Tuesday, January 31, 2006

They're Planting Stories in the Press

Another good thing about the internet is the amount of stupid stories that one can read. These are all true and, as with yesterday's article about adult nappies in China, come from a reputable source: Annanova.

A man returned home from a two week holiday to find a dead corpse on his sofa. The funniest thing about this (and all of the other stories) is not the story itself but the individuals who are quoted:
Whenever you go away for a couple of weeks, you always return home expecting to find that something has gone off, but it's usually a lump of cheese or slice of bread, not a dead body.
Thanks for that insight. State the obvious why don't you.

This next story is about a GP in New Zealand who has converted his medical centre into a high-class brothel. For all you readers from New Zealand, this is based in a place called Coopers Beach. Another hilarious quote from the GP turned pimp:
It's about providing a private service and maintaining confidentiality, which is what my medical practice was about - so it's not a big leap, really. Everything I have ever done is high quality. The standards of my medical practice were high and that will cross over to the brothel environment.
Hmm. Have to make a trip to New Zealand one day. But the hilarity doesn't stop there, the chair of the New Zealand GP council/stand up said that he thinks that this proves that medicine isn't the big earner people think it is. I don't know whether to laugh or cry anymore.
And finally, from the whacky world of Wakefield in the UK. A man lost his appetite when he read the list of ingriedients on the label of a packet of budget ham. The label said that the ham contained dogshit.
Obviously I haven't eaten it. It sort of puts you off. We spent 40 minutes laughing. But we haven't put any in the kids' sandwiches and we had something else for our tea.
I'm glad they had something else, just to be on the safe side. With newspapers complaining of falling readership, why don't they print these stories? I'm sure that this would be a surefire way of beating back the inevitable decline of mass print newspapers. Ultimately, these stories reveal more about our society than celebrity Big Brother, the war in Iraq and climate change stories do.

Monday, January 30, 2006

You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track

As a citizen of the United Kingdom, I have been subjected to numerous long journeys, cancelled trains and broken down railway lines. Indeed it almost has become a national obsession. Our trains are a national disgrace, especially when you think that we're the fifth biggest economy in the world.
However, China has just overtaken the UK and is now the fourth largest economy. But its train service are having problems keeping up it seems. Sales of Adult nappys are soaring as people cram onto trains with no easily accessible toilet facilites. Why run out of a train, push your way through the crowd to the station toilets, blast one out and then run back to the train, when you can relieve yourself in the comfort of your own seat/space on the roof.
Let's see how long it is before one of the privatised rail companies offer these for free here in the UK.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

With faces hidden while the walls were tightening

I went to see an excellent film today called Cache (Hidden in its translated form). Its a French film and is proof that you don't need $3 billion, special effects and Nicole Kidman to make a good thriller. All you need is a strong plot, a good script and excellent actors. The emotional intensity of this film is such that you come out of the cinema feeling drained and more tired than if you'd ran the London Marathon.

Of course the comments by the other cinema-goers on the way out were, as always, priceless. "It's good but there was too much dialogue". Without wishing to sound like a snob, I think some people just can't get films like this. Another good thing about this film was the fact that you left the cinema with more questions than you had when you entered it.

In other me news, read my review of Michael Franti's album Stay Human at rockbeatstone.

Chimes of Freedom

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Best Words I could Write

If you click on the 'next blog' button on the top right silver bar it automatically takes you to a random blog. It is how I get most of my traffic on this blog. But I thought that I could use this tool to discover just who writes a blog and why and in the process draw some meaningful conclusions on life.

The first blog I come across is rum and coke please a website written by a pregnant English woman which seems to consist of details of all the stuff she is buying for her kid and various other tales which seem disgusting to me. Tedious, but then I'm not the target audience.
The second site is Daniel Reed's Cemetary Blog. From life to death I suppose. This blog is interesting in that Daniel Reed is attempting to create a forum for an exchange of ideas within his industry. It's just a shame that he happens to be in the funeral industry. No one has bothered to answer him so far, so I guess that means that the industry is not as open to debate and discussion as he expected.
Next up is Liberal Woman, which I guess is stereotypical in that it contains politics. Nice rants from Libby who also slags off her president. It also has a very nice font and format if you ask me. From the other end of the political/life/blog spectrum is Things found on Bam's Heart/Mind/Desk. Now this blog is indeed as troubling as the title suggests. It presents Bam's news and updates on his fasting. Unfortunately he tends to write things like this:
So, I am in day three of NO food. It has been truly a neat experience. "What's that" you say? "Having no food is NEAT?"Well yes. First of all, I feel like I am closer to God. When I start to feel hungry, I hear that little voice in the back of my mind saying, "go ahead. Go ahead and have a sandwich...one bite won't hurt. Why are you doing this anyway? You don't need to prove anything." That is a dangerous voice. Even though that little voice sometimes shouts, I have been able to deny it. I have been able to shut the door on Satan....in turn, keeping me closer to God.
Anyways I think that this goes to show that Blogs present a little of the boring, a little of the strange, a little of the political and a little of the fundamentalist Christian. Much like everyday life one could say.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Call me any name you like

same name - not the same face

The internet is great. It allows me to undertake some amateur genealogy, which quite simply would have been impossible/boring 10 years ago. Coupled with this information I am also able to look back at my life and see where I went wrong and what I could be doing.

Doing a google search for 'Ketchell' first of all. I could have owned either a construction company or a sports science clinic. The sports science clinic trains people to do mental stuff like the Ironman. The construction company doesn't seem to be doing much at the moment, although I like the logo and layout. It seems that as an entrepreneur I could have been a builder or ripped off rich people who like to inflict pain upon their lives through physical excesses.
A more detailled search for 'James Ketchell' reveals that I live in Wimbledon, London, just down the road from me and that I'm into IT (big time). This means that I am a geek. The photo above will say more than these words, I feel. Still if you're ever in need of IT solutions get in contact with James Ketchell.
I apparently also drive in the Gumball Rally every year. Now this really is something that I would like to do. Here is a photo of my inexpensive sports car. It appears that the various companies that I own have allowed me to waste money on a fast car and take copious amounts of time off.

My car - babe magnet

I also particpate in body building competitions, but i don't do very well unfortunately. But the added combination of sports car and greased up abs helped me bag a wife, Debroah Ketchell who is Associate Dean for Knowledge Management and Director of Lane Library Stanford University School of Medicine.

So to summarise - I am a builder who also owns a sports science clinic. I'm into IT, drive luxury sports cars in the Gumball rally and in my spare time participate in body building competitions. My wife is an academic at Stanford University. But there is something else, i forgot to mention. I am either 179 years old or dead (the latter I should think). I was apparently born in Lurgashall, Sussex, England in 1827. Even with the internet you can't have it all.

Farewell Angelina

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

They're selling postcards of the hanging

Recent allegations that Mark Oaten was visiting rent boys has highlighted a new trend in politics that I find quite disturbing. No longer are issues important.

We have become obsessed with sleaze and lies. We don’t care that Tony Blair took us into an illegal and immoral war. But if he had sexual relations with another woman then he would be hung out to dry.

We are obsessed with the supposed misdemeanours, lies, sleaze, corruption and unmentionable acts but seem to forget about the politics. In a world where the US and Britain are 'bringing' freedom and democracy to the Middle East its about time that the people of these two countries started respecting their own freedom and democracy.

At the end of the day we as a society enjoy the circus of a public hanging and I for one find this barbaric, backward and a continuing reason why I feel more and more 'turned off' by politics. Politics should be about ideas and issues - not personal deficiencies and moral superiority.

Monday, January 23, 2006

You'd know what a Drag it is to See You

I have stayed away from mentionning my beloved Southampton FC but the time has come for an almighty rant. My football team has been taken over by incompetance and mediocrity. A few years ago Southampton FC had moved from the Dell to a new 35,000 seater stadium, were in the FA Cup Final and subsequently qualified for UEFA Cup football.
Since then we have had five different managers. We are now 16th in the Championship (old second division), have sold all of our best players: Kevin Phillips (£3m), Peter Crouch (£7.5m), Anti Niemi (£1.5m) and most recently Theo Walcott (£5m rising to £12.5m depending upon appearances). In return we have bought a 19 year-old Polish goal keeper and...that's about it.
Our club is managed by Rupert Lowe who appears to have become a Megalomaniac. When we were releguated he played up the fact that our internet based TV channel was hugely successful. Although this may be a good business achievement, it matters not to the thousands of fans who have payed thousands of pounds to follow Southampton up and down the country only for the club to step down a division. He has also brought in Sir Clive Woodward, who coached England's rugger-bugger egg chasers to World Cup victory. Only problem is that it was in another sport. He is now director of football and is being payed a reported £850k a week (more than any player or staff member at the club). His input seems to me to have been building a 'presentation suite' at Southampton's training ground.
What I mean to say in this rant is that the club has lost direction and focus. They are being managed (both financially and sportingly) by a bunch of incompetants. This has been brought to the attention of fans who chanted: "We want Rupert Out, We want Rupert Out" and plenty of other chants who can't be mentionned in a respectable blog such as this. I'm not the only one thinking like this, however. This brilliant article by Nick Illingsworth from the Southampton fanzine, The Ugly Inside sums up my thoughts well. This is coupled with the views being posted on unofficial internet message baords which are now openly discussing protest and wanting to throw the man out of the club - only problem is that they can't realistically do this. One seemingly pro-Lowe message was greeted with this gem of a comment:
It seems that an overwhelming majority of fans now are disgusted, angry and fed up. The glory days seem to be a long time in the past now. Who knows to what new lows Lowe will take us (not bad, eh?). Its time for Lowe to look in the mirror see that the fans of the club who have bought hundreds of pounds of merchandise, spent thousands of pounds on travel and tickets, struggled, toiled and sweated for the club, deserve much better. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way he will go is if he realises that its in the club's interest for him to do so. Let's hope the fans make him realise this.
Lowe is a parasite that only the modern, money obsessed football can produce. I hope that your club never has to deal with someone like Lowe in the future and that G_d absoves him of his sins when they eventually meet up.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Strike up the band", they hit it

It's Sunday and it will be forever remembered as Arctic Monkey Sunday. Their second single is bound to go in at number one today and their album, Whatever people say I am, That's what i'm Not is aparently the fastest sellling album since Oasis' debut. I think they're good and may become an all time great.

Read my album review at rockbeatstone.

Handy Dandy

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'm gonna win my way to wealth and fame

Lottery fever has gripped the UK and probably all of Europe. The Euro millions jackpot is an estimated £85 million for tonight's draw. But best of all is the fact that Colleen McLoughlin is supporting the draw.
For those that don't know, Colleen McLoughlin is Wayne Rooney's fiance. She is 'famous' for shopping a lot and appearing in the gossip columns of newspapers like the Sun, the Daily Star and the Daily Mirror. Quite why the National Lottery would want to get the support of a footballer's wife is beyond me. I mean why does it even need her? Are people now going to read her statement and think that maybe yes they will now play the lottery? She certainly has some insightful comments:
I've got my fingers crossed for a UK winner - if they strike lucky on Friday night, think of the position they'll be playing in the rich list league table.
Why is it that there are so many celebrity endorsements for all ranges of business? Pamela Anderson is against KFC and supporting PETA. Boyband Busted prefer 'the Tory way of thinking', John Cleese shouted alot for Sainsbury's and ex-football star and TV presenter Gary Linker promotes 'junk' food (Walkers Crisps). When will people learn that it does more harm than good and turns people off? I couldn't care less than so or so shops here or supports this or does that. I hope a bulgarian peasant wins it so we don't have to have any more future celebrity endorsements for games of luck.
BTW: In case you're wondering, I did get a ticket. If I win, i'll pay Colleen McLoughlin to keep her mouth shut in the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oh, man has invented his doom, First step was touching the moon

Last weekend, I went to my good friend’s family home for the weekend. His parents were away do he decided to have a mini-party. It was at this gathering that I discovered one of the most ridiculous consumer goods ever and it got me thinking. The item in question was an electric pepper mill/grinder. Unlike the over-strenuous manual grinders this one released pepper at the push of a button and at the same time lit up the ‘landing area’ (ie: your plate or saucepan). The reason I started to think of this consumer good was that I found it, quite simply, completely unnecessary.

Taking a quick detour from my train of thought to look up such items on the internet revealed that the most expensive pepper grinder comes from a company called Peugeot (a subsidary of the car company). Here is a reproduction of the description from brilliant (I am being ironic) website Kitchenland.
All Peugeot mills have a robust and extremely reliable grinding mechanism that has a lifetime guarantee. The pepper mechanism was specifically designed to mill peppercorns and is not suitable for milling other spices. The Peugeot brand is the brand most favoured by professional chefs. The reason chefs prefer Peugeot is that the grinding mechanism produces the most consistent grind. Most other mills have a tendency to flake the peppercorns, producing irregular sized bits of pepper. The pepper develops more flavour when it is milled at the time of use.
Pure marketing bullshit, it deserves a medal. Good job that this one doesn’t flake those peppercorns! The cost to you, Joe Public, so that all your peppercorn fantasies can come true is only £44.95.

If humankind is forever expanding its horizons, finding out more and more about our origins, our future, creating new and exciting inventions to make our lives and our planet better then it is also creating ‘stuff’. This isn’t even a gadget, its pure kitchen porn designed to fulfil the human race’s desire for ‘stuff’. The real issue is, are we better off with or without this item? I would suggest that the costs of production outweigh the benefits.
Costs to society/environment:
- 100 underage sweatshop workers based in some country (probably in south east Asia)
- Transport (how much CO2 is release to ship/fly the grinders to the UK?)
- Distribution – petrol costs associated to delivery to warehouse and to shop/home
- Battery production costs (cost of production & environmental disposal costs)
- A slightly easier grinding of pepper
I would argue that the costs outweigh the benefits in this case. I believe that until society realises that we do not need such ‘stuff’ then we will never solve such grand issues like global warming or poverty.
It also reminds me of an article I read in my favourite newspaper, the Guardian. In this story on the expansion of Heathrow airport, a old local man states that they used to grow parsnips on the site where the runway now stands. Today Heathrow receives parsnips grown in Australia by jumbo jet. We truly do live in a bizarre world. Until people start to use commonsense then our children or children’s children or whatever will be royally fucked. If touching the moon was the first step then electric pepper grinders must be near the top of the staircase.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

An' he just smoked my eyelids, An' punched my Cigarette

As my first post suggests, I recently stopped smoking. Now I know the underlying factors in my decision (the fact that my genetic material don’t seem to be too great in this department and money) but to counter this, there is the fact that I’m about to become a bit less cool than I was before. My scientific basis for this comes from these pictures below. First of all, a smoker:

Guitar hero Keef Richards smoked...alot. He is very cool.

Secondly, a non-smoker:

Friendly politician and Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe would never touch a cigarette. She is far from cool.
See. You cannot deny that non-smokers are as the yanks would say, "dorks". I’ve only stopped for 2.5 days so its early days yet but I have been using nicotine patches and don’t feel a thing, but I do think that I could be addicted to them, already. Herein lies the problem, I’m not sure how many patches I could fit on my body but I’m pretty sure that I could fit too many on. Also I remember reading somewhere that there is enough pure nicotine in a patch to kill someone – I just hope I don’t get the 0.01 percent which come out faulty and I die in some huge-spasm of energy as my brain explodes from nicotine overload. Nicotine patches are also expensive – more so than it was costing me to smoke (thanks to various trips to the EU and the fact that I smoke rollies) and they say you should go on a 12 week programme. Bollocks to that, I’m going to halve the length. But so far not smoking has been relatively easy, now I need to loose the addiction to patches.

But why did I start in the first place? It’s hard to tell, but time spent at university with the whacky-tobaccy didn’t help much. In fact the place where I went to University was so small and full of priviledged public schoolboy brats that it was pretty much the only good pastime. I have had some great time with cigarettes over the years. That first morning ciggie was always amazing and there’s nothing better to accompany a pint. I know I will miss it. Any reformed smoker who says that they did not enjoy smoking are liars – like any relationship that has ran its course, it's time to say goodbye. But I’ll never forget the good times.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"I thought you'd never say hello," she said

Hello everyone. This is my first blog post.

I have stayed away from doing this before as I always felt that there was something quite wrong about the fact that someone may read my thoughts and comments. I mean, how self-important must one be to think that their thoughts are interesting to others. Most people don't care.

But then I weighed up the fact that in reality very few people will read this. How many billions of people don't even have a telephone line? And to think that people nowadays get annoyed that they don't have mega-high speed broadband internet access available everywhere or that their blackberry doesn't work on the train home. (hold on there, I nearly got serious for a minute).

I intend to use this blog to discuss various issues that enter my head at the specific time that I sit in front of the computer to write it. I in no way want to use this blog to change the world, elect a president, pull women or make money. I will be frivolous to the extreme with some delicious insights into society's foibles thrown in for good measure.

I live in London, UK. I am 26 years old. I am a recently reformed smoker. My passions are: my girlfriend, Bob Dylan, rock music, Southampton Football Club, darts, beer, Family Guy, the Sopranos, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. My pet hates are the Tory party, the Labour party, manufactured pop music, the War in Iraq, various (most) public figures, and rubbish television adverts.

Anyway thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you'll come back to read it again soon.

Check me out, if you dare