Wednesday 29 August 2007


If I can set my expectation at the appropriate level, or to be safe just a little lower, I always enjoy a film more. Of course the best experience you can have with any film is to come to it with no preconceptions at all. Such was the case the first time I saw Memento. Nadia Comaneci Time MagazineNever having read a review everything about this film, even the premise and the way in which the story was told, was new. I have since seen several reviews of this film that have only confirmed a long held belief that there should be a special kind of hell reserved for some film reviewers.

You would think that setting expectations for life, that mundane thing that exists outside the world of film, would be easy in comparison. Somehow however I always end up disappointed.I can't pinpoint an exact moment where it all went wrong but I do believe the fault lies with Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. When you're nine years old the simplest of things, such as a smile, can have the most unexpected impact. I didn't have the slightest interest in gymnastics but I was so captivated I made a point of watching Nadia just to catch a glimpse of that smile. Wow!

And from that point onwards it was all downhill.

Thursday 23 August 2007

Thursday is the new Friday

It's my last day of work this week. Tomorrow is my daughter's sixth birthday and I'm taking the day off. I've managed to avoid any large scale event and instead we will be visited by my in-laws during the day, when we'll walk to the local park, and then a meal with my own parents in the evening. This is about as much socialising as I can manage nowadays before suffering a meltdown - in my defence I do at least recognise this flaw in my character though whether I'll ever do anything about it is doubtful.

Despite the disappointments during this time - not the least of which is TWO World Cup failures - my daughter has never failed to put a smile on my face, which after that Ronaldhino fluke is no mean feat! God only knows what I'll do with myself when she leaves home or comes to realise what a boring old fart her father is, so I'm determined to make the most of it.

Worry about tomorrow when it happens.

Friday 3 August 2007

Stealing from the poor

Fraud definition
I've had to endure a proud tale of fraud more often than I'd like; the 'clever' thing to do is claim for much more than has been lost. One of the more famous stories was that of Ernest Saunders of Guinness, the only person in medical history to recover from Alzheimer's – presumably as a result of being let out of jail. In his instance it was insider dealing.

In both cases the excuse offered for these actions was that they were 'victimless crimes'. In both cases this was bollocks.

Insurance fraud raises the cost of insurance for everyone. Insider dealing results in pensions of a lower value than they otherwise would be. In both circumstances the people who are hurt the most aren't the rich or even the middle classes; they just stump up the extra cash. The people who really get burnt are the poor, those who can barely afford insurance as it is and end up getting less cover then they should, who contribute a bare minimum (if anything) into a pension fund that leaves them destitute when they reach old age.

So why do we tolerate it? I can think of only three possibilities:
  • There are many more anarchists in this country determined to bring down the system than previously thought.
  • People are stupid.
  • People don't give a shit.
I've only ever met one true anarchist; he lived in London and somewhat annoyingly didn't conform to the stereotype. He was also one of the most polite people I've ever met - bear in mind this was London! So that leaves either "people are stupid" or "people don't give a shit"; which one gives you the most comfort?