Rathbone's Ramblin'

General discussion - "gossip and tittle tattle"

Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 20 Nov 2012, 08:47

Okay, so maybe I got a wee bit partisan about Hibs firing their announcer last week, but that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s being partisan that makes football work.

I can even get partisan about teams that I have no involvement in. I will be cheering on AFC Wimbledon when they meet MK Dons on 2 December and I sincerely hope that they give the Dons a right kicking.

It probably doesn’t mean too much to people in Scotland, but the AFC Wimbledon story is inspirational and should be studied by every Rangers and Hearts supporter.

Wimbledon FC were an old established club (founded 1889). They had their ups and downs in the English league, winning the FA Cup in 1988. In 2002 they got into financial difficulties and some guy with more money than sense offered them dosh to move to Milton Keynes where he would build them a new stadium if they changed their name to MK Dons. The Wimbledon board agreed to the deal. So did the FA. The fans were not consulted. To get this into perspective, that was like Hearts relocating to Inverness and expecting their fans to remain loyal.

The Wimbledon fans got together and formed a Trust and set up their own club, AFC Wimbledon, wholly owned by the supporters. The AFC stands for “A Fans Club”. With over 75% of the old Supporters Club putting money into the trust and a number of sympathetic sponsors also chipping in, they took over the lease of the old ground, held player trials (230 players applied for the team) and set up their own, supporter owned team in June 2002.

AFC Wimbledon started off playing in the Combined Counties League (i.e. ‘division’ 9). Since then, over the last decade, they have won promotion every season and are currently in the English League Division 2. This is a record for the fastest ascent of a club through the English League.

They are still owned by the Supporters Trust and last year announced that they now had enough money in the fund to rebuild the old Kingsmeadow stadium.

They deserve to win at Milton Keynes on 2 December.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 22 Nov 2012, 08:35

No broadband yesterday. That’s happened before so I waited for it to come back on. Nothing by late afternoon, so I ‘phoned BT. It turns out that they were doing work on the telephone exchange. Service would be restored at around 2.a.m. I could get details if I went on to the BT website. I didn’t ask how I was supposed to do that without a connection. There was also the presumption that we all go regularly on to their site in order to check on ‘scheduled outages’.

Maybe I should go down to the telephone exchange, take all my clothes off and protest.

I don’t know if you picked up on that news report about the new law they’ve brought in in California to ban nude protesting. It seems that nude protesting was on the rise, as a way of drawing media attention to your cause.

No sooner had San Francisco's lawmakers voted to ban nakedness in public places than a lawsuit was filed. It argued that the free speech of nudists was being restricted.

Civil liberties campaigners are preparing to legally fight San Francisco's ban on public nudity. Does the US Constitution guarantee the right to walk the streets naked?Opponents of the move say that, by limiting the ability to express themselves, the law violates their rights. They cite the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which forbids the government from "abridging the freedom of speech". But legal experts say previous court rulings suggest that being nude does not, in itself, constitute an act of expression. It's also possible that the nudists could argue their nakedness was a political act.

Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, which promotes the study of free-speech issues, says he does not believe the legal bid is likely to succeed. But while the Supreme Court has been consistent that nudity is not in itself a form of expression, that does not mean that nudity cannot be expressive. "Even if the nudists could prove they were engaging in nudity for expressive purposes, the state has the right to regulate it, as long as the regulation is not about what's being expressed, but the side effects that expression has on the rest of the city - for instance, heavy traffic or lowered property values.

But all may not be lost for the naked protestors. One option open to them would be to move somewhere such as Oregon, where public nudity is legal so long as there is no "intent to arouse".
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 24 Nov 2012, 08:42

On Wednesday afternoon I was driving down the motorway, struggling a little bit to keep the car in the lane because of the strength of the wind, when the heavens opened and the rain came down in torrents. It was so heavy that even with the wipers on full it was impossible to see anything in front. That lasted for about three minutes and was really frightening.

If there’s one thing I hate more than driving in heavy rain it’s driving in heavy rain behind a lorry. If there’s one thing I hate more than driving in heavy rain behind a lorry, it’s driving in heavy rain behind a lorry in the dark.

The youngest Rathbonette and husband arrived back from Bali at 5:30 yesterday morning, which meant that I had to drive to the airport at 4:00 a.m. As an austerity measure, around our way the street lights are all now switched off between midnight and 6:00am. And it was raining. I could put up with that until I got on to the motorway, only to find that on substantial stretches of the M11, M25 and M23 there are no lights either. And the rain was getting heavier. If you think that lorries hog the low lane during the day, you should try motorway driving in the small hours. It is positively heaving with them. And they make no concessions.

It would be nice to pretend that I coped well with the situation, but if I’m honest I was peeing myself almost the whole way.

Coming back in the early morning light we passed two accidents, one of them multi-vehicle, which presumably had been the result of aquaplaning in the dark.

This weekend I’m not due to go out. Which is perhaps just as well because we are forecast 70mph winds and torrential rain again, both today and tomorrow. I think my adjustment to climate change is going to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 25 Nov 2012, 08:57

Just listening to the radio yesterday I was struck by how many references to the Illuminati there were in the songs I was listening to. Tiny Tempah at one end of the spectrum, Fleet Foxes at the other. That also tied in with the incident in the run up to the Olympics when every motorway sign along the M4 from Heathrow to London was graffitied with the slogan Illuminati Scum. It isn’t since the heyday of KLF, whose songs were absolutely riddled with illuminati references, that I have been so aware of the all seeing guys.

The Illuminati started as a real secret society back in the 1770s to combat what they perceived as the rise of catholicism. Since then it has become the spiritual home for every crackpot and paranoid conspiracy theory. ‘They’ have been blamed for everything from starting the French Revolution to the 9/11 attacks.

In recent years they have taken to killing pop stars who reach the age of 27. Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Henrix, Jim Morrison and, most recently, Amy Winehouse all fell victim to Illuminati plots.

There are whole websites devoted to proving these links. The following is genuine, from the mediaexposed site. You can make up your own mind as to whether it is crackpot or not:

“Amy Winehouse was born into ritual, typical Illuminati abuse. Rehab is another word or code for reprogramming, so yes she was in her programmed state of mind (dissociation) when she died. Found ‘dead’ on 7/23/11, age 27 and 311 days. Obviously the masonic 311 stands for 3 x 11 or 33 (degree). Since she is a member of the 27 club the amount of days after she turned 27 is important and counted. So exactly on the 311th day after turning 27 she is dead. The whole date together (7+2+3+1+1) is 14 and 27 (2 x 7) is 14. 7x2=14 3x11=33 or 7x2=14 3+11=14 so 14/14 from the date: (7/2)(3/11) 7/23/11 . Now using the total 14: 14-11 is 3 and 14-3=11. 2011 (2+0+1+1) is 13.  (2+3+1+1)=7 or 7/7. 14/14. Double digits or the same number repeated 77 gives power to the ritual. Add the numbers (7+2+3+11), you get 23 altogether. Add (7+2+3+2+0+11), you get 25 or 7. Artists are known to die on the date 25/age 25 or age 27. This is because 25 in the occult stands for 7 while 27 stands for 9. 7, 9, 11, 13, 23, 25, and 33 are occult numbers which are all used in the date. Her tattoos consists of a bluebird, ruby shoes and lightning The number 27 is a lunar symbol, for light in darkness or light itself. 27 Club consists of other artists specifically rock who also had problems with drugs, addiction, and substance abuse which led them to death or a ritual sacrifice. Note this. At age 27, there’s the highest brain activity, and then it starts to deteriorate slowly. That’s why it’s called the “Forever 27 Club” or 27 curse. It is linked with Mk-Ultra- living “forever young”. She was a blood sacrifice to Kelly Osbourne (most likely).”

We shouldn’t worry too much though, because the catholic church’s take on it is : “If there is indeed some truth to the Illuminati conspiracy, the Illuminati are nothing but pawns in the hands of Satan, tools to be manipulated in his conflict with God. The fate of the Illuminati will be the same as the fate of their lord, Satan/Lucifer, who will be cast into the lake of fire, to be tormented day and night, forever and ever (Revelation 20:10). In John 16:33 Jesus declared, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." For Christians, all we need to understand about the Illuminati conspiracy is summarized in the words of 1 John 4:4, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

Personally I still put my faith in Messrs. Drummond and Cauty. It was their belief that the Illuminati attempt to order and control mankind, and receive individual power (become illuminated) by causing mass deaths. Their arch enemies The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMs), are "an organisation who are at least as old as the Illuminati and represent the primeval power of Chaos". Along with affiliated groups the LDD and the ELF (Erisian Liberation Front), the JAMs are engaged in a secret war to prevent the Illuminati from bringing closer the end of the world. The JAMs were members of the Illuminati, but were expelled at the behest of a faction protesting "kick out the JAMs". The illuminati control all the record companies, which is why all mainstream music is very dull. The JAMs started their own company to bring out good music, and combat the Illuminati. When Drummond and Cauty decided to "kick out the old" and attack the music industry, they named their group the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and their record company the Kopyright Liberation Front (The KLF). Much of their recorded output features chants of Mu Mu! And their recordings are allegedly the sound of Mu. As I said above, their work is absolutely riddled with Illuminati references. You might want to spot them yourself.

Me, I’m off to dig out What Time Is Love and Last Train To Transcentral and have a good wallow in paranoia before they come to get me.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 26 Nov 2012, 08:45

Let’s just stick with the Illuminati for a bit longer.

While checking out the 27 Club before yesterday’s post I came across a blog by someone called Nikki, a 20-something woman who lives in Philadelphia. Nikki believes that shadowy forces, the real power behind the power, are at play to overthrow the American government: The Illuminati. In her view they are a conspiratorial organization of cultural elites with unspeakable wealth who control world affairs through governments and corporations. Nikki says that President Obama was “selected, not elected” president by the Illuminati, and that he’s now carrying out its homosexual agenda by “appointing more gays to his Cabinet than all the other presidents combined.”

Nikki happens to be young, black and a huge fan of hip-hop and she believes rapper Jay-Z is a part of the Illuminati too. “Everybody know that,” she says. Presumably the “everybody” she’s referring to is people like herself: mostly young, black and deeply embedded in hip-hop culture.

Instead of acknowledging the wild success of someone like Jay-Z, a growing number of hip-hop fans attribute his rise into the mainstream elite to him getting in bed with extreme right wing forces. Search “illuminati jay z” and the accusations and theories about Jay-Z and his associations will wash over you like a tsunami. “I think illuminati killed Micheal Jackson, Tupac, Kanye’s mom and Biggie ... Jay Z practically said so in The Song Most Kings”. Talk of the man’s supposed Masonic ties dominate the comments section of virtually every hip-hop blog post or website. Jay-Z worships the devil. Jay-Z took a blood oath with a secret society. Jay-Z is in the occult. Jay-Z sold his soul to evil forces to acquire power and influence heretofore unseen by a black entertainer. Jay-Z is in the Illuminati. The evidence is everywhere, hidden in plain sight. It’s in his videos. It’s in his lyrics. It’s in the pyramid-shaped sign he makes with his hand, which you foolishly believe represents his Rocafella label.


For all Jay-Z’s ridiculous net worth and cultural influence, I don’t think he or any other rapper have enough power to enact the kind of negative social change people think secret society leaders are capable of. To be sure, Jay has been part of some truly unscrupulous stuff during his tenure as the world’s most influential rapper. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s evolved some since spitting “D’evils” in 1996. And even if you think he hasn’t, he’s probably not going to usher in the apocalypse. Nor is Obama. I’d put my money on Netanyahu if he gets re-elected in January.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 27 Nov 2012, 08:51

I know that place, I thought. After a bit of contemplation I had it fixed. I used to have a client whose office was just a little bit further down the street, maybe a couple of doors away. What had come up on the screen was an innocuous whitewashed gabled building in a typical street in an East of England market town. Strange to think that it was, allegedly, the hub of a multi-million tax avoidance organisation.

Not that there was much alleging going on on Panorama last night. They were naming names and showing pictures. What they were investigating was whether the Sark Lark was still thriving. The Sark Lark is the use of sham company directors to cover other people’s cash. It takes its name from a case back in the 1990s when it was discovered that between them, the 600 inhabitants of the island of Sark held 15,000 directorships. Most of them didn’t even know that they were directors of these sham companies. Sometimes, just by signing up to something like insurance they were then used to be legitimately appointed to run companies on behalf of others. In fact they would not be running anything at all.They wouldn't even know that they are a director. On company business the directors' signatures would be provided simply by using a stamp.

Tax evasion costs the UK taxpayer an estimated £4bn a year. The programme secretly filmed corporate service providers offering services that would ensure that they could create false companies with fictitious directors through which you could transfer your money to off-shore tax havens.One firm said the odds of getting caught by the UK tax authorities are roughly equivalent to winning the lottery.

An undercover reporter posing as a businessman with £6m in undeclared income sitting in a Swiss bank account is advised to move his money into a complex structure involving an anonymous foundation in Belize, which he would control in secret. The guy fronting up this firm assured the undercover reporter that his company already had 10,000 of these structures up and running with secrecy guaranteed.

For all we know you and I might be company directors in Belize or Mauritius and worth billions.

And all of this from that little office in a sleepy country town.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 28 Nov 2012, 08:56

I wonder what I got up to last night. At least I wouldn’t have been sending texts for the simple reason that I don’t go to bed with a mobile ‘phone.

Apparently sleep specialists are now treating people who cannot be separated from their mobile, tuck them under the pillow at night and then find in the morning that they have been sending texts to all and sundry. It is now being recognised as an official sleep disorder. Reassuringly, the texts people send when asleep often make no sense.

We’re all reasonably familiar with sleep walking, but it seems that it is very common for people to do things in their sleep that they do repeatedly during the day. This is largely down to sleep disorders called parasomnias. These are unwanted behaviours that occur during sleep. They can be as small as singing while asleep to, at the very extreme end, driving a car while sleeping. Doctors have even treated someone who carefully dismantled grandfather clocks while asleep.


Sleepwalkers frequently get up to unexplained empty food wrappers and a messy kitchen. Snacking in your sleep is not a big problem, but in more extreme cases it is classed as Nocturnal Eating Syndrome (NES). In more complicated cases, someone might cook a whole meal. It is thought that in these instances the person is actually awake but will have no memory of what they have done. It's a type of amnesia.

Then there is sexsomnia, a condition where people have sex in their sleep, which can be disconcerting for the other person in the bed with them. As yet very little research has been done into it, say sleep experts, but more cases are being reported. It is most likely to occur in the "deep sleep" stage when the thinking and awareness part of the brain is switched off but not the part of the brain responsible for basic urges like having sex.

The only occasion where I have been affected by someone with a sleep disorder was about seven years ago in Kenya when I had to share a room with this guy called Frank. Frank suffered from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea which occurs when the throat muscles collapse and block the airways and stop people from breathing. It was quite disturbing. He was a snorer and then the snoring would abruptly stop and it was obvious that he was not breathing, then with a start he would begin breathing again after maybe half a minute. Apparently there is a break because the brain does not wake up as quickly as the body and so things don’t start working again until it gets its act together.

Isn’t it strange to think that I might have written all of this in a state of complete unconsciousness? (Maybe I do that every day.)
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 29 Nov 2012, 08:50

I scratched the top of my thigh putting on my underpants this morning. Caught it with a hangnail on the little finger of my right hand. I’ve never really thought about hangnails before. They’re just something I take for granted.

Because I always get them on my right hand, where I have to use nail clippers, not scissors, I’ve always assumed that they were little bits of nail the corner that I hadn’t properly trimmed and which were continuing to grow. It turns out that I’m wrong.

Hangnails actually don't have anything to do with your fingernails. They are separate pieces of skin which are growing out of the cuticle.

Everyone gets them occasionally. The main cause of hangnails relates to the dryness of the cuticles, the area of skin surrounding the nail. When this area becomes dry, the cuticles depart partially from the nail region and become troublesome. You get more hangnails during the cold winter months because during the winter, your skin dries out really fast. Bingo! You've just hit on one of the main causes of hangnails. I’m blaming finally getting round to sweeping up the leaves in this cold snap as the reason for this little bout. On the other hand frequent immersion in water can cause hangnails to develop, so maybe I should stop doing the washing up and leave that to Mrs. R.

It also seems that the condition of a hangnail can worsen if individuals pick or pull at them. That scuppers my usual way of dealing with them, which is to get them between my teeth and then give a hefty tug. The little bleeders usually come out clean. I am advised that that is not a very clever approach. What I should do is trim them back with a pair of manicure scissors. Which takes me back to the little finger of my right hand which I cannot trim with scissors.

Perhaps I will just have to sit with my finger dunked in a vat of moisturiser.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 30 Nov 2012, 08:56

As an Architect I am regulated by an independent regulator under the terms of the Architects Registration Act 1938. That doesn’t mean that there is someone sitting next to my drawing board all the time waiting for me to cock up. What it does mean is that if any of my clients have a beef there is someone independent that they can complain to and who will investigate on their behalf. It keeps me in check. As the trustee of a charity I have the Charity Commission looking out for my slip-ups. Similarly my doctor is regulated. My solicitor certainly is because I complained to the SRA about him earlier this year when he ‘couldn’t find’ my legal documents. Teachers are regulated. The Care and Social Services Inspectorate take care of social workers. The Financial Service Authority is supposed to regulate bankers. Then there is the various Ofs. Ofgem, Ofsted, Ofwat, Ofcom et al.

What is so different about the Press?

I watched the Commons debate on the Levison Report live yesterday afternoon in its entirety. David Cameron spent more time going on about how the Conservative Party had been vindicated and his right honourable friend Jeremy Hunt exonerated and wasting a huge amount of time attacking Labour, than he did on the actual substance of Levison’s recommendations. Those he dismissed as creating a a vehicle for politicians, whether today or some time in the future, to impose regulation and obligations on the press, which he considered to be a Rubicon which should not be crossed.

At that point one of his own backbenchers got up and said that rather than a Rubicon, wasn’t it a Brooke that he didn’t want to cross, which I thought was quite witty and, coming from his own side, rather damaging.

Labour’s position we knew in advance and Milliband’s endorsement of Levison came as no surprise. Much as I have little time for Nick Clegg, I have to confess a modicum of admiration that he had the guts to stand up and effectively rubbish Cameron’s position. Some Conservatives also got to their feet to say that there is a strong case for new laws.

It is hard to see how the three party leaders can resolve their differences over new laws. Miliband has said he wants a vote by the end of January. As things stand the odds appear stacked against Cameron who could be defeated by the combined forces of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and some Conservative MPs.

He is also up against the victims of press intrusion and celebrity campaigners who want tough new measures to rein in the newspapers. I doubt that the public will side with Cameron on this one, even if the Press will. As Levison put it, most people believe that newspapers should not be allowed "to mark their own homework".
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 01 Dec 2012, 09:30

I’m looking forward to the Tyson Fury Kevin Johnson fight tonight, so it was nice to see that Freddie Flintoff won his first professional bout.

I have to admit that I didn’t rate Flintoff’s chances and had Richard Dawson down as the dead cert to win that one. For a start Flintoff is getting on a bit in boxing terms. 34 is not the ideal age to be taking up the game and then his motivation wasn’t the most convincing. Saying that you “needed something after cricket” doesn’t indicate a burning desire to box. Then there is the fact that Dawson is eleven years younger and two stone heavier than him. Dawson has been boxing for a while and has wins behind him.

Overall Flintoff has had four and a half month’s training and one has to question the level of technical boxing skill he has developed in that time. By all accounts the match was scrappy and Flintoff just made it on points (39/38) despite being knocked to the canvas by Dawson in the second round.

It seems that there was a certain lack of sportsmanship with the crowd constantly baiting Dawson with chants of “You Fat Bastard”. Those additional two stones were noticeable then.

Personally I question the motives behind this. I’ve no doubt he is sincere in wanting to take on a challenge after giving up cricket, but what was behind having a film crew following him around all the time making a documentary about it all? All over the boxing sites on the internet people are speculating that the fight itself was a fix so that the film could have a happy ending. Apparently the thing is going out as a three part mini-series on Sky with the cheesy title Lords To The Ring.

I suppose the answer will be if Flintoff gets in the ring again.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 02 Dec 2012, 08:54

I'd pay to see Freddie Flintoff against Richard Dawkins, but last night it was Fury / Johnson

And Fury won, though not to my eyes with the points margin awarded to him by the judges.

What was most interesting to me was the large section of the crowd who started booing around round eight and kept it up for the rest of the bout. They had obviously come expecting to see fireworks and they didn’t get them. Fury, sensibly against a more experienced opponent (who has gone a full twelve rounds with Vitali Kilitschko,) kept it slow and steady. It ensured he didn’t open himself up to rogue shots or inadvertent slips.

So it was a satisfying fight to watch even if the adrenalin didn’t flow.

That now makes Fury No.3 in the world ranking, one step away from a fight with Kilitschko for the title. Not bad for someone who just six months ago was describing himself as an obese fat pig. And at 24 stone, he was.

Up until that point he was undefeated, but when his son developed a viral illness which threatened his immune system and ended up in intensive care, Fury spent almost two months sleeping in a chair every night at the hospital, and getting depressed and stressed. To compensate he just ate and ate, causing his weight to balloon.

So how do you lose six stone in six months: He’s done nothing but train, eat, sleep and drink water. He stays in a spartan training camp in the middle of a forest, away from anyone else. Trains six days a week three times a day. Apparently there have been a lot of fighters who have tried to train with him but they left after a couple of weeks because they couldn’t hack it. It was just too hard. “We do nothing apart from eat chicken, rice and vegetables. We train, and we sleep. It’s just pure, hard graft, and that’s it. Nothing else.” Maybe the Fury diet will catch on.

I hope Fury’s son recovers and goes on to become a boxer. It would be a shame if one of the great boxing dynasties came to an end. It started with Fury’s grandfather Tiger who fought over 90 heavyweight bouts. Tyson’s father, Gypsy John Fury was a good boxer whom I saw fight in Leith when I was young. His brothers Pete and Hugh Fury have also handled themselves well in the ring. So it would be fitting if Prince Fury carried on the tradition

Mick Hennessy, Fury’s promoter, says that talks are under way with the Klitschko management team for a world title challenge next year. I look forward to that.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 03 Dec 2012, 08:59

It’s that time of the year again when I will have to sneak off to the shops to get a present for someone who doesn’t want one. For years now Mrs. R. has said that she doesn’t want a christmas present. The problem is that the first year she said that I took her at her word. It turned out to be a miserable christmas. She tried to hide her disappointment that I hadn’t found some ingenious way of salving her conscience without actually not giving her something. The trouble is, there are only so many sub-saharan donkeys we can buy, a limit to the number of wells sunk in foreign climes and sponsoring school kids is too close to home, so I've exhausted the altruistic oxfam option.

It’s catching as well. This year already I’ve had other family members saying that they’ve decided not to give christmas presents after this year, and two close friends have said the same thing.

Secretly I agree with them. The whole thing is out of hand. (I’m sure the victorians made that comment as well) Every year I see people running around buying gifts they cant afford for their husband’s aunt, their son’s teacher and their nextdoor neighbours and I wonder: Why are you spending £50 on a scented candle for an in-law that you don’t see from one end of the year to the next? Why pay £400 for a coat for your wife, then spend most of January in a cold sweat about your credit card bill? You could just buy it in the sales two days later.

The one that really gets me is this notion of ‘Secret Santa’ presents. Mrs. R. is currently in a funk about her obligations under that little regime. Somehow her social world will collapse if she’s the only one in her workplace who doesn’t drop an anonymous present in the box. And this from a woman who doesn’t want a present herself.

Statistically each of us will give 23 gifts. So the idea that each one of those is going to be a stroke of genius is remote. When we buy things for ourselves, we generally acquire things only if they give us more in satisfaction than we are prepared to pay for them. If I buy a £30 jumper for myself, I expect it to give me at least £30 of satisfaction. Otherwise, I'm wasting money. When we buy gifts for other people, the likelihood of satisfaction outweighing outlay is likely to be zilch.

The irony of this, of course, is that we all end up giving each other presents that we neither want nor need. Our view of what other people will like is almost invariably wrong. Whose every waking moment is filled by a craving for a pair of half-size martini glasses, holding unpleasantly perfumed gel candles, embellished with a decorative vine? Who has stepped lightly through January, buoyed by the Christmas joy that is a purple glass bowl filled with silver spray-painted pebbles?

So maybe we should just change Christmas into an excuse for simply overeating rather than overeating plus economically disastrous present giving?

I’ll mull that over while I’m on the bus into town.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 04 Dec 2012, 08:54

I feel almost sorry for all those poor scouts, unable to lie any more. That slight thrill when you held up your hand and pledged a duty to a god you didn’t believe in gone forever. No more wondering if there really was an all seeing eye noting down your fib and storing it up for the day of judgement.

Originally the scout promise was based on an implicit presumption that the person making it was a Christian. Then about forty years ago it was realised that this excluded thousands of kids world wide who were not Christian and it was changed to allow Hindus and Buddhists to use the word "my Dharma" and Muslims "Allah" instead of God. Non British boys were also able to replace the phrase "duty to the Queen" with "duty to the country in which I am now living".

It now seems that they have realised that most kids today don’t believe in God, or the Dharma or (at risk of a fatwa) even Allah.

The whole thing stems from a remark made by Bear Grylls when he took over as Chief Scout in 2009. At that time he said that : "Scouting has something to offer everyone, no matter your religion, ethnicity or belief, and I'm so proud that we offer an environment for people of all backgrounds to come together and enjoy themselves." Which immediately led to the various societies who say they represent those people who have no belief to claim that he was discriminating against them and pointing out that atheist children will either be excluded or have to lie in order to be a scout.

It then turned out that the scouting movement had a policy of not employing atheists, which is presumably why they have problems recruiting and are appealing for more volunteers to come forward.

Discrimination against atheists is one of the, as yet, unchallenged aspects of our society. Polls have shown that people who profess to a religion tend to consider that atheists are immoral, untrustworthy, and perhaps even evil on some level. No atheist is likely to be elected to office at any level anywhere in America and no politicians are likely to specifically appeal to atheists’ votes by defending their interests. Some, like George W, Bush even openly express bigotry against atheists.

Even in this country it has been demonstrated that judges tend to discriminate against atheists in child custody cases. There is apparently an assumption that religion, any religion, is necessary to ensure children are raised properly and that atheists are incapable of seeing to the moral and social welfare of kids. Statistically parents who regularly attend church are given greater preference over those who don’t.

Religious discrimination in this country is illegal. It seems that discrimination for not having a religious belief isn’t. It’s about time we set up the Portobello Protects Atheism Group or even form the Portobello For Atheists Now Society.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 05 Dec 2012, 08:49

Wasn’t that Newsnight item on Clark’s shoes last night fascinating ?

Who knew they were the real sought after status symbol in Jamaica and had been for over 30 years?

I’ve mentioned on here before that when I was a spotty youth the in footwear was Clark’s Wallabee Desert Boots. It turns out they were also prized on the streets of Kingston. The more you own, the bigger your status. Some top-end reggae artists have as many as fifty pairs.

As a result Clarks originals change hands for tidy sums. Vendors in Kingston doubled their wholesale prices years ago. Thieves target stores that stock them. Knock-off copies cater for the bottom end of the market.

I hadn’t noticed the number of references to Clarks in Jamaican music before last night, but right now I’m busy listening to reggae on my mp3 and there they are, nicely referenced by Kartel: "Everybody haffi ask weh mi get mi Clarks. Di leather hard, di suede soft, toothbrush get out di dust fast"

It seems whenever a song mentioning Clarks is a hit in Jamaica the sales go up, and that has an effect here. A couple of years ago there wa a particularly big surge and Clarks couldn’t meet the demand for black ankle Deserts. Every pair in the UK was shipped out and you couldn’t get them here for love nor money.

Apparently this cult all started back in the 1950s when the generation who had immigrated to England on the Windrush would return to Jamaica wearing Clarks, and people developed a fascination for them. It seems that the most appropriate gifts to take back to demonstrate that you were making a success of life in Britain were a traditional Marks & Spencer string vest and a pair of Clarks. They soon became a long-standing symbol of upward social mobility.

By the time Reggae developed Clarks were the preferred footwear for Rastafarians. Rummage through LPs from reggae's golden era, and you're likely to turn up at least a few photos of rude boys with their trouser legs rolled up to reveal ankle-length desert boots.

It was in the 1980s, as the Bob Marley era gave way to rampant materialism, that the shoes gained iconic status. A lot of importance was placed on brand names. Part of the way you show that you had money was have a pair of Clarks on your feet and a gold chain around your neck. The police were able to identify gangsters because they invariably wore a pair.

Over here we tend to turn to Clarks in times of austerity. Funny, isn't it
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 06 Dec 2012, 08:58

I see there’s a move afoot again to make it compulsory for kids to learn poetry by heart in school. This is something that comes around from time to time. I have mixed views about it. Michael Gove is said to be determined to make the teaching of English at primary school ''far more rigorous'' than it is at present. Children as young as five will be expected to learn and recite poetry by heart in a major overhaul of the national curriculum for schools in England. At the age of five, they will start. to learn simple poems by heart and practise recitals. Pupils will then continue ''to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart and recite some of these, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear''.

As anyone who follows these rambles knows, I am passionate about poetry, but this is the best way to put children off poetry for life, unless the poems are chosen by the children themselves and not by well-meaning adults.

I remember being forced to learn Wordsworth's Daffodils when I was at primary school; the class was united in condemning it as soppy. I was lucky, I happened to like poetry (for reasons which have never been analysed by me or anybody else - it just happened that way). But the vast majority of the class didn’t and this just put them off poetry for years, if not life. If kids like the poetry they will learn it. I cannot see any advantage to force learning poetry.

At secondary we didn't have to memorise it, but were fortunate in having a teacher who read it to us. Classic stuff like The Lady Of Shallot, Goblin Market, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, The Charge Of The Light Brigade etc. and we read along as she read out loud. I believe that instilled more of an appreciation than associating the verses with a chore.There is nothing like forcing someone to do something to make them resentful and put them off for life.

Poor Wordsworth. Most people I know had to learn his bloody Daffodils off by heart and it's stayed with them all their lives:
I wandered lonely as a cloud

That tum ti tum o'er vale and hill,

When all at once I saw a crowd

Something something daffodil.

To be fair to Gove perhaps he really does believe that getting kids in the habit of regurgitating what others wrote is a valuable life skill. I'm sure that given time and a patient teacher I could be taught to recite some japanese poetry by heart. I wouldn't understand a word of it, but I could still recite it.

Instead of teaching children about the literary traditions of different cultures, or giving them the skills to approach contemporary writing confidently, we'll just be preparing yet another generation of children to associate poetry purely with sentimentality and plodding rhythms, pre-arming them with fatuous arguments about how it has to rhyme.

Now what poem did I learn completely by heart when I was a kid?
Let me see:

There are holes in the sky,
where the rain comes in

But the holes are very small,
and that's why rain is thin.
- Spike Milligan.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 07 Dec 2012, 08:53

Back in the 1970’s I was fond of rummaging through the imports section of a little record shop in Nottinghill Gate which has long gone the way of most record shops. One day I came across the only record I have ever bought on the strength of the cover alone. It was a young guy with fashionably curly hair smiling out at me, blood streaming down his face from the bullet wound in his forehead. The title of the album was A Lot Of People Would LIke To See Armand Schaubroeck Dead. On the back it simply said Armand Schaubroeck Steals. On closer inspection it turned out to be a triple album. There were no track details. Intrigued, I thought about buying it, but didn’t. The next time I went to the shop it was still there. Then the next and the next. Eventually I succumbed.

It’s a very strange, very autobiographical LP. Most people I have played it to over the years either like it or love it. Fortunately I fall into the latter category. I have never ever seen another copy, nor is Armand Schaubroeck a regular feature of the music magazines I buy. I have never seen his name in any of those, nor does it feature in the index of any of the books I have looked at.

Until now. Yesterday I was having a long browse in Waterstones through Julian Cope’s latest tome, Copendium. There, in the index, was Armand and there, in the text, a long article on the man.

It was uncanny. This is a direct quote from Cope: “Amongst all those weirdos, one album always stood out as being even weirder. For a start, it was a triple album in a gatefold sleeve, and the front showed a photo of a smiling, curly-haired Lou Reed-ian late-20s punk with a poorly executed fake bullet hole right through the centre of his head, and fake blood cascading down his face. Turning it over, the handwritten lettering pronounced: "Armand Schaubroeck Steals." What the hell was this all about? Even if I'd had the money, I was no way about to pay over seven quid to find out. And so, every Probe visit, this mysterious album passed through my hands until I was desperate to know what it contained. No one at Probe knew, and neither would they open the shrink-wrap to unlock this mystery.” Of course, he succumbed as well.

Turns out Armand has released quite a few albums, all of which sold zilch.

He runs a guitar shop in Irondequoit, New York, which he set up in 1964 in the basement of his mother’s house. It’s called The House Of Guitars and, interestingly it has its own Wikipedia entry when Armand does not. It seems from Wiki that House Of Guitars is something of a cult among musicians. The Ramones, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Metallica and Ozzy are all regular customers.

But back to my own cult interest. I have lived with A Lot Of People for almost forty years now. To describe Armand Schaubroeck as over the top hardly does him justice. In twenty two scenes combining songs and dialogue, it tells the story of Schaubroeck's teenaged incarceration in Almira prison for robbery. While powerful and impressive, the subject and treatment is far too personal to be of general interest, and the length makes complete listening a real challenge. This catharsis may have been necessary for him, but it's more an accomplishment than an entertainment. Hasn’t stopped me listening to it over and over though.

It turns out that he has released others as well, so I can see that I’m in for a major tracking down session over the Christmas break. I Came To Visit But Decided To Stay; Shakin Shakin; Ratfucker, and Live At The Holiday Inn are out there somewhere and I’m going to get them
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 08 Dec 2012, 09:25

If I had finished washing the dishes just one minute later I would have missed him. As it was I didn’t quite take it in the first time, but fortunately he came back at the commercial break. It was like meeting an old friend who had been away too long.

Barry Scott is back and this time he is swinging a solid lump of limestone through a bath of Cillit Bang to illustrate the speed at which it will cut through limescale. (I notice the little disclaimer along the bottom of the screen says 7 minutes). I’m not in the habit of swinging lumps of limescale through baths of extremely corrosive liquid, but it is great to see him back anyway.

All those adverts which slotted right into our synapses and stayed there:

“Hi I’m Barry Scott and I’m here with Jill who uses Cillit Bang Lime and Grime. So Jill what do you think?..... Give it a go. Bang and the dirt is gone.”

The reassurance that we could get rid of all those nightmare stains and blocked drains
Look, the toughest toilet stains are no match for its supreme cleaning power ...... no job’s too tough

The hardcore mix of “Do you have problems with lime scale, rust, ground in dirt” has had over a million hits on YouTube. “Look what it did to a penny... good as new”

And that penny is cleaned in only 10 seconds. In Canada the ad carries a disclaimer not to use Cillit Bang on copper pipes or utensils because it will destroy them. (which is ironic as the product is made by the Reckitt company)

Cillt Bang is so powerful that it was used to neutralise plutonium in the clean up of the Dounreay nuclear power station.

In fact it’s so powerful that you can hardly use it. Just take a look at the list of exclusions on the back of the bottle: it’s not suitable for use on zinc, copper, aluminium, marble, enamel, textiles, carpets, linoleum, rubber or wood. That means that it’s not suitable for use on most things in your bathroom and kitchen. Whatever you do don’t put on your marigolds to protect your hands either, it will cut right through rubber gloves.

In fact it is so deadly that it can be used as an offensive weapon. One of my favourite news stories of recent years involved Staffordshire Police. More than 100 armed police officers swooped on a house and engaged in a tense 19-hour stand off with a man armed to the teeth - with a bottle of Cillit Bang.

But despite his kitchen arsenal of bleach-based products, Richard Jablonski was unable to make a clean getaway. Instead, the crack tactical operations squad arrested him for possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to cause fear and violence. The Police refused to reveal the cost of the case, despite coming under pressure from their own police authority members. Estimates based on officers’ overtime and the cost of an armed response team have priced the siege at around £30,000.

The case was later thrown out in court.

A police spokesman later said that for the duration of the incident the police response was overseen by highly-trained and skilled officers who managed the situation in a measured manner and ultimately brought it to a safe and peaceful conclusion. Despite the outcome of the court case the police response was entirely necessary and proportionate.

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Bang and it’s gone.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 10 Dec 2012, 08:41

Until they built the sewage works at Seafield things floating up on to the beach and fouling the sand were not uncommon. You frequently had to watch where you put your feet and it wasn’t unusual for parents to stop their kids playing there altogether.

When I first came on to this site it was clean sand, a real asset to Portobello and a delight to ramble through. I genuinely thought that it was a force for good within the community. Occasionally you would come across a little turd but they were usually washed away again on the next tide.

Unfortunately this beach is now so polluted that I don’t think I want to walk on it any more. It seems that there is no thread which doesn’t quickly degenerate into a pile of name calling, character assassination and effluent. You only need to put the seashell to your ear to hear the sea of bile lapping against the rocks of the sanctimonious.

Even Cillit Bang couldn't clean this lot up.

I do feel sorry for all of you, both the victims of this endless hate campaign and the people who cannot see how their hysterical invective appears to others. Personally I’m fed up coming on here every day and only finding the same old shit, so I’m off.

Bye.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby AndyK » 10 Dec 2012, 21:36

As a long-time lurker and infrequent poster I'm sorry that there will be no more Rathbone ramblin'' - hope you reconsider. Anyways, just want to say that I've very much enjoyed your posts which have always been highly entertaining - many thanks.
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby Pal of Porty » 11 Dec 2012, 11:05

Bye - but please don't feel sorry for me. 8)
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby Sceptic » 12 Dec 2012, 08:08

The talk of Cillit Bang reminds me of the time a salesperson was trying to sell her wares in Safeway at Jock's lodge. She was selling the wee tablets that stop your washing machine etc. clogging up with limescale. I asked her if she knew how hard Edinburgh water was, she replied in the negative. I said it's about 30 mg per litre, she didn't know if that was bad or good. It makes it about the softest water in Britain and your product is totally superfluous in Edinburgh. Did she care? Not a jot, more wanting me to move on in case it spoiled her day. But that's the thing how many buy products to clear limescale when they don't have limescale problem to start with.

Bang, and your money is gone!
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby ecm » 12 Dec 2012, 15:45

rathbone wrote:I do feel sorry for all of you, both the victims of this endless hate campaign and the people who cannot see how their hysterical invective appears to others. Personally I’m fed up coming on here every day and only finding the same old shit, so I’m off.

Bye.



I'm sorry you feel the way you do, Rathbone and so sorry that you won't be posting anymore. Like AndyK, I hope you will return again sometime and hope it will be sooner rather than later.

I was always entertained by, and learned so much from, your various ramblings and particularly loved any music related stuff. Now I feel bad for not having posted to this effect along the way; you know, letting you know how much your posts were appreciated. As witnessed on your Appreciation thread, there are a lot of others out there who think like me too.

Breakfast at the PC just isn't the same without you. There's not much else to read on here but then that's my fault for having so many posters on "ignore" these days :wink:
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby Pal of Porty » 12 Dec 2012, 16:17

ecm wrote:....... but then that's my fault for having so many posters on "ignore" these days :wink:

Thought I had'nt heard from you in a while! 8)
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby rathbone » 20 Jun 2013, 17:21

Just letting everyone who used to follow my blog (Rathbone's Rambling) on Talk Porty, that I'm back posting, this time on The Howff.

If you want to follow me there cut and paste: howff.wordpress.com into your browser and then bookmark it. Simples.

On there you will find a link to my book about the Edinburgh music scene Howff Tae Hip Hop which was published in April and is available on the apple iBooks store.

Look forward to seeing you at the Howff
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Re: Rathbone's Ramblin'

Postby wangi » 21 Jun 2013, 00:12

Great news!

Click here: http://howff.wordpress.com
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