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Grovelling Apology

Dear readers,

Some of you will have noticed late and lacking posts over the last week. I’m really sorry about this, but there are reasons:

  • Work that I get paid for got in the way at first
  • Then my birthday
  • Then the work I get paid for, again
  • Then a mild flirtation with cocktails and some minor inebriation
  • Then a rather less than mild reaction to some won ton soup
  • The above has left me rather er, explosive and rather tired

Mea culpa, etc.

I am hoping to feel like a human being tomorrow, when more work shall intervene. And then? Why then I am all yours again and posts will flow and I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I’m looking forward to writing them. I’ve been missing my history this week. I have new post subjects figured out and everything. It will be great! Or you know, fairly dull but with a few swears and stuff thrown in and a rant or several for good measure.

Yes please

In the meantime, my I recommend Source Code with lovely Jake Gyllenhaal (my future husband). If you’re ever in Brighton eat at Bardsley’s fish and chip shop It’s one of the best in the country. Their chips are to die for and my friend Mel who is not a fan of cod roe agreed that theirs was well lush. I also appreciated her battered saithe (a sustainable alternative to cod or haddock and frankly tastier than either) and eating them on a bench looking out to the setting sun over Brighton beach was rather lovely.

Also if you haven’t watched the first episode of The Crimson Petal and the White on BBC2, then do so now. It’s wonderful. Also read the book.

Please note that none of these are sponsored recommendations as I am not (yet) a corporate whore. I’m just trying to give you all a little something after being such an absent bitch for much of this week.

Right, back to the sickbed for me. More soon. Oh and for those who still remember/care, the vote for which year we’d use for a round-up of Marchian type stuff went to 1936. I intend to do this at some point next week when we’re all caught up and you’re all sick to death of reading me.

 

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March 7th

On this day in 1876 yer man Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent (in Boston) for the telephone. Controversy surrounded his “ownership” of the invention and another man, Elisha Gray, claimed he  had beaten Bell to the patent office and that Bell was copying his design.

 

Mustachioed Man: Did he just tell the queen that she has a great arse? Bearded Man: Good grief, I believe he did!

So, was he? Was Alexander Graham Bell a great big cheat and a liar? Surely not! As it turns out, he mostly and almost certainly wasn’t. Here’s what happened.

 

Sandy, as we’ll call him, had been working on his device for a couple of years. He’d got into experimenting with sound as a direct result of his work with the deaf as a speech therapist. He’d studied acoustics from a young age and experimented over the years. from 1872 onward he was backed in his sound experiments and in 1874 he came up with the idea of sending voices through telegraphy. Unfortunately he had a good idea but he was a bit shit with the old electronics so he needed to find someone to work with. Luckily he got together with a chap called Thomas Watson and together they managed to come up with a device that sort of did what they wanted it to. It did transmit a voice, but it was a bit like listening to a drunk underwater, which was ironic given what was coming next.

Well, not quite next. Next was the race to the patent office. Before applying for the US patent, Sandy wanted to get the British patent sorted. He wasn’t being all patriotic or anything, it was just that the British got snotty about giving a patent to anything that had first been patented elsewhere. He was also canny. He’d have to share his US profits with his backers, but the UK profits would be all his! He knew that Gray was also working on a similar invention and as it happened they both filed their application for patents on the same day, 14th February 1876. There were slight differences in their devices. Bell’s worked with a reed and other stuff like that (what? I’m not Thomas Bleedin’ Edison you know!) and Gray’s worked using a water transmitter. I know, the mind sort of boggles really. Sandy’s patent no. 174,465 was issued on 7th March and he immediately got back to work. It was then that Elisha got a bit cross with him. To be fair he had a bit of a point. Sandy’s new drawings looked a lot like Elisha’s and in his first successful test of the telephone – as he was now calling it, which was handy given it’s what we all decided to go with as well – he used a water transmitter. He spoke the words “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.” and Watson (in another room, because being in the same room would have been cheating) heard him clear as A BELL (ha!) and came in.

While all that sounds a little cheaty, rest assured that after giving the liquid transmitter a go, Sandy went back to his own design and as our phones today are not all watery when we shake them, we can tell that the liquid transmitter thing didn’t become the way of things. That said, Bell did admit that a drunk at the Patent Office had shown him Gray’s caveat, so while he wasn’t a big old cheater he was  a bit of a naughty boy.

The telephone took on pretty quickly and within 10 years there were over 150,000 telephones in the US. One person who refused to have a phone on his desk because they were nothing but a bloody nuisance was, you’ve guessed it, Sandy Bell  himself!

Today was the birthday of Tammy Faye “Tammy” Bakker Messner who was famous for being married to fraudulent money grabber and faux religious nutjob Jim Bakker, who to add to all his sins couldn’t even spell his surname properly. She was also famous for wearing every piece of make-up she owned in one go, which generally made her face so heavy that it was hard for her to hold her head up in public and sometimes she had to have invisible string attached to the top of her head to keep it in place and stop her from collapsing.

Some claimed that she looked a little like Dolly Parton without the tits, but they also forget that, more importantly, she also lacked

Tammy Faye cries because she forgot to put on her sixth layer of make-up that morning

the charm. To be fair to the hideous old baggage, she did show a slightly more humane attitude to homosexuals and AIDS than most of her evangelical brethren, but then she was also all about the Benjamins, so it’s hard to see her in too charitable a light.

 

Her marriage to Bakker ended when he went to prison for being a thief and a liar and she divorced him. Showing a remarkable aptitude for choosing husbands who were destined for jail, she next married Roe Messner who was also a thief and a liar who ended up in prison in 1996. She didn’t divorce him, probably because he was slightly less cuntish than Bakker.

And to be fair to the big old fright-wig on legs, she was considerably less cuntish than either of them. In later years she appeared on The Surreal Life with among others Ron Jeremy (porn star, large penis), Vanilla Ice (shit rapper) and Eric Estrada (former policeman in the California Highway Patrol) and wrote a book entitled I survived … and you will too. Unfortunately she didn’t (she died of colon cancer in 2007), so the outlook for the rest of us is probably bleak.

Happy birthday you crazy evangelical hoochy mama!

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February 10th

On this day in 1355 the first recorded pub brawl in history took place and was known as the St Scholastica Day Riot. But this was no ordinary brawl between a few blokes who’d had a few too many and then got in a fight over someone looking at their pint a bit funny. Oh no.  The whole thing started in the Swindlestock Tavern in Oxford and was started by two Oxford students named Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield. The la-di-da pair complained to their host, John Groidon that his drinks were shit. He took umbrage at this and a war of words broke out, with many of those words being of the four-letter variety; this wasn’t enough for the posh wee shites. They threw their drinks in Mr Croidon’s face and beat him up and probably pissed on him too, much like their natural descendants, the Bullingdon Club would do centuries later.

This is a scene from the battle of Agincourt, which was not quite as bad as the St Scholastica Day Riot

So far, so minor if totally out of order pub brawl, but there was more to come. The good folk of Oxford were not much enamoured by the behaviour of the “bloody students” at Oxford and there was some retaliation: armed retaliation. At this point the mayor thought it was getting a bit loco in the coco so he went to see the Chancellor and have a bit of a word. It was, on the surface a good move, but talking to the chancellor was like talking to a brick wall. “I think you should really have these rebellious upstarts arrested good John.” he said (the Chancellor’s name was John, as was the mayor’s). “Fuck you, you grubby little oik!” was the Chancellor’s response. It’s easy to guess what happened next, but whatever you’re guessing is probably a little short of what actually took place. Take a deep breath, what follows is pure mental.

Two hundred students who thought it was fine to get stocious, throw beer in a tavern keeper’s face, beat him up and piss on him, went into town, beat up the mayor and anyone who got in their way, braying and waving their stupid floppy hair about all the while. And there was more. The riot went on for two days, during which time 63 students and about 30 townsfolk were killed! While it is at least  small relief that more students were killed than townsfolk, it was utter nutjobbery that allowed it to happen in the first place.  The killing and mayhem was eventually stopped when the wimpy students were routed and the mayor gave in and said “Yeah, those bastards at the university were in the right. They are allowed to do anything they want.” They were and they did.  A special charter was created and every year after that on 10th February, the mayor and his

Medieval students were noted for their small stature

councillors had to march bareheaded through the streets and pay a fine(!) to the university of one penny per student killed; this amounted to 5s 3d and was paid every year until 1825, when finally a mayor said “Fuck this for a game of soldiers! They can whistle for it!”

By this time the Bullingdon Club had been formed and its members were the spiritual ancestors of Messrs Spryngeheuse and de Chesterfield, drinking, puking defecating, micturating and beating up the plebs, the possible gays and anyone who they deemed weaker than them. Of course this sort of behaviour only takes place before they go on to run the country and look down their inbred noses at, and legislate against the oiks who get up to the same sort of stuff, but in less expensive clothes. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Today is the birthday of Glenn Beck, a man for whom the phrase “utter shitclown” may well have been coined. He is famous for his radio and television shows wherein he rants about communists, socialists and progressives, says that Barack Obama is a racist and gets very shouty about anything at all that doesn’t agree with his far right “beliefs”. Born and brought up a Catholic, he converted to Moronism Mormonism later in life. He is loved by the sort of people who share brain cells with their families on a rota system, as well as cynical Neo-Cons who like the fact that he whips up a big ole ferment about increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories, saving them the job of doing it themselves.

Beck may be doing it all for shits, giggles and money, he may be a buffoon with the learning capacity of  an educationally challenged

Beck's ability to cry like a baby on cue, marks him out as a probable infantilist

amoeba, or he may be a clever bastard who knows exactly what he’s doing. One thing is certain: even at the age of 47 he looks like a corn-fed baby who is always on the edge of throwing a tantrum. He uses this to good advantage by doing a lot of on-air crying. Fuckwits see this as a sincere outpouring of heartfelt emotion; anyone with half a brain wants to give the big blubbering piece of lard something to cry about. It is also worth noting that in the right light he looks like clown-loving serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Probably.

So, it’s his birthday today, he will probably eat cake before hauling his arse onto television to make vile accusations against some minority group or other. Or maybe he’ll go off to his Mormon Temple, boogie on down with the Osmonds before going out in the moonlight to shoot stray dogs. Whatever. There will be no happy birthday to him here, just a steadily raised middle finger and a sneer of pure and utter derision. Fuck you, Mr Beck, and the raggedy horse you rode in on.*

*No horses were hurt in the making of this comment.

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