was he was trying to conclude. I suspect that any inquiry about anything would be beyond his capacity to complete.
The private sector, eh?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Baby parrot diease link to Toxoplasmosis

New information on the psitacosis variant epidemic which is turning our children into noisy parrots.
Non-invasive observation of family groups suggests it is flowing from the mothers to the babies. (It was known that psitacpsis is related to chlamydia, but not that humans might be the carriers of the new infection. A full report will appear shortly in Nature Caffe Nero.)
I want to suggest that there is a likelihood of a connection to Toxoplasmosis or of a process similar to the effects of that disease.
Toxoplasmosis, spread in feline faeces, apparently induces wrecklessness of behaviour, usually in mice, but perhaps even in humans. The latter is rarely noted beyond the lunacy of some people with fast cars who kill themselves, rather than becoming careless prey, because of the contemporary lack of large felines able to take advantage of human suicidal tendences.
But in my Caffe Nero studies, facilitated by the greed of that company who choose never to turn away anyone with money no matter how antisocially they behave, I have noted a tendency among mothers to be delighted whenever their children make awful noises, and more delighted the more awful the sounds become. Now these noises have developed evolutionarily to be unbearable to humans; so the sudden delight in hearing them suggests morbidity.
Attempts to reason with the infected leads nowhere, they look up with glazed but angry eyes and scream such irrelevancies as “It's a baby” and “What am I supposed to do”, behaviour already legitimised by the outmanouevring by power groups of the threat democracy might have posed to them. It remains to be demonstrated if this is a function of the disease or is merely a learned self-defence mechanism.
This is not some sf story such as entertained an earlier generation, like “War of the worlds”, but a real and present threat to our potential tranquility inflicted on us by us. I say to everyone, not watch the skies, but watch the baby carriers.