Sunday, November 07, 2004

Pip pip

Broadcasting House, this morning, had an article on the missing pips (aka time signal) during an episode of the World at One earlier in the week. What caught my ear was an e-mail in from one listener which pointed out that as there is a delay of about two seconds on digital radio (it's even longer on the Internet), the pips are always two seconds late.

Radio 4 does have strict rules regarding the pips. You are only allowed to broadcast all six of them at the right time. You'll never hear more than five at any other time (if for example they are doing a story on the pips at 25 past the hour). I think they need to seek some way of blotting them out on digital and the Internet since the slight delay renders them pointless.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Skittles - They're chewy in the middle

My nephew, Sam, is doing sponsored skittles on November 18th for Children in Need. As everybody knows, this is a charity set up by the BBC to provide much needed help and support for Terry Wogan who otherwise would be unemployed for one day every year.

Although it is unlikely that the set of people who read this blog but don't read Sam's Dad's blog is anything other than the empty set, I thought I'd post the link that allows you register as a sponsor. The word from the training camp is that Sam is having a few problems with his skittling technique so if you actually want to donate any money to Children in Need, it's best to sponsor a total amount rather than a per skittle amount.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Squaring the Circle

I was reading Liam's blog and he was bemoaning the fact that the perforations in a new tax disc which are supposed to let you tear it out of the square bit of paper it comes in are pretty much non-functional. I found this interesting because I also bought a new tax disc the other day but my question is "why are tax discs round at all?" If we called them tax rectangles, the problems would all go away.

The only reason I have to tear my tax disc out of the bit of paper in is to make it fit into the tax disc holder on my car (note it has a recent innovation which allows you to change the disc without removing the holder from the windscreen). I'm going in to business to manufacture tax disc holders which are big and rectangular.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Bah humbug!

Halloween has come and gone. Three separate sets of kiddies knocked on my door the other night trying to extort sweets or money or something off me. The reason I'm not sure what they were after is that I simply don't answer the door on October 31st.

When you think about it, Trick or Treating really is extortion: "give me some sweets or I'll let the tyres down on your car". Why is it even allowed? In fact I have a vague recollection that it is a distortion of the original American tradition where the home owner was the one doing the tricking or treating as demonstrated by the Peanuts cartoon where the children went Trick or Treating and everybody got sweets except Charlie Brown who always got a rock.

Another thing that annoys me is fireworks. As I write, the first displays happened in my area about two weeks ago. They have been going on every night since and will probably not cease until the week after November the Fifth. Didn't people watch Blue Peter and note the concern of the presenters for pets everywhere? I think all fireworks should be banned except on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday around November 5.

Actually that reminds me that this time last year I was on a contract in Dublin. My hotel was in a residential area and so for the week leading up to November 5th I was treated to many and varied fireworks displays from nearby gardens. You can imagine my surprise when I learned, on the Wednesday, that fireworks are totally banned in the Republic. By "totally" I mean "utterly" and "completely" to the point where you can't even have big official displays. The taxi driver on the way back to the airport explained how fireworks were smuggled in from the North - yes the North of Ireland where I'd imagine that the sale of explosives is fairly tightly controlled.

It has only just occurred to me that the 5th November probably wouldn't be considered a day to celebrate in Southern Ireland being as it is the anniversary of a failed catholic plot to kill a protestant King whose descendents, directly and indirectly, caused the Irish a lot of misery. They still seem to have the fireworks though.

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