Friday, 31 July 2009


I'm at the cricket for a few days, so will update more next week.

(Suffice to say we skittled a few Aussie wickets today :) )

You'll be glad to hear that I've finally stopped singing the Trio advert. Sadly I've replaced it with this 80's classic...

Re-record, not fade away......Re-record, not fade away......

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Can't get you out of my head...

I've been singing this for two days now (interspersed with different words - and it's quite hard to get a single syllable word like 'beer' to stretch to four syllables). It's driving me mad!

If you're not both English and of a certain vintage then you won't understand this post at all! :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Potted History of the World

Welcome, welcome - a thousand welcomes - to the first of an infrequent series of posts about major historical events, major historical people, and major historical history stuff.

These won't be in chronological order because frankly, up until someone invented beer, history was boring as fuck. Instead I'll be choosing a random topic each time, as and when the mood takes me.

Chapter One - The New York Metro

Despite not being American, my grasp of that country's history is pretty impressive (even if I say so myself). So having visited the city several times recently to see Mrs RS, I decided to read up on the Metro - mainly to find out which century it was built in, as judging from most of the stations I went through I'd have estimated the 16th - and I was amazed by what I found.

The following is as true as I can make it.


Many years ago, like decades and stuff, America was divided between North and South. The South believed that everyone should drive pickups, whilst the North believed that everyone should drive pickups - except the poor, who should be provided with trains.

A vast and bloody war was fought, and for a long time it looked as though the South would win. Facing defeat (and the frequent bombings of its railroads), the North constructed a secret train system on the island of Manhattan. To avoid it being bombed, they placed it in a series of tunnels under the streets and this soon became known as the 'underground railroad' of the civil war.

To outwit its enemies and confuse would-be saboteurs, the operators of the underground railroad settled on an ingenious and fiendishly clever system. This is why some lines are named after numbers and some lines are named after letters. This is also why some lines are the same colour as other lines. See a yellow train? Ah, yes, - that's a N. Or a R. Or a Q. Or even a W. And a R doesn't run on a Sunday after 4pm, what are you buddy? Stoooooooopid?

It's not at all confusing.

Anyway, in the post-war years America was skint but was determined to expand the underground railroad. Digging tunnels was expensive, so the moment they dug under the East River and reached Long Island, they simply stopped putting roofs on the tunnels and left them as open culverts throughout the rest of the city. This cost-saving measure enabled the Metro owners to vastly expand the system in almost no time.

Sadly, as always, pedantry won out and the owners conceded that since the new tracks were not underground anymore, they couldn't call it the 'underground railroad.' In what was the first of its kind in the world, the Metro accepted corporate sponsorship from a sandwich company and changed its name to 'The New York Subway'.

*Fast forward a few years*

Everything was going swimmingly until the infamous New York Sanitation Workers strike of '73. With rubbish piling up in the streets, the forever resourceful inhabitants decided to combine two successful ideas into one - the landfill and the Subway - and simply threw their rubbish into the big hole in the ground that the trains ran through. In no time at all the tracks became nearly impassable.

This practice continues to this day, although New Yorkers prefer to refer to this act as 'recycling'. Here's a picture I took last time I was there:

The Subway operators needed a solution to get their trains through and a certain railway worker called Dwight T Gefluffenheim, inspired by the idea of 'recycling', came up with the remedy. This is why all New York Subway trains are fitted with Cow-catchers to this day. Here's another photo I took while I was there:

As New York got larger, so did the 'garbage' problem. The level was getting so high that the trains were carving their own tunnels through the rubbish. In 1989 one of the larger tunnels of this kind - the Brooklyn Used Nappy Central - collapsed, injuring several passengers. Eventually the Subway operators bowed to the inevitable and built all new lines on stilts, eg:

This is primarily because it's really hard to throw your rubbish up onto the track from street level.

And that's the true story of the New York Metro system - always innovative, always thinking and always going for that 'medieval dungeon' look.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Lessons in life pt. 27

They're coming thick and fast at the moment. Today's was:

When you are surreptitiously listening at work to an incredibly close cricket match between England and Australia (one headphone in your right ear that no-one walking past can see), and Freddie Flintoff gets Brad Haddin with the 10th ball of the day - do not do a pathetic Tim Henman-esque fist pump whilst shouting out 'YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!' because you might be regarded as a bit of a weirdo by your colleagues whom, funnily enough, can't hear the commentary in your headphones.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Lessons in life pt. 26

How was your day? Good I hope.

Mine started with the following conversation which, as those of you that have seen me first thing in the morning will understand, left me a little confused all day:

Colleague: "Hey {my real name}, you'll know this - when was Reagan assassinated?"
Me : "Um, do you mean shot?"
Colleague: "Yeah"
Me: "1981 I think" (Trivia I can do*)
Colleague: "Nooooo, Tainted Love never came out that early"

Um, what?!? Is there something about Marc Almond I don't know here???

Anyway, the lesson in life I alluded to in the title is this:

If you intend to pull a sickie for a few days to attend a festival, do not - I repeat, do not - get a T-shirt made up that says "I'm a skiving bastard". Do not then wear it to the festival. Do not get lots of your friends to take pictures of you in it and, most important of all, do not then put those pictures on your facebook profile.

Especially if your boss is a friend of yours on facebook.

Here endeth both the lesson and your job, old son.

*I was right too. I kick arse at pub quizzes. Unless they're about music or TV. Or classical literature.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Maybe it's just me...

...but has anyone else noticed a sudden increase in people dragging their bags behind them on little plastic wheels? You know the sort - the ones where as you hear them approach down the street you instinctively look up to see how low the jet aircraft is, only to be disappointed as some beardy in a suit roars past you at 2 mph.

Noisy fuckers like this guy:

Fair enough if people were actually using them for to go on holiday, but it seems to have suddenly become acceptable to wheel stuff to work because apparently carrying your sandwiches became 'too heavy' and didn't generate more decibels than the Williams sisters at a Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat buffet.

I've spent a long time thinking about why this is suddenly so prevalent, and now I finally have the solution.

Clearly we're being invaded by Aliens.

Clever Aliens that have but one purpose in life - to enslave humankind. Obviously these creatures arrive from off world in an embryonic stage known as a 'handbag'. Taken home by unsuspecting weak-willed victims, these 'handbags' hide themselves away (after all - how many times have you (or your lady friend) desperately searched for your favourite handbag that you could've sworn was on the table only five minutes ago) and hatch overnight into the hard-wheeled box monsters we see on the street every day. In fact, whilst you sleep these Aliens are controlling your mind, forcing you to obey your master and drag it around with you all the time - even if you have nothing to carry at all!

You don't believe me? Okay, I offer proof.

This is a photo of the 'Samsonite' family at Christmas:

Note how that the universal rule of group photos* applies across intergalactic species.

And this is a top secret shot of the last gathering (or 'Conference') of the Luggage Masters (aka the 'Bag Snatchers') - taken with a hidden camera secreted inside a turncoat holdall:

See how even at Alien conferences you still have to wear a name tag.

It was at this gathering that the leader of the Luggage Masters (the one proudly displaying his handle in the middle that suspiciously looks like an inverse Hitler) declared stage one of his masterplan complete. Only you can stop them!

Still not convinced? I shall leave you with the wise words of my good friend
Dr Miles Bennell:

"They're not human! They're here already! You're next!!!....."

You have been warned...

*That in every group photo, at least one person has to act like an idiot.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


I love the Avenue near where Mrs. RS lives - it's 99 cent store heaven! :)

And here's my new favourite:

Can you see it? Can you?

Probably not, so here's the sign in the left hand window:

Every item is 99 cents or less!

But what's that in the right hand window?

Every item is 99 cents and up!

Errrr, what?!?

My brain hurts now. The only way to explain that tautology is that everything is exactly 99 cents. Except that nothing in that store is.

Like I said, I love that Avenue....

Monday, 6 July 2009


I am so broken right now. Obviously, the most sensible thing to do when you're jet-lagged, lacking sleep and have gone straight back into work for two frenetic days, is to spend the first day of your weekend drinking in the sun.

Drinking in the sun all day.

And all night too.

And a significant chunk of the next morning as well.

As I said - broken.... :(

Anyway, after a lovely BBQ at Token's house (and having watched the Lions finally beat Seffrica at Rugby) a group of us headed to the National Forest Folk Festival.

I know what you're thinking, and yes - the first thing I did was quaff a four-pint jug of beer :)

The first act was a ceilidh band who's female violinist kept yelping/yapping in such a way that I'd imagine someone making love to her would have a similar experience to shagging a chihuahua.

*erases horrible mental image*

The second act was a magician that finished his act by throwing up and catching (in his mouth) four ping-pong balls. That probably doesn't sound that impressive - but then how many ping-pong balls can you fit in your mouth?

The final act was the brilliant and funny Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. Never heard of them? Well today is your lucky day because I've gone to great lengths to find some links for you. Imagine six or more people playing ukeleles and nothing but ukeleles. Here they are playing:

Teenage Dirtbag
Anarchy in the UK
Le Freak

They are, I'm sure you'll admit, not exactly what you were expecting :)

I couldn't possibly leave a weekend post without a picture, so I snapped this on the way home from work today. Some idiot had quite deliberately climbed over the barriers to leave a footprint in fresh concrete after some work was done on the local street lighting. You've got to love the forthright reponse from the workmen the next morning....

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Not wanting to shock you or anything....

....but I'm actually English.

And because of this fact I would like to address this post to the two FUCKING SELFISH rabbis who sat next to me during my flight back last night:

"Thank you so much for denying me sleep at any point during this flight. Thank you so much for drowning out every single announcement by the cabin staff/captain for the entire flight. Thank you so much for being such ego-centric retarded fucks that you thought that the entire plane wanted to hear you discuss the minutiae of the Torah.


Thank you so much for refusing to SHUT THE FUCK UP whilst eating your kosher meal that you complained about not being kosher and then ate anyway (you hypocritical c*nts), drinking (how did you do it?), apparently dozing (I nearly stabbed you in the eye with a plastic tea-stirrer at this point) and even when the other rabbi was in the toilet (why?!? WHY?!? He WASN'T THERE you dumb bastard. SHUT UP!!!! LET ME SLEEP!!!!). Were the two of you on a sponsored talk bollocks-a-thon? I nearly throttled you before we even took off because:

b) you talk a load of bullshit. I don't care what you believe, I do not have to be forced to listen to you exclaim about absolutely nothing
c) that stupid stereotypical jewish rabbi 'claw' hand gesture you do everytime you make a point. Were you trained to do this, because you both did at exactly the same time?
d) you both sound like an exceedingly humourless, racist, retarded Mel Brooks. On crack.

Die horrible deaths. Horrible, horrible deaths."

Of course I said nothing, because I'm English. I tutted once, but it made no difference. The heathens.

As a consequence I'm lacking sleep and am a tad cranky. I don't think it shows.