Tag Archives: idiots

Strangers on a Train

Are you familiar with the plot of Strangers on a Train? It’s been re-used several times by the CSI franchise, so you may know it but not under that name.

It’s a Patricia Highsmith novel, made into a film by Hitchcock and therefore has impeccable pedigree. This is what Wikipedia says about it.

“Architect Guy Haines wants to divorce his unfaithful wife, Miriam, in order to marry the woman he loves, Anne Faulkner. While on a train to see his wife, he meets Charles Anthony Bruno, a psychopathic playboy who proposes an idea to “exchange murders”: Bruno will kill Miriam if Guy kills Bruno’s father; neither of them will have a motive, and the police will have no reason to suspect either of them. Guy does not take Bruno seriously, but Bruno kills Guy’s wife while Guy is away in Mexico.”

This struck a chord with me when reading a comment by Charliecountryboy. In the comment he said: “I got one of those looks last night from Gillian when I wondered out loud.
“How it was possible to squeeze so many idiots onto one planet?”
She suggested it wasn’t a good FB post.”

I get those looks all the time, particularly when discussing my solution to the idiot supply, which seems to be exceeding our real needs for idiots by a considerable margin. I mean, once every village has one and you add 600 for Westminster and 200 to supply the needs of daytime/reality/celebrity TV, why do we need more?

This is a slightly different subject to Charlie’s, which I believe is down to a little known law of Newtonian Physics where, once the concentration of idiots reaches a certain level it forms a barrier around itself (rather like the security cordon round Westminster), achieves critical mass and calls out into space for other idiots…

Sorry, that’s Dr Who, not Isaac Newton. Easy mistake. Dr Who is the time traveller, Isaac Newton invented the cat flap and pushed needles into his eyes in the interests of science.

Anyway, my solution (to Uxorial Censorship rather than the breeding of idiots) would be for us to write posts for each other. I will write Charlie’s post on idiots and he can publish my poem that is so tasteless it wins a modern competition (though that won’t be easy).

That way we can stay married but still maintain access to freedom of speech.

It’s worth thinking about.

 

 

 

The First of at Least Two Posts

I managed three posts yesterday – one in the morning before we went out, one when we came back and one because I had time to do it and no distractions. There was nothing decent on TV and Julia was in the dining room talking to her sister on the phone.

This proves that when I have time and inspiration I can write multiple posts. Time and inspiration, hmmm…

I’m going to think about that. I can probably improve my capacity for being inspired, and if I get plenty of sleep I can probably cut out the evening naps, though that’s not quite as likely. I did have plenty of sleep last night, but still managed to fall asleep when Julia went to cook the curry.

The new day came round too early and we left home at 7.05 to get Julia to the doctor for an appointment. That went fairly well, but she forgot to pick up a prescription for me. We found that out when we got to McDonald’s and my early morning cheerfulness, which is brittle at the best of times, quickly cracked.

The dispenser at McDonald’s was out of BBQ Sauce. This is the second time in two visits and the fourth in six visits. How difficult can it be to keep a sauce dispenser filled?

Back at the doctors, I allowed a woman to go through the door ahead of me (because my parents brought me up properly) and she spent the next twelve minutes trying to get a prescription for extra pain killers from a receptionist. It doesn’t work that way, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Sometimes I wish my parents had brought me up to be selfish and use my elbows more.

Then they gave me only half the prescription and I had to make them find the other half, then traffic built up and roadworks slowed us down…

As I say, we left home at 7.05. I got to work at 9.55. And at that point I realised, with a feeling of numb resignation, that things were not going to get better.

For lunch I had tuna with cream cheese, spring onions and lemon zest. It was a bit sharp. Tuna mayonnaise would have been easier, but I had cream cheese left over from the mackerel pate. It seems a bit wetter than mayonnaise and I had to drain it by leaving it a sieve for a couple of hours. More work needed, I think.

This seems like a good time to go for a cup of tea. Julia has just returned home and it will be nice to talk to someone. I say talk, but really I just saw her slip a bar of chocolate into her pocket, so I am nurturing hopes of being fed.

The header picture is a new Robin picture for Lavinia.

 

Reindeer and Relaxation, and Bananas

I’m going to give you a rest from my general tales of doctors and disasters, though I will mention that it was very quiet in the shop today. That was because, unlike most retail outlets, we don’t have a Christmas rush. Collectors tend to wait until after Christmas and then come to us to spend their Chritmas money. Today, like most men (because 95% of coin collectors are men) they were being dragged round town by their wives (because 95% of women are far too keen of Christmas).

For proof of that last point I offer Julia as evidence. I went to work this morning. She went to a Christmas Craft Fair in our local park, took pictures of reindeer (and their painted backdrop), then went to the gym, returned home and put the Christmas tree up. I’ve managed to cut us down to a small artificial tree over the years, but still can’t persuade her that 24th is early enough to put it up.

We also had three sales on eBay – yes, we have 1,400+ items on eBay and we sold three. And we couldn’t fulfill one of the orders because the customer added an impossible request by email. We had four more plus a telephone order during the day but it’s hardly a sparkling performance.

After work I picked Julia up and we went for tea and toasted teacakes, did some shopping and one of us read the newspaper while the other one looked at Christmas jumpers. As I read (you surely didn’t expect me to be looking at the red, white and green sparkly monstrosities, did you) I found this story.

I agree that the banana is, as pointed out, a symbol of many things, including (which they didn’t mention) the problems of cloning and monoculture.

If you want your very own copy of this artwork, I’m doing a pre-Christmas special offer of just £1,000, giving you a saving of £90,000 on the price of an original. And for that I’ll even come round to any address on mainland Britain and install it for you.

Or, as part of my newly developed franchise idea, send me £500 and I’ll send you a hand of bananas and a roll of gaffer tape.

I don’t know if I’ll make any sales, but I thought it was worth mentioning in case any of you were looking for an emergency present idea.

 

 

A Very Quick Post

Bribery, bloodshed, Stone Age values, corruption, anarchy…

No, not Game of Thrones, just a comment on the Prime Minister’s disastrous European dealings and her alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party.

I feel ashamed to be governed by these idiots and soiled by the way the future of the country is being decided by the bigots of the DUP.

There was a time when you bribed someone and they stayed bribed but after Theresa May secured the votes of the DUP with promises of billions in aid, they now turn round and are likely to betray her.

At one time you could rely on the venality of politicians, promise some cash and some knighthoods and carry the day.

What is happening.

We even have a power-crazed person of restricted growth – in our case The Speaker, rather than Tyrion Lannister.

Idiots!

 

The Halo Slips…

You may recall that I’ve trying to stay calm this week.

Well, my resolve has been well and truly pushed today. What sort of person rings a coin shop about a “rare coin” and doesn’t even know what it is? How do you know it’s rare?

We’ve had several old favourites this week – the worn out Victorian pennies, the “old pennies” from 1912 and the ones” in good condition – you can see all the letters”. The ability to see all the letters on a coin doesn’t mean it’s in collectable condition.

Often, when asked about specific details, the seller doesn’t have it to hand and has to go to another room to find it, leaving me hanging on the phone when I have work to do.

We have had some “rare” Charles Dickens £2 coins offered this week after a newspaper story and some eBay idiocy.  The trouble is that newspapers report coins as “sold” on eBay when they are merely for sale on eBay. Any idiot can put a coin on eBay with a massive price on it. Judging by what I’ve just seen several idiots are doing it.

To cap it all, as I was trying to get things loaded before we went home, two people rang in the last ten minutes. One had a “rare” decimal penny and one had a “rare” £2 coin.

I came close to snapping.

What sort of person, having found us on the web, presumably with our opening hours, decides to ring ten minutes before closing time?

The prize moment of the day, however was the offer of a rare £2 coin with a picture of the White House on it. I didn’t take that call, I just heard one of my workmates say: “I think you’ll find that the 2005 £2 coin actually has St Paul’s Cathedral on it.”

Image result for st pauls £2 coin

eBay Tales

This morning the first job of the day was to cancel the bids on 20 of the silver stamp ingots. The bidder claims that his child got into the account and put the bids on. It’s more likely that he he bid himself and then decided he didn’t want them but you can’t prove it so we cancelled all the bids. He really should have paid us for the time taken in cancelling them.

Then we had a note from someone wanting to send a Lego set back. He’d paid around £150 for a complete 1960’s LEGO set, winning it against stiff competition and now claims the box is a reproduction. This isn’t as unlikely as it sounds as there are some repro toy boxes about, though mainly for Dinky toys, which are quite small and plain.

However, this set belonged to a man as old as I am. He had it from new, looked after it and recently decided to sell it. We’ve dealt with him and his father with coins for probably 30 years. It’s genuine and there’s absolutely no question about it.

This, as sometimes happens, is a case of buyer’s remorse. Again, it’s a well known phenomenon in eBay circles. You get locked in a bidding war, you pay too much, and, protected by eBay rules, you decide to send it back even though there is nothing wrong with the item.

I understand it. Even after 30 years and hundreds of auctions I still sometimes worry I paid too much, and don’t always enjoy my purchases. What I don’t do is send it back. My decision, my problem. The vendor or auctioneer is not to blame for my poor decision. Unfortunately, in modern times, it’s the fashion to cry over spilt milk and to try to evade your responsibilities.

After that, things could only get better, and for once, they did.

These three pictures are from a set we posted on eBay – a 1953 crown, a 2003 crown and a silver stamp ingot of a stamp from coronation year. The ’53 was a well designed coin with a face value of 5 shillings, or 25 pence in the modern system. The 2003 crown has a face value of £5, showing how the value of money has declined. So, have design standards. I could have designed that – it doesn’t take much skill to chuck some letters together.  Horses, on the other hand, are quite difficult to do.

 

 

Thoughts about renewable energy

I watched The Apprentice last night.

At one time I used to watch in the hope that I might learn something about business. I’ve not learned anything I can use, though I do now know that every year proves there is a seemingly endless supply of idiots.

If I can find a way of converting idiots into electricity I may have found the next big thing in renewable energy.

Talking of which, we drove past another solar farm today.  It seems like every time we drive north from Nottingham we find another new field of black panels. Land use has changed considerably over the last ten years in North Nottinghamshire – first we had willow, then we had miscanthus. Currently we seem to have a small forest of wind turbines springing up and the latest fashion seems to be to cover acres in photovoltaic cells.

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Solar farm in north Nottinghamshire

When I see that I feel more comfortable about using electricity, but then start to worry that we won’t need it, because if we cover the land to generate electricity there will be no food to cook.

I’m a bit worried about food, after listening to a radio programme tonight. In order to halt global warming we need to scale back on meat production (mainly on account of the methane produced by cows) and would, they calculate, only have 19 grams of meat a day. That’s 133g a week, about the weight of two moderate burgers.

In the Second World War the bacon and ham ration ranged between 113 and 227 grams. However, there was also a meat ration, controlled by price – between 1 shilling and 1 shilling and two pence (5 – 6 pence in modern terms). I’m struggling to find a comparison of prices – one I found suggests that could be about £1.50. It’s not a lot, but compared to 19 grams a day it’s a positive feast.

To add to the complexity of looking into the future it also seems that grass fed beef (as generally reared in the UK) is worse for the environment than intensively raised beef fed on maize and soya (as raised in USA). It’s not about the method or the food, it’s about the fact that grass fed beef takes longer to grow to full weight, and thus spends more time emitting methane.

Now, methane is the main component of natural gas, so is it just me, or are other people thinking that some sort of gas-collecting nappy on a cow might be an alternative to fracking? Ah, just me…

That’s not the end to it of course, there’s also milk to consider. If they were telling the truth (and I fear they are) we will only have enough milk for four cups of tea a day.

Four cups of tea a day?

I could see myself as a vegetarian, but I don’t see myself cutting down to four cups a day.

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Under threat – my cup of tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

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