The Plastic Hippo

October 18, 2013

The piano has been drinking

Filed under: Music,Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:12 am
Tom Waits

Tom Waits

Tonight, I taught my son how to play Imagine on the piano; I also taught him this… (more…)

October 16, 2013

Clash of the Titans

Filed under: Law,Media,Politics,Society,Sport — theplastichippo @ 8:00 pm
Image via japancinema.net

Image via japancinema.net

In an adversarial world, any attempt at remaining impartial in even the slightest and most insignificant of disagreements is considered to be a sign of weakness and neutrality in really big bust-ups allows both opponents to shriek of third party bias. There is, however, a great deal of amusement to be gained from sitting on the fence especially when the weasels and the stoats are accusing each other of dishonesty.

Card carrying political types insist that anything other than complete and unconditional support and agreement with whatever nonsense they have managed to formulate is evidence of aggression, sedition, unpatriotic treachery and possible mental illness. They seem to believe that any challenge to what they spout is somehow either dangerous or irrelevant and dismiss legitimate scrutiny with counter accusations of corruption or stupidity. Obsessed with the notion of “I am right and you are wrong” regardless of any actual critique, both left and right display an unshakeable moral certainty in their own opinion, however flawed that opinion might be. In life, in marked contrast to politics, not everything is black and white. (more…)

October 14, 2013

Junk mail

Filed under: Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 3:07 am
Cable theft

Cable theft

It would be a mistake to dismiss the sell-off of Royal Mail as the latest shambolic fiasco perpetrated by an inept coalition government; this scam has all the hallmarks of a complex, carefully executed and audacious fraud.

On Tuesday, Vince Cable said that “spivs and speculators” would not be making a “fast buck” from the sell-off. By Friday, after lots of spivs and speculators made lots and lots of bucks very quickly, he dismissed the greed frenzy as “froth and speculation”. Cable, at last, has found something that he is good at. As the Conservative Bow Group pointed out; anyone can sell £10 notes for a fiver and call it a success. If the indecent haste of the sting wasn`t enough to cause suspicion, then the execution of the heist would be comparable to robbing a mail train in 1963. The amount of money, however, is far in excess of the cash plundered by Bruce Reynolds, Buster Edwards, Ronnie Biggs and the rest of their mates; this robbery is far more complex. (more…)

October 11, 2013

Nomadic goalposts

Filed under: Education,Environment,Law,Politics,Rights,Society,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 6:58 pm
They came for the foxes and I did nothing

They came for the foxes and I did nothing

At the end of a bad day of bad news and consequent bad press it is always best to put on a brave face and offer the world a smile and a joke; unless, of course, you happen to be Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson.

As a self-confessed climate change sceptic and advocate of fox hunting, Shropshire`s finest had to admit that he had been out-foxed by badgers. Having to announce what amounts to a failure in killing sufficient brocks and the necessity to extend the killing fields and the killing time must have been difficult in a week when it was confirmed that global warming is caused by humans and not flatulent cattle infected with Bovine TB. With evidence emerging of blood lust yokels exterminating wildlife beyond the pilot cull areas and dead and dying carcasses strewn across the fields of rural England, thank goodness Paterson is not easily taken in by actual scientific research. Turning a blind eye to some of his more thuggish chums in the farming industry who are gassing the sneaky blighters wherever they are found, the Syrian government might be asking Nobel laureate UN chemical weapons investigators to have a quiet word with Owen the Cull. Badgered by an unfriendly press, he informed the nation that the badgers had moved the goalposts.

It is difficult to know where to start with Paterson so I won`t even bother. His disconnection with reality and toe-curling attempts at humour speak for themselves. Instead, it might be more productive to focus on the forgotten victims of this complete shambles; the goalposts and on better comedians that Paterson the Badger Slayer. (more…)

October 9, 2013

I wish to register a complaint

Filed under: Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 2:01 am
Image via boycotted bbc.co.uk

Image via boycotted bbc.co.uk

A friend of mine who in earlier times earned a crust by “advising” a large American corporation on something called customer care once told me that there are only two ways to handle a complaint; the traditional British way or the more modern American way.

There is, of course, a nuanced gradation and considerable trans-Atlantic crossover between the two responses and only the most experienced of complainants will be aware of which strategy is being employed to make the aggrieved consumer of goods and services shut up and go away. The American way is obsequious apology coupled with a constant repetition of the name of the wronged party as if the customer actually mattered. It goes like this:
“Oh John, I`m so sorry that your burger contained ground glass and weapons grade plutonium, John. John, what can I say, John? John, please accept this $500 and sign here telling us you will not sue, John. Thank you John. Have a nice day John.”

The British approach to complaints is rather different and instead of apology, reflected annoyance and withering sarcasm in the style of Basil Fawlty seems to be the accepted strategy:
“Hello…yes…what? Not good enough for you is it? I see, it seems the very finest is wasted on a puerile, pathetic piece of excrement like you. Very well, very well, here`s your money back that I have had to work my fingers to the bone for. I hope you spend it wisely, you inconsiderate moronic bastard.” (more…)

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