The Plastic Hippo

November 14, 2014

The size of a fridge

Filed under: Faith,Media,Transport,World — theplastichippo @ 3:22 am
Tags: , , , ,
Image via sci.esa.int and 300 million miles

Image via sci.esa.int and 300 million miles

There is a lot of fun to be had when filling in the equal opportunities monitoring section of an application form or a questionnaire. Unless required for the official census, details of age, gender and ethnicity are completely irrelevant and a little intrusive. Rather than ensuring diversity in any survey or in recruitment, the pigeon-hole questions are more of a marketing tool to identify a particular demographic.

Being a white, middle-aged English man who is a bit dim, a true and accurate description of my social status might lump me in with the sub-group that displays a disturbing obsession with the Farage creature and the Daily Mail. It is tempting, therefore, to complete this bit of the form erroneously just for a laugh. Pretending to be female wouldn`t really work but the ethnicity tick boxes provide endless equal opportunities for mischief. Ticking “other” and then adding Inuit or Amazonian Yawanawa or Ubangian Baka might just cheer up the poor soul tasked with doing the analysis. These days, however, in an atmosphere of toxic nationalism, I tend to tick “other” and then describe my ethnicity as either “Celtic” or, more often, as “European”. There`s more japes to be had in tick boxes regarding faith. (more…)

February 3, 2014

Home again

Filed under: Birmingham,History,Politics,Transport,Walsall,World — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Tags:
Via the plastic hippo

Via the plastic hippo

Sometimes, if time and money allow, it is extraordinarily therapeutic to burst out of the parochial bubble to catch some face time with the rest of the world and when opportunity presented a visit to a place on something called a bucket list, it was a case of bye-bye Walsall, see you later. The chance to walk on the same marble pavements that once experienced the sandals of Heraclitus, Alexander the Great, Saint Paul and Saint John proved too great a temptation so, without a second thought, bye-bye England.

When Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen wrote “Oh it`s so nice to go travelling”, they clearly did not have to endure the ghastly shopping centre with a runway attached that calls itself Birmingham International Airport or have to change trains at a ghastly shopping centre with platforms known as the new “improved” New Street Station. A city the size of Birmingham and a region as important as the West Midlands really should have transport hubs that work. It was definitely not so much nicer to come home. (more…)

November 9, 2013

My Maserati does 185

Filed under: Literature,Politics,Transport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 8:18 pm
Tags: ,
Image via comedyclowncar.co.uk

Image via comedyclowncar.co.uk

When young drivers and some older people who should know better, spend inordinate amounts of time, effort and money in turning their wheels into a statement, it seems unduly cruel to point out that the statement they are making is: “look at me, I`m a prat.”

False eyelashes on headlights, butterfly decals on a two-door hot-hatch and a parcel shelf full of teddy bears obscuring the rear-view mirror is, I`m afraid, in no way amusing or endearing. I recall observing the son of gullible neighbours spend a week or two “pimping his ride” as the urban cognoscenti would have it. Week one involved installing a sound system into the boot of a car that was considerably smaller than the bass bin being fitted. Rather than modify the four by twelve speaker, the nascent Jeremy Clarkson took an angle-grinder to the body work of an impressive Fiat Punto thus rendering his very expensive insurance premium null and void. His choice of a Drum and Bass CD to test the sound system had pigeons falling dead from the sky and disrupted the turn to final approach into Birmingham International Airport by a Boeing 777 inbound from Dubai. (more…)

October 29, 2013

Working on the railroad

Filed under: Fiction,Transport — theplastichippo @ 8:01 pm
Bloomers

Bloomers

Following an independent, wide-ranging, comprehensive, in-depth analytical study, it is clear that the transport infrastructure connecting the kitchen to the dinner table is outdated, inadequate and not fit for purpose. Consequently, the only solution is to replace the archaic transport system of walking across the floor with a new, high-speed rail link.

Excess capacity on the old system reached crisis point many years ago and the old-fashioned method of physically carrying plates of food to the table for waiting children is no longer sustainable going forward. Therefore, a programme of massive investment is required to deliver meals faster than before and so guarantee growth. The current household system, constructed in Victorian times, cannot cope and the previous owners of the house recognised that a high speed link between the central kitchen and the barren, sparsely populated regions beyond was vital in order to avoid starving to death. The initial cost of the project was estimated to be a mere £17billion and would result in food arriving at the table at least six and possibly up to seven seconds faster than previously imagined. (more…)

September 6, 2013

Taxi

Filed under: Education,Law,Politics,Transport,World — theplastichippo @ 1:45 am
Not going south of the river

Not going south of the river

Rather than order a taxi for Mr Duncan Smith and order another taxi for Mr Grayling, that nice Mr Cameron could ask the two gentlemen to share a cab in order for the government to save money and so further reduce the dreadful deficit. However, the days of cabinet ministers resigning or being sacked for being inept, stupid, corrupt or all three are in the filing cabinet drawer marked nostalgia, responsibility and honour.

As a Justice Secretary without any legal qualification, Chris Grayling decided that legal aid for poor people was a luxury that the nation could not afford. Judges told him he was wrong, QC`s told him he was wrong, Barristers told him he was wrong and a London taxi driver who once had that Clive Anderson in the back of the cab told him he was wrong. Assuming that poor people are obviously guilty, Chris pressed on regardless. Now a laughing stock within the justice system, he has been forced into a humiliating climb down. Taxi for Mr Grayling? No, he is still allowed to be inept. (more…)

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