All entries for July 2008

July 29, 2008

This is the Junk Mail crossing the border…

I was sent this very clever update of the W H Auden classic….

This is the Junk Mail crossing the border
Delivered by truck now, that’s the order
None of it wanted, all of it waste
All of it tinged with commercial distaste
Delivering catalogues all unsolicited
Names on the mailing list slyly elicited
“Yearly subscription” – that’s the refrain
“Take out a loan or a time-share in Spain”
Unwanted brochures shrouded in plastic
Thousands of leaflets bound by elastic

All come unbidden, a waste of a trip
Bound for the landfill, bound for the tip
All come by lorries pounding the highways
Blocking the ring road and clogging the by-ways
No more will the Night Mail arrive at the station
Derailed by the forces of privatisation

“Victorian problem – Victorian answer”?
That is an insult to the service they ran, sir
Imagine old Isambard taking this tack
“Sorry we’re late sir, leaves on the track”!
Now, gone is the romance
Gone is the snobbery
The twenty-first century’s Greatest Train Robbery
So while we’re asleep the postman is driving
And the profits of shareholders quietly thriving
To bring us material for which none of us asked
To redress the balance is how we are tasked
Here comes the postman rounding the block
Here comes the postman, here comes his knock
With quickening heart I leap from my bunk
“Anything interesting, dear?”
“Nothing, just junk!”


July 21, 2008

Everyone knows mobiles are not allowed in petrol stations, but…

Petrol stations everywhere are plastered with warnings about not using mobile phones on petrol station forecourts lest a caller inadvertently blow the place up. Yet has it ever actually been done? I don’t recall ever hearing of anyone actually having been seen starting a fire with a mobile phone.

Static electricity seems a much more dangerous thing, yet there are few if any signs saying beware static electricity, or of the need to electrically ground yourself:

Yet anyone who has put their phone next to their in car radio will have heard the interference, and this is a known issue in military circles where every effort is made to avoid Electromagnetic Interference which is generally reckoned to have caused the accidental firing of a missile on an aircraft carrier off Vietnam causing several deaths. Modern planes are subjected to every test manufacturers can think of. Closer to home, a car’s ignition coils are shielded to prevent interference with the car radio.

So I find myself wondering… is this phone thing an urban myth to stop people rebooting fuel pump computers so that they don’t have to pay for their petrol?


July 18, 2008

For soldiers everywhere…

I don’t normally do poetry, or if I do, then it’s normally throw away limericks. But I got a bit serious elsewhere in a limerick forum and I repost here…

I killed a man
In another land
Then home I came
Not seeking shame
Over what we did in the sand

Though I killed a man
In another land
I just wanted support
It wasn’t in sport
Just part of the battle plan

We killed many men
Cared not who or when
But they keep us away
Treat us with dismay
Those men who just hold a pen

We want people to be inspired
All the time, not just when required
But old soldiers want peace
For the fighting to cease
We don’t want to be dead, just retired

When we return
For the rest that we earn.
Watch silent when we pass
Wait respectfully ‘til the last,
And allow us the peace which we yearn


July 16, 2008

British Justice is the best in the world

Ask any British person and they will tell you it is so.

Clearly we do it so much better than dirty Johnny Foreigner which is the reason we look down our noses at those barbarians overseas whenever they catch one of our nationals breaking their laws, and try to get them home with all speed lest they somehow become the victim of an automatic miscarriage of justice…

But is that necessarily true, or is it just good old fashioned nationalism?

I asked a couple of friends from other countries about this, and they tell me that people in their country say that their own national system of justice is the best in the world and they look down their noses at other people’s, including our own in this great country of ours….

It would be an interesting exercise, I think, to try to work out whose is the best. When people say one country’s system is better, what they usually mean is it is least corrupt, or least brutal to those accused of a crime. Justice has to be seen to work fairly and openly else people lose confidence in it and take matters into their own hands.


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