The Plastic Hippo

February 3, 2014

Home again

Filed under: Birmingham,History,Politics,Transport,Walsall,World — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
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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…)

September 4, 2013

Shine a light

Filed under: Environment,Health,History,Law,Politics,Rights,Society,Transport — theplastichippo @ 9:27 pm
I`m looking for the NHS

I`m looking for the NHS

Those with an attention span longer than an average Twitter trend may recall the far off days before David Cameron was not actually elected as Prime Minister when he said that he would shine “a light of transparency” into the dark world of political lobbying.

Opposing a jaded Brown government beset with corruption scandals coupled with obsessive paranoia, Cameron`s advisors spotted a vote winner and offered salvation from self-serving fat cats on the gravy train. With greedy Labour peers being suspended from the Lords, Stephen Byers` describing himself as “a cab for hire” and government policy on tobacco advertising being reversed after Bernie Ecclestone bunged the Labour government a cool million, the days of Neil Hamilton and Jonathan Aitken had clearly returned. It might be illuminating to spell out word for word what Cameron said in February 2010, three months before the general election, even as the then shadow cabinet were actively engaged in identifying chickens now coming home to roost. In a speech that promised to mend Britain`s “broken politics, he said: (more…)

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