Monday, May 29, 2006

A Close Shave

Shaving is a pain: not literally, usually, but metaphorically. Some day, when I've got a bit of time on my hands, I'll work out the number of hours of my life I've spent doing it so I can drop the figure into the conversation when there is a lull at a very dull dinner party. Still, if a job's worth doing it's worth doing well, as the saying goes.

The market for Razor Blades for wet shaving in the UK is dominated by Gillette. Wilkinson Sword and Biro Bic Razors have a much smaller market share. Over the years the male adult population has watched with some bemusement as the number of blades apparently required to perform the task has risen from 1 to 2 to 3, and even to 4! The corresponding rise in the price of these hi tech little items has meant that special security precautions directed towards them have been necessary in supermarkets! Some nerd has even extrapolated forward to conclude that we'll expect a 14-bladed razor in 2100!

Recently Gillette seems to have decided that the delicate art of shaving only needs 3 blades but the movement of these can't be entrusted to the the average hand alone. An electric motor is also required to achieve "the best a man can get".

If shaving really is as complicated as this I think I'll grow a beard!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A phone is a phone is a phone

I've never been able to get excited about mobile phones. I concede they are quite handy things for making telephone calls on, although even performing this function I often feel my phone makes me too available. The other things that modern phones can do leave me totally unimpressed. I hate text messaging and as for taking pictures with a phone----that's what cameras are for! Obviously, certain enterprising individuals have made millions from providing ringtones for people to download: what is that all about? Even thought the current technological marvels now play a reasonably musical version, why would I want my calls to be signaled by the latest "pop classic"?

The young folk are, of course different. For them it is essential that their every thought is packaged in a text message and distributed to their friends immediately. They have to have the latest phone, which is, of course, music to the ears of the likes of The Carphone Warehouse. Gsog, for example, has had numerous phones. His current one seems perfectly serviceable to me, but only the other day he was muttering about getting yet another one. Gdog has had 3 different phones in the year that she has stayed in our flat in Glasgow.

Anyway, I think I've finally found the ultimate phone for them. Only one small problem: they'll have to get an awful lot of overtime at Tesco to pay for it. The price tag is, after all, $1 million!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I don't want to go to Chelsea....

We all have our interests, and one of my minor obsessions is garden gnomes. Some time ago I started a group in Flickr called "Home for Gnomes"”. Like many desert plants, Home for Gnomes seems to thrive on neglect, and with very little attention from me it has grown to over 90 members, a testimony I would argue to the global appeal of these little creatures.

With this in mind, you can imagine how horrified I was this morning listening to the "“Today"” programme on BBC Radio 4. This had a piece on the Royal Horticultural Society'’s Chelsea Flower Show making the point that one of the things banned from gardens at Chelsea is my beloved garden gnomes! One of their "roving reporters" was featured "smuggling"” a gnome into the show and seeing what the reaction to him was. There was a great feeling of tension during the piece as listeners no doubt feared that RHS "heavies" would burst onto the scene and eject our heroic reporter and friend. There followed an interview featuring the Garden Master of New College Oxford who represented the RHS and its role in "“policing the line"” over which nasty, kitsch creatures like gnomes would not be allowed to cross. The highlight of the interview was the point at which he was asked if fairies were banned too. He spontaneously uttered that "If you banned fairies you'’d have to ban half the garden designers!"”

Anyway, I like gnomes----so there!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm not dead yet....

Sorry things have been a bit quiet round here recently. I am going to try getting back into the habit of posting regularly, but I really don't know how "super bloggers" like Gordon McLean keep it up!

On the subject of Gordon McLean, I noticed in his "Overflow" section this amazingly funny "Father Ted Obsenity Report". I'm not sure exactly how it was produced.

Under the headline "Understatement of the week" The Sunday Times today had the following story: "A heavy metal fan has survived being hit from behind by a train. Jesse Maggrach, 20, was walking along tracks in Alberta, Canada, listening to music through ear phones. Describing the impact, he recalled: 'Holy crap, dude, you just got hit by a train.'" Personally, I think "Stating the obvious" would have been a more apt headline.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Week in New York City 8

On our last full day in NYC we visted Lower Manhattan. Our first port of call was the Brooklyn Bridge. This is an amazing structure, although it looks a bit rusty and in need of a fresh coat of paint. The weather was great again, and the bridge provided a fabulous viewpoint. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to walk all the way across.

Close to the bridge is the Ground Zero site where the World Trade Center used to be. Saint Paul's Chapel, near the site, had this poster which captured the mood for me. Ground Zero is actually quite difficult to photograph as the area is almost completely fenced off. I managed to find one decent vantage point. It's almost as if The Powers That Be don't want people to be reminded of what happpened. There are grand plans to build the Freedom Tower on the site, but I believe the project is mired in controversy.

After lunch we decided to walk back from Battery Park along the side of the Hudson River. This area used to be the point where a busy throughput of ships tied up and disgorged their contents. Many of the piers have now been taken down and all that remains is a collection of stumps. Other piers have been converted into various things including pleasant areas to walk, and even a golf centre with a huge driving range. The project is called Hudson River Park and it will be a wonderful facility when it's completed.