Friday, May 12, 2006


But sometimes one comes along that is fucking ace.
Get a very sneaky preview of the new Tango ad here.
It's also a brilliant piss-take of a local residents' association site. Complete with interviews of supposed local residents.
American visitors may need sub-titles for the Welsh accent of the interviews, but I think will have seen the original Sony ad shot in San Francisco, rather than, er, Swansea.


Apparently the $15 million dollar fee for doing the film made it seem like a sensible idea at the time though.


The other 43% are self-employed.


Apparently Gordon's finally agreed Tony can have one when he retires - as long as he does it soon.


If any of them want a hand, I'm available and know how to use a syringe, bunch of unelected old tossers...


Meet the Kipunji monkey. Possibly a new genus of monkey, recently discovered in the mountains of Africa.
I'm no expert, but unlike being a new species, a new genus means a whole new line of monkey that isn't descended from other monkeys at all.
It's thought the Kipunji is descended from ground-dwelling baboons, and then evolved back up into the trees. If confirmed, the new monkey, official name Rungwecebus kipunji, will help scientists further log the evolution of species, and put another nail into the ancient myth of intelligent design. The doctrine that the earth was made in seven days some 11,000 years ago is still taught to children in many American schools.
According to a recent survey, 100 million Americans believe in it.
It was also discovered recently that two new "academy" schools in the UK, part of Blair's education revolution, are refusing to teach evolution as part of the curriculum.
This is a Christian conspiracy as it seeks to fight Islamic fundamentalism with its own version of religious idiocy.
All hail Kipunji!
He'll probably be extinct by next year....


Welcome to the E.R. CONSUME.R. GUIDE - a new series where E.R. gives consumers the answers they need to know about new products arriving in the UK - all in less than the time it takes to have a shit.

Following recent publicity about the funding of cancer treatments, many insurers, including Virgin, are offering specialist insurance policies. To find out if one is right for you, then follow this simple guide.

1. Have you given your potential insurer your honest family health history and your own medical records?

2. Can you afford the quote for insurance given to you?

If the answer to both questions is YES, then do not buy the insurance. It's good news. The likelyhood is that you will not be getting cancer, or if you do your brain will have already turned to mush and you will be 127 years old, or any treatment you require will be available via the NHS. You are as fit as a whistle and your family are as strong as a herd of Oxen. Spend the money on fruit and veg.

If the answer to question 1 is YES, and question 2 is NO, then there is a chance you might get cancer before your brain turns to mush, but since you can't afford the insurance anyway, no point worrying. Spend what you can afford on fruit and veg.

If the answer to question 1 is NO and question 2 is YES, then either you've lied, which means they won't pay out when you get it, or if you read your health insurance small print, you're only covered for a rare form of cancer so far found only in the canine teeth of Himalayan tea monkeys. Spend the money on fruit and veg.

E.R. - putting the consumer first and you knows it.

Which toaster is good for crumpet? Can I buy a computer that's safe to use in the bath? I bought a stereo for £9.99 but the extended guarantee cost me £300. Did I do good?
If you've got a question about a new service or product, write to and I will investigate it for you.

Hacking, digital security, chip and pin, English Ranter's email, PayPal, and a bunch of fucking idiots (as usual)

Whilst checking my English Ranter email account yesterday, I was interested to see that I had received an email from PayPal, the online money transfer system.
The email was a bit of a shock, since it told me my PayPal account had possibly been hacked. It was even more of a surprise since I have never given PayPal that email as a contact.
I set up my PayPal account three years ago.
I set up three months ago, and I haven't been anywhere near my PayPal account since.
While I try and work out what the fuck's going on, two news stories this week show the vulnerability of the new digital era - one we are being sold will bring us security not only in our dealings privately, but our public safety.
In the UK, "Chip and Pin" has replaced the signature as identification because of the problems of credit card fraud.
Yet Shell garages this week have now suspended their Chip and Pin service because of a suspected fraud at 650 of their petrol stations across the UK.
Surprise, surprise, the infallable is indeed fallable.
Except while before the frauds were common, but one-offs, now the fraud is digitally systematic, robbing thousands of innocent consumers simultaneously across one system.
And so we move on to the case of Gary McKinnon, the UK citizen soon to be deported to the US to face a crime of hacking into sensitive US military security data, which he claims was accessible without the use of a password.
Once he was in, he just couldn't stop looking.
It's virtually impossible in most Western countries to live a normal life - one accepted by the institutions that rule us - without being part of the computerised processes that govern them.
With the introduction of digital camera recognition, and the use of CCTV cameras, and ID cards, soon our freedoms will depend on the data within these systems.
This Orwellian nightmare is made all the worse by the fact that the people who are making the legislation for this do not understand the systems they are being sold.
Yes, sold.
Just like you or I, governments are pestered by private companies claiming to have the digital answer to the complex social and security issues facing our societies.
Men in sharp suits with computers that work and haircuts that don't, sit there in shiny shoes creating digital images of politicians faces, and then in carefully set demonstrations show how their software, their hardware, and their fucking sales bullshit can solve the problems of terrorism, crime, disorder and tax evasion.
Meanwhile, the rest of us, consumed with jobs that take away our freedom to think, indulge in the electronic community in a bid to resolve the chaos that these processes put upon our lives.
Online makes it easy because doing it any other way has now become so fucking difficult.
And then someone like Mr McKinnon comes along, and deliberately or not, by pushing a few of the right buttons has access to stuff that he really shouldn't.
Has no one considered that while stuff like digital fingerprinting or face recognition may work, it doesn't work if the terrorists have superior hacker skills, and when the digital number the fingerprint produces appears, a green light comes on rather than a red one?
Just as the personal chip and pin numbers used by faithful consumers meant nothing to the machines in the Shell garages, the digital security revolution is just an illusion.
It is the King's New Clothes.
It doesn't really exist at all, any more than the security guards at the door of the World Trade Centre or ID cards worn by the people that worked there existed on 9/11.
We are heading into a society where databases, commissioned by keen-to-look-modern politicians are paid for by our taxes, and then either poorly run or simply cracked by those with the right minds and determination to do it.
They leave us in a vulnerable position.
If we don't understand the technology, and neither do our politicians, and police, and taxmen, and immigration officers, then will they believe the technology, or us, as human beings, when things go wrong?
This is more than Orwellian because Orwell only believed that technology would be the tool of a totalitarian state to keep people in check.
In fact, it is a tool sold by sharks to bumbling fools that could not only destroy the freedom of the individual, but lull us into a false sense of security to be capitalised upon by the hacker.
If Mr McKinnon can get in, what chance a multi-millionaire like Osama Bin Laden hiring the right guy to take a look?
Hackers should be the heroes in this case, not the villains.
Meanwhile I've got to go and sort out this fucking PayPal mess.
You ain't my Pal. But you do make me Pay.
I am not a free man.
I am a number.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I was looking forward to meeting Arnie.
I wasn't aware then that he was a right-wing arsehole at the time. I just thought he was a big bloke that couldn't act. But I hoped he'd had a sense of humour. Surely someone making that much money out of that little talent would have a sense of humour?
He must have!
He didn't.
It was 1994, and the magazine I was working for had a page called "Can You Handle It?" in which a celebrity had to face 20 tongue-in-cheek questions about their career.
I'd prepared the questions myself with the help of a couple of colleagues, and we had managed to get half an hour set aside in the big man's busy schedule.
I never liked interviewing celebrities with their public relations people present, since a) I don't like people listening to what I say when I'm not talking to them, and b) public relations people make relations with the press and public as difficult as possible by interupting the moment the celebrity is going to say something interesting.
With Arnie things were slightly different.
There was a PR girl, but she looked nervous. PR people only look nervous if something is up, but there wasn't a problem, not yet, anyway.
And then there were Arnie's security guys.
Now don't get me wrong, even then Arnie was a massive star. He was over to promote the movie True Lies.
The year before, the makers of Arnie's previous movie, The Last Action Hero, were arrogant enough to open it opposite Jurassic Park, which was the movie phenomenom of the decade, wiping all box office records and leaving TLAH as one of the biggest flops of the year.
Added to that, it wasn't a very good movie.
But to have three security guards present while you were being interviewed seemed excessive. You already had the building security of London's Cafe Royale where the interview was taking place, which had obviously been upped for the presence of their American guest.
Then the usual name checks, etc, and then through to the interview room, which let's face it didn't hold a tiny vulnerable person, but held a guy who is pretty fucking big.
Christ, I thought, this is not what I wanted, not with these questions.
One nervous jittery unhappy PR girl, and three blokes who look like they used to work with Jack Bauer at CTU, with headphones, walkie-talkies, and very sensible shoes.
Arnie is sitting in what can only be described as a throne. They have these chairs in old London hotel foyers and the like, red velvet seats and ornate gold-painted carved frames.
No one sits in them because you look like you're pretending to be a king, and well, that's a bit stupid.
Arnie sat in one.
After the introductions, things are already going badly. At the time, I thought it was me, but having seen Arnie interviewed several times since, I've noticed that he does it to other people too.
He looks at you, but through you.
A bit thousand-yard-stare-like, though not quite. Just like he's not connecting properly, thinking of something else, looking at someone else while he's looking at you. It's hard to explain. It just makes you feel like he's disappointed it's you he's talking to.
That's all I can say.
I've interviewed enough people in my time to know when someone wants to be there and when someone doesn't. This felt a bit more personal. Like he didn't want me to be there.
And I hadn't even asked a question yet.
These questions. These stupid stupid questions.
Here goes...
"Do you know what your surname is worth in scrabble?"
He looks at me, then at the PR girl, then at the security guards, then puts on that look of not quite looking at anything.
I'd been taught a long time before not to worry about silence.
If you hold out long enough, eventually they will talk.
Just don't fill the void.
Don't crumble.
Silence in an interview is like a staring competition.
Speaking is like blinking first.
Wait for it.
He starts to sort of smile and grimace, in the way that you do when you you're trying to suck your teeth.
Wait for it.
"No," he says. "Do you?"
I tell him no, I'm not that good at maths.
Next question.
I have 20 to get through in only 30 minutes. I have to press on.
"Is it true what they say about body builders, that while some muscles grow, others, well, don't?"
I give him a kind of man-to-man look at this point.
I'm talking about his cock.
"All of my muscles are in proportion," he says, almost with a smile.
I'm thinking the cock question means we may have connected. It's going to be ok. He's not going to kill me, he's going to take all these questions well, and we're going to get on fine.
Next question.
"Is there going to be a Last Action Hero 2?"
This one was a step too far. The pain of starring so recently in a big big flop was still making him and his ego flinch. He signalled to one security guard, then to another.
I felt a hand on my arm.
"Your time is up," said one of the guys.
I was escorted outside, along the corridor, into the lift, and as I was taken outside the Cafe Royal given a very precise shove.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is estimated to be the 4th wealthiest person in the entertainment industry with a personal fortune of $800,000,000.
His first act on being made governor of California was to repeal the recent increase in car tax and scrap the projects to help the state's poor that it was to fund.
I still like the Terminator movies, and I didn't really care about being thrown out of the interview.
But I think he's a cunt.

Skanky omelette picture

This picture oozes all the appeal of a late night kebab shop. I'll probably get bird flu from the omelette.

Nice omelette picture

I have a terrible hangover today after attending a friend's very jolly 40th birthday party last night. I came home drunk, rather incoherently slagged off ABC news on this blog, and then fell asleep.
Happy days.
So this morning I wake and need food. This food. A cheese and onion omelette with toasted walnut bread, oj and a cup of tea. Looks quite nice now, in this picture, doesn't it? Unless you don't like eggs, or omelettes, or something.
I wondered why when you go into cheap cafes that sell food and kebabs, and some Chinese restaurants, why their food looks so rank in all the pictures? I think it's the lack of natural light and the fact they get their mate with a throw-away camera to do it and send the snaps away in the post to Truprint for £1.99 developing and a free film.
Or something.

"FAT MAN WALKING" Steve Vaught takes 13 months to walk across America - and only loses a few pounds

Maybe he should've done fat man jogging instead.
To read about Steve's slow "moving" "journey" of "discovery", see .

See a penny, pick it up...

...and all day,
you'll have good luck.
That's what my mum taught me when I was five.
But I've declined to follow this advice when I've seen pennies covered in wee in gents toilets on the basis of public hygiene. And the fact that a penny buys you fuck all.
But I was rather surprised, when this little baby, a pound coin (that's $1.83 US) was ignored by passenger after passenger that exited a rush-hour train yesterday. As a republican (with a small "r") I did quite enjoy watching the queen's face get stamped on, but this is the question:
Am I a pikey for stopping to pick it up?
Or just a loser that looks at his shoes while walking?
(pikey - translated in US could mean tramp, bum, or certainly that hillbilly on The Simpsons with 20 kids).

Ok so I took the piss...

...with my letter from the Iranian president yesterday.
Believe it or not, it wasn't real. We found it under a dustbin in Crystal Palace park.
But to listen to the FUCKWITS on ABC news tonight, you would think he called the president a cunt, that americans were wankers, and that he'd like to run around the whitehouse with his cock out pissing over the floor shouting "it won't stop, it won't stop" and then when he stops pissing shouts "oh, it's ok, it has."

What it actually said was:

* 9/11 was "horrendous"
* If you like Jesus so much why do you kill civilians in Iraq?
* I don't want to make any bombs
* You and me could have real trouble if we don't get on, because most of the Arab world likes me, and most of the Arab world hates you
* I've got loads of oil

Seems fair enough. Indeed sounds downright true.

ABC, obviously briefed by the Whitehouse, started quoting the letter in a hysterical voice of panic. For instance, the comment about 9/11 was followed up by a separate comment within the letter about why the security flaws that led to such an outrage had never cost anyone their job. They described that as an accusation. It didn't sound like an accusation.

Whitehouse officials were quoted without names (so no one elected, just a bunch of media cunts making up stuff) claiming the Iranian president thinks he's a "one in a thousand years leader" on a "mission" and "not to be trusted".
None of which is mentioned in the letter.
Fucking bullshit.
How do they call it news?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm Lovin' It

And indeed I would too.
E.R. is pleased to report that its local McDonalds has SHUT. One tiny nail in that fucker Ronald McDonald's coffin, and part of the 25 "restaurants" (I love the way they use that word) closing as part of an amazing new fashion in the UK and across Europe which involves not putting shit in your mouth when you're hungry.
Picture from

Poverty decides if there is death before life

The philosophical and social arguments about a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy are difficult.
While I advocate an educated pro-choice society rather than a pro-life doctrine, it is one subject where I understand that someone's spiritual beliefs will mean we will always differ.
One thing we know for sure is that contraception saves lives. As contraception use rises, maternal and infant deaths decline.
However, it's a shame that some of the reactionary fervour of many pro-lifers, particularly in America, including attacks on abortion clinics and those that attend them, is not instead aimed at the inequality of a society where poor children are twice as likely to die at birth than those of the rich.
Indeed, as a new Save The Children report published today shows, despite having more beds and doctors specialising in new borns than Canada, the UK and Australia, the survival rate of the average American baby is lower than the survival rate in any of these countries.
In the United States, the newborn mortality rate for all races combined is 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births (a suprisingly poor 10th place for the world's richest society), but for non-Hispanic American blacks, the rate is 9.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.
To put this in context, deaths for black Americans are higher than the average rates in Cuba, Chile, Bahrain, Belarus, Malaysia, Oman, Hungary and Slovakia, to name but a few.
America's rural poor are the most likely group to give birth to children that die within 24 hours.
Around the world, 2 million babies a year that could be saved, do not get to live beyond their first day of life, and the inequality in America is extended globally to African nations, where mothers and children have the lowest chance of surviving a live birth.
Americans can try and help this situation by calling on their president and congressment to support the Child and Newborn Act (HR 4222) which aims to release resources to combat the issue.
And if you're worried about that putting your taxes up, then check out the cost so far of the war in Iraq at the bottom of the page.
Find the full Save The Children report here Save The Children PDF.


Might be a fake, we're not sure.


The fucker's still alive.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I think that's Blair in the tank.
Bit difficult to tell, Government ministers all look the same these days.
Like complete and utter cunts.
Picture from the collection at . If you like banksy, you'll probably love where you can buy his work, and other work from like-minded artists.

It's not every day you see a monkey riding a goat...

No one knows why taxidermist Walter Potter felt that a monkey riding a goat would make a good exhibit.
I was also concerned to discover, when researching this piece, that a description of the monkey said there were rumours that it had been, and I quote, "bothered with".
Quite how much more "bothered with" you can be after you've been stuffed, is a little difficult to imagine.
For more of the story see next post, and see the old bbc story here
It's not news, I just recently recommended someone should see these pieces on a visit to Cornwall, as of course anyone would, only to find they had gone.

It's not every day you see kittens get married...

...and alas unless you know who bought this little gem you won't be able to in future either.
In 2003 Mr Potter's Museum of Curiosity, which housed dozens of bizarre works of Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter was closed, and the collection sold at auction for over £500,000 ($850,000 US).
An offer by British artist Damien Hurst to buy the collection outright and keep it intact failed, and consequently the pieces were sold separately.
I visited the museum in the late 90s when it housed the collection as part of the Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor. The Inn sold it to be able to build new accomodation for guests.
Mr Potter was from Sussex, England, and the pieces were originally displayed at the old pier in Brighton.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Nationalisation, a Bolivian border guard with a gun on coke, and a smashed up faded hippy bus without any hippies

Though this picture looks like it was taken in 1908, it was actually taken by E.R. in 2001 at the Bolivian-Chile border.
A week ago the Bolivian government announced nationalisation of the country's energy resources. It's an interesting decision, and left-wing governments that still play ball with the big private companies in this sector will be watching keenly at their progress.
It already seems that the decision will mean that private investment in the country necessary to discover further supplies will be cut, and mean supplies from the country will struggle to be maintained.
But E.R. can't help thinking that though the decision seems a little naive in these global capitalist times, that the little country with the big reputation may still succeed. It has plenty of customers who don't want to be cut off.
The economics of energy mean that the Bolivian government is aware that it will not be long before it can start to deliver profits as well as power to its people.
My memories of my brief visit are quite surreal.
This picture was taken just north of the border with Chile. The visit was organised by a Bolivian guy that ran trips from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, across the border to see the beautiful lakes in the south of Bolivia.
Because of a teachers' strike at the time, which had caused troops sent onto the streets and riots in which 50 people were killed, all the main border points with Bolivia were shut until order was restored.
But this border check point was basically a shack, with a little row of white painted pebbles running about 30 metres either side, laid out in a neat line.
We paid a dollar each, which I think smoothed the way of our fleeting visit with the resident officials.
A border guard with a gun and a black motorbike smudged white powder into his gums and smiled when we arrived. If you were casting an actor to play him in a movie, Benicio Del Toro would be your first choice every time.
He escorted us into the shack, and we queued outside a tiny office. Inside of it, an official of a more senior rank and slicker facial hair, with a revolver on his table, took our dollar, checked our paperwork and stamped our papers.
But the most surreal thing was the hippy bus. A 1960s bus that could probably carry about 40 or 50 people sat stranded in the desert just a few yards from the checkpoint's line of pebbles.
The wheels had gone, the windows smashed, and the CND signs and flowers on the side were faded after years of sandblasting from the desert wind.
But there it sat.
I always wondered how it had got there, and where all the hippies had gone on the day it broke down in the desert, all those years ago.


-------MY COPY IS YOUR RIGHT E.R. 2006------- 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.