Sunday, December 28, 2008

How did we get in this subprime mortgage mess?

Obviously all those Harvard MBAs couldn't be wrong. Could they?

“I’d lie if I said every piece of documentation was properly signed and dated,” said Mr. Parsons, speaking through wire-reinforced glass at a California prison near here, where he is serving 16 months for theft after his fourth arrest — all involving drugs.

While Mr. Parsons, whose incarceration is not related to his work for WaMu, oversaw a team screening mortgage applications, he was snorting methamphetamine daily, he said.

read more

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Message from This Blogger

Just made the once-yearly visit to Church. The good thing with being Catholic is that the service is exactly the same every week, so you know you'll be out in exactly 45 minutes (or 1 hour if there's singing)

Anyway as usual there was the sermon about not being materialistic, followed by what for me is the most spiritually moving part of the mass, namely when the collecting tin is passed round.

Times are hard in the Catholic church. The subprime mortgage fiasco has caught the Vatican Bank on the hop; some cardinals in Rome are down to their last Jacuzzi, and the supermodels are beginning to stay away from what they call 'the pontiff circuit'.

Not only that but the Church continues to hemorrhage money in settlements to people who have been abused by its priests. Only last week I heard of a congregation shocked by news that their trusty deacon had been discovered with twenty young boys playing bingo in the nude. His excuse was that they were feeling "hot".

I give the last word to the brilliant Rowan Atkinson. Some time ago, the BBC in the UK had an obligation to show some vaguely religious content every Sunday night. They had a show called 'Songs of Praise' where the TV cameras visited some dismal parish or other. Here's Rowan's take on it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How could this possibly have ended badly?

Tom Cruise as German officer Claus Von Stauffenberg

How _could_ prettyboy Tom's performance have been anything less than totally convincing?

He is one of the greatest stars of our age, after all

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Option One is we bring him in alive. Feel free to consider option two!"

A great look, and a great scriptwriter. You don't often find them in the same place on US TV.

My all time favorite Vic Mackey quote:

He has just burst in on a gangbanger humping his girlfriend. Needing information, he holds the gangster's head in a tank full of poisonous snakes. Naturally the girlfriend gives up the information. He pulls the guy's head out - by now he's the worse for snakebite - and as he leaves advises the shocked girl: "If you want him to live, you'd better start sucking face!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is not The Onion

"Amid pressure from local politicians, some Chuck E. Cheese's have stopped serving alcohol and added security guards who carry pistols."

It's the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Truly this news has made the decade worthwhile!

It's the occasional ray of sunshine like this, that makes life worth living.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some Business Plan

1) Make one decent British gangster movie

2) Shag Madonna for eight years

3) Walk away with 32 million quid

Friday, December 5, 2008

Master Criminal Busted

A Chicago police officer who had been relieved of his police powers was arrested in Rosemont for impersonating an officer, authorities said today.

Victor Brown, 35, of the 10000 block of South Wallace Avenue has been in custody since Tuesday on the felony charge. His bail was reduced Thursday to $5,000.

Rosemont detectives arrested Brown after he went to a hotel and asked for a free room to conduct an undercover vice investigation, authorities said. Hotel employees called police after he asked for lotion and on-demand movies, authorities said.

Read more

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How Symantec Apps Are Built

Here is a screenshot of the build environment for Symantec applications.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One Minute Movie Review

Four Christmases

Reese Witherspoon & Vince Vaughan

Summary: Felt like eight Christmases
Recommended: If you enjoy seeing a baby vomit on Reese Witherspoon. Twice.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Fun

Your Saturday fun today comes courtesy of South Yorkshire police.

Do you drive? Have you noticed trucks recently? Specifically, have you noticed their tendency to

- Blunder into your path because the driver is preoccupied with eating a pan of spaghetti

- Delay your journey by crashing into low bridges. (The driver being unable to compare the height of his vehicle with the height painted in foot-high letters on the bridge)

- Mow down queueing traffic at toll booths

Although no doubt there are many fine upstanding truckers without whom this nation etc., etc., as a car driver I find it much safer to treat any truck in my path as though it is being driven by a knuckle dragging non-English speaking moron who paid a bribe to get his license, is drunk, eating a plate of spaghetti and has been awake for 48 hours. Because the chances are it is.

The policeman in this clip should have borne the above in mind. He's driving along normally in the outside lane of a virtually empty 3 lane motorway at 130MPH (!!!) with his headlamps flashing when up ahead he sees a truck in the inside (slow) lane. In the UK, trucks are banned from the outside lane of motorways with 3 or more lanes. What do you think happens?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Beneath Contempt

In the UK An opposition politician, party spokesman on immigration issues, has been arrested by anti-terrorism police

His crime? Receiving documents from a government mole which showed that the government has completely lost the plot on immigration - which anybody with a pair of eyes and an IQ in double figures has known for 10 years.

Really and truly, the British government is beneath contempt.

Bush's Legacy

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From One Basket Case to Another

President Jimmy Carter calls Zimbabwe a Basket Case. He'd sure be one to know!

Financial Meltdown Explained

"Long Beach Financial, wholly owned by Washington Mutual, was a great example. Long Beach Financial was moving money out the door as fast as it could, few questions asked, in loans built to self-destruct. It specialized in asking home­owners with bad credit and no proof of income to put no money down and defer interest payments for as long as possible. In Bakersfield, California, a Mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $720,000."

Read it all

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


In light of the fact that Illinois now insist State Troopers call and get permission before doing more than 20 over the speed limit... here is a somewhat grainy clip from the UK way back in 1991.

On a warm July evening a couple of officers doing 92 MPH (in itself 20 over the limit) in an unmarked Rover 827 - basically a British Honda Legend with a somewhat tuned 2.7 V6 engine - were undertaken by a guy in a Porsche 911 (passing on the left is an offence in the UK) who then proceeded to crank it up to no less than 145 MPH!

This guy isn't as unobservant you might think, because British unmarked cars don't stand out a mile like American ones do.

All the same, I bet he had a bit of a red face when they pulled him over and showed him this film!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some excellent high speed driving

Back in the mid 1990s, Manchester, England was the car crime capital of Europe with 800 cars being stolen every week. The response of the police was to start the small tactical vehicle crime unit or 'X-Squad' and equip them with what were, at the time, very high performance cars.

In this video, a couple of young officers in a Ford Sierra Cosworth are on patrol in one part of the City when they hear about a chase on the other side of town.

The police are so undermanned, that they are forced (damn!) to drive at high speed across town to intercept the punk, so they can get ahead of him and get a stinger (stop strip) under his tires. (In the US stolen cars get pursued by a dozen squad cars. During the night, there are probably no more than a couple of dozen officers covering the whole of Manchester)

At one point they get the Cossie up to 135 MPH on the motorway and you can hear the driver say f a driver up ahead "if he pulls out, we're dead!" which is an interesting take on the reality of high speed driving and something you'd never hear from the police now. The UK police now only let officers speak on camera if they are 'on message' and have had training from the media relations department. But with these two it's the real deal.

The Cosworth Sierra is just a 2 litre 4 cylinder car, but it's very highly tuned with a turbo and will deliver close to 150MPH flat out. You have to really know what you are doing to drive one at speed, because it predates all the electronic stability and traction control stuff they have now. I believe these guys are in the four wheel drive version. Sit back and listen to the awesome rasp it delivers under acceleration.

Finally: what a brilliant job for a couple of lads barely out of their teens! I'd pay them for a job like that!

Everyday story of British scum

Look at human history in its entirety. Man left Africa 100,000 years ago and spread across the globe. For the majority of that time, everybody needed to be occupied in the process of finding food. Then we figured out how to produce enough so that people could be freed up to pursue other things. But it's only in the last two generations we have had so much wealth that some people could literally do nothing their whole lives.

So what do people do, once they get on welfare? Well first, they tend to blow up to 300 pounds each like the couple in this story.... (note: in the UK they throw around the term 'disabled' like confetti - it no longer implies 'wheelchairs seizures and oxygen cylinders', it is PC code to keep people out of the unemployment numbers)

A virtual affair is ending a real-life marriage
in southwest England.

Amy Taylor filed for divorce when she discovered
her husband cheating in Second Life - an online
community where players adopt personas called avatars,
mingle with others and teleport themselves
into a series of artificial worlds.

"I caught him cuddling a woman on
a sofa in the game," Taylor told the
South West News Service press agency.

"It looked really affectionate. He confessed
he'd been talking to this woman player
in America for one or two weeks, and
said our marriage was over and he didn't
love me any more."

Taylor, 28, moved in with her husband
Dave Pollard, 40, in Newquay, about
280 miles (about 450 kilometers) west of
London, after the pair met in a chat room
in 2003, according to the press agency's
account. Both are disabled, Taylor said.

Both of them created personalities
in Second Life, the three-dimensional
virtual world with millions of users.

Taylor - represented in the game by a
slim, dark-haired young woman with
a penchant for cowboy outfits -
first wed her beloved in a virtual
ceremony held in an exotic tropical setting.

She and Pollard - whose Second Life
avatar was sharp-suited, long-haired
muscleman - then married in real life
at a registry office.

The svelte images of their avatars
stand in contrast to their real
wedding photo, which shows a plump couple
- him balding with glasses and a
red boutonniere; her in a flower
patterned shirt instead of a dress.

Their marriage started to fall
apart after Taylor allegedly caught
her husband's avatar having cyber
sex with a virtual prostitute in 2007.

She said she had fallen asleep and
when she woke up and spotted the
pair cavorting on the computer screen.

She gave him a second chance but then
discovered he allegedly strayed again
in April. It was unclear how she
learned of the couch encounter.

Here's the best take on this I can find

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shock news: old bat may have spied for Communist intelligence services

The only thing which kept many left wing British out of the KGB was that they couldn't pass the intelligence test. Look at the old trout above. She worked for a British MP in the 1980s and also, it turns out, moonlighted for the Czech STB intelligence service.

You'd never have guessed would you? Unless you noticed her husband was the spitting image of Karl Marx.

So anyway it's now all come out

God, I miss the Cold War.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Job Boys!

The Royal Navy has engaged a boatload of Somali pirates and to cut a long story short blasted the shit out of them

Three cheers for the Royal Navy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cheering for Chrysler

As I have mentioned before I am very sad at the state Chrysler is in.

My 300C is the best value car I have ever driven, period.

When I got it used from Bill Kay about 6 months ago it turned out the CD player didn't work as there was already a gangsta rap CD jammed in there somehow.

I finally got round to taking it in to have it repaired. From the time I called Bill Kay to them calling me to tell me the replacement radio had arrived to be fitted was a couple of days.

They changed the radio for free in a couple of hours. And now a week later, they've just phoned me to say that they've finally managed to extract that rap CD from the old unit and did I want it back!

For a company on the ropes financially, I think that is unbeatable service.

Clueless American Drivers

The speed limits are low over here for two reasons.

1. To save money on road maintenance. Rather than fix holes, it's cheaper to just lower the speed limit

2. American drivers are mostly completely clueless.

Only two days ago at a junction on a virtually empty road in dry, clear conditions I watched two minivans literally drive into each other head on as one turned left in front of the other. How the hell can you fail to see a van 10 feet from you?

There are frequent train delays caused by people driving their cars on the track and getting hit by trains. I mean, how do you get to be an adult without associating trains with a bit of danger?

There was a woman killed on Lake Shore Drive the other day because her car broke down. Instead of getting the hell out of there on foot, she proceeded to lift the hood up and stand peering at the engine - not noticing she was in the middle of 4 lanes of fast moving traffic.

But I think the prize for the dumbest motorists of the year must go to this Chicago couple who overtook President Elect Obama's motorcade with its lights, sirens and heavily armed secret service escort

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Socialist Justice

It's a great thing, Socialism, once you get a job with the 'employer of last resort' - the state.

You sit there with your inflation proof pay, nice pension and short hours.

As long as you don't have any self-respect, don't care that you are regarded as a joke, and don't rock the boat, you can live out your days and retire comfortably.

Sit back and have a chuckle at how the chuckleheads in the "Youth Offending Team" in the UK city of Sheffield are dealing with gang violence.

First a little background to set the scene:

Jonathan Matondo was in the playground, eating Hula Hoops, when the shooting started. His friends shouted at him to run but Matondo, a teenage gang member who rejoiced in the nickname Venomous, refused. “I'm not running for no one,” he said, full of the invincible bravado of youth. “No one is tryin' to bust shots at us.” They were his last words. At that moment, a bullet hit Matondo in the back of the neck, penetrated his skull and lodged in his brain. He fell backwards over a low wall, on to a grass bank and died. He was only 16 when boyhood and manhood collided - when the child with his hand in a bag of crisps was cut down by a bullet fired by a street gangster of the kind he aspired to be.

The shooting, around 7.30pm on October 17 last year, had been the second attempt on Matondo's life that day. In the afternoon, hooded gunmen had chased him, firing several shots. Three of the guns fired at him, including the one that killed him, were Baikal pistols. The use of that gun - made in Russia to fire teargas, converted by Lithuanian gangs to shoot live ammunition, smuggled into Britain and sold to criminals for up to £2,500 - links the sporadic violence of street thugs such as Matondo with serious organised crime. Over the past three years, 16 Baikals have been recovered by police in Sheffield.

Matondo's murder was the culmination of a two-year feud between gangs in the Pitsmoor and Burngreave districts. The gangs identified themselves by their postcodes: Matondo was in the S3 gang from Pitsmoor, while the suspects were the S4s from Burngreave. Negus Nelson, 19, an alleged member of S4, was acquitted of Matondo's murder at Sheffield Crown Court last week.

Between December 2005, when there was a dispute over a drugs deal, and Matondo's death police recorded 45 occasions on which the gangs opened fire on each other. There were probably more incidents but no one, victim or witness, was prepared to talk.

Matondo was a key player in this fight. According to police intelligence and court records, he was a feared gunman and dealer, and someone who struck fear into other teenagers.

Right, so you've got a real hard case here. What do you do if your job is protecting the public from him (remember you're unelected and the public can't remove you)

Sheffield's Youth Offending Service had him on its highest level of supervision, trying to get him off the streets and into a job, but to little avail. On the night he was shot, a youth worker was sitting with Matondo's mother in his home hoping that, just for once, he might keep his appointment.

Wow! Careful with the rough stuff! (Any members of Sheffield's Youth Offending team reading this: my suspicion is you are a useless cunt. If you disagree, I'd love to hear your reasons!)

OK, now I don't have advanced police training, but it sounds like you've got a bit of a problem here. What do you do about it?

But in the aftermath of his murder, Sheffield ignored these hard realities and, by doing so, lost the chance to clamp down on gang violence. Instead, the police, churches and council slapped a glossy pretence on the teenager's death. Whether for political reasons or out of deference to his mother's grief, Matondo was presented as a church-going boy, whose family had brought him to England from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo when he was 6 and who wanted to become a priest.

Of course - we're unelected Socialists! We do nothing, but spin it like he was an innocent victim rather than a scumbag. Anybody disagree, or point out he had no business in the UK in the first place - just call them a racist! Simple!

At the murder scene, a senior police officer told reporters there was no gang culture in the city. “We have heard rumours regarding gangs operating in the area,” he said. “However, gangs are not prevalent in Sheffield.” Privately, South Yorkshire Police officers admit that the statement lost them credibility. If people had been frightened to speak to the police before, they just laughed now. The police, it seemed, could not see what was going on, so why should people risk their lives to help them?

OK there's somebody who doesn't need to care what the people think - his pension will be safe as long as he obeys his political masters. The truth is whatever the police minister says it is.

Sheffield promotes itself as “the safest city” in England and does not want that image tarnished. Both its universities use the catchline in their efforts to attract the sons and daughters of respectable families. Strenuous efforts have been made to attract new investors and businesses to the city - including firms such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

OK, right. Sheffield's a tip. It always was, and always will be, a tip. Now they've imported a bunch of people from places where life is very cheap who can see that they can make big money from criminality and that there the only sanction available to authority is to send somebody round to talk to your mum and hope you drop in for a cup of tea between muggings.

And that's really socialism in a nutshell.

You don't allow people a vote so they can't remove you

You create your own reality - you're now a member of the elite!

And get the non-voting public to fund you

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Wins!

It's amazing that the American people seem to have been less than impressed with the Republican party's record over the past eight years.

How, I wonder, could they have a problem with

- The executive authorizing torture and getting justice department officials to dissemble about it
- Illegal wiretaps on all Americans
- Economic catastrophe claiming hundred year old banks
- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans dead in a war for nothing
- Detention without trial in a remote gulag

Way to go, George! Check out this spookily prescient piece from the Onion back in 2001. Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over

I'm no big fan of Marxist wealth redistibutors whether they are handing my money to bank executives and weapons manufacturers, like Bush or to government equality enforcers or single "4x4" mothers (four kids by four men) like Obama probably will.

But, if nothing else, Americans now have a great put-down for any sneering Europeans: just ask them what's the chance of somebody like Obama becoming German chancellor? Or French president? Yeah, right. "Only in America"

It's amazing that only four years ago, Obama went to Illinois State Senator Emil Jones and said to him "I understand you have the power to make a US Senator!"

And now here we are.

Despite the time of year, Obama even gets to enjoy mild weather down in Grant Park. And given his resounding victory, there is now every chance that Chicago will still be standing tomorrow morning.

This blog disagrees with your policies, Barack, but raises a glass to salute the achievement of somebody with no advantages or anybody pulling strings who made it to the top of Harvard Law and has now made it to become leader of the greatest nation on Earth. Well done!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Which one is your wife then?"

Ah, the foxy chicks of England....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Socialism in our future

Karl Marx must be laughing wherever he is. The hardcore master of the universe capitalists at the nation's big banks are not averse to getting large state handouts. Remember the big swinging dicks at Bear Stearns? As soon as the market delivered their much-needed kick in the ass, they were blubbering like babies about being "made whole".

Message to any ex-Bear Stearns bankers: you may have an Ivy League MBA but the according to the market you are just 95% arrogance and 5% talent! Or in other words the market says you're a cunt and who am I to disagree?

Anyway, with Obama looking pretty certain of victory next week, and McCain being just as big a socialist anyway (at least Obama is more honest about it), it seems that the future is more and more big government.

Why do people think that the solution to all problems is to throw taxpayers' money at them? Why do they believe that everything will be great when the government runs everything? Haven't they heard of countries that tried this system? The Soviet Union? North Korea? Britain in the 1970s ring a bell?

Maybe I need to put it in more visual terms. OK, here is what you get, from a government-owned car company (UK, circa 1976). This is a genuine un-photoshopped publicity photo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Disastrous news for men in the Chicago Suburbs

No that isn't the sound of AK-47 fire.... it's the sound of champagne corks popping!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"I was just administering extreme unction!"

Although I was raised a Catholic, as far as I can see the church is nothing more than a very successful international business which can best be described as the "McDonalds" of Christianity.

Do you think Bishops are appointed for
a) Their spirituality
b) Their effectiveness at fundraising

Answers on a postcard, please. Not!

So here's the tale of a bishop in India who's been suspended for adopting a twenty six year old woman

The money quote: "This relation is giving me spiritual refreshment."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Techie Thought For The Day

"Some programmers can write VB6 programs in any language"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When you get out, there'll always be a job for you here

Driving one of these in Chicago

Truly a match made in heaven

Who could ever have predicted that the marriage of Little Britain star Matt Lucas and Kevin McGee (above) would run into trouble?

I am shocked, shocked, to read of Kevin's Unreasonable Behavior!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thousands standing around

Like millions of Americans I've suffered under the stupid security theater of the TSA.

Nail clippers are dangerous one minute and ok the next. First you could leave your shoes on now you have to take them off. The whole thing can be summarized as morons protecting the ignorant from the supposed dangers of exploding toothpaste.

I recently read that the TSA were losing badges at an alarming rate and there was concern lest they fall into the wrong hands and be misused.

They shouldn't worry, though, as most travellers would be instantly put on their guard if they came across a TSA worker who wasn't morbidly obese with a room temperature IQ.

Anyway this being a minimum wage government agency, there's no surprise that screeners there are looking for ways to make a bit of money on the side. Like this enterprising fellow:

"One of the victims spotted his gear up for sale on Ebay and alerted another team of investigators working for Homeland Security. When investigators raided Brown's home they found shedloads of electronics gear including 66 cameras, 31 laptop computers, 20 cell phones, 17 electronic games, 13 pieces of jewellery, 12 GPS devices, 11 MP3 players, eight camera lenses, six video cameras and two DVD players. On average Brown was nicking two to three items per week from the airport beginning in September 2007."

And what is the response of the miscreant's managers?

"Officials at the Transportation Security Administration, which employs the airport screeners, said Brown has been placed on administrative leave and will soon be fired."

Hey that'll teach him a lesson!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who can save America?

An unbeatable combination:

- The looks of Sarah Palin

- The charm of Barack Obama

- The policies of Ron Paul

If there was a candidate like that I'd register to vote for sure

Bush's Logic

Give up your freedom and liberty to defend freedom and liberty

Fight wars to preserve peace

Nationalise banks to preserve the free market

Monday, October 13, 2008

Britain in Trouble

There's a lot of people in the 'real' government of Britain right now who are very worried.

By 'real' government, I mean the people in the Civil Service power elite responsible for implementing European policy.

Britain has about six million unemployed right now - people from families where nobody has worked for three generations. Asylum seekers living in million pound houses at public expense And there are probably a couple of million drug addicts.

No doubt the power elite is wondering what's going to happen if the country goes bankrupt and is unable to pay benefits to those people.

While they think about that, and no doubt make sure they and their families are well protected, they wheel out a pair of boneheaded sock puppets to give a press conference.

These two clowns are sure to fill people with confidence. On the bright side, maybe we will yet get to see them dragged out of their armored limos and strung up by an angry mob!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just another day in Glasgow, Scotland

Scenes included a character being shot in the head at close range, a victim having bleach forced down their throat and a fatal glass attack.

Shocking violence, aired in a 3.30pm slot, also showed the charred remains of a man killed with a blowtorch and a man upside down with his fingers cut off.

Is it a documentary? No, far too tame for that.

The Financial Crisis Explained

On Wall Street, financial crisis destroys jobs. Here in Washington, it creates them. The rest is just details.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

US Virgin Islands

I'm chilling out for a few days in the US Virgin Islands. These were bought by the US in 1917 for $300 an acre to prevent the Germans getting their hands on them.

(There are also British Virgin Islands nearby. They are quintessentially British: to guarantee an authentic British experience, all visitors to the British Virgin Islands are greeted at the airport by a large, bald, semi-naked, drunken, tattooed man, who punches you in the face after asking "did you spill my pint?")

In the US Virgin Islands, driving drunk is a way of life. On St. John, there are only two roads, so it's impossible to get lost. Most of St. John is a National Park.

Some toilets eh? The $4 entrance fee is not being wasted! Ten coachloads of tourists can dump simultaneously here.

I sat through a few episodes of "Lost". I was amused to see St. John has its very own hatch!

Careful of the plantlife - these could bring tears to your eyes

The financial problems on the mainland have reached here - the St. John Stock Exchange has closed

What's a good laptop to buy?

I just bought a Lenovo T500 ($2000) with

- Core2 DUO T9400 CPU (2.53GHz)
- 160GB 7200 RPM hard drive
- Vista Business

I've heard people complain about Lenovo deliveries. This machine took 2 weeks to build and 1 week to ship, and arrived on the date originally predicted.

After using it for a couple of weeks, and comparing it with my previous machine, a Dell D620 with 2GB RAM, I can tell you I am delighted with the Lenovo.

Here are the highlights.

- Runs cool. Developing with the Dell, or watching videos, the fan was always blasting and it ran so hot that when an external monitor was plugged in, the image would shake. You rarely hear the Lenovo fan on the other hand and you can have the machine on your lap without being cooked.

- Runs fast. I have four or five instances of Visual Studio running, and switch between them, Word, and Firefox, with no delay at all.

- Well built. The Dell felt flimsy and poorly made. While the T500 does not feel as well built as a G40 and a T60 I had before, it is better built than the Dell. I broke out my 2004 era G40 recently while I waited for the T500 to arrive, installed VS 2008 on it, and although it was slow it performed faultlessly despite having spent most of the last 2 years under my desk gathering dust.

- Awesome screen. The display is beautifully clear and crisp.

The only problems? The 3 USB ports are too close together on the left hand side of the machine, as is the Ethernet port. If you are left handed cables hanging out of that side might get in your way. Fortunately I'm right handed.

Other than that and at the risk of sounding like a shill for Lenovo I think this is an absolutely outstanding machine and I am very satisfied with it.

How long does it take to rebuild a RAID array?

So at home I have a file server which consists of a 2005 era Compaq PC I bought from Wal-Mart for $300 with 192MB RAM and a AMD Sempron CPU.

For storage I added a Highpoint 1540/1640 RAID card driving a RAID5 array of 4xSeagate 400GB SATA drives. I have always liked Seagate drives. One of the drives was faulty on arrival and was replaced. The initial four drives have been operating on a 24x7 basis ever since. Now another has failed.

So how long does it take to rebuild this array?

Well, I started the rebuild at 6.30 PM on September 25th and I'm projecting it will take a shade over three full days - so should finish before Monday morning.

Businessman of the year award

Alan Fishman of WaMu, who was CEO for just 17 days before the company failed and was bought by JPMC, has walked away with a $19.1M payout.

Assuming he was on an eight hour day, that works out at $140,000 an hour.

Now that's a savvy businessman.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is this idiot still rambling about the War on Terror?

Bush : World must stand united against terrorism

So in the past eight years we've seen

- The US massively in debt
- Senior US government officials dissembling about torture, which is despicable no matter who is doing it to whom
- Illegal wiretapping on an industrial scale
- Detention without trial
- Kidnapping people and delivering them to foreign countries to be tortured
- Billions wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan and thousands of our best people either killed or condemned to spend their rest of their lives as hospital cases

And like a monkey on an organ, still this idiot is banging the same drum. Come off it George, "War on Terror" is _so_ 2002.

Can you not just go quietly into the night and reflect on how disastrous the past eight years have been for the nation and constitution you swore to defend?

Monday, September 22, 2008

It uses software built in Bangalore! It must be perfect!

Indian courts use brain scan output as evidence of guilt

How long till the bozos at the Committee for State Security realize this would be a perfect way to convict the beardies they have locked up at Gitmo?

Friday, September 19, 2008

War on Terror scores another victory

A woman in Scotland has been arrested under the Terrorism Act for walking along a cycle path

Keith Berry, the harbour master at Forth Ports Dundee, said yesterday that Ms Cameron had been seen as a “security risk”. Speaking about the incident, which took place in May, he said: “We contacted the police in regards to this matter because the woman was in a secure area which forbids people walking. It was seen as a security risk. We were following guidelines in requirement with the port security plan set up by the Government.”

So let's get this straight.


(A) We now have reliable intelligence that Bin Laden and his cronies cannot ride bikes
(B) The Dundee harbor master is a stupid cunt

Answers on a postcard, please!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Three Cheers for the French

Ordinarily I regard the French much as a mountain climber views a broken limb.

But I firmly believe in credit where it is due.

Therefore, this blog raises a hearty cheer, and clinks a couple of glasses of Chateau Lafite 1945, in the general direction of the 'Commando Hubert'. Now it doesn't sound as cool as 'Delta Force', but these brave lads jumped out of a helicopter in the red sea and retook a 2-man yacht which had been captured by Somalian pirates


There should be lots of decoy yachts off the horn of Africa, manned by Special Forces.

They could let the Somalians get within hailing distance and let them have it with everything they've got - M203 grenade launchers, RPGs, whatever. Or better yet, let them board and then cut them to pieces with a .50Cal machine gun.

The operations could be self funding - I predict that videos of these actions, if crisply edited, would top the Christmas bestseller lists in most countries.

And we'd be ridding the world of scum, who when they have made enough from piracy to afford the air fare, mostly wind up in London, living off the proceeds of state benefits and crime.

If these people did the Oscars, Paul Walker would get an Academy Award

At the regional World Travel Awards on Saturday, American Airlines was named the top North American airline, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was the top North American airport

JFK is actually collection of airports bodged together over the years, some falling apart, located miles out of town in an area verging on a war zone, constantly subject to bad weather, notable mostly for being a never-ending construction zone.

Despite stiff competition from fellow dinosaurs US Airways and United, American consistently rates the worst of all US airlines for punctuality. If and when your plane does finally take off, the interior likely looks like it's seen service as a troop transport. As for the staff, after years of layoffs, downsizing and benefit reductions, the only people remaining are those who are unable to find a job elsewhere. And let's face it, pushing a food cart down an aisle is no job for a grandmother, no matter how foul-tempered she may be.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The politburo's take on the Lehman debacle

For card-carrying dyed-in-the-wool leftie (is there anybody not fitting that description at the BBC?) Paul Mason the cause of the Lehman bankruptcy is simple. Ruthless exploitation of a politically voiceless minority. That's right - those fat cats were forcing debt down the throats of low income people like foie down the throats of a gras

That statement tells you everything you need to know about the BBC's world view, and the privileged upbringing of its correspondents.

The prat's even got in references to the destruction of the UK mining industry (not that he's ever been within 100 miles of a coalface) and the obligatory reference to so-called "global warming".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Institutionalized Stupidity

In the UK they have had sixty years of the state running education. This means that the children of the wealthy and well-connected, such as politicians (who introduced this system to promote 'equality'), get to go to fee-paying schools of high quality, while the children of ordinary folk are warehoused in vast establishments, watched over by graduates of the same system who can barely string two words together, until such time as they are old enough enter the justice system.

'Equality' is the watchword. Nobody is allowed to fail, succeed or be better or worse than anybody else. Because life's like that, right? Well it is socialism we're talking about - it just has to sound good and give lots of publicly funded jobs to boneheads. No matter whether it makes sense or not - the elite get their private schools anyway, and a huge generation of idiots ready for their leadership to rule over, who will believe anything they are told.

Sometimes the results of this institutionalized idiocy can be rather amusing, as in this case from the island of Crete. I bet the girl in this story couldn't find Crete on a map!

A teenager from Teesside has vowed never to drink again after a holiday cocktail caused her head to swell to the size of a football.

Corinne Coyle reacted to the 10 euro mixture of Baileys, chilli, tequila, absinthe, ouzo, vodka, cider and gin.

Funny that! I had a bit of a strange reaction the last time I downed a quart of carpet cleaner!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More research from the university of the bloody obvious

From this Times article about adultery

the paper also found that a woman calculates the cost benefits before hopping into bed with another man. She assesses his financial stability, education and fathering skills. A man, however, does not undertake such lengthy evaluations, say the researchers.

No shit, Sherlock! I believe the thought process is along the following lines:

  • Five minutes to spare? Check.

  • Breathing? Check.

  • Great wobblers? Check.

  • Not a close relative? Check.

  • Let's go!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    "This procedure is attributed to a routine banking software update"

    I think this is the new "all your base are belong to us"?

    It comes from this email

    Dear BusinessDirect client,

    Security and confidentiality are at the heart of the Commerce Bank.

    Your details (and your money) is protected by a number of

    technologies, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

    We would like to notify you that Commerce Bank carries out

    client details confirmation procedure that is compulsory for all

    our customers.

    This procedure is attributed to a routine banking software update.

    Please visit our Client Confirmation Page using the link below

    and follow the instructions on the screen.

    I have received three of these today with different bank logos in each!

    How can people still be so stupid as to provide their bank details in response to these emails?

    As for the people who send these, I'd just love the opportunity to drag one away from his terminal by the hair, and kick him in the bollocks! What a worthless bunch of pimples on humanity's anus. Rather like politicians.

    Sheer Brilliance from the Onion

    Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

    "Hang on! I count three things!"

    Vin Diesel Does it Again

    Monday, September 1, 2008

    Bangkok: The world's most appropriately-named city?

    In the interests of research and in spite of the just-imposed state of emergency I thought I would take a trip to Thailand.

    Parts of Bangkok are amazingly advanced. When you arrive at the brand-new Suvarnabhumi International Airport, a stunning glass and steel edifice, for example, you are less inclined to throw around terms like "Third World", especially if you've passed through LaGuardia recently. A decent wind and most of New York's airports would fall down by themselves. And in contrast to Asia, the boot-faced staff at most US airports clearly missed their vocations as POW camp guards.

    Bangkok is full of construction. There are two rapid-transit systems both only a couple of years old. Take a trip down the Chao Phraya river and you see buildings like this

    and here, the Bangkok Peninsula. Ideal for all types of extracurricular nookie.

    I misheard, and thought this was called the Temple of Doom. It's actually Temple of Dawn.

    The deeply religious significance of this place was slightly undermined by the street vendor who pursued me, trying to interest me in buying a clutch of enormous wooden willies "for luck".

    In Thailand etiquette is very important.

    Presumably, Pearl herself is up for touching!

    As a farang (foreigner), it's critical to know your place.


    And NOT here:

    The statues talk, for instance, this one is saying: "Not more bloody tourists! And no, you'll have to try to grow a beard like this for yourself!"

    There is a real building boom going on in Bangkok right now. I did ask the COO of a large company here, what Thailand's economy was based on. She wasn't really all that sure, but Agriculture definitely figured in it. I hope things don't go pear-shaped for the Thais like back in 1997. Here's a building where they ran out of money back in 1997 and now people only live in the finished half!

    There are chic pavement cafes, like this one, almost Parisian in its ambience

    Speaking of food, this reminded me of how consultants tend to gather in large numbers around badly managed client firms, and all government entities.

    And with the whiff of trouble in the air, I bade farewell to Thailand

    Note: it's usually a bad idea to take photographs of soldiers and police, even in the US. I did this subtly. Also, of all the soldiers I saw guarding the Grand Palace, not one of their rifles had a magazine in it! Make of that what you will.

    As a final note, here are my main takeaways from my trip.

    1. English is not widely spoken. Assume anybody who has troubled to learn English is a scam artist until proven otherwise. Try to learn some Thai for yourself.

    2. Every time you visit a tourist attraction, people (including the guards/staff at the attraction itself) will tell you it is closed and to come back later. Or in the meantime, hand them your map and they will draw on the location of somewhere better... or, they'll hail a tuk-tuk for you and tell the driver how to get there. Ignore them! The place is most likely not closed, they are just trying to earn a commission from the proprietors of the other place.

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Struggling with SharePoint?

    If you've just spent two weeks trying to get a list of items to appear in SharePoint, you might like to check out this manual which has just been uploaded, for a system which offered its users, back in the day, a similar level of productivity that SharePoint does now.

    Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator (ENIAC) Manual - June, 1946

    Miliband Talks Tough on Russia

    As much as you may feel US cabinet members are not up to the job, they are like international brain surgeons compared to their opposite numbers in the UK.

    Consider the British Foreign Secretary, Harry Potter lookalike David Miliband (above). British cabinet ministers are chosen on their ability to essentially be PR reps for their respective Civil Service departments. The British establishment does not like it if they have the capacity for independent thought or action. The ability to read press releases convincingly is the only attribute needed for the job. It's also helpful, but not essential, if they can walk and talk at the same time.

    So recently Miliband's officials had the chief wizard talking tough to Russia

    Here is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and some of his officials considering their response

    Methinks somebody in the British Foreign Office is having a laugh, no?

    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    "Sucked Inside Out"

    Sounds great, huh?!

    Well, not if you're talking about the new Large Hadron Collider in CERN, Geneva

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Woman packing for a vacation


    - 15lbs of cosmetics
    - 20 pairs shoes
    - 30lbs chocolates, toys as presents
    - Home brain surgery kit ("what if somebody on the plane has an aneurysm?")


    - Underwear
    - Passports
    - Camera
    - Itinerary

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    News from the world's IT Hub

    "Now we've found out about the rats, there'll be no more plague in our lifetime!"
    "Yes, that's right. A rat a day, keeps the doctor away!"

    "So, what's on the menu?"
    "Rat Au Vin"
    "Well it's a rat... that's been..."
    "... run over by a van. I see."

    India's poor urged to eat rats

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Sunday Fun - "Rubbery Heights"

    For my American readers raised on SNL, this is an excerpt from a British comedy sketch show of the 1980s which featured something called humor


    Friday, August 22, 2008

    It Came From Hollywood

    One of the best Science-Fiction movies of all time is The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). It stars British thesp Michael Rennie as an alien who comes to warn the human race that if it extends its violence into space, the Earth will be "reduced to a burned out cinder". He does this in a brilliant speech at the end of the film. Rennie was one of those actors who could read from a restaurant menu and make it sound like Shakespeare. Don't take my word for it, see for yourselves:

    Despite being 57 years old, this film holds up very well today.

    So the inevitable has happened.

    Yes Hollywood are doing a remake. And who have they chosen for the Michael Rennie role?

    None other than surfer dude Keanu Reeves.

    I can just imagine him mumbling his way through that speech now. "So like, you've all got to give up your warlike ways, dudes.... yeaaahhh.. like, ok... awesome! yeah!"

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Truth almost as strange as fiction

    Fresh from the revelations in The Onion last week, it now turns out that Obama's brother is in fact a Kenyan streetfighter.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    America: Land of the Great T-Shirt

    If guns kill people then...
    Pencils mis-spell words
    Cars make people drive drunk
    Spoons made Rosie O'Donnell Fat

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Sunday Fun

    Just this last week as well as poor old Bernard Mac, we also lost the soul giant Isaac Hayes. He's the one who gave the world the Theme from Shaft

    It just boggles comprehension that such a brilliant theme could emerge from the human mind.

    So raise a glass to a unique showman and musician.... turn your speakers up to 11, sit back, relax, and let those guitars wash over you.... I give you... Mr Isaac HAYES...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That MC does look awfully like Jesse Jackson Jr, doesn't he?

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Saturday Fun

    In the whole canon of recent films, shot entirely in the dark, with their pounding rock soundtracks, high kicking females, and nonsensical scripts, you'd be hard pressed to find thirty seconds as enjoyable as this, from Dirty Harry (1971)

    To see how far movies, and movie stars, have become debased and commoditized, just try to imagine this scene with Brad Pitt as Dirty Harry and Tom Cruise as The Mayor. Yeah, right. Those pretty-boy thespian midgets couldn't hope to fill the shoes of giants like Clint Eastwood and the late John Vernon. Stick to filling the pages of People magazine and supporting crackpot religions eh fellas?

    Outside a major confrontation with a foreign power, the only situation I can conceive where the use of nuclear weapons would be fully justified, would be in the event that Hollywood threatens a remake of Dirty Harry.

    While enjoying that clip, I realized that I am older now than Clint Eastwood was then. How depressing.

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Sunday Fun

    One of my few guilty pleasures is watching videos of high-speed police pursuits. This is an area where the British police have something of an edge. British police drivers are trained to a very high standard, which they need to be, given the narrow width of the roads and the generally much higher speeds over there.

    In this clip, the boys in blue are after a drunk driver. (Remember people drive on the left over there) They reach speeds of 85 MPH on residential streets in the pouring rain. My favorite part of this has to be where the cop passes a guy turning right, at over sixty. How he gets through that gap beats me.

    Check it out - but don't try this at home!

    Geek Footnote: The cops are driving a Honda Accord VTEC.

    Saturday, August 9, 2008

    Saturday Comic

    A bit of a Chinese theme now that the Olympics have started and everybody's feeling warm and cuddly.... here we salute the brave boys in the Chinese security forces

    (With acknowledgments to WC Fields)

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Worst software of all time

    I just had to dive back into Crystal Reports after a ten year absence as part of a major system rollout where we came up short a few reports.

    It was a case of "we kept your room just as you left it"

    I could see virtually no difference between the CR in VS 2005 and CR 6 which was what I last used.

    Software productivity has improved by orders of magnitude over the past 10 years. With C# I now spend time building functionality which 10 years ago I would have spent in C++ tracking memory leaks and converting between the seven different types of string! Yet CR remains in the dark ages. Working with it is like going back to a pre-Google era.

    How can a product be this old and you still can't reliably copy and paste more than one element? How can there be no 'align' and 'make same size' feature? How can you have to type in coordinates and sizes manually to make things line up? I remember 10 years ago how CR would crash whenever you attempted to do virtually anything. They seem to have fixed all these bugs, but that has left no time to add any new functionality, or even make the existing functionality work decently.

    They have added the facility to read a .NET DataSet as opposed to forcing you to access stored procs and tables directly. Great. But it turns out this is unreliable.

    The whole thing is an archaic, bodged up creaky mess. The dialogs are confused, confusing and badly thought out. You can't nest a subreport in a subreport for God's sake!

    CR might be free with VS 2005 but it's not worth it. It is a massive time-sink, like SharePoint.

    Somebody please do the decent thing and take this piece of pimply shit out and blow what passes for its brains all over the sidewalk.

    Great moneymaking idea from Blago

    It had to happen. Blagojevich, or should I call him "Public Official A" has cottoned on to the huge amount of cash he could "earn" by putting speed cameras on interstates.

    At least unlike in the UK he is open about the fact it's all about making money, but his lie is it's to fund combatting crime in Chicago. Of course the money will just go on hiring more flunkies and cronies to bloat the public payroll here in Illinois.

    Blagojevich, who has not been charged with any crime, insists that only the most egregious speeders will be caught - over 80 or 85. I'm willing to bet that after a year or so, that would come down to 55. Why not? It's like having a money tap. The number goes down and the cash flow goes up.

    Almost without exception, politicians are truly the most disgusting breed of human.

    Hate insurance companies? Want government to run healthcare?

    Expect the government to take a big interest in your health. For starters, if your couch-potato kids are starting to resemble the couch, expect a letter from the school warning you of that fact. Because the government is so politically correct, of course words like "fat" or "obese" will not be used. Neither will "lardy", "gut-bucket", or "wobble-bottom".

    Also, expect civil servants to decide who gets what life-saving drugs, based on how much they cost, and where you live (the Scots get drugs the English do not, because the power base of the ruling Labour party is in Scotland).

    I loathe insurance companies, but given that government workers fall into two camps - morons and crooks - and are unresponsive to public pressure (unlike private insurance companies) - I think I'll be sticking with them.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Good riddance

    An illegal immigrant gang-banger rapist murderer just got his comeuppance

    Generally I don't agree with the death penalty. I don't think governments should have the right to kill their own citizens. Death Row contains a lot of people whose only crime was being poor and unable to afford a decent lawyer.

    However, people like this guy richly deserve it. If nothing else, the execution was a finger in the eye of the International Court of "Justice". Who the hell gave them the right to order the US to do anything? Certainly not the American people.

    The only change I would make to the death penalty, would be to mandate that sentence be carried out by firing squad within 30 days. That would have several beneficial effects.

    - You would get far fewer wrongful guilty verdicts because the prospect of a swift execution would concentrate the jury's mind wonderfully. They would not be able to think, "well, he might not be guilty, but I really want to get home, and he's not really ever going to be executed, after all". Either they find him innocent or guilty. If guilty, they know he's in the ground within 30 days.

    - No time wasted in court proceedings where inmates complain they are Too fat to execute. What shooter, after all, would want a smaller target?

    - No money wasted warehousing people on death row

    - No photo opportunities for grandstanding anti death row campaigners

    - Rapid satisfaction for relatives of the victim who can then move on with their lives

    Rare instance of common sense from the security/industrial complex

    Lots of people are making big money out of the security industry from raising peoples' fears about "terrorists". Parents, governments and religious groups use all use fear to control their children, subjects and followers (bogeyman, terrorists, the devil respectively), as it has historically proven to be a very effective tool.

    One person who didn't go along with this stupid nonsense is the pilot of this plane who ignored a written "bomb threat" and continued to his destination.

    Well done sir!

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Interesting mitigation

    So you've come over the UK and taken full advantage of their dunderheaded social engineering programmes to claim about 925,000 GBP (nearly 2 million dollars) in fraudulent tax credits.

    Finally the authorities catch up with you and you're facing a severe prison sentence - possibly as much as 2 whole months in the slammer.

    What do you do. What do you do?

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    "Did you get rid of the dead flies in the soup?"

    Restaurant reopens in Atlanta, after getting the second lowest hygiene score in state history

    Ideal for winding up lefties

    This could only be better if Fred was driving a Hummer

    Government Bailout Roundup

    Fannie Mae: Bailed out by US Taxpayer

    Freddie Mac: Bailed out by US Taxpayer

    Bernie Mac: Not believed to be seeking large sums of federal money

    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    A trip to the beach

    Today the family took a trip to the workers' paradise of Evanston, just north of the Socialist Republic of Chicago.

    The local authorities leave you in no doubt as to the risk you run should you head to the beach.

    Believe it or not, dear visitor, but there are a lot of places you can go in Chicago which are riskier even than Lake Michigan - mean and terrible though this body of water is.

    Later, though, I had cause to wonder if maybe the people who put this sign up were on to something, when I came across this:

    I don't know what killed this fish - but maybe it was the same thing which turned it that interesting shade of yellow.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    More news from Europe

    Members of the European Parliament step outside to get some air during a break in the proceedings.