Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: May 2006

29 May 2006

This Old Brit Is Back ...

The fabled fat lady has finally finished singing, and sadly it is all over as far as our holidays are concerned.

But brrrrr, what a bloody rude awakening of a 'welcome home' we had.

To wake up in one's own long -looked-forward-to bed, shivering in seasonably, city of Liverpool shitty weather merely a matter of hours after sweltering for a fortnight in the Mediterranean's especially sumptuous sunshine.

Breakfast in a pleasant 22 degrees centigrade Barcelona, lunch in the northen Costa Brava's early afternoon's 25 degrees, evening meal in the scorching 31 degree, Perpignon region of the South of France, followed by another breakfast aboard the P & O channel-steamer ferry 'Pride of Canterbury', whilst crossing a moderately choppy English Channel in a 20 knot wind accompanied by fast falling temperatures of 16 to 15 degrees -- followed by breakfast number 3 back in mainland Britain.

Said last mentioned sustenance having been consumed in our own home town, after a gloomy grey morning, barely 12 degree awakening and eventual reluctant departure from the depths of our so oft tried, tested and oh so trusty, delightfully deluxe version of an eider-duck down filled duvet.

Running the risk of repetition -- brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr again.

So if you'd been betting that it wouldn't be long before this old bugger would be back to the business of moaning & groaning about something or other (if not several things simultaneously), then many congratulations -- since you have just hit the jackpot!


The old saying is certainly true. All those lucky continentals have their lovely climates -- while we poor old Brits just have 'weather'.

Anyhow, 'ere we are again. All of a just-so and ever so subtle, golden-glow -- tan-wise talking that is.

And while we can't claim to be jet-lagged, because coaches cruise so much slower - be they continental class or not - we can quite truthfully claim to be right up to our 'airy old armpits in unpacking, fresh food shopping, catching up on phone calls/messages and so on.

All of which is why this particular post is set to be pretty short & sweet. But being as big & warm hearted a bunch as we ever were, we believed we should put all of you before ourselves by banging out something on the old blog as soon as possible.

(By the way, we heard that. Whadaya mean, flippin fibbin' pair of old farts?)

At this point we're prepared to gamble that it's a safe bet that none of you were aware, that for a full 17 days we never once read a newspaper, nor watched any TV at all, nor even eavesdropped momentarily on a single solitary radio transmission -- in absolutely any language.

Honestly. We kid you not. We've been completely cut off.

(Figuratively speaking of course.)

Hence, our earnestly respectful request for a further few hours of blogwriting respite, whilst we endeavour to immerse ourselves for a while in whatever worthwhile, earth shattering events have dared to occur in our absence.

Or to put it another, much less waffle-like manner and old duffer-like, posh poseur way -- we wanna play catch up.

Come to think of it, it's much more a case of needta than wanna.

So, to use [as we so often do] the corniest most hackneyed phraseology we can come up with -- 'stay tuned' and 'watch this space'.

Because, as a famous American general once so famously promised, we shall return.


Within hours, in fact.

And get this. When we do, we absolutely promise to tell the full and unabridged, true-crime tale of our very own 'gripping-yarn' Barcelona adventure.

Including the crack Catalonian police squad car ride, and subsequent La Rambla police station visit -- both of which were quite literally, a couple of offers we could not refuse.

Yep, really.

No shit Sherlock, to coin a phrase.


11 May 2006

This Old Brit's Buggering Off To Barcelona

So our secret is out.

Yep, that's right -- we're both buggering off back to beautiful Barcelona.

Second city of Spain: Queen of Catalonia.

We've been before - several times - yet still not seen the half of it.

So while we two [and of course, my marvelous missus] take off to take it easy for a fortnight, you all take care.

We'll be sure to bring you back some photographs.

And we'll see what sort of Spanish stories we can suss out while we're there.

A tan would be nice too. Eh ?

Anyhow, we'll see you all again in two weeks time.

And that's a promise.

( Btw, eventually you got our route right. )

10 May 2006

Let's Lighten Up For A Little While ...

As almost anyone else who's as ancient as we are, both This Old Brit and Richard increasingly require some rest and relaxation on a rather regular basis.

And after yesterday's especially emotional endeavours blogwise, we feel it's time to lighten up a little.

So today it's a clear cut case of 'And now for something completely different'.

As we ask:

Care to become a quiz contestant?

There, that didn't hurt did it?

Wasn't hard at all, was it?

Answering the first question without feeling a thing, we mean .

But now it gets a tiny bit tougher, particularly if you're not especially proficient in the old geographical department.

However, the good news is that there are no prizes.

None to be won -- nor any to be lost.

Gawd, we two are all heart here, ain't we?

Okay. Game on.

Order, order, please.

Now, here's your starter for nothing/none/nada -- to mention but a few.

First, peruse the photos placed above.

Next, put said pictorial clues together in jigsaw fashion.

Finally, you tell us -- what you think we -- are trying to tell you?

( All answers to comments section. Competition closes in 24 hours.)


09 May 2006

Are US Recruiters Scraping The Barrel? And Are The Blind Now Leading The Blind?

Surely one of the saddest sights any civilized 'sighted' citizens of anywhere in the world could ever witness, would be the blind leading the blind into battle.

But no, not so, it seems, in certain sadistic US military sobs' evil eyes.

And before you're tempted to accuse us of 'playing dirty' with today's particular choices of our traditional plays on words, please wait a while -- since everything should soon become so much clearer.

* An Army of one wrong recruit *

Autism - The signing of a disabled Portland man despite warnings reflects problems nationally for military enlistment

Sunday, May 07, 2006 - MICHELLE ROBERTS - The Oregonian

Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from Marshall High School in June. Girls think he's cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there -- silent.

Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.

Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Southeast Portland strip mall and complimented him on his black Converse All Stars.

"When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, 'Well, that isn't going to happen,' " said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. "I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic."

But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout.

He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

But, but, but .......... spluttered This Old Brit in disbelief -- but he read on regardless.

Last fall, Jared began talking about joining the military after a recruiter stopped him on his way home from school and offered a $4,000 signing bonus, $67,000 for college and more buddies than he could count.

Matthew told his mother that military recruiting at the school and surrounding neighborhoods was so intense that one recruiter had pulled him out of football practice.

Recruiters in Portland and nationwide spend several hours a day cold-calling high school students, whose phone numbers are provided by schools under the No Child Left Behind Law. They also prospect at malls, high school cafeterias, colleges and wherever else young people gather.

Brenda phoned her two brothers, both veterans. She said they laughed and told her not to worry. The military would never take Jared.

The Guinthers, meanwhile, tried to refocus their son.

"I told him, 'Jared, you get out of high school. I know you don't want to be a janitor all your life. You work this job, you go to community college, you find out what you want. You can live here as long as you want,' " Paul said.

They thought it had worked until five weeks ago. Brenda said she called Jared on his cell phone to check what time he'd be home.

"I said 'Jared, what are you doing?' 'I'm taking the test,' he said -- the entrance test. I go, 'Wait a minute.' I said, 'Who's giving you the test?' He said, 'Corporal.'

Are your eyes opening any wider yet as to what we were wanting to get across in our opening paragraph? Because, Richard and This Old Brit bloody well bet they are. But what comes next should open them wider still.

Brenda said she spoke to Cpl. Ronan Ansley and explained that Jared had a disability, autism, that could not be outgrown. She said Ansley told her he had been in special classes, too -- for dyslexia.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, there's a big difference between autism and your problem,' " Brenda said.

Military rules prohibit enlisting anyone with a mental disorder that interferes with school or employment, unless a recruit can show he or she hasn't required special academic or job accommodations for 12 months.

Jared has been in special education classes since preschool. Through a special program for disabled workers, he has a part-time job scrubbing toilets and dumping trash.

Jared scored 43 out of 99 on the Army's basic entrance exam -- 31 is the lowest grade the Army allows for enlistment, military officials said.

After learning that Jared had cleared this first hurdle toward enlistment, Brenda said, she called and asked for Ansley's supervisor and got Sgt. Alejandro Velasco.

She said she begged Velasco to review Jared's medical and school records. Brenda said Velasco declined, asserting that he didn't need any paperwork. Under military rules, recruiters are required to gather all available information about a recruit and fill out a medical screening form.

"He was real cocky and he says, 'Well, Jared's an 18-year-old man. He doesn't need his mommy to make his decisions for him.' "

Oh really, Alejandro? You arsehole. Is that so, Sgt Velasco? You shithouse.

So what did you pair of pathetic pillocks surmise some of your superiors may say? Eh?

With the Guinthers' permission, The Oregonian faxed Jared's medical records to the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion commander, Lt. Col. David Carlton in Portland, who on Wednesday ordered the investigation.

The Guinthers said that on Tuesday evening, Cpl. Ansley showed up at their door. They said Ansley stated that he would probably lose his job and face dishonorable discharge unless they could stop the newspaper's story.

Ansley, reached at his recruiting office Thursday, declined to comment for this story.

S. Douglas Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, in Fort Knox, Ky., said he could not comment on specifics of the investigation in Portland.

How the hell can men such as the ones 'The Oregonian' has sought to so deservedly show up, be considered competent to carry out correctly, their sacred duties?

Who the hell -- with even half a heart and/or brain -- could seriously consider a lad like Jared to be competent to carry out the duties seemingly set to soon to be requested of him? Duties upon which would depend Jared's, along with countless comrades' very lives.

What manner of mean spirited men would knowingly and willing connive to combine the life dependency of Jared, so inextricably, with the similarly serious life & death dependency of God knows how many other serving soldiers?

Have things really come to this, in the once so well respected US?

Is the supposed 'super-power' struggling so much that it has to stoop so low?

With all due respect and absolutely no offence intended, neither to Jared nor to any of his nearest & dearest, we absolutely have to say that if this isn't seen as scraping the barrel -- we'd damned well like to learn what is.

Go on over to 'The Oregonian' to see for yourself why every single sane US citizen should start screaming about this sickening story -- from the ruddy rooftops.


07 May 2006

America -- All Set To Get To Hell In A Handbasket -- With General Hayden ...

Well, it looks a lot like the USA in now entering the last chance saloon. Or rather it's citizen's are certainly being herded into it, as Bush is all set to install as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) a Karl Rove look-alike, think-alike and act-alike -- in top brass military uniform.

It's General Michael Hayden. A man who's proved in the recent past - in public and on the record - just what he thinks of the sacred American Constitution's fourth amendment.

And therefore by logical extension, what he thinks of his fellow Americans' supposedly self-evidently, God-given equality. And by further logical extension, one of their most important national and basic civil rights.

This giant leap forward of George's has lain - barely hidden - just beyond the horizon for some considerable time, ans so comes as no surprise to any of those with an IQ even in low double figures. But to those who've been blind to what's been brewing, it should soon sink in exactly how much their ignorance and/or apathy has helped hasten their soon to be experienced, excursion to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Strange how so many still seem so incapable of seeing a sucker-punch coming - even when it's been on it's way in slow motion - since the fateful first day in Florida 2000 when this whole terrible chain of events began proper. By which we mean of course, the rigging of the US Presidential Election's result ~#1.

So from we, your 'wider-awake' friends from today's wider [and wiser] world -- farewell, oh fabled land of the free -- and good luck.

Maybe we'll meet again.

But we won't hold our breath.


05 May 2006

Watching While Bush Watches Colbert ~ or ~ If Looks Could Kill ...


Watching Colbert's comedy routine and the accompanying hilarious, Helen Thomas video caused George W. Bush to blanche - to say the very least.

In fact we heard one witty wag quite confidently claim: "It caused the creep to cringe." And we're here today to confirm to you that we're right with that wag; he called it correctly.

And now you can see what we mean, while you watch what few others have watched -- so far - for a full, fun filled seven minutes & more.

It's Bush watching Colbert. And boy, does this President look pissed off.

Talk about if looks could kill.

Watch and wonder what's going through the mind of the man from the White House.

But be warned -- we're offering no prizes for correct answers. Well, what do you think we are? Crazy?



Then please pass the popcorn. Bring it on, even.

Next, brace yourself.

And now, click the link below and let's all roll.

~ or ~

Btw, a big hat tip to regular reader Mark Abbott, for finding this fantastic footage for us.


02 May 2006

More On The Mission Accomplished Lies - In Words And Pictures ...

Please ensure your speakers are switched on.

Begin by clicking on the arrow centre screen.

Next, listen, watch and weep.

Then, the next move's down to you.

Yes, that's right -- you.

Many thanks are due to our long time, online liberal American blogger friend Michael, for pointing us in the right direction toward YouTube.

Michael blogs regularly at 'Enemy Combatant'.

What's more, Michael blogs well. Very well.
  • *
  • 01 May 2006

    Iraq And Afghanistan: More Bush Lies Laid Bare ...

    Almost three full years have passed since the pompous poseur pictured left prattled his pithy platitudes, from the podium beneath the big banner proudly proclaiming 'Mission Accomplished'.

    And strange as it may seem, several million misled Americans swiftly swallowed his so obviously no brainer, bullshit story. Moreover - swallowed it - hilarious hook, laughable line and simpletons' sinker. Sadly, some barmy Brits and silly others did the same.

    But Bush believed then as he still does today, that old Mr Barnum had been bang on the button - about suckers being born by the minute.

    However, millions more, both at home in the US and also across the entire globe, straight away saw through the snake-oil-salesman-in-chief's load of lies. And since then, several hundred millions more of our planet's people have realised how woefully wrong both Bush and themselves were. But Bush, of course, knew better from the begining, that 99% of what he spouted was sheer unadulterated shit.

    Prior to the pathetic
    pantomime played out on the deck of America's awesome aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, the world-stage-struck principle boy had also acclaimed his complete and unequivocal conquest of Afghanistan.

    And it's actually today's latest media announcements in Britain, about far off and almost forgotten Afghanistan, that has brought about today's 'This Old Brit' blog post.

    By the way, does anyone remember Afghanistan? Well, Afghanistan's agonies are unabated. Moreover, there's rather reliable evidence they've even experienced exacerbation.

    Today, nearly three full years after hearing Bush's brazenly barefaced, pack of bloody all-aboard lies,
    we're told the following about the British Army, by the BBC. And by many, many other impeccable sources; go google to see for yourself.

    UK troops take over Afghan duties

    Commanders say they will make a difference to ordinary Afghans

    A contingent of British forces has taken over security duties in one of the most dangerous Afghan provinces.

    The soldiers have replaced US forces in the Taliban-dominated southern province of Helmand, as part of an expansion of peacekeeping operations by Nato.

    Hundreds of British troops are already in Helmand and the full complement will eventually number more than 3,000.

    The handover comes as US-led coalition forces said they had killed "15-20 enemy fighters" in Helmand on Saturday.

    Control was transferred in a ceremony at a base in the province capital, Lashkar Gah, where a union flag replaced the US flag flying over the site.

    Does that,and the rest of this report sound to you as though things have been sorted over there? Even after all this time?

    And as for Iraq.

    Well, what we'd like you to do, even if only for today, is to forget Faux Fox News for now, and see for yourself something of what's really happening in Iraq -- on a daily blood-bathed basis -- via the excellent 'Today In Iraq' web site.

    'Mission accomplished' Mr Selectedent?

    Don't make us laugh, mate.

    What sodding mission?