Blogjob in chrome
Blogjob - log for the star hip enter-prize

Blogjob was spurred into existence, after ages of previously thinking about it, by the offer of potential prize money in Simon Waldman's column in The Guardian online section.

A compilation of some of the entries from the main website NuGgets column taken since it started. InfinityJunction.com
Authors: EM, StO, NG-1 (the boss and editor of the official column,) NG-2, with occasional ideas from others.
All items are copyright; reproduction by any means in any medium is therefore illegal without
permission and acknowledgement of both source and authorship.
Site written in restricted HTML to allow older computers to read it.

Pick your time period:
last millennium  
(the whole bleeding lot of it in minute detail.)
year 2000  (column only started seriously late in 2000 - includes GWB's squirm to power)
year 2001 - first part  
(more GWB, human genome, and foot-and-mouth)
year 2001 - middle part  
(including Sept 11 eerily foretold, black holes.)
year 2001 - last part  (EM solves global warming... as if. And it's Christmas.)
year 2002 - first part  (includes link to EM's spookily accurate predictions for 2002/3.)
year 2002 - middle part  (designer babies, clever crows, happy hamsters, etc.)
year 2002 - last part  (Nice Treaty, Rallies, Dolly & Bali, + link to '02 rural round up.)
         2003 starts on a new page - Blogjob 2003
         2004 is on yet another page - Blogjob 2004
          headless Thatcher statue with white flag


 

dateline 1000-1999

   Oh come on now! Surely you didn't believe the top menu; did you? (If you did perhaps we can interest you in this investment opportunity: dessert sandwiches with 100% organic sand - surefire winner. Note - the value of your investment might go up as well as down...)
   Look, the word 'blog' didn't exist in current meaning until the last fraction of a percent of that millennium - you'll have to look in the original records and decipher old-fashioned hand-writing, which frankly we can't be arsed to do unless someone pays us.
   (Although actually we don't recommend expending the effort: our office diaries indicate little happened.)

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dateline 2000

New millennium? Whose millennium? - Jan '00
   To certain monks it isn't even Christmas yet; to Buddhists and Jews we're already well into the next millennium, astronomically we're somewhere in the 6th, 7th or even 8th Gillennium, so why make so much fuss over a mere whimsy?
   The answer, of course, is that it's the French's fault; as usual. The only way to boost flagging champagne sales.
   I'll drink to that...    (EM)

Atlantic Divide - the turn of 2000/1
    WHO ARE Hank N. Chad and his pregnant partner Dimples that we heard so much about before Christmas? Is she still pregnant, has she given birth, or was there a miscarriage? Did it pressage a second coming, a saviour; perhaps Mrs.Chad gave birth in a polling booth because there was no room at the Commonsense Inn? - We'll never know: the lawyers saw to that. What would have happened to Jesus if the lawyers had been as powerful then? Probably would never have had time to preach his ways for fighting all those injunctions in court! Now there's a thought, maybe we'd be Lawrians now and read from the Acts of the Lawmakers on Lawmas day...
   Perhaps the truth is hidden by a Bush?    (EM)

   WHO CARES IF-
...       the president elect of the USA can't read long words and hasn't a clue where Albania is? (+¥*)
...       the same man sent two hundred people to be executed? (Which means statistically at least four were likely to be innocent of 1st degree murder.)
...       said president elect is alleged to score 9·0 on the Reactionary scale compared to Hitler at 8·9, Ronald Reagan (allegedly) at 7·2, Ghengis Khan at 8 dead, Margaret Thatcher (allegedly) at 8·7, (who's she? Aren't memories short: Falklands war etc,) and finally Pol Pot at 9·4.
BUT- there is one redeeming feature: Mr. elect president scores almost zero on the Machiavelli scale; doesn't even know what Machiavellian means and certainly couldn't spell it. (By comparison Ronald Reagan was (allegedly) 3·9, Khan was 8 dead again, Hitler was 5·6 and Thatcher {who?} (allegedly) was 7·1.)
   Come back Bill, even you'd be better! (Not Gates.) There's a Monica or two over the pond here in the Old Country who wouldn't mind your moniker! (Allegedly.)
(Bill J. C. scores around 3·1 on the R scale and 7·6 on the M scale (allegedly.))
(Note- Ed has added the "allegedlies," okay?)
      (+¥* You go to Bari in south-east Italy, jump in a boat, set the compass for due east and go, but watch out for all those Albanians coming the other way!) (For pres-elec GWB- Italy is near an American air base so you can ask a general where it is.)
   DON'T get me wrong: I'm not anti-Republican; more like anti-politician, anti-lawyers fiddling in business that isn't theirs and especially anti politically motivated judiciary. It's a great shame those old statesmen who drafted the various constitutions made it so difficult to right obvious wrongs - like the man with the most votes losing. Land of the free? Not obvious from our side of the Atlantic - at all. We may not like those elected in the Old World, nor even the election system, but at least we know all our votes will be counted.   (EM)

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dateline 2001 - first part

Global warming - no problem. By Evelyn Murray.
   Now let's see if I've got this right: too much rain and floods in Europe; high unemployment in the ex communist block; droughts and starvation in Africa.
   Build an enormous aqueduct. Drain Europe into Africa, after all it's downhill. Unemployment solved too. One slight drawback, all those illegal immigrants walking into Europe.
   Oh what the hell, they do that anyway.

USA 2001. By Stew the Oil.
There was a guy at the surgery desk having a minor argument with the receptionist- it went something like this:
   "No, no, my opthalmist said I definitely have to see a doctor."
   "But Mr. Bush we don't deal in animal by-products... especially not fictional ones."
   "But I can't see in the dark."
   "You probably need some vitamin A."
   "The optician said come to you, my Soylent Green definitely isn't working."
   "Your... Oh, hang on! I think you mean visual purple."
   "Same difference ain't it?"
   "As close as Iraq and Idaho."
   "That's fine then."

From Feb 2001
   To the average US citizen, who still hasn't realised that the US is likely soon to be outranked both in terms of economy and global political power by the new Europe, the 'election' of right-wing GWB as their president is likely to be a bad move in the long term. Let me explain why...
   You see Europe is somewhat divided, although when it does finally come together as a cohesive unit, (especially if western parts of the old Soviet block such as the Czech Republic and Poland join up, as seems likely,) then the US will pale into the background compared to this new super-economy. Now several key nations are wavering. Britain is one of the waverers. And one of the biggest problems the UK has to overcome before it can join, is the problem of a comparatively weak euro. (The new European currency.) This is where GWB and the UK interact. It is a fact, (not very significant to the average American, but actually very important,) that the US dollar and the UK pound tend to react in similar ways to money market changes. It is also a fact that the UK pound tends to be in the middle of that piece of elastic which brings the euro and the dollar occasionally closer and before stretching again.
   So what of GWB's administration? The dollar has dropped against the euro, (most money analysts realise he has hasn't a clue,) shortening the elastic and bringing the pound closer to the euro- just what those European bankers need to persuade the Brits that they should join up. So the European currency and the UK pound converge in relative value, it becomes easier and more advantageous for Britain to join the European monetary system; this makes the euro more stable and attracts the other waverers like Denmark and maybe even Norway to join as well.
   Suddenly the euro is strong. Meanwhile the dollar becomes a smaller player in the global market and sinks even more. Peripheral countries like Turkey and Israel, who have already approached to EC to see if they could join too, suddenly have an added incentive to make their considerable economies part of the biggest in the world, pushing the US even further into the background.
   Sounds good for Europe and bad for the US. But it is never that straightforward: there is still a chance that Bush's administration will fall foul of their zero majority and ill feeling about the way the election was 'won.' Only time will tell. Meanwhile if you're a gambling sort, put your money on Europe while its fledgeling currency is still low.    Stew,  ©infinityjunction.com

On mice and men, mapping the Human Genome, by Evelyn Murray.
   Ha! So we're only twice as complex as a mouse, so says Celera. No surprise to me. The little b*ggers run riot round my rustic dwelling, despite all those traps.
   Some years back I lived in a 14th century farmhouse. Mice; oh yes! We bought mouse traps, we bought more mouse traps, we bought bigger mouse traps; we caught more and bigger mice. Then one night after the larder had been despoiled for the umpteenth time we decided to shoot them. We borrowed 3 airguns, put down bait in the middle of the kitchen floor under a dim lamp, then waited. And waited. Eventually one came to the bait. Bang, twabb, b-bang, ping, ptunngg! Three holes in the lino, a ricochet dent in a kitchen cupboard door, bait everywhere; mouse lived to squeak the tale.
   Maybe I should move to a city high-rise. Er, no thanks. Guess I'll just keep chasing and cussing the little half-humans.

Easter in the Country. By Evelyn Murray
   Spring's a'comin', season of fluffy bunnies and baa-lambs. Ah, well not actually, not here anyway. You see in Britain, the home of Infinity Junction, we have something of an animal disease problem: myxomatosis in rabbits and foot-and-mouth in sheep. Bang go the Easter fluffies; or rather crackle-crackle-smoke-smoke in the case of the lambs. Foot-and-mouth is the Gandhi strain: causes severe pain in the sandals and fasting for long periods, and it's said to have come from the Indian sub-continent. Myxie's origins are not so clear, but it may have been an endemic strain, which due to all those foxes that the hunting lobby tell us are such a menace, had not reached sufficient population levels for it to be epidemic. Now of course, with hunting by dogs about to outlawed here, we'll probably have a dozen extra foxes each year to add the millions strong population.
   Poor rabbits- they lose either way.
   Meanwhile, the livestock industry, already crippled by BSE and falling prices, has to become even more intensive to make ends meet. More stocking density- faster disease spread. It's a vicious circle that no government can either afford to ignore, or actually afford to fix, properly. No wonder farmers are topping themselves in ever increasing numbers.
   At least Easter helps egg sales to pick up... unless there's another salmonella scare.

Name That June. (UK general election- expected to be June.)
   Elections: don't you just love'em... not.
   That little "muppet" as Sophie Wessex called him, Wee Willy Vague says the first trite thing that comes into his head, regardless that it's the opposite of what he said last year, and Tony Oh-So-Serious-and-Caring-To-Look-At but really rather dangerous Blah, has a hidden Euro-agenda that he daren't admit to. Now me, personally, myself don't give a monkey's whether we go headlong into Europe or not, but I do hate it when it is so obvious that the mouth says one thing and brain means something else.
   So for those enduring politiboritis: what they really mean -
   "There is no evidence..." = cannot find any other good reason to deny what is patently obvious.
Remember quite a few years back the government education minister of the day saying: 'there is no evidence that class size in schools affects pupil performance.' So that's why it is now a manifesto pledge of every major party to reduce class sizes in British schools, eh?
   "Let me turn that question on its head..." = if I answer it directly, you'll realise I'm a liar.
   "There are challenges ahead..." = we can't do it at all.
   "We have an agreement in principle..." = not one that will work.
   "There is no threat to peaceful nations" = unless we look like losing the next election.
   "The economy is in good hands..." = mine and I'm taking a 10% commission.
   "I was in a meeting then..." = having it off with my secretary.
   "Time a younger person took over..." = been offered a plum directorship.
   "Standing down at the next election..." = before my luck runs out.
   "I want to spend more time with my family" = been found out and sacked.

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middle part of 2001

Education, education, edu... by the editor
Question recently asked of British pupils in a national geography exam -
   "A farmer in Cumbria is having trouble diversifying. Explain why this may be so and suggest solutions."
   I hope and expect that this was written before a large proportion of Cumbria's livestock were culled due to rampant foot and mouth disease. As the teacher who told me said: "Dead sheep there, dead pig here, dead cows all over the place."
   Guess that's full marks to the exam board.

Black Holes by Evelyn Murray
   So much fuss recently in the more scientific end of the press about discovering black holes and how awesome that is. Well did you know we've got our own black hole at the centre of our galaxy? Oh wow! Mind you don't put your finger in it.
   Look fellas it's been there a hell of a long time so stop getting all uppity. As far as I'm concerned, the black holes we should be more worried about right now are those in the economies of certain Third World countries duped or tempted into massive loans in second half of last century.
   Each to his own I suppose; banks to their profits, poor people to scraping a living against the odds - or not in some cases,
and astronomers with space in their heads.

Name That June Update
   The Americans amused us last year with their election fiasco, (which I believe is still being investigated in Florida,) and now our elections in Britain are over too. Thank goodness.
   The only amusing thing to come out of it was to see just how badly Wee Willy went down with the electorate; the least believed leader of any major party since Harold Wilson. Margaret Thatcher started a war to keep her going well past sell-by date. Nobody would take Hague seriously if he declared war on them - of course now he's giving up. Perhaps it will knock some of the right-wing stuffing out of the Tories and allow sensible policies that people actually care about. Nah, next man's likely to be Portillo; almost as far right. Lucky other parties!
   As for Blah, well he's there for a while; the real question left is - will any of the promises be kept?

Global warming - no problem. Second solution. By Evelyn Murray.
   Now let's see if I've got this right. Global warming: jungle being burned; atmosphere getting hotter; deserts spreading; ice-caps melting. Well why don't we solve the problem by towing that ice to Amazonia before it's all gone? It would melt there, flood the rain forest, put out the fires, flush away the loggers, cool the atmosphere and hey presto! Within few hundred-thousand years we'd be back to square one.

Nnnnnn! Silly season TV
   Inane plunkety music plays as middle-aged tart walks on stage. Announcer: "Gayle Cleavage presents Blankety Brain. Tonight starring as panelists are: Brian Dismal" (cheers) "Olde Poofe" (cheers) "Witty Gayperson" (screams) "Sope Starr" (cheers) "Faded Idol" (muted cheers) "and Bimbo Blonde" (Ecstatic whoops.)
GC, (for it is she,) into microphone: "And our first contestants - Boring Officeman who once took his trousers off in public. Ooh." (applause) "And Silly Housewife who only married her present husband after a hoax letter said he'd won a million dollars." (guffaws and applause.)
   It's SO predictable. I might just go and find a street riot somewhere for a bit of stimulation. If TV companies realised just how bad their output is these days, with formulaic US rubbish and corny, badly acted dramas, they could change their ways and all those summer riots might just evaporate.
   Roll on this years University Challenge or repeats of Shooting Stars, yet again. (At least South Park is back... now there's intelligence compared to above - IQ 80+: amazing for a US show.)

Global warming - no problem. Third solution by Evelyn Murray.
   Some people say it's greenhouse gases, others that sheep and cattle are to blame, (well I can understand that; never trust a cow to hold its wind,) yet another group think it's a natural cycle, like ice ages and the length of shorts. If it is carbon dioxide, then get those genetic boffins to stop messing about with crops and breed CO2 fixing microbes with a bigger appetite for the pesky gas. If it is methane from cattle belching, breed cows that can compress the stuff so then it can be used to generate electricity for the labs breeding CO2 consuming bugs. If it is a cycle, get off the saddle and break the chain.

(Typical EM, can't be the Drambuie again, surely not? Ed.)

Notice - the next article was first posted 10 days or so before the tragic events in New York and elsewhere in the USA. It was removed from the official website for some weeks as a mark of respect to victims and their families. As you will see it was remarkably prophetic...
Economic Refugees - No Problem. A cunning plan by Evelyn Murray
   It's happening all over the English speaking world: England particularly, but also Australia and USA prime targets. People trying to enter illegally, I mean. The trouble is England is already pretty full up- an official population of nearly 47 million crammed into an area about the size of Cuba, which has a population around 7 million, or North Island New Zealand, with a population of around 3 million, and you can see why. And UK government officials finally admitted recently that there were over a million illegal immigrants in the UK, hiding from the authorities. It doesn't take a great mind to realise that a lot of very different people have to live pretty close together. Add that to the facts that English speaking nations are amongst the richest and a lot of 'refugees' speak at least some English, being the most widely spoken single language in the world, and you can understand it. Unfortunately it puts a massive strain on social services and when our own less well-off citizens see refugees housed and fed for free, it causes a lot of tension.
   It isn't a problem when it's just a trickle, but right now it's a tidal wave, hundreds every single day. It wouldn't be problem if these were all genuine refugees fleeing in fear of their safety, but 80% are in fact just looking for state hand-outs from an over-generous country like England. In cases where people are clearly in danger, such as when England took thousands from Kosovo during the war there, most citizens welcomed the refugees. Mind you most of them did go back home again.
   But Evelyn Murray has a cunning plan. Start World War 3, then they would be genuine refugees. Can't see why the government hasn't already thought of it- a word or two in Bush's ear should suffice; look out Afghanistan, guess who's first bet for a Bush broadside.

After New York. By guest contributor, Stew the Oil.
   As anyone who works in the oil industry will tell you, business goes on whatever the cost of crude.
   And the price of oil is set to rise as speculators buy forward to protect themselves from the possible effects of retaliation for the horrific events at the World Trade Center. The US economy, already unstable as a result of the technology industry slowdown, is likely to suffer from this immense disruption and prices of many commodities will rise, fuelling inflation.
   I've said this before, but it is still true, that the average US citizen hardly realises, (RealiZes for our US readers,) that there is a very big world beyond the boundaries of the U.S. of A. The global economy is not strong at present, south-east Asia still hasn't recovered from its burst bubble, Japan and US suffering from over-emphasis on technology products, and so on. In the Old World however, the seat of original power and money, European nations are at last pulling together financially and the launch of the euro currency in a few weeks time will make a huge single market that is probably the most stable in the world today and almost certainly will be in the next few years.
   And so it seems we go full circle with Europe likely to be the safest financial zone in the world - that took 150 years, or so. Let's hope the next 150 years will be less traumatic.

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dateline 2001 - last part

Global Warming - No Problem. Fourth solution by Evelyn Murray.
   As I understand it, ultra-violet comes down and infra-red tries to go back up, but can't. Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but can't we just reduce the amount of U-V arriving? Obviously not enough people, animals and buildings wear Ray-Bans. Perhaps if the government put a subsidy on sunglasses things might get better.

(That's what ozone's supposed to do. It is the Drambuie. Ed.)

Global Warming - No Problem - part 5 by Evelyn Murray
   Okay editor clever-clogs - so it's ozone that needs to be beefed up a bit. You get ozone from the seaside and photocopiers; be a bit difficult to send them up into space... I mean the seaside is sort of big and might spill on the way up, and you'd need one hell of an extension cable for the photocopiers. But I have a cunning plan. How about starting a few thunderstorms up there? Lightning - see? Get those shuttle boys to seed the upper atmosphere with rain-making crystals as they go past.

The Euro. By Stew the Oil.
   The 'euro' is upon us! Yup.
   The WHAT?
   I bet if you asked most Americans what it was, they'd think it's a new Disney or something. Trouble is, many British people are hardly aware of it, at best those who do know either don't care or actively dislike the idea. Well, a euro looks a bit like the UK 2 pound coin, but it's exactly the size of a one pound coin. Now here's an interesting thought: many slot machines like supermarket trolleys that you have to put pounds in to use, will accept euros. And what's a euro worth? About the same as a US dollar, (no coincidence!) And what's a pound worth? A lot more. In other words those who finally do get their hands on euro coins, will be able to run at a tidy profit at some stores, putting euros in the trolley taken from outside and taking out pounds from that trolley you transfer shopping into at the checkout. Just like one of our local stores - I wonder if they realise?

Small World - Small Minds? By the editor
   Infinity Junction is based at the rural western edge of a largish borough in Cheshire which includes the UK's largest oil refinery at the eastern end. Its local free newspaper has already been mentioned in this column before because, for a small circulation paper, it's damn good. Usually the Ellesmere Port Standard has headlines of purely local concern, another factory closure, a nasty car crash, occasionally even something about our relatively remote neck of the woods, but after the New York disaster it had on the front page, unusually in full colour, a dramatic picture of a Boeing 767 just about to plough into that stark steel, glass and concrete skyscraper tower. That shows what sort of an impact it made at the time.
   It's amazing how short people's memories are though. Now we have MPs and councillors both in England and Wales campaigning to stop just retaliation against terrorist organisations. Lunacy! While I intensely dislike violence of all sorts, there is a time when continuing debate is self-defeating; that time is now. To give up trying when you are half way there is to give up, full stop- just look at what Saddam has done since Kuwait for proof of how foolish that course of action would be. To protect us all, and our children, the terrorists must be completely disbanded absolutely as soon as possible. If that means bombing the Taleban, then reluctantly I say: so be it. (Any of you who have read the novel Infinity Junction will know that I don't have any Christian, nor any other religious axe to grind, so there is no anti-Muslim motive. And I'm certainly not a reactionary right-winger. It's plain common sense.)
   To the knockers I say: just shut up for a while and do something useful at home - that's what you were elected for.
Sorry to be serious for once; but this is serious.

HO HO HO oh no, by Evelyn Murray
   Shops full of tat from September onwards these days - Christmas of course.
   Drunken office parties; fun at the time, but did I really do that? Ho ho ho and Jingle-Bells in shopping malls; ugh! Time to relax in front of the telly with family; hummm, not all those repeats again. Socks from Granny; as usual. Piles of Xmas dinner and fizz; excellent - but spare a thought for those who can't. Peace and goodwill to all.
   One year maybe.

Winter Dreams Down Under
   This is the time of year I reserve for hating Ozzies - why? Well in Darkest Cheshire we have merely 7 hours or so of daylight on Christmas Day, that's less than about 6 hours of actual sun you could see, if it isn't too overcast. And it has a habit of throwing rain or sleet diagonally at unwary souls on a force 6 gale straight off the Welsh mountains - guaranteed to soak and freeze simultaneously any time from November through to April. Just the thing when you've a hangover from Hogmanay celebrations. Meanwhile our Australian relatives sizzle gently by their barbies and our European neighbours enjoy winter sports in crisp dry air. So you see it is pure jealousy.
   However matters are different in our summer; late June sees at least 20 hours of daylight here and usually outdoor temperatures around a temperate 16C - close to what Oz has in Melbourne at the same time. We even have the heating turned off. So then it's us basking in high summer and them freezing in winter... Er hang about - surely that can't be right - their winter as warm as our summer?
   I wonder if I'm too old to emigrate? A trip round the world first - always wanted to see ancient sites of Egypt and Mesopotamia; get a suntan too. Then perhaps India by steam train. A small boat cruise later, via Indonesia sounds nice; what's that bloody great warship doing? Nauru? My ticket clearly says Australia... What do you mean, no boat people...
   Guess I'll just have to dream until summer, with luck it'll be a good one, at least three days hot enough to sit out on the patio. Fresh Welsh lamb chops on my barbie; delicious. Ah; forgot - no lambs left after foot and mouth. Get the NZ ones out of the freezer someone. Now our Kiwi cousins... wonder what it's like there? Can't be all that far from Nauru...

EM has made some more uncanny predictions for 2002/3 - it's a whole page so we've separated it;  click here to find out how true they've been so far.

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dateline 2002 - first part

Dont forget to check out EM's whole page of predictions
- click me.

Quickies - by Stew the Oil
   Those who have read some of my past comments will know that I've never been impressed by the wisdom of GWB. Watching TV recently I saw a clip of George Bush senior while he was president: "Using illegal drugs is against the law," he proclaimed pompously. George, look up 'illegal' in the dictionary. If you can read.
   On a completely different subject but just as tactless. - Many of you will have seen the forest fire pictures coming from around Sydney over Christmas and into January. Well I overheard this at the oil refinery canteen:
   "What! Charlie? You didn't ask him to do it surely: he couldn't organise a barbecue in a Sydney suburb!" (Guffaws all round.)

Global Warming - No Problem (yet again)
   Now let me get this straight. Arctic ice cap melting; big pool of cold water acting as a wall and diverting the North Atlantic Drift away from Europe and up to Iceland, Vatnayökull melting too as a result.
   Cold water sinks right?
   So make a big pipe from the Arctic Ocean, point it down towards the tropics and let the water flow of its own accord. Coral reefs cool down and are saved from certain death. That cold block of sea drains away and the current swings back to its original course bringing all that Caribbean warm air to us in the UK. And the hurricanes.

Politicians are Good for You -
   GW (give us huge donation and we'll scrap Kyoto) Bush has his foibles; no brains, but foibles. Doesn't he make us laugh over here in Europe! But he's pretty sane compared to some! Look at Italy's Burlesconi for one, he makes Bush look positively saintly!
   Speaking of saints, we we have are own twits here in England too; Saint Blair for one. Now I have nothing against him personally, he seems honest and eager - but he doesn't listen. For example nearly every poll in the last year has come down strongly against more privatisation, well after the railways and buses you would have thought he'd seen the disaster. Blair obviously doesn't use either trains or buses because he's hell-bent on privatising almost everything in sight. It'll be you next. Your shareholders will cream off your profit so you'll have work until 75 to pay for your pension. It's coming.
   Looking on the upside, where would we be without them? You see they fulfil a vital function - that of punchbag for our frustrations, even if they do cause some of them. Without Saint Tony and the Cronies the Conservative party would have no-one to pick holes in, then they'd actually have to work out some policies to talk about instead. And in the local shop there'd be no common cause to chat about, unless there'd been a murder nearby. It could even cause the breakdown of verbal communication; God, it'd be like London streets all over the place. What a thought! I feel a sudden reprieve coming on for politicians. Hang about, that gives me an idea - what did I say about a local murder... Amazing how people get together when something serious happens.
   So there is a use for politicians.

Street crime - no problem - a new series - by Evelyn Murray
   I've had so many attempts at curing the problem of global warming, you'd think at least one of my ideas would have been tried by now. Wouldn't you? Nevertheless, undaunted I go on to a new issue.
   Car crime is down officially, but mugging and robbery are up. Obvious! The answer is to go by car. Then the footpads will only have each other to mug: justice done at no expense to the tax payer.
   Why don't politicians and police see things that clearly?

Beckham for President - it's about football - (soccer for US friends)
   Everyone Englishman knows that David Beckham is the best footballer in the world.
   Trouble is nobody seems to have told those Brazilian lads.
   In a match that really should have been the World Cup final England did okay, better in fact than the freakily fortunate German finalists who were given precedence over the UK, even though England beat them 5-1 in the very same season they were given what should have been our seeding. Frankly Brazil were a tad lucky to win. It could very easily have been England, especially as we had far more far-eastern local support than them.
   Now if all the separate national teams within Britain could stop old rivalries and pull together to make a UK team...

Tit for Tat? - by Stew the Oil
   First it's steel GWB moans about, now its Europe taking away his satellite navigation monopoly. Oh dear, how sad can a president get when there are elections looming?
   You see Europeans are to launch 30 of their own 'Galileo' GPS replacement satellites so they can be free of interference by any possible petulant US politician, like Bush, when things aren't going his way. It just so happens that the Europeans want to be, and are sensible to be, independent. It also happens that the Galileo system will have a resolution of 1 metre or less. Better than GPS by quite a margin.
    To make matters even worse, Europe has just launched 'EnviroSat' which also has a very high resolution. Better than most US spy satellites! The problem is, European data will be available to 'reputable' research scientists and environmentalists from almost everywhere in the world.
   US military are suddenly aware that two of their most powerful tools are no longer an advantage: after all, Galileo will be freely available world-wide and USA cannot turn any part of it off, also there are 'reputable' environmentalists who would be quite happy to sell or even give away EuroSpy, oh, er sorry, EnviroSat pictures to almost anyone.
   Look, the US does not have a monopoly on technology and never has done. About time USA realized there was a bigger world than Kansas, or Washington, or Texas.
   And it's largely just as advanced.

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second part of 2002

Wall Street Cash by the editor
   Some time back our guest writer Stew the Oil said: "buy euros" to our American friends. We had the odd derisory E-mail saying that the euro was a lame duck. Apparently socialist-leaning Europe was no place to do business. The euro would sink and be abandoned. Enron. WorldCom. Andersen. Now possibly dozens of others whose agressive get-rich-stay-rich policies lead to 'economy with the truth.' Or 'white man speak with forked tongue,' as some red-faced executive once said. Fraud as most commentators see it. Dollar down, euro up; dollar ± euro, euro ± dollar. One more just half-blown financial scandal... well just who is the lame duck?
   You can talk it up as much as you like, but eventually you run out of puff.
   George Ugly-Face-of-Capitalism Bush and his ultra-rich cronies should admit they're wrong and quit.
   Sorry there's no belly-laugh joke or patent irony in this article - except that the arch supporter of keeping the rich rich at all costs, seems to have cost his country rather a lot... and his friends are not so rich now.
  That's the irony.

(Stew works for Shell; they've just been implicated as well, so he couldn't write this.)

Street crime - no problem - part 2 - by Evelyn Murray
   Gun crime - shootings, robberies, post office raids etc - is at an all-time high. And this is in a country that introduced some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Hand guns are all illegal for non-service personnel. Obviously making hand guns illegal has not worked; having an illegal weapon simply adds to their status. So why not re-legalise them? Better still, give them away free. Street-cred zero. I mean when they started giving away free condoms to teenagers, the pregnancy rate actually went up. So it therefore follows that fewer boys were using them. Doesn't it?

A Lot of Wind - by Stew the Oil
   It's sort of ironic that just a matter of minutes by helicopter away from that source of sulphur polluted gas that burns in a power station upwind of us in Wales, (it wouldn't have got planning permission in England,) is going to be Britain's largest wind-farm.
   It's even more ironic that there were so many objections to it. After all, that part of Liverpool Bay isn't exactly a major seaway, nor is it a major yacht cruising area.
   Further south in Wales some months back there was outrage at the proposal to build a wind-farm on farmland. Wreck the natural landscape etc. These are quite probably the same people who peer in delight at old-fashioned wooden windmills when they go on holiday. Non-polluting, almost free power, brilliant! Let's have wind-farms everywhere. Places of high wind. Westminster, Washington DC, the Ali G show. Seriously, when all those coastal nuclear plants reach the end of their days, how about those sites too?

Saddam Saga - by the editor
   There's old Saddam on the telly laughing out loud at suggestions he's interested in weapons of mass destruction. "Iraq is a peaceful nation." Who's he kidding? Kuwait. Gassing the Kurds. The super-gun. Anthrax. Plutonium and other potential bomb parts. Ex soviet military research scientists by the score. Now a significant defector claims Iraq will have three nuclear bombs ready by 2005.
   Saddam is one of the wiliest men on the world stage, he is also one of the most determined, ruthless dictators for many generations. One can only speculate what might have happened if he'd taken over a more powerful country, USA for example.
   The problem is that it's likely to be the Yanks who make the first strike. Now we all know how gung-ho they are. Britain lost more men to US bombs than to Iraqi army action in the last do. I expect Saddam is looking forwards to the next one.

        PS - Since the above was written many moves have been made, many statements uttered and many interviews given. One of the most chilling comments to be heard was from Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz - THREE TIMES in a short interview he quoted "Religious Duty" in regard to fighting Americans. And this is from supposedly one the more secular states in the Arab world. Who's stirring the most trouble I wonder. Make your own mind up about that: it's a close call. Brrr!

The Ethics of Ethics - by the editor
   A couple whose infant son has a rare form of leukaemia have had to resort to US private clinics to get that best chance of a matching-stem-cell new baby, with which they hope to cure the one who will otherwise die. Of course it involves a certain amount of human interference, not exactly genetic engineering, but some see it like that; "designer babies" the popular media says.
   Those who make such decisions in the UK have a very difficult task as the law here gives them a little leeway on the subject of ethics, so they have to work it out for themselves; "ethically."
   So what about these ethics? There's a problem. Law is law. Even in Britain's archaic system of law the situation is usually plain. Ethics is... well ethics is what people think or expect. Which means very little if you don't follow conventional wisdom. Designer babies are not conventional; until a few years ago they were pure sci-fi. In these circumstances who can say for certain what is ethical and what isn't? Which calls in to question the ethics of ethics itself.
   Our Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority pontificates with no real logical foundation to start from. Do they take account of religious views, or scientists, or do they just read the tabloid newspapers. Not one of these, in fact nobody at all has a patent on truth. So where's the logic in denying a life-saving opportunity? Hey look, it's not making monsters or clones, the child, if it is ever born, will be the true genetic offspring.
   This couple and their poor son, and anyone else who might find themselves in a similar situation, are pretty much up shit creek while we still have reactionaries or old biddies in the HFaEA. I mean to say - conservative, some would say morally old-fashioned USA more forward thinking than us. Doh!

   PS: since this was written the UK government has allowed the setting up of an "embryo bank"
for stem cell research, something president Bush of the USA banned on moral grounds...
    Here's an ethical paradox if ever there was one! Let's stop playing God and get human.

Stone the Crows - by Evelyn Murray
   Ooh Betty! (To coin a phrase.)
   Now fellas don't go a rantin and raven, but this professor guy has just discovered that animals are clever! Maybe he's never lived in the country and seen the various tricks foxes and squirrels do to get food. Well his laboratory crow, Betty, has worked out how to bend wire to fish meat out of a cylinder. No, not fish-meat; fishing hook.
   Now what sort of a bloke spends his time watching a tame crow? Well apparently Prof. Kacelnik and chums thinks this bird understands basic laws of physics. Hey, what's so incredible? After all it can bloody well fly!
   Beak that.

Ham and Eggs - August Holiday Extra!
   Nibbles the hamster has made the headlines! Silly season eh?
   But what makes this episode so amazing is not the press's usual frenzy, but the fact that the bus company who asked its owner to pay for the hamster to travel has had to re-write it's policy... for hamsters!
   Actually the policy is a bit tongue in cheek, but that's not the point. The point is they decided that they needed a specific policy for that sort of animal.
   Now if there's one for hamsters, why not one for pet birds, or eggs? "Excuse me madam, are those eggs pets or shopping?"

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2002 - last part of 2002

Turned Out Nice Again - by the editor
   The European Community is ridiculed by its knockers, sometimes with good reason, more often not. But even as a slightly more pro-European than anti, I get a sense of unease about expansion, at least in the very near future. You see, most would-be entrants, Poland and Hungary for example, are skewed in their economies towards agriculture. One cannot help wondering if it isn't just the EC's ridiculous farm subsidies they're after.
   Britain, Holland and Denmark have some of the most efficient farms in the world; the question is, why should they subsidise inefficiency? That includes the French, not just eastern countries.
   Now with Ireland about to vote on the Nice Treaty, (again,) we come pretty much to crunch time. Perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad thing if the Irish rejected the plan.
   Then Nice would have to be re-negotiated and perhaps a little more pragmatism could be injected into the brains of European idealists who come up with such plans. And to CAP it all, it would also give the existing members more time to knock heads together over Common Agriculture Policy.

Rallies - Sad Facts - by Stew the Oil
   For fox hunting - 450,000. Against war on Iraq - 150,000. (Even fewer in France, by far.)
   Car rallying - Ford lost. Citroën win - Colin McCrae. (Another Brit going to drive for France!)
   FTSE index (shares) Daft Friday - falls, rallies, crashes, rallies - one Swiss company and another German bank, 100 million UK pounds down the spout. Time taken: 2 minutes!
   The last great British bicycle factory uproots to the Far East - Raleigh. Nottingham is a sadder place now.

Dolly Good Show; Bali Awful - by Evelyn Murray
   So Dolly the cloned sheep's creator now wants to start on humans. The question that immediately springs to mind is clone who?
   With terrorism still rearing it's ugly head, perhaps the answer is Osama. Keep Osama-2 in the lab, feed him world news and see where he intends to strike next. Then stop it.
   Simple.

Feeling Deflated - by the editor
   Japan officially in recession. London worrying. US big businesses shitting themselves...
   So why is deflation such a worry? Basically it's because unfettered capitalism is showing its weaknesses. Without inflation at just the right level, finances don't work in capitalism - unless it's modified and moderated. There is a ceiling to what the world as a whole will accept: it sees top echelons as greedy. But USA and GWB and pals in particular worship money. The idea of getting less rich is anathema.
   What happened to good old fashioned equality, as espoused by many religions, and come to that, the basic premiss of democracy?

Didn't Turn Out Nice Again - Evelyn Murray responds to a previous article - with hindsight
   Euro-subsidies; don't you just love 'em. (Don't answer that: it might put some Brussells bureaucrats out of work.)
   Well apparently the Irish do - hence that vote.
   As I see the problem - bleeding efficient systems dry to bolster the inefficient. Take a lesson from Zimbabwe and expel all the efficient farmers and let the jobless take a quarter hectare each to live off. Less dole money to pay out. Retire all those fat-cat board directors and give their jobs to those ex-farmers; probably be much better at it at a fraction of the salaries. And of course all the farms would be equal then, nobody could be bled and everyone would qualify for subsidies.
   Simple.

The last entries for 2002 are rather different and are therefore stored elsewhere - go to NuGgets last for 2002

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2003 starts on a new page - Blogjob 2003-on - first entry includes predictions for 2003 from Nimodamus.


That's all so farboggler-blog-blog


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