Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Spanish Inquisition

This institution is often misunderstood, most historians report it as a tool of persecution used against heretics and other enemies of the Catholic church, abolished due to its cruel methods and various other horrible things.

This is not true and no amount of 'evidence' or 'facts' will sway my mind. The Inquisition was nothing more than a forerunner to a modern day corporate phenomenon - the Performance Review.

In the early 15th century the Catholic Church got its head of HR- Tomas Torquemada - to come up with a strategy for making the CC the leanest, meanest purveyor of bigotry and fairy tales on the planet. Importantly they needed everyone to forget that the whole vow of poverty thing didn't apply, and that sitting in a palace full of treasure was really OK by God.

Torquemada pioneered what is today The Performance Review - where you are dragged over hot coals whilst being questioned in order to justify your existence (though in the 25th century there was less gift for metaphor and this was literally true). The process continues until the reviewer is told the things he wants to hear - The company is wonderful and all is right with the corporate strategy.

Torquemada and his successors were not ones to rest on their laurels and continued innovate throughout the ages. Dragging over hot coals soon became remarkably passé, though sometimes was used for nostalgias sake. Pokers, Iron Maidens - a whole variety of performance enhancing techniques were utilised in order to ensure reviewees got the best out of their performance review. Sadly, most did not survive the process in order to reap the full benefits but in a competitive religious market, the strong survive and....well everyone else does what they say or perish in a variety of unpleasant ways.

Torquemada's revolutionary techniques served to slim down the competition, keep the Church hungry and on their toes and increased market share of the Catholic Product. Sadly the Inquisition was wound up as an initiative in the 19th century - though practically this happened much earlier due to the ill fated arrival of the Enlightenment. As a result the Catholic Brand has suffered several blows to its credibility - things that would never have come to light under the inquisition come to the fore without its protections and general torturing reviewing of victims participants.

Happily for us, there are a enough twisted, soulless, maliciously minded people in the world to work in HR and take up Torquemada's legacy and keep it going into the 21st century and the Inquisition continues to evolve in the private world to this day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Welcome to Perth...........

........The Capital of Western Australia. It's 4 hours closer than Sydney"

This advert never fails to make me laugh, it is a brilliant piece of targeted marketing. Essentially it is saying 'We are marginally closer than somewhere you actually want to go to'.

Now while I will complain endlessly and then buy an unnecessary car as a result of spending the best part of 7 hours traveling little more than 250 miles on public transport, I consider 26 hours to travel to the opposite side of the world quite reasonable. I don't think I'd find myself 22 hours in to the trip thinking 'Bollox to Sydney, drop me off here'.

At first I thought 'Who is going to be dumb enough to pick a holiday location based on proximity?! Surely if you're going to Oz, the budget isn't a massive issue?'. Then I remembered that The Sun has a circulation of over 3 million and the Daily Mail over 2.3 million and my question was answered. I live in a nation where 4 hours is considered by many an Odyssey from which man may not return and requires all weather clothing and Kendel Mint Cake.

OK, perhaps an exaggeration but if that kind of advertising is going to work on anyone its the British!

I wonder if it could work on a more local level on the English 'Come to Wales, closer than Ireland with marginally less need to pretend not to be English'.

King of The Rant

I've made some anti-religious rants in my time. I think I am very good at it, but this 7 minute rant against Abrahamic religions by Marcus Brigstocke on Radio 4's The Now Show really ranks up there at the top of the Best Rants Ever list!

At least I have something to aspire to. (Ignore the visuals, whoever put this on youtube clearly thought he was being clever).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

TV show advertising

2 things that have made me laugh out loud today on the TV:

UKTV Gold:

A season of hit blockbusters exclusively on UKTV Gold! Starting this Friday with the Smash Hit Movie 'Waterworld!

And before an episode of Spooks on Hallmark:

(In dramatic voice)
"Next time you are on a train or a bus or a plane, ask this the one with the bomb on it?! This episode of Spooks is too real for comfort..."

Genius. Though quite comforting all things considering - knowing that there is only one bomb really does put things in perspective - I mean there must be literally millions of buses, planes and trains all over the world and with only one bomb I fell pretty damned safe!


Only through observing the righteous can we hope to help defeat the feline menace!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Home, Hills, Myths and Legends - The Columbo Exit

.........Just one more thing.

After visiting Arthur's crappy house, I went down to the local Citroén dealer that I used to work at, fully intending to price up a Diesel C4.

But then I saw a special edition 1.6i model ('By Loeb') in black and sort of got gadget fever and certain elements of logic abandoned if I can just find that Transformer button......

Mine looks more like the 3 door Coupé in the first vid, though obviously it is better than that. I'll stick a pic up later if I can find it again, it looks sportier than it is, it will still average nearly 40mpg, closer to 50 on the motorway. The sooner I forget the diesels go closer to 70 the better! lol! I should be picking it up around the end of the month.

I am definitely not excited! No sir!

[Update] Photo-ness:

That's all I got so far. And no, I am not going to stop going on about it :p

Home, Hills, Myths and Legends - Part 2

Now. Arthur's Castle/Palace, whatever?

OK so I've been brushing up on the legends and folklore of Wales, especially around my home area. What I really like about a lot of these stories is that they often explain the names of various places in Wales and also they are native tales, not those taken from the cultures of various invaders as has happened with a lot of English folklore.

Now from my cursory research there appears to be various combinations of antagonist and hero in everyone of these tales - each of which can be selected in any combination from the following list:

1) King Arthur
2) One or more of his Knights
3) A Saint (of which there appear to be many)
4) One or more Giants (Of which there appear to be even more)
5) Dragons. It's on our flag, of course there were dragons!

Most landmarks, quirks of geography and some place names appear to be explained through the activities of Giants and subsequent hissy fits by Giants. Moel Fenlli is named after a giant who lived there called Benlli Gawr. Moel Fenlli is the other hill in the Clwydian range. Using the Ordnance Survey International 'Happy Mondays Hill Classification System', it is the Bez of the Clwydian range.

Saints appear quite a lot - Llanarmon-Yn-Iâl literally means 'The Church of St Garmon in Iâl'. St Garmon sorted out Benlli Gawr after he tried to help some Picts invade and founded the church in Iâl. Anyway, I digress.

King Arthur obviously appears a lot, being a native Briton and all that. Guinevere is apparently a mutation of Gwenhuifor. There are various tales about him knocking about the place.

One thing that is always true in these tales - if there are Saxons involved, they always lose. Don't think the Romans fare much better to be honest, there is even a tale about how the Saxons were able to invade - as it turns out it was Arthur getting too big for his boots. Tosser.

Right, so thats a few bits in there - my country was essentially formed by tall fat people having tantrums. I am getting a lot of this stuff from an excellent book called 'Supernatural Clwyd'. Hardly an inspiring title bt very well written! I've decided that rather than the constant whining, I am going to reproduce some stories here. Unless of course you don't want me to, but I find it quite interesting and often funny.

Home, Hills, Myths and Legends - Part 1

So I returned to the homeland over the weekend, using 'Dutch Veal Calf Experience Coach Journeys' coach. After being ejected at Chester, Mike collected me in the new Mike Mobile and we headed back to his house for the Chili Of Death If You Are Lucky, beer, Cannibal Women of the Avocado Jungle of Death and a whole load of other crap that he picked out for us. Oh yes, I feel your jealous eyes!

Oh yes, not to be included in crap - we also watched the Trailer Park Boys Movie. I highly recommend you all watch seasons 1-7 of this original and hilarious comedy from Canada. Then watch the movie, it is awesome. Go. Go do it now!
Saturday we were out drinking. I couldn't exactly say who 'we' is, I had been drinking. What I do know is that at some point I agreed it would be a great idea to go walking up one of the local hills (I live right near the Clwydian Range) on Sunday morning.


After a fortifying breakfast of bacon and egg, Mike came round and Pedr (who had availed himself of my mum's couch) bid a hasty retreat. We got supplies (some coke) and headed off. We decided that Moel Famau (Hill of the Mothers) would be too crowded as it tends to be the most popular place for walkers and tourists - it has the remains of the Jubilee Tower on it. So we decided to go up Moel Arthur (unsurprisingly 'home to King Arthur's Palace'):

I took all these with my phone by the way, so theya re a bit naff. You can't really make it out from this angle but there is a ring all around the top of Arthur where the fortifications of the old hill fort used to be back in the Iron Age. Anyway, here are some more pictures from on the way up:

Thats about half way up, its bigger than it looks from the bottom and I don't cpe well with heights. I am particularly not good with plummeting to imminent doom. That little red car is the Mike Mobile.

You can keep going to Offa's Dyke about 3/4 of the way up but we were headed to Bryngaer - the Hill Fort on Moel Arthur.

That little blip is the remains of the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau in the distance.

That's me in my professional Welsh Hill walking gear stood next to an impressive pile of rocks. I think they felt the need to put something there in the absence of an actual hill fort. It's not quite as good as Painshill Park who put a big cardboard cut out in lieu of an actual feature. I kid you not!

More pics:


More to follow (don't worry, not more dull crap about me wandering the hills!)

Friday, February 08, 2008


I never used to like Morrisey, I still think hje is a bit of a tosser to be honest. Song wise I never thought I liked him though, all a bit Emo in sentiment before Emo found the guy-liner and guitar.

However, I just randomly remembered a song that used to really like that is apparenly by Morrissey called Boy Racer. I am reticent of downloading it in case it is actually crap and I am giving it the rosy glow that nostalgia gives things. On the other hand it could be like Danger Mouse which is even better when you watch it as a growed up!

I have no idea why I posted this but so what. :D I am going home to Wales this afternoon, it will be good.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl XLII Part II - updated 12/2/08

More Superbowl pics to follow, including a special guest star from a real life American Football team! You're excited I can tell.

Oh, if you're a Patriots fan - hahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahhaahhahahah! Unbeaten the whole season and then spooning it when it counts. All that effort, only to end up with the same end to the season as Miami. Who only won one game. Miami only win one game, Patriots only lose one but both are big fat losers. Hah!

I still don't like Eli Manning, but it really was the lesser of 2 evils ;)

More later.

OK more piccies from the evening's festivities:

As promised, we bring you photos of Special Guest Star - Piers Evershed - all star Running Back for the BACFL team The Nottingham Outlaws. Sadly his promising and diamond studded career was blighted by injury and internla politicking where the limelight was stolen by lesser men! He did spend a full season with the outlaws, plus one as a greeter at the Desert Inn.*

Proof, if proof were needed of his playing credentials! It's clear to even the most amateur of fans that this panther like athlete could have made it to the top of his game if fate didn't take him towards Test Management in a mid-table IT consultancy.

The Final and beautiful outcome. Fully deserved in more ways than one!

Take the pre-game - while the Giants pregame consisted of 'We've dreamed of this since we were children, we have to do our best to take this - we have to win!' and things of that ilk, the Pats were 'Lets not take this for granted, we still need to go beat them'. Which essentially means they DID take it for granted and DID see it as a formality. That and the fact that it was just REALLY funny watching the Pats faces as they realised they had thrown it all away!

*Little Baseketball reference for those lucky few to have seen it ;)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Vital Superbowl Perparations

Well here we are, blogging live from the the premier UK Superbowl XLII event at Matt's Flat. Any event of this magnitude requires great preparation, first of all supplies:

As you can see, we have made sure that all attendees are availed of a well balanced snack diet.

Our top Chili-meister Nick has taken over preparations for the Superbowl Super Fuel.

As you can see from these pictures, the atmosphere is electric and they've taken the decision to drink an American brew in deference to the occasion. Matt definitely does not have Grolsch and Cider in the fridge as a back up. No sir!

In addition to this, we have the only Brit to win a Superbowl ring in the Sky commentary team. Scott Mccready (clicky for his awesome, world beating stats!) is perhaps the finest British NFL player ever to feature in a practice squad. No one has exploited 'Right Place, Right Time' quite as well as Scott has done and we give him a big hand for that. However we have decided to support the BBC broadcast of the event, in order to boost the figures. And definitely not because the American commentators know what they are talking about. Definitely not.

In closing - LETS GO GIANTS!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Good -2 Evil -1

Wales toppled the imperialist dogs at that excuse for a stadium Twickenham. There was never a doubt in my mind!

Liverpool (Pedr's team) crushed Sunderland - a team managed by a vicious and evil man who drowns puppies on the sidelines.

Unfortunately the forces of Evil rallied later in the evening when the Leeds Rhinos overcame Hull KR in their righteous battle for supremacy.

So the score stands at 2-1. If the Patriots win tomorrow, it'll be a devastating blow in the fight between good and evil!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Weather people

According to Television yesterday, it is currently raining heavily and very windy. My eyes tell me it is a beautiful day outside, the sun is shining. I am going to spend the afternoon in the pub just in case Mother Nature is trying to trick me with her womanly wiles.

*Cough!* Tosser! *Cough!*

John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of global music body, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries, said: "The operators of The Pirate Bay have always been interested in making money, not music."

This could be a new ITV show hosted by Lisa wasserface 'Parasites say the Funniest things!'

Still, not quite as good as how BBC Radio 4 dealt with the Kenya issue. Children dying in bloody slaughter and they hold a phone in about how the Home Office's travel warning affected people's holiday plans. As John Oliver says, 'Now THAT takes some balls!'

Updated Stereotype - Sports, Booze and Excellent Personal Grooming

Except for Waffle of course. He still works on the '1 bath a season, whether I need it or not!' theory of personal hygiene. But then he is my older brother, which in effect makes him a mythical creature*. Essentially it's like having a Unicorn come to visit. Without the horn sticking out of his head. Or, you know, the hooves. General horsey accoutrements and features are in fact entirely noticeable in their absence, as are magical powers. Unless you count the ability to breathe through ones arsehole in order to free up more time for talking a magical power.

In every other way it is EXACTLY like having a Unicorn come to visit.

Pedr** seems to think that going to the pub to watch the Rugby tomorrow is the best idea, I think he's forgotten we are in England. While he is technically English, he has lived in Wales most of his life and so has experienced the Half-Reverse-Vader effect which means he will, in most if not all circumstances, support the forces of good. The Full-Reverse-Vader effect, of course, would involve him renouncing Wales for England on his death and losing his soul just as the struggle was about to be over.

I am hoping to leave work early to meet them in the pub, some might suggest that I may have more success in this endeavour if i actually did some work rather than write this bog. These people are fools and could not possibly understand the complexities and subtleties of my plan! This is mainly because the 'plan' is barely a quarter formed and no complexity or subtlety has yet been introduced but the point still stands!

*Hannah is convinced that no one or thing in creation could possible be older than me, leaving only Mythical creatures as possibilities for 'older' visitors as these things are timeless

**Pedr, Pedwar, Pedro, Pedro Ramirez (International Latin Lover), Piotr, Pietr, Petr. And a million other variations as long as we don't use his one true name. He's like God in that way.

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