# Friday, March 16, 2007

I read an article in The Daily Mail about dolls being confiscated from a village shop following allegations of racism. Apparently a woman customer complained after seeing the dolls which she thought were racially offensive because they were based on a golliwog. The following day two police officers arrested the offending dolls which were taken away for questioning. A statement was taken from the owner of the shop and he was told he could be convicted of a public order offence and could also face a large fine. However after an investigation it was concluded that no offence had been committed and the dolls went back on sale. It makes me wonder how much police time was spent investigating such a trivial issue. It seems if you call the police to investigate a burglary it can take several days for them to investigate but if you say the word racism then its given top priority even when there is no case to investigate.

In an another article also in The Daily Mail a junior school renamed the story of the Three Little Pigs to the Three Little Puppies so that it would be more sensitive to a multicultural cast and audience. The organisers thought that Muslim children in the school might have an issue singing about pigs. The change however has been widely condemned by Islamic leaders who said the issue is with eating pork not with stories about pigs. These decisions always seem to be made by white middle class people who assume other faiths are going to be offended. Often they could save themselves a lot of embarrassment by simply asking people whether they find the matter offensive before making silly decisions. Many of these fairytales have been around for hundreds of years without causing any offence but it seems nothing is left untouched by the today’s overly politically correct culture. Does this mean that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will now be changed to Snow White and the seven perfectly ordinary sized people? And looking deeper into the issue it is also apparent that fairy tales are filled with discrimination against ugly people. All princesses are beautiful and all witches are ugly, indicating that not attractive equals bad whilst beautiful is associated with good. Let’s introduce more ugly princesses and more beautiful witches to redress this balance and change all our most loved fairytales. One problem is it makes the story less attractive, which little girl wants to read a story about the ugly princess who marries the fat prince; we can do that in real life.

posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 5:40:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, March 15, 2007

It was my husband’s birthday yesterday and as one of his presents I gave him these cool mini tanks from iwantoneofthose.com. The tanks have infra red guns and when you hit your opponent their tank spins around before becoming invincible for several seconds. Each tank has five lives, once you have been hit five times you need to reset the tanks before starting another game. After playing with the tanks for nearly a day and recharging them several times (battery life can be a little short) we discovered it was very hard to hit your opponent. We eventually realised that we had forgotten to remove the covers over the sensor points on the tanks although the instructions supplied with the tanks don’t appear to cover this. Anyway sensor covers removed and we were happily shooting each others tanks on our improvised terrain made of CD boxes.

posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 6:47:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I saw this story today in the Metro about a man who was arrested for crashing his truck into a lamp post. His excuse was that a unicorn was driving his car at the time. Apparently no unicorns were spotted at the scene of the crime and its been assumed he was using this as an excuse.

posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:21:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, March 13, 2007

According to an article in The Telegraph the secret of being sexy is all in the way you walk. Women should sway their hips when walking to appear most attractive and men should walk with a swagger. The article also has a useful video showing exactly how to walk to best attract members of the opposite sex.

posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 1:02:41 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Sony is going to introduce its own 3D universe for the Playstation 3. Apparently it will allow people to chat and share content within a 3D universe as well as purchase furniture and clothes similar to Second Life. Personally I don’t really see the appeal of these virtual worlds, if I want to buy a pair a trainers I would rather have a pair that actually exist not a virtual pair within a game. It does also make me wonder whether the increase of these sorts of worlds is partially responsible for the breakdown of social skills we see in many children/teenagers today. I mean what’s wrong with actually meeting up with your friends and having a conversation rather than interacting through a virtual world. Perhaps I am just missing the point?

posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 12:40:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, March 12, 2007


I watched the new Borat movie at the weekend. The first thing I would say about this movie is don’t watch it if you are easily offended. On the surface the movie goes out of its way to be politically incorrect on a number of issues mostly on its treatment of the Jewish faith and Borat’s attitude towards women. However, I think it’s the more subtle references that for me provide most of the humour. I like the part where Borat speaking to a bunch of rednecks at a rodeo says he supports “America’s war of terror” note the subtle slip which the rednecks appear to put down to Borat’s poor grasp of the English language.

I also particularly like the part where Borat when driving an ice cream van accidentally turns the music on causing children to run towards it only for a large bear to appear at the window. The most interesting thing about this movie is that it is shot with a mixture of actors and real people whom are not aware of Borat’s real identity. In some scenes it is obvious that the actors know what is happening but in others we have real people thinking they are talking to a real journalist from Kazakhstan instead of a comedian posing as one.

This makes for very interesting viewing, for example when Borat is talking to a feminist group and asks why do we bother educating women when they have such small brains. The boundaries between real and scripted scenes are frequently blurred. I would hope that the redneck who shows such strong prejudices about homosexuals and Muslims is an actor and not a real person but we can’t really be sure. It’s either a very good example of real racist prejudices in American society or clever acting.

In all I enjoyed the movie although there are a lot of moments where you find yourself cringing at Borat’s treatment of innocent unsuspecting Americans. Still thats part of the films appeal.

posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 7:12:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, March 11, 2007

The worlds longest hot dog. It measures 60.3m long.

posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 7:12:07 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

When my parents came to visit this weekend Rory set up the Wii to show them how it works. I don’t think my Dad has every played a computer game but before long he was trying out the tennis game and hitting the ball like a pro. After several games of tennis Dad proceeded through the other games, trying out the bowling, golf, boxing and finally the baseball which was his favourite. Within a short space of time he had learnt how to play all the games and it was difficult to tear him away even when we suggested going to the pub. It occurred to me the real appeal of the  wii is that people such as my Dad who may have never played computer games before can pick up the remote with no knowledge of how it works and within a few minutes can be happily engaged in playing a game. With most other games consoles this is not really possible.

posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 1:40:03 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, March 10, 2007

Well its just as we have all suspected, people in Britain are really not getting enough sunlight. This is the claim made by an article in the Daily Express which blames the gloomy winter weather for British people spending too much time inside. Being exposed to rays from the sun provides the body’s main source of vitamin D. The article states that 87.1 of people in Britain have lower levels of vitamin D than are recommended for good health and predicts a “substantial public health problem” with people likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer and bone problems.

posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 6:42:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Having been a collector of toy monkeys for many years I naturally rushed out to pick up this cute little guy who is currently free with packs of 160 PG Tips Teabags.

posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 5:39:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, March 09, 2007

I read an interesting article in the Daily Mail about some of the tricks supermarkets use to make customer think they are getting a bargain. It has already been publicised that when Tesco recently ran a promotion on half price fruit and vegetables they had in fact raised their prices before reducing them. In fact they nearly doubled some prices before cutting them back to half price and advertising a huge 50 per cent discount prompting an investigation by trading standards. I wonder how many customers monitor prices so closely that they would have noticed this sneaky tactic. It’s very easy to pick up a product with a half price tag and just assume you are getting a great deal.
Tesco price link

Other tricks that supermarkets use to try and confuse the customer are things like reducing the pack size on items when they are running “buy one get one free” promotions. In other words you may get two packs of strawberries each of 225g but the normal pack size when the items are not on promotion could be 500g.

Many supermarkets also offer special offers or low prices on a few staple goods such as bread and milk. By making prices of everyday items cheaper customers may naturally assume that the supermarket will also have cheap prices on other groceries. Often the reality is that these cheap prices on staple goods are subsidized elsewhere by putting up the prices of other goods.

“Buy one get one free” deals may also seem like a really good deal and perhaps they are for the customer. However, the supplier often loses out here. Most of the large supermarkets have agreements with their suppliers that they have to cover the costs of these special deals rather than the supermarket themselves. Unfortunately this means that smaller suppliers are often squeezed out the market as they cannot afford the low profit margins often associated with getting their products into the supermarket.

posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 9:47:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback