Walkies-talkie… School Shooting News… Russia hour… Would you like to meet my hero?… Bidness on the Cheep… uSwitch if you have to… GW: and the Beast Goes On.

Foxy

Foxier

Walkies-talkie

“The scientists found dogs were more likely to want to spend time with the speaker who had used both “dog-directed” speech and dog-related content. … This suggests that adult dogs need to hear dog-relevant words spoken in a high-pitched emotional voice in order to find it relevant.”

…there are no plans to carry out the same tests with cats.” – BBC News

Just as well. They’d think we were idiots, getting all squeaky and emotional over cat-related content.

They already do.

 

School Shooting News

Trump crony, billionaire Dick’s wife, Betsy DeVos, the fully unqualified, Bible-Truther Education Secretary of the USA (Imoji: wry smileyface throwing up), went to Florida the other day to case the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, scene of a massacre, for a photo op.

Ms Carly Novell, the editor of the school’s newspaper Eagle Eye, said she was allowed to photograph DeVos, but not to accompany her on the campus tour.

DeVos spoke briefly with reporters after what she said was “a very sobering and very inspiring visit” and contradicted the students’ account of the meeting:

“There were a number of student newspaper reporters who walked around with me (she fibbed) and they are obviously very interested in seeing what adults are going to do about this whole situation,” she said. (BBC News)

P/Matronizing cow. Did your English teacher never chide you about the over-use of ‘very’ when amplifying your adjectives unnecessarily for effect?

ADULTS??? Fuck you!

Meanwhile, after the teenage survivors finally persuaded the Florida assembly to introduce a modest law restricting the ownership of military-grade assault weapons only to alt-right psychopaths over 21, the National Rifle Association announced that it is suing the representatives for damages. Can you get a sicker species than Americans?

Yes!

Kleimenov: a talking facelift made from Leonid Brezhnev’s old hair and a soggy ginger biscuit (BBC)

Russia hour

Botox-faced frat-boy and Putin bumguzzler, w/anchor Kirill Kleimenov had some words of comfort on the Russian government-controlled Channel One’s flagship Vremya news program, for ‘retired’ double-agent Sergei Skripal, who with his entirely innocent daughter Yulia was sprayed with nerve agent and found paralysed in a Salisbury, UK park at the weekend, both now on life-support:

“The profession of a traitor is one of the most dangerous in the world,” Kleimenov opined, (with complete journalistic objectivity. Ed.) – adding that few who had chosen it had lived to a ripe old age. … warning anyone planning to defect: “Don’t choose Britain as a place to live.” – edited from BBC News

I’m assuming that sentiment also goes for the other spies Skripal was exchanged for?

And would anyone not assume from his choice of kind words, that Kleimenov was merely confirming what all his colleagues were embarrassedly trying to deny, that this was indeed a Russian hit, aimed less at Skripal and more at the voters? And that, given the directorship of Channel One is Kremlin-appointed, on the assumption his script was cleared with official Komplianz, the message probably came from further on high?

Britain prepares an ICBM in retaliation.

Wittily, Kleimenov referred to another 13 incidents of Russians who have died in suspicious circumstances in Britain in the past few years: “Maybe it’s the climate, but in recent years there have been too many strange incidents with grave outcomes there.” Ho ho, our terrible English climateski…. Have you ever been to Moscow, comrade? If it’s not fucking freezing it’s a sweatbox. And if the Big Blini don’t like you, you’re dead regardless. (Killer pun there, too. “Grave” outcomes!)

No words were naturally forthcoming to memorialize the nine or so Russian citizens based in America, involved with or having knowledge of the cyberattacks on the US election, including the UN ambassador, who mysteriously suffered heart failure and fell from roofs shortly after Mr Trump was trampolined into office last year. Even true patriots take their lives in their hands when you work for this lot.

One of the Polonium killers, two blundering FSB goons who left a radioactive slime trail across London in 2006 before poisoning another traitor, Putin’s old KGB mate Alexander Litvinenko, also managed to think up a wry comment of his own. Dmitry Lugovoi, now an MP, remarked: “The English suffer from phobias.” Yes, we’re a bit phobic about dimwitted mafia hitmen sneering at our national aversion to murder and causing mayhem on our streets and in our tearooms, actually. Especially from kulaks whose asses our North Atlantic convoys saved in 1941.

So comforting, these moral certainties.

On the other hand, it seems odd. Why choose exile in Salisbury, of all places, agreeably ancient county capital of Wiltshire, home to major defense industry contractors Qinetic, the Ministry of Defence tank ranges, close to the notorious Porton Down biological warfare establishment and RAF Lyneham (from where our troops embark for Afghanistan) and within an hour’s drive of our key naval establishments on the south coast?

You’d think he’d have been keener to vanish in Soho. Unless of course he knows something about Trump’s collusion? What, was he a connection to Christopher Steele?

I don’t suppose we shall be told.

 

Would you like to meet my hero?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVfcfej5JYI

 

Doing Bidness on the Cheep

“Fast-food chain KFC has returned to its old supplier after suffering chicken shortages that forced it to close hundreds of outlets. Last month, the chain experienced widespread distribution problems after it decided to switch its logistics contract from Bidvest to DHL.” – BBC News

If you have to ask what’s in it, you’re probably a paramedic.

What is the matter with British management? What did the bread-encrusted baboons at KFC Central think would happen if they fired a specialist food distribution company they’d worked with for years and instead hired a bloated global conglomerate of self-employed Amazon parcel couriers owned by the German post office to keep their outlets supplied with crummy chunks of raw animal torture-porn, just because they were cheaper?

The move damn nearly destroyed their business, with an outburst of social media opprobrium and thousands of ironic memes online, fights breaking out and street protests requiring probably a couple of million poundsworth of reputation management PR to get them back on course. Who knew KFC, with their repulsive ‘buckets’ of fried chicken aimed at grossly obese, piss-stained sofa-dwelling slobs with tattoo’d necks and calf-length shorts, were such a national institution?

But apparently The People cared. (Then they voted… and you know, DHL could just be their salvation, having developed systems for managing customs controls.)

This crazy nonsense of ‘best value tendering’ must stop soon. It’s destroying businesses, jobs – lives.

We’ve just had the Carillion disaster, where a hairy-assed housebuilding firm gets huge government contracts to run cut-price prisons, military housing and hospital services into the ground so the directors can stuff their sagging back pockets with wads of taxpayer cash, gaily spewing out profit warnings until the business hits the wall. Wikipedia notes:

The liquidation announcement had an immediate impact on 30,000 subcontractors and suppliers, Carillion employees and pensioners, plus shareholders, lenders, joint venture partners and customers in the UK, Canada and other countries.

But what the hell, the directors got paid.

This kind of shit killed my little business in the 1990s, when companies with no sector experience or creative expertise started throwing in spoilers to separate us from our clients, adding no value whatever and driving our margins down to the point where we couldn’t pay the staff.

There is really something to be said for contracting people who know and care about what they’re doing.

For loyalty.

 

uSwitch if you have to

Yet again we had a contract. I would pay them £70 a month, in advance, for my minuscule usage of electricity and gas. We would review the amount again after six months. Five days later, their computer emailed me, demanding £130 a month: “to avoid surprises”.

How they work out your bill.

It was probably the seventh time in two years OVO had tried it on, and I finally hit the ceiling. I am paranoid about my use of energy, living much of my life in the cold and dark, wearing two sweaters in bed and going about by the light of a small hand-torch. My piece of ‘real estate’ comprises two rooms downstairs, 12′ x 12′ sitting-room and only slightly more spacious kitchen/diner, and two up: bedroom, bathroom and 7′ x 9′ boxroom, where my son was kept folded until he moved out.

In the small back yard is this, muh Li’l House on the Prairie, as I call my exotic shed. I spend 80 per cent of my life out here, using the actual house only to cook and sleep and you-know-what. Although I mostly pee in the yard, I get so little warning.

Subsisting thus, I could not possibly be using so much energy, but no-one seemed willing to address the question I kept asking them: if I spend only £22 a month on gas, including 27p a day ‘standing charge’, when gas heats all my water and cooks my meals, how would anyone imagine I can also be using £94-worth of electricity just to sit here alone, by the light of a single LED lamp, writing this stuff on a laptop I keep pouring wine over?

Attempting furiously to switch to another supplier, saving £176 a year (how do they know?), I set up the new account using a number they gave me. The next day they emailed to say my existing supplier had objected, so we could not proceed. I would have to phone my existing supplier and then when the problem had been resolved, call them back.

There were some arrears, it turned out. Actually an improbable amount I had overlooked, fondly imagining that ‘balance’ meant plus, not minus. I cleared the outstanding debt immediately and obtained permission to switch. The next day I went back to my new supplier and, in person over the phone with a charming Irish lady called Maggie, spent half an hour setting up a new account with a new number – the first number now being inoperative.

And the following day got an email saying there was still an objection and they couldn’t switch my account.

So I phoned my old supplier again – they were beginning to sound quite sympathetic – and there genuinely was no objection. At least not from my old supplier.

The objection, it turned out, now came from my new supplier.

They were telling me I couldn’t have two account numbers, so they had cancelled both and I was to phone again and set up my account for the third time, with all the same information, the same tariff and contract, the same bank details, that I had verbally already signed – and be given a new number.

A typical IT manager in the Independent Energy Sector.

So sorry, but no.

The UK Energy Supply sector is broken. Competing with the overcharging “Big 6” companies, there is a plethora of tiny indie operators selling “green” energy and other attractive-sounding deals. But just wait until you try to sign up with one. You will never have another moment’s peace of mind. Nothing is as advertised, nothing real.

Their systems have been designed and are operated on the cheap by a heap of groaning IT baboons, who have consumed far too much fermented fruit for their own good. Or ours.

To quote the children’s story character, Catweazle the Incompetent Wizard:

“Nothing works.”

Postscriptum: A day or two after this Post appeared we read in The Guardian that a record number of consumers have been switching supplier this winter, largely owing to exorbitant bills.

How they manage it I don’t know, but it seems they’re choosing the smaller suppliers. Caveat emptor, is all I can say.

 

Russia’s “Cold Snap”: Sakhalin Island (Denis Sergeev/Siberian Times)

GW: and the beast goes on…

Australia: “Several rivers have burst their banks in North Queensland after 4 days of heavy rain. Disaster areas declared. Many areas have recorded 500 to 700 mm of rain during that time. This is the fourth serious flood event in the state in the last 2 weeks.”

New Zealand: flooding at Hawkes Bay. Vanuatu battered by Tropical Cyclone Hola, bringing torrential rain.

Albania: “Heavy rain and melting snow have caused flooding and landslides over the last few days. Shkodër County in the north west of the country is the worst affected area where the Drin and Bojana rivers have overflowed. Local authorities there said that 2,285 hectares of land were under water.”

Thailand: powerful cyclonic storm strikes Sakon Nakhon. Flooding in Bangkok. Extensive flooding in Indonesia, Bangka Belitung & Cirebon.

Brazil: Many central areas continue to experience unusually heavy rain, thunderstorms and flash-flooding in cities.

Argentina: huge storm trashes Villa Gesell on the northern coast with 140 kmh winds.

USA: Storm Quinn – the third Nor’easter this year and the second in a week – dumps three feet of snow and knocks out power on the east coast. State-wide states of emergency declared in New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia battered. North of the border, Canada however seems to be basking in a warm spell. As again are California and the southwest…

USA: March 10, temperature in Austin, Texas hits 34C, 94F. 2 die as hailstones the size of baseballs batter Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas. Wunderground reports that, OVERALL, from September to March the USA has had a drier and warmer winter season than average. Although they have to admit, there has been record snowfall. And record flooding. With another freezing spell and another storm forecast for the East this week (Accuweather).

Portugal, Spain, France: Storm Felix brings wind, torrential rain, damage and flash-flooding to a wide area.

Kazakhstan: Heavy rainfall above river ice-jams causes extensive spring thaw floods. Many evacuated.

Africa, India, China: heatwave with temperatures “more like May/June than March” continues across a broad swathe of the globe. Temps in S. Sudan hit 48C, 118F. Floods in drought-stricken Malawi. 16 killed when lightning strikes a church in Rwanda.

Arctic: “The situation is desperate”. In February, 260 mph moisture-laden high-altitude winds split the polar vortex into 4 parts. The jetstream was looping and broken. Feb 25 the temperature at the North Pole was 1.1C, 34.1F  a 30C anomaly. The mercury hit 6C, 42.8F in northern Greenland; 8.9C, 47.9F in Hudson Bay. That’s before the sun has even risen above the horizon.

Sea ice extent was at record low for the time of the year and is due to start receding toward the summer about now: driven by gales and big waves, 5-metres thick sea ice between northern Greenland and Svalbard had given way to open water by Feb 27. Peak sea surface temperature near Svalbard rose from 12.4C, 55.4F on Feb 23 to 15.6C, 60F by March 2 – a 26F/16C anomaly above the 1981-2011 average. The rise was accompanied by a measurable methane release. March 1, CH4 levels as high as 3087 ppm were recorded, getting on for twice the global concentration averaged in 2015 (NOAA).

Floodlist/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #101/ Wunderground/ thehumptydumptytribe/ Arctic News, 3 Mar/ CEWN #102

 

Life, the Best Medicine…

I found a note shoved through the door this morning, the postman hadn’t been able to deliver a parcel.

I know. It was my new doorbell…

 

 

Advertisements