Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Name Game

I recently was forwarded a mail by a zealous pastor commenting on the US elections. Whilst I fully agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions I was disturbed by the playground politics angle, where he chose to associate the name McCain as "son of Cain" and place it into a biblical context to denigrate the Republican candidate. Now, I do not suport McCain even in he slightest, but it makes me angry when people in positions of influence (like the pastor) try to whip up a frenzy of fear over NOTHING!!! Good Lord, there is enough legitimate shit to bash McCain and the Republicans over, why be so pathetic as to choose his name? It just makes you look as damn stupid as those who point out Obama's middle name is "Hussein".

Anyway... you know me, I couldn't resist... here is my reply:

Dear Sir,

I was forwarded this mail by an ex-colleague and was intrigued. Whilst being from the UK I am not a registered US voter, and despite the fact that I personally would like to see Obama become President, I find your analysis of John McCain's name not only gob-smackingly ludicrous in it's assumption that a name from a non-English background would have a literal English meaning without tracing the translations, but also borderline superstitious in the assumption that the name we are born with will dictate who we are.

The commonly accepted history of the name McCain is that it is the Scots equivalent of the Irish McKean, which is itself an anglicisation of Mac Iain, or "son of Iain" - not "son of Cain"!. With Iain / Ian being a variation of John the surname McCain is essentially the same as the surname Johnson. Another less likely origin is that it is a contraction of "McCathan", meaning "son of a warrior" which, whilst perhaps ironic in this case, certainly does not make all McCains violent!

But if you are going to judge a man on his name have you considered where the name Obama comes from? The surname Obama appears when the Europeans colonised Africa and enforced family names on tribes who had, until then, only had first names. What most did was (as in our own cultures) take their fathers name as a surname (I believe the word "surname" derives from the idea that it was your "sire's name" anyway), which in this case was first bestowed on Barack Obama's grandfather. The name is taken from the Luo verb meaning "to be twisted" or "to be slightly bent", probably relating to a deformity that B.O.'s great-grandfather may have been born with. In any case "twisted" and "bent" are two connotations with which the Senator probably would rather not be associated!

Please, please... vote Obama. But do not be so childish as to take McCain to task over his name! It just makes the whole thing petty.

Cheers m'dears!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tony Stark's a girlie!

If we consider that, in scientific terms, iron can be designated by the symbol "Fe" and a man is "male" are we suggesting that the superhero Ironman is a woman?

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Monday, June 30, 2008


Why, when describing something that has proved unpopular, do people use the phrase "That went down like a lead balloon"?

If you hold them a a little way off the floor most balloons, the plastic/rubber/whatever-it-is-kind, will drop down fairly slowly and gently. If filled with helium or some other lighter-than-air gas, the won't go down at all - at least not straight away. However, if you take a balloon made of lead and let it go it's a fairly safe bet that it would plummet pretty decently... or in other words, go down very well.

English - it's a funny old language.

Cheers m'dears!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Access All Areas

There I was, sipping on a glass of red, munching away on some little patry thing, when George Clinton wandered past, heading to join the rest of his Parliament Funkadelic. He glanced at me, I nodded, he didn't notice (that's what I choose to believe anyway, in my own little bubble world). So I shamble over to the bar for a top up and to rub shoulders with Earth, Wind & Fire just as Broken Social Scene appear from the stairs, fresh from the stage. At least they saw me and returned the friendly nod. Shy as I am I couldn't manage to strike up a conversation with any of them (all of whom are undoubtedly my musical superiors) and was contenting myself with chatting to Miles from Sinless City based act The Disclaimers when along come The Great Spy Experiment, another local act but one destined for international semi-stardom at the very least. Playing on the local scene myself I knew the guys (and gal) well enough to exchange greetings and complement them on their earlier set, in the process inviting them along to mine (this evening, incidentally. Not that any of you will be there). And then I helped myself to some more free wine and food and set about seeing who else I could spot. Unfortunately Jools Holland hadn't flown in yet... well, there's always the wrap party! It's a hard life sometimes...

Incidentally, do check out The Great Spy Experiment... they are fucking awesome!

Cheers m'dears!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Words to live your life by.

Being a sad, lonely, fat, middle-aged man I have to hang on to every positive thought or feeling I can. Which is why I can be content to know that, despite all the shit, one of these days I will either be happy or dead. Or as a friend recently pointed out - quite possibly both.

If anyone is still reading Random Drivel (perhaps I should rename it "Sporadic Drivel"?) then don't forget to take a look at the new Blunt Cogs series that I am writing. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Unless you're a dirty pervert with a fetish for that kind of thing. Like Sarah. Or possibly Footeater.

Cheers motherfuckers!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Hogmanay!

Here's wishing us all a 2008 full of good shit!

Happy New Years, m'dears!


Saturday, December 29, 2007


Today it arrived, in a fairly ordinary white envelope appropriately postmarked with the equally ordinary "Swindon". But that indication of origin was enough to forewarn me of the emotional letter-bomb hidden inside. "Certificate of entitlement to a decree", it began, continuing with a little legalese essentially informing me that I had a small window to contest this decree. A window which, owing to the distance the certificate had travelled, had long expired.

I was not going to contest anything anyway. Oh, it still irks that in the eyes of the law it was my "unreasonable behaviour" that led to an "irretrievable breakdown" in our marriage. But that is because she was the petitioner and the only other causes she could give after such a short marriage would have been abandonment or infidelity. And least "unreasonable behaviour" could be justified (everyone is unreasonable in someone elses eyes, right?).

Of course I could have petitioned... Infidelity? Check. Abandonment? Check. Cheque? Ah... well... Okay then. Maybe I couldn't have petitioned, at least not in the finacial situation I was then. I know in my heart that this is just an excuse, though. I would never have filed for divorce.

Yesterday's post was almost as sad. A late Christmas card from her and her "bump". Yes, she's pregnant. Yes, by that guy. In fact she may have given birth already - it was due around now, a mere 18 months after she left me for the last time. Although it could have been 8 months after... now that would have been much worse!

I''d like to say I've thought of her a lot recently, but that's both true and untrue. I've thought about her a lot, yes, but no more recently than I have done every day for the last year and a half. In many ways I moved on, but in more than I ever before cared to admit I was solidly stuck in my memories and my unfulfilled wishes.

We have spoken and emailed - it's tough sometimes, but we always promised we would be a part of each others lives. And I hear resignation in her voice, read doubt in her words... or is that just me? I wonder, is she just settling for a man because he's fathering her child, or is this another chance at love? If this hadn't happened would there still have been hope for us in the long run... after all, we were talking reconcilliation before the pregnancy.

I don't know. All I know is that I failed at the one thing in life I wanted more than anything to be a success at.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bah Humbug!

You all know I'm a miserable cunt when it comes to Christ-almighty-when-the-fuck-will-this-nightmare-end-mas, and I'm not about to change for any of you wankers. So fuck off, the lot of you!

Cheers m'red-nosed-reindeers!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Once upon a time...

An old song, but an apt one..


Do you remember?
Just how sweetly these things fitted together...
Now they don't seem quite so clever
In the cold, harsh light of day.

As these colours run,
Start to merge into one,
Turning to ash in the sun...
And the dreams you thought that you had won
Have fallen, fallen away.

Oh, can't you see that it's over for you now
Before it's even begun?
Can't you tell that it's flown from you now?
It's over and done.

And time takes its toll on you,
But the toll takes its time.
Over there in the distance
At the back of your mind.
And this pantomime takes its one last curtain call...

And don't you feel jaded and foolish and hated?
Don't you feel so under-rated?
And so, so - so complicated with it all...?

Oh, can't you see that it's over for you now
Before it's even begun?
Can't you tell that it's flown from you now?
It's over and done.

Oh, can't you see - oh, can't you see...
That it's over before it's even begun?
Oh, yes it's over - over and done...

Can't you see that it's gone away?
Can't you tell it's the end of your day?
Why can't you - why can't you...
Why can't you just say what ou really want to say to me, honey?
Bring it on back now - take it on back now,
Tell me what you want to say,
Tell me what you want - why can't you see?
Why can't you see?
Why can't you?

Some endings are sweet... some are sad... some are a little bitter or angry.

Some are just impossible to describe, because you have nothing to liken them to.

....happily ever after

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Question: When a cultural form is imported (on both sides willingly) into another culture should the 'adopting' culture adapt itself to the etiquette of said form or should the form and its producers / promoters expect and accept behaviour which they might ordinarily find offensive or distracting?

Anyone who has read back far enough on this blog knows my feelings regarding cinema-heathens. Well, a heated discussion with Indian friends the other night led me to realise that there are cultural issues at play here... They understood the etiquette of not talking on the'phone and turning off the ringtone but the fact that I could get annoyed at people texting in a cinema caused them much mirth.

The way I look at it is simple - cinema is a visual medium. If someone flashed torches or turned on the lights it would be very distracting and piss most people off. When someone uses their 'phone to sms, or even just to look at the time, the light caused by their tiny screen is actually very noticeable in a darkened cinema. To me it would be like trying to listen to a string quartet with some arseholes watch alarm going of intermittently.

But then I forget that - aside from certain screenings of films like Rocky Horror or The Sound of Music - western audiences are very much brought up to silently immerse themselves in films whereas many other cultures, especially in the Bollywood sphere of influence, see films as a release, an arena to "let go" of themselves in. Whereas the social interaction of a film in the west tends to be in dissecting the film in the pub after the credits, in the east the social interaction seems to actually be the film itself.

And so I am brought back to my original question... as someone who can happily watch - nay, embrace - a piece of performance art (be it celluloid or whatever) in the environment and atmosphere it belongs, do I then have a right to expect to be able to watch films from my own cultural background in the manner that I would be able to were I back home? Likewise, should those enjoying their own eastern cultures in the west be made to conform to viewing them in a manner which follows western etiquette?

There is something akin to this in sport... very recently Sinless City hosted a Pro Golf tournament and today the papers were full of the western players who had complained that spectators were using flash-photography as they were taking their swings and that children too young to exercise noise discipline at crucial times had been allowed in. Was that a case of the stuffy colonial sportsmen being *ahem* bad sports? Or should the local populus, in their eagerness to embrace the international competition, have exercised more care in learning the etiquette of being a golf spectator? One local who attended commented that the players shouldn't have come if they didn't want to be photographed, but I think he misses the point here (there were countless photo opportunities that did not have the potential to upset the outcome of the game) and the attitude does smack of cutting off ones own nose to spite the face - what incentive is there for these sportsmen to come back and provide further entertainment or photo opportunities if that's how you feel?

But is this a cultural thing or is it just a selfishness? "I want it, so I will take it, etiquette be damned". That is an aspect of life in Sinless City I see every day, on public transport, in queues at foodstalls, on the street hailing cabs, on the escalators... there are a lot of people here who seem to exist in the 'bubble-of-one' (please note that I am not accusing my Indian friends of this - far from it!). The truth is that in this country there is an underlying sense of individual self-importance and self-righteousness and one way in which this could be seen to manifest itself is in the way people act in the cinema.

The worst examples of this behaviour, the most selfish that I have seen on a mass scale, were at the Night Safari. This is a one-of-a-kind zoo experience where you get to see nocturnal and semi-nocturnal animals in the near-wild, pretty much under natural moon-light with very little artificial lighting used. Everywhere you go there are signs pleading with people not to use flash photography as it can blind (or in extreme cases even kill) the animals concerned. Yet on my three visits to the Night Safari I saw flash after flash as the modern 'big-game hunters' regarded their trophy-photographs of higher value than animal welfare.

Okay, it seems like I am stretching my point a little - cinema irritation to maiming animals in two easy steps - and the Night Safari experience cannot really be equated with my original question. But, despite cultural differences undoubtedly playing a part in so many upsets and misunderstandings in this diverse country, I firmly believe that the root of all these problems is a lack of respect. Let me watch these films how I am meant to watch them. And I will happily watch films from other cultures the way that they are supposed to be watched as well. Let the sportsmen get on with what they are supposed to do without getting unnecessarily parochial about it (I am just imagining a Formula 1 car at next years Sinless City Grand Prix being confronted by a local cyclist going against the traffic flow...). And for fucks sake - let those animals keep their corneas.

Cheers m'dears!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

On the Dole

In the current piece by Clairwil, about her hairdo, she makes some mention of the DSS (Department of Social Services) in the UK, which brought back a few memories that I have decided to share...

My first job on leaving school (I didn't go to Uni straight away) was actually working at the DSS (or rather the ESJ - Employment Service Jobcentre - as it was called at that point). I never graduated to be one of those desk jockeys who 'jobseekers' had to explain themselves to, I just did the signings for dole money and sometimes worked on the job search desk.

One thing that struck me was that everyone always banged on about the lazy youngsters who were happy on the dole or who were working and signing on, yet for the most part I saw young people genuinely desperate to get a job - to be able to move out of home, settle with a girlfriend, whatever. Those who came in dragging their feet actually tended to be those who had been made redundant from middle-management in their late-forties and who had adopted an "I'm better than this" attitude... those who were often the ones moaning about the young scroungers!Yet I felt sympathetic to them too - it's a bitch of an age to become unemployed, to be deemed 'obsolete'.

Since then I have been on the other side of that desk more times than I care to remember and, frankly, I find it humiliating. I hated having to queue up for cash that was barely able to sustain a bloody gerbil, especially when I was able and willing to work. It's depressing feeling your mind rotting as it goes unused... but, having worked at the ESJ and having a sense of ethics, I was always honest about my earnings. Until.......

Being the go-getter I was I signed on to a temp agency and secured a week long assignment pretty much straight away. Over the course of the week I would earn a half-decent wage and, although I would lose a weeks dole money and housing benefit, I would be a bit better off and feel able to hold my head high. Or so I thought, until I went in and declared my earnings...

My signing on day was a Wednesday. As such the week that I worked had stretched across TWO weeks of benefits. The amount earned was enough to cancel out my dole money for both those weeks. I looked at the figures and I was still slightly better off so, despite feeling this was a little unfair, I let it ride. Then my housing benefit envelope arrived...

...with no cheque, just a letter. As I had been signed off as working for two weeks I was no longer entitled to housing benefit for that month. I quickly did the maths and worked out that, with all my enthusiasm for work and my honesty and integrity, I was actually quite a bit worse off than I would have been had I just sat at home watching daytime TV.

So I will come clean. Since then, whenever I have been on the dole, I have not shied away from earning a few pounds here and there doing odd jobs for mates without declaring it. If I have had longer term or reasonably well paid contracts then, yes, I have told the relevant people - I am, at heart, an honest man - but I won't be shat on like that again for doing the right thing. Oh, and on one occasion I deliberately failed an interview that the ESJ had sent me to because I knew that it would lead to exactly the same situation.

So in their eagerness to clamp down on those abusing the system the bureaucrats have inadvertently created new abusers, ones who don't actually want to cheat or lie but who are getting the shitty end of the stick if they don't. Do they even realise that they are partly to blame...?

Cheers m'dears!

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I hateses it, I do...

I hate people who get lazy and rehash old posts on their blogs to make it look like they have actually created some output. But, then again, I fucking hate Hallowe'en more... so here is what I said about it last year in my post entitled "Shallowe'en"...

"Call me a miserable old cunt, but I really hate Hallowe'en. Seeing all the twats dressed up wandering around pubs in devil horns and black capes thinking they look so cool and 'fun-loving'... bollocks, you look like wankers. Especially those men who use it as an excuse to dress as a schoolgirl. Look, I have no problem with cross-dressing or anything, but just admit who the fuck you are for the rest of the year too. Don't use this one solitary night as an excuse to let your repressed urges out. It's just sad.

And all that "trick or treat" bullshit... what does it actually teach our kids? That it's okay to go around essentially threatening old folks. "Give us some sweets or we'll do something bad to you" - that's what it translates as. And to do it all whilst hidden behind masks? It's Dick Turpin and his ilk all over again - "Stand and deliver, your money or your life"! Fucking bastards..."

Over on her blog FatMammyCat expresses a love for the "Holiday" (although as All Hallows Day is actually today, November the 1st, perhaps it is then that is the "Holy-day"?). She says that it is nice because it is a short one... Bollocks. That's only because she doesn't live in Sinless City where it's been going all fucking week. Still at least we don't have to put up with a teddy-bear wearing a Jason Vorhees mask as a "Guy" on November 5th (Guy Fawkes night, to all you non-Brits). There's nothing like a good celebration of burning Catholics, is there...

Cheers m'dears!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Criminal Pettiness

Sinless City is a small place, in the grand scheme of things, despite it's inflated sense of self-importance. But it is a world leader (or certainly highly ranked) in many fields so it's ego is just about acceptable. One thing that seriously lets the place down, however, is the national press - not so much the articles and editorial (as biased as they usually are) but the Letters to the Editor.

Now, in Scotland there is a rag called The Daily Record, a paper I often used to buy when I lived in England simply because it was the only one with decent coverage of Scots football. In the letters to the editor in that publication you would often find quite pathetic gripes and parochial matters more suited to a weekly local paper than a national daily. But nothing, not one thing, compares to the crap that people feel compelled to write about to the Daily Propaganda, Sinless City's national broadsheet.

Okay, to be fair we have recently had a very worthy debate raging about the repeal of a law criminalising homosexuality. THAT is something deserving of national media! But last week, amidst all the passionate arguments, one letter caught my eye...

I did tear it out with the intention of reprinting it on this blog but, unfortunately, it has disappeared... so instead I will have to give you the gist of the content, which somewhat lessens the absurdity factor but should at least make the point.

This woman was complaining about bad behaviour in restaurants. Was it smoking that bothered her? The attitude of staff? Hygiene issues? No... the thing that disgusted her so much that she absolutely had to vent her anger to the whole nation was the way that people squeezed their napkin and hot towel packets to open them, creating a "pop" sound in the process.

Two words for you. Path. Etic. I know that, technically, that should only be one word but I feel that this case is deserving of the space in between the syllables.

My god, there are some cunts out there...

Cheers m'dears!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Spam, spam, spam, scam...

I received this e-mail today:

"Attention,the irish gaming board has held an online draw.the online draw is normally held once a month (october) and your email address has been selected along side five other winners,
contact coordinator: DR Sean Lennon (seanlennon_claimsagent10@yahoo.co.uk )
file in your claims below as you have won one million three hundred and fifty thousand euros


Now (even ignoring the fact that the grammar is fucking appalling) we all know that crap like this is a scam... or at least you would think we do. Yet dozens of people fall for them - usually the elderly, who are often less in tune with technology and more accepting of what they are told via it. And it fair fucks me off! So I replied...

Oh, I know I am not supposed to, that it opens the door to more of the same (etc., etc.), but once in a while I feel the need to just get arsey. So I sent back my details, as follows....

"Name; Mr U. R. Acunt
Telephone: 0800 FUCK-YOU
Address: 69 Youmustthinkimstupid Street
Country/position: Uranus"

Not the wittiest reply, but I feel better. And if anyone else would like to join me in return spamming DR Sean Lennon (seanlennon_claimsagent10@yahoo.co.uk ) please feel free to cut and paste my reply, or make up your own. Even better... why not forward all the other spam you receive to DR Sean Lennon (seanlennon_claimsagent10@yahoo.co.uk ), give him a taste of his own. That's DR Sean Lennon (seanlennon_claimsagent10@yahoo.co.uk ), by the way. He's a cunt.

Cheers m'dears!

(DR Sean Lennon (seanlennon_claimsagent10@yahoo.co.uk ))

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Friday, October 19, 2007


Dylan Osborn had repeatedly harassed his estranged wife with 'phone calls and text messages, yet once ordered to cease by magistrates had kept his distance. Then he joined Facebook... which automatically sent messages to all his e-mail contacts inviting them to join him. Including said ex-wife, who contacted the police the very next day. A plea that he was confused by the sign in procedure only freed him seven days into the ten day sentence he had been given for breaking the restraining order.

Facebook - the new menace to society!

Cheers m'dears!

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