Category Archives: Feng Shui Kitten Fixes Stuff

GE2015: Liberal Democats

Liberal Democats

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Incest and Scottish Country Dancing

You know the cartoon I mean.

Steve Bell at Dundee University in 2007Complaining that Steve Bell is offensive is pointless.

Steve Bell has been offending people for decades.

The problem with Steve Bell’s foggily unfunny attempts to satirise the SNP / Sturgeon / Salmond, is that cutting-edge political satire depends on an intimate knowledge of the political scene: and too-evidently, Steve Bell is too ignorant of Scottish politics to be able to provide any of his usually fine satire.

The Guardian readers’ editor thinks that Bell is satirising “the roots of nationalism, not people, and he uses 18th century weapons of caricature”, and the Guardian’s Scotland correspondent tweets “we also defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to offend and @GdnScotland should not censor @BellBelltoons either”.

When discussing a political cartoonist who used to do cutting-edge satire that was funny because it was true, the key issue is not “is he offensive?” but “is his satire any good?”

Steve Bell isn’t coping with the change that requires him to learn about Scottish politics in order to satirise them. It would be kinder to let him go on sabbatical, rather than let him display his copelessness in public, but as Bell himself was never kind, why demand kindness for him?

This isn’t about censorship. This is about quality.

Afterthought: the alarming thing for those of us who are (or were) Steve Bell fans is that if the polls are borne out and 40+ SNP MPs go to Westminster and Labour is perforce obliged to enter a Lab/SNP coalition, there will be unprecedented opportunities for satire – all of which it seems Steve Bell plans to throw away because he seems to think “ha ha Scottish people” is sufficient for a joke.

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The regeneration episode

Today, I watched Doctor Who and I was amused, moved, and enthralled. I was watching An Adventure In Space And Time. (Available on BBC iPlayer til New Year’s Day.)

Doctor WhoAnd then I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Day episode.

The basic story was simple:
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How Not To Apologise

If you have a massive and very public Internet meltdown on your business Twitter account, right in the middle of all your potential customers, this is not how to apologise for it:

The mobile device which controls all SECRET PLUMBER accounts had been lost on Friday evening. The twitter account was hacked on Saturday. I apologise for all offensive tweets, it was not “the secret plumber”

Secret Plumber Facebook
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When to muzzle your Press

Deer and foxI was inspired to write this, if that’s the word, on reading Fleet Street Fox on the Leveson Report: The devil is in the detail, published yesterday in the Press Gazette.

It’s a fine example of a rant as you will ever find from an MP explaining with tendentious authority why the general public have absolutely no right to know about their Parliamentary expenses and how it will ruin a free democracy if this is allowed: you would think this was an investigative journalist who sees censorship on the cards, not a fox demanding the right to be unmuzzled in the henhouse.

But the devil is in the detail, and the detail of Leveson is the bit which will muzzle the Press as effectively as Hannibal Lecter strapped to a luggage trolley.

Leveson wants this backed up by law which is plain wrong, because there’s no bill ever passed by Parliament that wasn’t tinkered with later. Hacked Off and other campaigners may feel the suggested law is fine, but it’s the law it may mutate into which is why it should never happen.

So, we can’t have laws in the UK, because however nice a law looks when it’s proposed, Parliament may change it into something unspeakable, so all laws are wrong. We should instead trust to the kindness and gentility of the likes of David Grigson.

Okay. That’s nice, Fox. We should live in a lawless society because we can’t trust Parliament.

Let me answer a simpler question.

When is muzzling the Press appropriate and can you recommend a certain kind?

By and large, muzzles are used to keep the Press from biting or causing injury. There are two types of muzzles: prohibitive (also referred to as the “tyrant’s muzzle”) and regulatory.
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The Mayan Apocalypse

Will the world come to an end on 21st December 2012?

It better not. I’m having my carpets cleaned that afternoon.

NorovirusWe could all die of plague! There’s one sweeping the land at this moment. (True, but not lethal, unless you are very old, very young, or otherwise very frail – and also very far from any hospital.)

God will smite usIreland is going to pass legislation that will give girls and women whose lives are threatened by pregnancy a clear if limited right to access abortion.
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Phone bills

When I signed up to O2, one of the extra no-charge services I agreed to (why they got my email address) was that they’d let me know by email if I was exceeding my usual monthly bill.

I got an email like that from them on 29 November (my bill was due on 2nd December). I had exceeded my usual phone costs by over £70.

My phone plan gives me two hundred minutes a month free. Normally, I stay inside that ration quite easily. This month I’d finished my free minutes about half-way through a phone call on 22nd November, and thereafter, every phone call had been charged at a rate of £4 per fifteen minutes. For one particularly long phone call I’d made on Sunday 23rd November, it would actually have been cheaper to pay for a taxi over to see Kreetch in person.

I’d agreed to sign up for an email to warn me that I was exceeding my monthly bill because I didn’t want to get accidentally smacked with a hundred-pound-plus phone bill. It would have been better/cheaper for me (and less profitable for O2) if they’d warned me I was exceeding my usual phone bill after I’d made that long call on Sunday – and better yet if I’d got the warning email as soon as I went over my free minutes. (The long call would, by itself, have doubled my usual bill: but apparently O2 didn’t trigger the promised email until I’d quadrupled my usual bill.)
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