Category Archives: Britain

Britain, especially England, especially Hertfordshire.

Journalism, Jumbalism, Junkalism and Juntalism.


The BBC coat of arms

The BBC coat of arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes people ask me, “Uncle Davey, do you support the idea of freedom of the press?” And then I reply; “Certainly, I think the press should be free, in fact, I’ll go further; they should pay us to read that guff”.

The point at issue is that journalists, who are among the most powerful members of our society, because they create opinions, are not voted into place at all. They say that they are voted for every day, that every time one of their articles is paid for by the punter who buys a newspaper, that’s a vote, and that everyone who disagrees doesn’t have to buy them. To counter this, it seems very clear to me that people simply buy what is put in front of them, like sheep, and that there seems to be little choice in the matter of which paper to buy, as they are all a mix of what I call the three kinds of journalism, which as I mentioned in an earlier article are true journalism, jumbalism and junkalism.

True journalism investigates, reveals facts accurately and adequately and as the Dutch say “bijtijds”, which means in a timely way, and then comments on them in a thought-provoking, literate and justifiable way. Jumbalism looks like journalism but is a lazy man’s version of it, where people who don’t really know what they are talking about talk about it anyway, knowing that all but a few specialists will be taken in by what they say and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Or they give away the fact that they barely know the culture they are making “expert” comments on.

Recently both the BBC and the Guardian have been commenting on Polish affairs, for example, and going into villages so rural that they probably represent less than 5% of the population and this is identified as being how almost half the Poles live. On two occasions recently I have seen men referred to in their surnames as “-ska” because the jumbalist must have spoken to their wife or mother, taken her name and assumed that must be the same for the man. This shows the most extreme ignorance of any Slavic culture and ought to debar a person from commenting on it in any intelligent news framework. Anecdotes from people’s travels off the beaten track are treated as if they were news. The BBC “Whirled service” radio and television, the apex of high style journalistic reporting as they claim, can barely speak English properly and no longer seem to take any pains over proper pronunciation. (See Tristana Moore’s party piece rendition of ‘Zgorzelec’. One can hardly believe she was standing in the middle of the place and couldn’t be bothered to ask anyone how to actually say it. Was she flown in for, like, five minutes, just to stand in front of the cameras, spout some meaningless drivel, which her report certainly was, and then leave again as quickly as possible?) Read the rest of this entry

Climate change…


The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Royal Commission for Political Correctness announced today that the climate in the UK should no longer be referred to as ‘English Weather’. Rather than offend a sizeable portion of the UK population, it will now be referred to as ‘Muslim Weather’ (Partly Sunni, but mostly Shi’ite).

 

Football fever


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England-Italy about to kick off.

Vegetarian experience on European British Airways flight.


I attach the scan of my comments sent in today during the British Airways flight from Heathrow to Warsaw.

It would be self-explanatory, if one could actually read it, so I will type it out to make that a bit easier.

Every time I fly this route you seem to run out of vegetarian option sandwiches. This flight was about 4 short.

Bearing in mind that anyone can eat our food but we cannot eat carnibals’ food, doesn’t it make sense to overestimate the number of vegucated people rather than underestimate?

That would probably reduce food wastage, increasing your green credentials, as proudly boasted on every item of packaging!

The number of us is growing, so more amd more catering for vieegies should be in BA’s plans for the future, IMHO.

PS: Unless you indicate the contrary, I’ll include your reply in my blog huliganov.tv

So there we have it, I’m awaiting their response and you will be able to read that in an updated version of this post if you’re subbed to us here on Huliganov.TV.

I want to say clearly that this is no reflection on the cabin crew, who were outstanding today. Lindsay who was handing out the food actually went above the call of duty and raided the catering for the return route so as to get vegetarian sandwiches for the 4 of us who otherwise would have gone hungry. Roberto who was bursar explained also about how once people who are really vegetarians get a veggie sandwich, a lot of other people looking on would would quite like an egg sandwich even though they are quite happy to eat a ham sandwich if there’s no alternative.

The problem is that on the flights with real meals you can book a vegetarian option, but there’s no way of booking a vegetarian option beforehand on the snack-based flights that we have around Europe. So anyone who books into an economy class on a European flight will not be able to state a dietary preference – which would be all very well if all the snacks were plant-based and kosher but since they are not (I made the point also, which was well taken by Roberto, that the UK to Poland flight is sometimes going to hold parties of Jewish kids on excursions to Auschwitz or to heritage places, and they are not going to be able to take a ham sandwich either. This is not, repeat not, the fault of the people handing out the food and drinks on the flight, who could not have been better especially as it was a busy flight today, but this is just a call to the guys on the ground who design these meals. We read on all the wrappings how concerned BA is to have sustainable this and free-trade that, but still the choice of any meat, especially ham in sandwiches means that the ethics in place are still falling short of the expectations of a growing number of passengers.

Lindsay was kind enough to provide me with the information that 16 of the 123 sandwiches provided for the flight were egg and cress, the rest were the meat option. This means in fact that the estimation of the people planning the food was 13% vegetarian. This in itself, all else being equal, would in fact be a reasonable reflection of the current level of vegetarianism in most of Europe. I researched it the other day when my mother said it was for a lunatic fringe of cranks and the sources I saw put it between 10-15%.  However, the point Roberto made that in his experience as soon as the first vegetarian has refused the meat and taken egg, then a larger number of people suddenly start wanting to exercise a choice, this means that you cannot really just go on the basis of the number who are vegetarian.  It is hard for cabin staff to start challenging people’s vegetarian credentials in the flight over an egg sandwich.

And on top of that, in the UK there is getting on for 10% of the population who won’t eat pork on religious grounds even if they are not vegetarian. Diversity is a hallmark of what modern Britain stands for, and an airline flying our flag, and hoping soon to boost its fortunes no doubt with travel to the UK of people from all over the world both for the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and also the Olympics in London coming up very soon now this year, is duty bound to have this approach in its menu choices. Like it or not, vegetarian sandwiches are acceptable to most religions and to vegetarians also. About ten percent of vegetarians are full Vegan of course, but they are aware in any event that they are hard to cater for and if someone wants to be a no-exceptions Vegan and not an 80% Vegan like me, they will have to prepare their own in-flight food for a good while in the future, I expect. If I were uncompromising, I’d be a Vegan too, but I sometimes have to go half way in a social situation and accept egg and dairy products, but then I do expect that these options are readily available, and that’s the other party’s part of the compromise as I see it.

So what’s my recommendation to BA? And to representatives of other airlines who may have stumbled upon this? I would say that if your main sandwich is chicken or fish, you might get away with 35% vegetarian option and 65% your chicken or fish option. But if you are doing pork or shellfish, you probably need about 55% vegetarian option.

The clincher really is what I started off with in my note, that carnibals can almost always eat vegetarians’  food. They may not like it, or indeed they may have discovered that veggie food is tastier than meat based food, but there are very few who can’t eat it at all. The same is not true when the only remaining option is the meat option and as the cabin staff get down to the tail end of the plane they are coming up against people who are not happy because they will be going hungry when others are eating.

The advice given is to let the cabin staff know if you are vegetarian, so that they save one for you from the people who are taking the vegetarian option facultatively, but surely a better option is to let people choose and to have it so that when the choice finally does run out, at least the one thing left is something that we can nearly all eat?

I await the British Airways response – they’ve got my email. Unless they tell me I’m not supposed to publish it, you’ll also see it when they do respond.

Quanta Squalia – What Big Sharks!


Playout date: 21st March 2011 (Made August 2010)
Camera: Creative Vado
Post Production: CyberLink Power Director 8
Location: Sealife Centre, Great Yarmouth
Other people featured: Sophie
Genre: Zoo and Aquarium showcasing
Music used: Quanta Qualia by Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra Paradiso

Hayley

Languages used: Russian, Ukrainian
Animals featured: Nurse sharks, zebra shark, reef sharks, green sea turtle, Monodactylus fishes

A film showing the beauty and intelligence of aquarium sharks. The nurse sharks and zebra shark showcased here are a beautiful thing to observe at close range. These are not dangerous attackers in the main for human swimmers, as you will see that the size and form of the mouth is not similar to that of the notorious great whites, etc. Even these smaller fishes like the monos, and also the sea turtle sharing the aquarium are relatively safe from being attacked by the big sharks. The smaller sharks, the reef sharks, are ironically more risky than the big ones, but they are not really large enough to damage a turtle.

The zebra shark (Stegosoma fasciatum) has a long tail which it uses to thrash through schools of larger fishes to stun or kill by impact and then it can turn and eat what it has hit. The monos here are even too small to be impacted by that, and they fly under the zebra shark’s radar – as long as it is kept well-fed!

Enjoy the pure tones of Hayley Westenra, and my atrocious pun in the title that you need to know Italian to be able to get.

A certain uncertainty


Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Bradwell, Milt...

Grand Union Canal aqueduct near Milton Keynes

A certain uncertainty

(My entry for the March 2008 My Telegraph Creative Writing Competition)

A certain uncertainty once crept into my head,
Because of what Patrycja said when we were both in bed.
She woke up in the night and placed a hand upon her womb,
Then gently sighed “Oh, Ronnie!” and got up and left the room.

She came back some time later and went back to sleep again,
But, the words she’d spoken, they remained inside my brain.
I could not sleep for worrying what this thing could portend;
“Who is this Ronnie?” was my thought “has Pat found some new friend?”

I never guessed that my dear wife and of our kids the mother
Could want to turn her back on me and go and love another.
I got so worried over it I could not go to sleep.
Well, maybe I got half an hour, but that not very deep.

At breakfast I was calm, as in “the calm before the storm”.
I went to my form-filling job, but I was not on form.
The other workers in the bank, they noticed something wrong,
And one of them, to cheer me up, sang out a merry song.

But this impromptu singing only made me more morose,
For was one of “our songs” that the silly banker chose!
And thus it only caused the queue of customers to lengthen,
While my certain uncertainty it only served to strengthen.

“Who is this Ronnie? Who is he?” to know was now my mission:
I had to know if I was right or wrong in my suspicion.
In all my life I’d never known uncertainty before:
It wasn’t something I’d developed mechanisms for.

And so it was, that sitting there, a-counting clients’ money
That I worked out a cunning plan, a trap to catch my honey:
I’d catch her “in flagrante” with this Ronnie character.
All in love and war and marriage you could say is fair.

So I told Patrycja’s voicemail that I’d spend the night away;
I was going to Milwaukee, is what she heard me say.
I’d never lied to her, for lies and tricks are not my scenes,
And so to keep it true I went and walked to Milton Keynes.

Now, walking up the towpath to Milton Keynes from Tring
By the Grand Union Canal is not a lightsome thing.
So by the time I dragged myself inside of Bletchley Station
My legs were tired, my feet were sore, my back and head were aching.

I went to Tring by train then took a taxi to Ivinghoe
And tiptoed into our dear home via the French window.
But she was sitting there alone, no Ronnie was in sight
“Hello, dear.” were her greeting words, “Vot happen to your flight?”

Now, I had practiced what to say, but all was now forgot
And so I stood there looking dumb and all I said was “What?”
“I fought you vere in States?” she said, in her broad Polish accent.
Well, I was in a state, all right, but not the one that Pat meant.

So I just blurted out “Who’s Ronnie?” and broke down in tears,
Explaining all the reasoning behind my doubts and fears.
But she just laughed her Slavic laugh, she thought it all so funny
“I never said ‘Oh Ronnie’, dear, vot I said vos ‘o rany!’!”

I scanned the bookshelves and took out a volume of my wife’s
And turned to ‘R’ and found the entry there, as large as life:
For “rany!”, terms like “golly!”, “gosh!” and “goodness!” were translations:
All mild expressions of surprise or sudden exclamations.

“But why, then, did you wake at night with your hand on your womb
Then leave our bed and spend some time alone in the bathroom?
What reason for this sudden act, which left me broken-hearted?”
“I voke up in a mess, because my ‘okres’ had just started!”

“I did not fink it vos to happen for anozzer day,
And so I got zis bad surprise, and had to do zat vay.”
“I see it all now, sorry, dear.” I said with great relief
“Zis time I vill forgiff. Next time you doubt, I kick you teef.”

The images of my dear wife with Corbett, Biggs or Barker
Were thus dispersed, and nowadays, they are but cause for laughter
And so it just remains for me to draw the moral warning –
What you can deal with in the night, don’t put it off till morning!

12/3/2008

I quite liked this but I don’t think it was one of the times I got into the top six.

It isn’t autobiographical, the narrator and all the characters in it are just fictitious.

Huliganov’s Winter Tips for the British


Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...

Bowed under by too much snow?

I see on the news that the UK is in for another bout of what they are calling “extreme weather conditions“, by which they mean the sort of weather which is absolutely normal anywhere from about Berlin eastwards. Since that’s where I live, I thought it would be a good service to the British people to give you at this time my observations on how Poles, Russians and others in a climate that seems to be causing a lot of ructions as it moves across the Britain. It seems that these colder winters are not going to go away as far as the UK is concerned and so you may as well get used to them. I have about 20 East European winters on my climatic CV, so my experience is something which may be of use to you.

Dress

  • The first item is dress. There’s a Russian saying “Нет плохой погоды, есть только плохая одежда” – that means “There’s no such thing as bad weather, there is only bad dress”. And the thing to go for is many layers of clothing rather than a few layers of what appear to be warm clothing. If you’re going to work in an office which may be well heated, you do not want to be sweaty all day long so you don’t need to have anything more money that you can’t take off when you get there. That’s the disadvantage of thermal vests.  A jumper on the other hand can be taken off quite easily.  The scarf is very important because that protects the throat which can be an Achilles heel. It is better than a beard as the beard will make a person feel too warm in a heated location. A decent hat is critical as 30% of heat loss goes from the head. A hat with flaps that can be brought down to cover the ears is particularly useful as you will not want to walk around with your ears uncovered once the temperature goes below about -6°C.  Really big headphones can also be helpful to keep the ears warm, but in extremes of cold you can also damage the headphones, although I will say that I haven’t yet. On that note digital cameras need to be used sparingly when its cold, as I have ruined one that way, on stocktakes. Read the rest of this entry
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