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    • NHS in general / Archive Service / 38 Readings / 37 Ratings
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      24.05.2013 18:26
      Very helpful



      Stafford could be a turning point in the fight against privatisation

      A Top Protest Song has been released to highlight the case of Stafford Hospital & the 50,000 members of the public who recently stood up & said 'NO!' to a downgrade.

      The song, released this week is '50,000 People Can't Be Wrong' by Clare Palmer.

      The song is available to download from Amazon, I-Tunes, Play.com, Spotify etc etc

      Good protest songs are hard to find in these days of apathy but here is a great tune that sums up the mood of the town of Stafford.
      Due to dodgy number work Stafford Hospital has been wrongly labelled the Hospital that stopped caring and even the Hospital of Death, after repeated slurs and the part-time closure of the A and E dept the hospital now faces downgrading.

      50,000 people recently marched through Stafford to protest against this, to prove that the local people still have faith in the wrongfully-shamed hospital yet the national media have ignored the story.
      Bad news sells it seems even if based on now-disproved facts.

      The artist has released this record, not for profit as any royalties are to be given to the Childrens Ward of Stafford Hospital, but to try to get some kind of national recognition that this is a hospital under threat yet is currently one of the best performing hospitals in the UK.

      If Stafford hospital is allowed to be down-graded under the pretext of saving money, lives will be lost and the government will go on to adopt this model with other NHS trusts.

      It's easier to privatise services once you've rubbished what's there. The downgrade of Stafford Hospital might not directly impact on you but the long-term consequences on the NHS may well be catastrophic.

      So that's the reasons behind it, but is it any good?

      Fortunately the answer is very much a yes.

      Clare Palmer plays her swiftly-penned acoustic number with aplomb with a hauntingly catchy hook that will stick in your head and have you humming it to yourself all day.

      The song isn't too preachy despite being a plea.

      50,000 people can't be wrong, but how many can download this song?

      It's less than a quid, it's for a good cause and as an extra bonus if it breaks the top 40 we can all sit back and wait to see how many different reasons for not playing it the radio stations can come up with.

      Ding Dong the witch is dead wasn't played as it was an affront to Thatcher, this song is an affront to the Government, the media and general apathy.

      Buy it - You get a top track, the childrens ward of Stafford Hospital get some funds, the Government might wake up to the fact that they should put people before profits and the people of Stafford could have their lives saved.

      Not bad for a quid


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      • More +
        06.01.2012 13:07
        Very helpful



        Caffeine injection at a cost

        Famous for their 1976 court case in which they unsuccessfully argued that albino's should be banned from visiting their coffee shops during winter months (for fear of alarming their then largely circus based client base) Costa Coffee have become a fixture on many a high street.

        Dating back to 1899 when their first coffee stand was visited by Queen Victoria who stated 'We are not amused' due to the barrista forgetting to offer chocolate sprinkles on her royal highnesses Hazlenut Mocha, Costa limped along as a small business with an annual turnover of less than 14 shillings for much of the 20th Century.

        Their fortunes changed in 2003 when they started to serve their various caffeine based hot beverages in drinking receptacles rather than dismissively tossing the burning liquid at the floor in front of their customers feet and shouting 'drink you dog!'. This more family friendly, and let's face it, saner, approach let to some customers providing them with repeat business and the franchise really took off.

        Recent statistics reveal that there are quite literally quite a lot of Costa Coffee franchises throughout the UK (including the Pennines) and these range from shops, outlets within businesses such as in SAP HQ, Clockhouse place and Mrs Biggin's Brothel Company, Denbeigh Ave, coffee machines within random restaurants and that man who offers people a slurp from his flask outside Birmingham New Street station for 50p.

        Costa has a lot of high street rivals, some of which also sell coffee, including Starbucks, Café Nero and MucDonalds yet there appears to be such a demand for ridiculously overpriced caffeine that none of them appear to be struggling.

        For those who are more than happy to pay prices that range from the extortionate to the bloody ridiculous for boiled water added to 5ps worth of coffee beans, several pennies worth of bovine lactation and a dash of syrup with the semi-obligatory 'dusting' Costa Coffee offer a wide range of drinks from Coffee to Tea, Hot Chocolate to milkshakes, they'll even let you buy a 25p bottle of orange to take away for only a pound.

        You can also buy assorted pastries or cakes for the price of a small meal.

        You can consume your beverage & snacks inside most Costa Coffee shops and listen in to generally boorish conversations of the aspiring middle classes and they browse through the free copies of the Daily mail or take your purchase out through the streets and pretend not to notice that you could have bought your treasured cinnamon swirl pastry for a third of the price at the bakery next door (usually a greggs).

        My personal favourite waste of money is a large cinnamon mocha with an extra dash of espresso but also foolishly sample all of their other drinks at assorted times, usually en route to work in the morning either desperate for a caffeine injection or just convincing myself that I need one in a bid to stave off my arrival at work for another few minutes.

        To be fair to Costa Coffee it's not all about corporate greed as they do also run the Costa Foundation a charity which any tips you may leave are snatched away from the low paid baristas (aka students or people of low self-esteem convinced that they can't get a job that involves receiving a proper living wage) and donated to various schemes helping folk in other countries achieve the type of education that will lead to them realizing that £3 plus for a cup of coffee is ridiculous and that adding a dash of vanilla to your skinny half-caf latte is ever so slightly pretentious.

        Costa also use a customer loyalty card scheme in which you're given a few points for every pound you spend which can ultimately be coverted into a 'free drink'. To get a large hot chocolate with cream for example you only need to spend a sum similar to your monthly mortage payment.

        So, they're over-priced and they're only selling a product that with a small amount of effort we can make for ourselves so why do we keep going back?

        Could it be that we aspire to be European, indulging in café culture? Probably not because in true British style most of us go in, drink our drinks as fast as thier temperature allows and get out (or grab a quick cup to take out as we dash urgently to our next point of call).

        Is t because we all watched friends in the 1990's and expect to be served by & flirt with a Jennifer Aniston type yet routinely get disappointed by meeting up with a Gunther? Unlikely...

        Are we all just addicted to caffeine? Do we all aspire to have so much money that we can routinely waste it on overpriced drinks and therefore pretend we can afford it whilst racking up debt? Are we smiling on the outside whilst internally we seeth that we are becoming not only financially but morally bankrupt as we pour pound after pound into the corporate coffers?

        Or is it just a fact that we like the taste of coffee with added syrups but would feel embarrassed if our friends ever discovered bottles of peppermint flavouring, chocolate dusting and boat sized cups in our cupboards?

        Any why is Costa Coffee an anagram of Ffeet As Coco? And what does it mean?


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        • Insomnia / Health Problem / 38 Readings / 32 Ratings
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          06.01.2012 03:24
          Very helpful



          Sleep Depravation plus Random Thoughts divided by stray typos = this review

          As Leonard Cohen famously said: The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.
          Not wishing to disagree with the celebrated Canadian singer-songwriter (or at least, not again after what happened the last time - see my 2008 review 'Canadian prison songs or Don't diss Len when there's Mounties around') but at this precise second I don't feel superior to any of the people happily snoring in their beds whilst I sit red-eyed, mind racing, in front of my p.c in my cold office desperately trying different tactics to get my brain to switch off all the while wondering and wondering why it won't realise that it's nearly 2 am and I need to get up for work in 3 and a half hours time and then I start thinking of that quote from Winnie The Pooh that I had on my pillow case as a child, the one that says 'I'm Pooh, said Pooh, I'm Tigger said Tigger. Well Tigger said Pooh it's the middle of the night which is a very good time for going to sleep'

          And then as I type that I realise that I've wandered off topic and consider deleting the line and the one above it about the french lubricant and the water-melon before deciding to leave them in becuase this is a review about insomnia and this is how you begin to think once you've in that zone, when you haven't slept in days and your thought process is all hyper and you wonder why you can't type fast enough to keep up wityh your thoughts and that leads to typos and again you're off topic and and and your brain just WILL NOT SHUT UP!

          So no, I don't feel superior to the sleeping world Mr Cohen and one of those reasons is that because I made the mistake of checking your wikipedia entry to see if it was indeed you who said that about insomniacs (& why that quote popped into my tired little head I haven't the first clue) but yes it was Mr Cohen and thanks to reading that blasted wikipedia entry I know have Hallelujah running through my head again and again and no, not the Jeff Buckley version that I could probably stomach but Alexandra F'in X-Factor kareoke singer version and it's enough to make me want to scream but instead I will sit here quietly typing random drivel and grinding my teeth waiting for something else to penetrate my conciousness enough to dislodge her terrible terrible voice so as not to disturb my sleeping wife or kids.

          I've had varying degrees of insomnia for several years, they say that men have their best ideas when suffering from insomnia, to see if that's true why not read some of my other reviews all of which have been written during periods in which my pillow and I were but inhabitants of the same house, rarely meeting and certainly not on first name terms and (without wanting to spoil the ending) you'll find out that either it isn't true or it's a bloody miracle that I function when I am getting sleep.

          If you're still reading this waffle thus far I owe you 2 apologies.

          1) This review is a mess and I apologise if the fluctuating style, tone and random pontification is somewhat confusing. In my defence I haven't slept in days and it's over 5 years since I got what many would consider a good nights sleep.

          2) I've stated at least twice that I don't superior to the sleeping world and that is, at least in part, a lie as I've just realised that somewhere out there sleeping soundly lie millions of people who actually voted for David Cameron (how they sleep soundly is a mystery to me but right now how anyone sleeps soundly is a mystery to me or esle I'd be doing it too) and also I've never watched Dancing on Ice or Celebrity Big Brother, and never once have I bought a Kinder Egg and expected to be suprised...

          So, why can't I sleep?

          Is it hormonal? Is it too much caffeine? Too much exercise, not enough exercise? Stress? ....

          Probably not...

          It could be that I've trained myslef to have broken sleep patterns - as a teenager I rarely got to bed before about Wednesday, at uni I completed all my best assignments and essays by pulling night-shifts (in fact all of my assignments and essays), through out my 20's I don't think I ever turned in before 2 am and throughout much of my 30's I've had babies, sleep monitors, apnae alarms, medicines to administer to prevent me from getting proper shut eye. Yet tonight I have none of those disturbances but I'm here typing trash into thi swebsite.

          And it's a website I don't think I've visited more than a couple of times in the last year or so, so it's hardly a burning desire to share my thoughts with fellow dooyooers that's keeping me awake (no offence).

          It's true that I consume upwards of 8 pints of coffee a day but normally (kids, alarms, meds etc allowing) by now I can be falling asleep in a chair, a book or the footie having distracted my racing brain long enough to start to shut it down.

          Some people, generally Dr types and their ilk, associate some forms of insomnia with mental illness. Those of you who have read some of my other reviews will obviously dismiss that theory when it comes to this particular antiquated counting tools sleep problems.

          I'm now confused and you're probably a little bored but I'm not sure what to do with this review now. I mean am I supposed to rate Insomnia as an experience? 5 stars cos it's dead good or 2 stars cos it was entertaining the first time but 354th time round it got a bit repetitive?

          I can't offer any substantial advice as the only guaranteed way for me to fall asleep these days is to really want to see Match of the Day (having somehow managed to avoid finding out the scores, scorers, incidences in advance), manage to get the kids off to sleep before the show starts, have managed to locate a stray can of Carling or bottle of Bud in the fridge, sat down in a comfy chair, kicked off my shoes and opened the beer . In that situation & only in that situation I can guarantee that I'll get a good 5 hours sleep and wake up cold with an undrunk (& miraculously unspilt) beer next to me having missed MOTD.

          That I can guarantee but I can hardly recommend that as a potentail cure. After all MOTD is only on the telly twice a week and is missing from the schedules across the summer plus I can not, nay, will not recommend such a shameful waste of lager.

          So what do you do if you're suffering from a bout of insomnia (not sure if bout of insomnia is the correct terminology but referring to it as a bastard of insmonia might offend)? There's herbal rememdy's you can try, there's getting drunk to knock yourself out (although not guaranteed to give you the best sleep), reading, watching telly, self hypnosis, exercise, sex, watching something on telly with subtitles whilst having very energetic sex and drinking (if you want to try a combination) and all kinds of other ways BUT none of them actually work, or at least not all of the time.

          Insomnia is one of those 'funny' afflictions. It can make your life an absolute nightmare yet tell your friends & colleagues that you're not sleeping and you can expect some light hearted banter and comments such as 'ooh I know what you mean, I'm terrible if I don't get my regular 8 hours'. If you've got a cold or your legs fallen off you can expect sympathy but not if it's insomnia cos there's kind of an underlying assumption that you're doing it to yourself (as with mental illness, depression etc) so the sympathy or empathy isn't quite as forthcoming as it would be if you'd accidently failed to eat and drink healthily and thus left yourself wide open to cathcing a virus.

          The review such as it is has wandered so far off topic that I can't really think how to end it so I'll just say this.

          If you're suffering from insomnia you have my greatest sympathy, it can be a real bastard to get through. If it's recurring over a long time see your doctor and if you're after sympathy from your colleagues when you stumble into work best chop one of your legs off.

          For those of you who haven't suffered from insomnia and want to know what it feels like grow up.

          Good night....


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          • More +
            06.07.2011 14:50
            Very helpful



            Not bad if you like peas or boredom

            Stafford was recently listed in the OMG list of top 3,700 towns in Britain and as such has received quite a lot of press attention (Stafford Post 06/06/11 'Stafford ranked as quite good', Stafford Chronicle 07/06/2011 'Stafford recognized, sort of', Stafford Newsletter 13/06/2011 'OMG states Stafford exists' & Crawley Gazette 05/06/11 'Crawley one better than Stafford, "Nah-Nah-Ne-Nah-Nah" says Mayor').

            As it's being recognized I thought I'd go & check it out.

            Stafford is a medium sized town in the Midlands, in the county of Staffordshire. It was founded by Dame Judy Dench in 1603 although records of a settlement here go back as far as December 1602. A Castle was built on the outskirts of the town and at various times over the past 4 centuries has been demolished, rebuilt, left to fall into rack and ruin and now enjoys it's status as the finest pile of bricks in Stafford. During the summertime Shakespeare festivals are held in the grounds of the castle and in the winter it tends to look a bit cold and damp.

            On arriving at Stafford station you find yourself welcomed by Victoria Park complete with band-stand, a newly revamped childrens play area and statue of Fran Healey from Travis (officially the 3rd most famous son of Stafford after Genghis Khan and Tom Jones).

            Walking through this park replete with flowers, an aviary and many, many fine examples of pensioner playing bowls you come to one of Stafford's many traffic roundabouts (at last count they had 434) and from here it's a short walk into Stafford's town centre via a courthouse, several pubs (some still open in this day and age) a churchyard, a multitude of chavs and MacDonalds (surely Stafford's most famous export).

            Once in the centre you will find the Shire Hall which contains an art gallery which is frequently updated, access to the old courthouse and cells, the town's library, a café and (my favourite) the world renowned Stafford Pea Museum.

            The Pea Museum, for those of you unaware of this period in Stafford's rich and vibrant history pays homage to those wild and crazy days of the early 1980's when the town council which was led by the Monster raving Looney Party tried numerous schemes to raise the profile of the town following the decline of the shoe industry.
            They came up with a plan that would forever link the town to that most famous of foods, the humble petit pois.
            An anthem was written for the town by local resident Derek Holt, of Climax Blues Band fame, which included lyrics such as 'Come to Stafford where we eat peas' and 'Come to Stafford where we eat peas a lot'. Statues of famous people enjoying peas were commissioned including Bryan Ferry and the Delai Lama and Delia Smith was invited to give pea cooking lessons at Stafford College. Children in local schools were encouraged to make pea-per mache sculptures and there was even a scheme to build a new shopping centre made entirely out of peas.

            The impact that this had on Stafford's economy is still felt today and the tragedy that occurred when the pea-constructed shopping centre collapsed bruising several visiting MP's led to Tom Jones denying any links with the town and effecting a Welsh accent that he uses even now.

            I love the museum but think that they should include more exhibits - they have 2.

            Outside of the Shire Hall you can find many pubs, some of which are independent of the large breweries including the Bank House, Joxer Brady's, The Hanging Thatcher and Bernard's Wine Bar (specializing in home brew and turnip soup).

            For the dedicated shopper Stafford can offer Estate Agents, Banks, Building Societies, Book Makers, Charity Shops, Cafes, Cake Shops, Letting Agents and quite literally 6 other shops.

            With a confusing road system, lack of parking, over-zealous traffic wardens and occasional pedestrian areas (depending on the phases of the moon) it's an ideal place to visit on foot and as it's only £6 pounds to take the train from London it's not unusual (sorry, Tom) to find denizens of the Capital milling about in Poundland, Boots the Chemist, Mr Chatsworths Unusual Balloon Emporium and The Works, marveling at the quaintness of the town.

            Stafford also boasts the Ancient High House, the UKs oldest Timber Framed Building where Charles Dickens apparently once sneered and the Altern 8 park bench where tourists can be photographed sitting on a bench that members of Altern 8 might have walked past at some point.

            But, it's not all excitement in Stafford as there's also a handful of hotels where you can take a nap and a cinema which shows the occasional film.

            Stafford is also home to Stafford Rangers Football Club which, although largely forgotten by the population continue to churn out the odd point and as a bonus if you hang around outside you may be able to nab a free football as it's hopelessly punted off the pitch and out of the ground.

            Stafford enjoys good transport links being positioned on the M6 motorway, on the major rail link and only ten minutes drive from Cannock Chase a legendary Celebrity Dogging Spot as made famous by Stan Collymore.

            All in all I would recommend Stafford as a good place to visit for anyone with no ideas of their own.


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            • More +
              05.07.2011 14:22
              Very helpful



              Preaching to the converted

              Picture the scene, you're standing in your local park, with your children and they're misbehaving to a massive extent. Do you ask them nicely to behave? Do you resort to a light slap to their bottom? Do you lose your rag and shout at them?

              In this day and age a parent could be criticised by the watching strangers for any of these responses.

              If you try to talk your child down people will think that you're too soft, a namby-pamby touchy-feely parent of spoilt kids. A gentle slap can be misinterpreted as child abuse and an overtired, overstretched parent who loses their rag is beyond the pale.

              Other people's opinions on how to discipline your children should never come into it yet how many of us react to out childrens occasional tantrums differently when we're in public.

              I'm sure we've all seen the advert from a couple of years ago where the mother reacts to her toddlers tantrum in a supermarket by throwing a mock tantrum herself but in reality this approach is hard to pull off (just ask the manager of my local Sainsbury's).

              So whilst we shouldn't be swayed by the views of strangers, and in itself that is sometimes something difficult to do as we're all suseptible to peer pressure (why, only today I completely re-wrote a Dooyoo review because of the reaction of fellow reviewers), we do have to be careful.

              I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with a very occasional very light slap if my children are stepping way out of line or doing something that could easily become dangerous if they don't learn to stop. For example if I caught one of my kids playing in the road after being told numerous times to stop or attempting to set fire to a younger sibling.

              However, in my opinion anything beyond a light slap is too much and I believe the only reason a light slap works is becuase of the shock of the slap not becuase it's caused pain. If you find yourself slapping your children in an attempt to cause them pain then you need to stop and think and equally if you find yourself resorting to slapping on a regualr basis you need to stop and think.

              I believe that in the right circumstances, where a lesson has to be learnt fast, where there's a danger of my child or someone else being put at risk otherwise that a quick slap to get the right amount of attention is correct. You might disagree and you're entitled to your opinion. The danger I fear is that other people, in a well meaning bid to help and protect would see a gentle slap as being abuse and that could lead to the involvement of Social workers and all kinds of worst case scenario situations.

              As a parent I obviously agree that Social Workers & / or the Police should investigate fully allegations of abuse as no-one wants to see a repeat of the horrendous cases that have been featured in the press of late but there's a tightrope that has to be walked.

              My wife is a teacher and over the years she has seen standards of behaviour slip, teachers simply can't discipline the children in many cases for 3 reasons:
              1) Corporal Punishment was stopped & in my book, rightly so. I would hate for either of my children to be caned yet I would also hate for either of my kids to break the rules so badly as to require such punishment.
              2) Children know their 'rights' and are more than happy to point that out on a frequent basis whilst simultaneously ignoring the rights of fellow pupils to gain an undisrupted education.
              3) Parents. Some parents (& obviously not you, reading this on Dooyoo - I refer directly to those inferior parents) refuse to back a teacher who hands out detention or raises issues regarding their little darlings behaviour. Parents who see their kids through rose-tinted glasses, believe that the teachers got it wrong or that it was harmless or someone else did it. These are the parents who refuse to discipline their kids and therefore spoil them.

              I believe that parents should take responsibility for their kids actions. Too often we hear about sob stories about how a parent couldn't control their child or their child got in with a bad crowd. Well, I'm sorry but that's bollocks.

              The key to discipline is respect. As a parent you need to teach children to respect themselves and respect others. As parents you need to set an example. If you don't show your kids that you respect others, including teachers (& yes, even if it grates you, that includes P.E Teachers), the police and other figures of authority then they won't learn.

              If your kids are running with a bad crowd stop them. No child has a god-given or legal right to roam the streets at all hours. If you can't stop them from leaving the house and you believe that they're doing things they shouldn't and you honestly, truly believe that you can't control them then grow a pair and ask for help.

              Being a parent is a tough gig and it's the most important job you've got. If you don't discipline your kids you're not helping them to grow up, you're not helping them to be the best they can be and you're wasting their potential. Don't fail your kids.

              How you discipline your kids is up to you, with-holding treats, taking away mobile phones, the naughty step, no TV, a short sharp shock, public humiliation on facebook, telling them the truth about Santa, having to spend afternoons with mad uncle Bernard.... Whatever it takes is what you need to do.

              Help them to enjoy childhood, nurture them but don't be their doormat, don't believe that you're protecting them if you deny that they ever cross boundaries and help them to learn respect. When they do break rules don't be heavy handed but remind them that they're still children and still have things to learn.


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                14.11.2010 23:07
                Very helpful



                You may need tissues

                One Night In Turin is a documentary that covers England's attempt to win Italia '90, which for those of you who don't know was the football World Cup. Of 1990. Held in Italy. Or Italia as it's known by the locals.

                Running at a slim 93 minutes the documentary, with a voiceover by Gary Oldman, is a stark reminder of just how different football was just 20 years ago. Through footage from both on and off the pitch the viewer revisits England on 1990, a swift montage of riots, Thatcher and football holliganism reminds us that it was a long way from the polished, pampered football of today. This is pre-Sky, pre-multibillionaire foreign club ownership, pre-fashion icon footballers, pre-family friendly stadia, it seems a hundred years ago, not twenty.

                Before the tournament begins we're reminded of what the media and political opinion of football supporters, sorry, hooligans, was, how derided the "beautiful game" was and that Colin Moynihan, then sports minister, was a clueless tw*t.

                The documentary then takes the viewer through the highs and lows of the English tournament, re-introducing us to the raw talent that was Paul Gascoigne, in itself almost sad to see considering his decline in recent years, showing us how the team refered to (by an ever supportive press) as Donkeys won over the support of a nation before building up to that highly emotional showdown in Turin.

                *****************Spoiler warning*******************************************************

                I'm sure that there's very few folk who would be interested in reading this review that don't know whether or not England won the World Cup in 1990 but just in case, if you don't know skip the next paragraph.

                Obviously we lost in the semi final against West Germany but even when you know it's possible to feel the nerves jangle and the heckles rise, the pulse quicken as the documentary heads into that last match (or last but one but no one really cares about the exhibition match for 3rd place). Even though you've seen Gazza cry a thousand times, even though you know where Waddle is going to put his penalty, it's hard not to get swept up in the moment. If you're an England supporter above the age of 30, if you can still remember where you watched the match first time round, it still packs a punch because we came so close.

                *******************Spolilers off ***********************************************

                Welcome back to those who skipped the above paragraph & yes, we won, it was great.

                The documentary packs a punch but it's not a great film.

                It triggers, or re-triggers, passions and anger. Anger at the way the hooligan element behaved, anger at the way the media and politicians tarred all supporters with the same brush, anger at how England were largely segregated from the rest of the competition. Passion for the game, hope even though we all know exactly how many little gold stars are on the England shirt, and in a final montage shame that we allowed the media and the politicians to attack those who saught to entertain, and sadness that Bobby Robson never lived his dream.

                However, those emotions aren't triggered because of great editing, or a good soundtrack (though it is good), a great narrative or top production values. The emotions are triggered becuase it's about football and football is emotive. It's about England and England is emotive. It's about what could have been, hopes and dreams and it's a reminder of how far we've come (& whether we've been travelling in the right direction is another story).

                So..... Should you buy this?

                If you're a football fan who was around in 1990 then it's worth a watch even if it's just as a nostalgia trip, if you're younger than that but still an avid supporter of the national game then take a look, though you might want to watch it with your dad, or if you're stuck for a christmas pressie for your football loving grandad / uncle / milkman then why not.

                It's probably not a good bet to get if for the wife or girlfriend unless she's a confirmed footie nut and if you buy it for yourself it's probably not the best idea to watch it with her. Who wants to explain to their other half that they're crying cos 20 years ago some bloke in short trousers failed to kick a bladder between two sticks?

                One Night In Turin is currently available on DVD at Play.com for £6.99, £14.99 for blu-ray and even in book form although I'm guessing the experience is a tad different.

                There's an assortment of special features such as directors commentary, storyboards, an interview with Pete Davies who wrote the book and some extra behind the scenes footage, none of which I've watched.

                It's a 15 certificate and according to the rating on the back of the box contains one use of very strong language, though in my house there were several more on watching, including ****** when Waddle stepped up for the penalty, **** when he's kicked the ball and **** **** ******** ****** whenever Colin Moynihan was on screen


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                • DIY Do's & Dont's / Discussion / 49 Readings / 45 Ratings
                  More +
                  03.11.2010 22:10
                  Very helpful



                  Agreeing a colour scheme is a must

                  recently I was inspired by the film Betty Blue to paint lots and lots of houses pink. My cousin is gonna be really really pissed off when he sees his Monopoly set....LOL..

                  Wait, stop I was only pulling your leg.

                  This review is about how I did recently paint my humble abode.

                  On Tuesday I went to a leading DIY store and bought 14 litres of Mauve paint, 3 brushes (1 x 5", 1 x 2" and 1 x toiletbrush), 2 good size rollers, a paint tray and a comedy gnome for the back garden. He look like a normal gnome but he have his willy out instead of fishing rod. It really really funny.

                  On Wednesday I get up at crack of dawn (please note, no smut ridden jokes about sleeping with someone called Dawn, this a family friendly website. Besides, my wife, who I woke up with on Wednesday is called Fanny so no jokes there) and put on my special painting outfit.

                  I always like to wear my special painting outfit as it have many pockets for putting things and one special pocket with a hole in it for when I get bored. It also covered in lots of paint from old jobs so I feel more professional if I have to pop out to buy new brushes and what-not.

                  I cracked open the first tin and once I'd drained that proceeded to open the first paint pot, stuck my brush in and got started.

                  I did a brush-stroke up and then a brush stroke down and then a brush stroke up and then a brush stroke down and then put more paint on my brush and then did a brush-stroke up and then a brush stroke down and then a brush stroke up and then a brush stroke down and then put more paint on my brush and then started to get a bit bored and played noughts and crosses for a bit.

                  When I started to paint over the noughts and crosses and the pictures of comedy boobs I realised that I would now need to use several coats and swore a bit.

                  I carried on painting for many, many minutes and then spent 3 hours finding the right music to listen to that would inspire me to get the job done. Then it was lunchtime so I popped out to the local for a bar-meal (so much faster than cooking my own). When I got back it was getting a bit dark for painting and Fanny was asleep so I called it a day and had a little smoke.

                  On Thursday I made Fanny breakfast in bed (actually it was the remains of the full english pizza I'd brought home from pub the night before and then been a little sick on) and waited til she left before getting back down to work.

                  I realised that I'd forgotten to rinse out the 5" brush I'd been using the day before so I binned that and started work with the 2" brush.

                  I did a narrow brush-stroke up and then a narrow brush stroke down and then a narrow brush stroke up and then a narrow brush stroke down and then put more paint on my narrow brush and then did a narrow brush-stroke up and then a narrow brush stroke down and then a narrow brush stroke up and then a narrow brush stroke down and then put more paint on my narrow brush and then started to get a bit bored so I sent a text out to some of the lads to see if they wanted to come round and help out.

                  Uptake wasn't too good - Mickey the Finger said 'bollocks', the Sperminator (Nigel) was looking after his nan, Reg is still inside and Monkey Peter has a medical condition that precludes him from working with mauve paint (something to do with 'nam I think) and Trendy Bendy Wendy asked me to delete her number and stop harrassing her.

                  So I had a cup of tea and popped out to see who else was around the manor at a loose end. I tracked down Daisy Poppers and Larry Sphinx who obviously didn't want me to hang around too much due to their being engaged in sexual intercourse in Tesco car-park and they told me that Julian the Nonce probably didn't have much to do what with it being term-time so I tracked him down outside the Primary School.

                  Turned out he had a job interview down at the department store in an hour (or at least that's what he said - what kind of job involves wearing a big white beard and a red fat-suit?) but he did ask me to hold onto his stash of pills and blow cos his costume didn't have many pockets.

                  I said my goodbyes to the dopey bandit and hightailed it into the park to sample his wares.

                  Charged up and ready to rock and roll I ran down to the DIY store to pick up more brushes, more paint in dozens of pretty colours that shimmer and shake, a wheel barrow and a teeny tiny plant pot....

                  I paid for my goods, threw them all in the barrow and ran, ran, ran home, forgot why I'd bothered with brushes cos it all made sense now, music on full, blasting out, I stuck my hands into the paint and got stuck in, then I used my feet, my hair, man I enjoyed using my hair, I was like the freakin human paint brush you know, I picked up the pots,I threw the paint against the walls, I mixed and smeared and brushed and created.... I was an ARTIST man, I was on fire, I painted and painted and painted, I was Rolf frikkin Harris playing my feckin didgeridoo, I painted and painted and painted and painted and....

                  Fanny came home, hit me over the head with a frying pan and I woke up in A & E.


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                  • More +
                    29.10.2010 18:13
                    Very helpful



                    I still don't know what a fat yellow bloke with no genitals has got to smile about

                    Back in the 1970's whilst Roger Hargreaves (if that is his real name) was scribbling away and creating his world of multi-coloured, randomly shaped social misfits known as the Mr Men, Carole King was busy scribbling away writing tuneful, whiney pop ballads.

                    It was Ms King who sang 'Snow is cold, rain is wet...' and if one of Mr Hargreaves contemporaries can speak as plainly as that then so can I - Mr Happy is a piss-poor book.

                    It's the 3rd Mr Man book and is very very weak.

                    On the face of it, it's colourful enough, with clear drawings for the kiddies and simple enough prose and it's in a similar vein to the other 45 Mr Men books but when you actually sit down to read it you realise how poor it is.

                    *************SPOILERS ON******************

                    In the book we're introduced to Mr Happy from Happyland and we learn absolutely nothing about him other than the fact that he's happy and likes to walk in the trees. This is a shame as when the character is revisited in later books we discover that he's a much deeper, even sinister character.

                    In 'Mr Grumpy' he acts almost like a mafia boss - when Mr Grumpy makes the mistake of standing on Mr Happy's foot Mr Happy enlists the help of his mutant enforcer Mr Tickle to endlessly harass Grumpy until he changes his ways and in 'Mr Quiet' he lures Mr Quiet away from his comfortable life and gets him to work for him in his 'library'.

                    But back to the thin plot of 'Mr Happy' itself...

                    Whilst walking in the trees he discovers a door in a tree which leads down to a dungeon where a near identical man is living, seemingly unaware of what goes on outside of his prison. Mr Happy forces him to leave his underground home and keeps him in Happyland until he too is happy. The man who was known as Mr Miserable is never again mentioned in any other Mr Man book....

                    There are many questions to be asked about this uncomfortable book:

                    1) Why is Mr Miserable living underground with no knowledge of Happyland?
                    2) Who put him there?
                    3) Is the happiness of Happyland only a façade as all undesirables (such as Mr Miserable) are imprisoned, out of site and out of mind and only released back into society after a period of isolation and then indoctrination into the way of being Happy?
                    4) Is not this imprisonment of anyone who isn't happy not unlike social cleansing?
                    5) How does Mr Happy really convert Mr Miserable?
                    6) What's in the air / water supply/ food chain that makes the people (& flowers!) of Happyland so happy?
                    7) Why does Mr Miserable look identical to Mr Happy? Has genetic engineering or cloning taken place?
                    8) If, as I suspect, Mr Happy is really a criminal mastermind pulling the strings behind all of the weird goings on in the Mr Man world, is Mr Miserable being set up to be used as a decoy when some of Mr Happy's enemies come a calling? There are no further appearances of Mr Miserable in the other published Mr Men books but internet rumours abound about Hargreaves other works: 'Mr Patsy', 'Mr Assassin', 'Mr Clone', 'Mr Clone' and 'Mr Clone'.
                    9) Why is Mr Happy yellow and round? It makes his face look just like the emblem of many hippies and drugtakers who were prolific in the Americas in the late 1960's - early 1970's.
                    10) Is it a parable of a police state or just the random writings of a man influenced by counter-culture and polluting the minds of our young?

                    However, if you don't dig too deep, don't expect a logical plot and want to find a quick bedtime read for your sprogs then this Mr Man book like all the others is a good bet.

                    With text pages on the left and pictures on the right they're perfect for reading a story whilst giving your young one a clear view of the picture and as they get old enough to read to themselves the books are a nice handy size.

                    At the moment you can buy Mr Happy (or any other Mr Man or Little Miss book) for 99p from The Works, I think you can still get them at Wilkinsons for about £3 for 2 or the RRP is £2.50.

                    As Mr Happy has been in print continuously since 1971 you should also be able to find 2nd hand copies dirt cheap on e-bay, in charity shops or car boot sales.

                    Enjoy, but don't blame me if your child if your child starts asking awkward questions about ethnic cleansing, prisons, drugs, counterculture or if they emulate Mr Miserable and are led away somewhere by a fat, naked, yellow eunuch.


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                    • Saving tips / Discussion / 71 Readings / 63 Ratings
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                      28.09.2010 14:28
                      Very helpful



                      Could work....

                      Having used money for the majority of my adult life (there was a brief period when I chose to sustain myself by bartering whelks) I've often looked for the best way to save money and now I think I have the answer.

                      I worked out the best way to save money by looking at my lifestyle and my bills from Virgin Media.

                      Now, I've got nothing against Virgin media or strange beardy bloke Richard Branson (If that is his real name - see my review on space lizards for further details) but it seemed I was spending an excessive amount on their services.

                      At present I have their largest standard Tv package, their largest Internet package and a phone line.

                      I use the phone line mainly to shout at unsuspecting cold callers who call me at all hours and for this I pay about £12 per month.

                      I often look at the television and spend many a minute searching in vain through the TV listings for something to watch. It's not Virgins fault that there's mainly crap on the telly but do I really want to pay to have the opportunity to watch:
                      Pets do the Funniest Things
                      Boob Envy
                      American Documentaries on the Blitz
                      Hole In The Wall
                      Coronation Street 27 times a week
                      Doctor Who (repeated 76 times per episode on BBC 3)
                      The X-tra Factor (bits of a crap show that weren't good enough to show on the main dirgeful show re-packaged and badly presented to the masses)
                      The free movie channels which consist of Disease of the week movies by day and soft porn by night
                      24 Hours rolling news programmes (BBC NEWS, SKY NEWS, SKY SPORTS NEWS, CNN) which endlessly recycle and sensationalise the smallest and most trivial things and spoon feed it back to us.
                      Even the football programmes on offer are full of shit. When i watch Match of The Day I want to see the football highlights, not waste half an hour watching Alan Hansen tell me what I've just watched in slow motion. I understand the concept of football, I watch the action, I don't need someone elses opinion of it. If I watch a drama I don't expect the action to stop every few minutes so that some pillock can pop up on screen and explain the plot so why put up with it with the football.

                      (Apologies for ranting about TV but it deserves it).

                      I also use the internet for hours every day on sites such as this and E-bay and I worked out that the money I make on sites such as this and E-bay just about covers the amount of money I spend on having access to sites such as this and e-bay....

                      In short I worked out that I spend approx £600 a year on a phone I don't want, TV that I never get to watch or when I do get a few spare hours can't find anything worth watching and internet access that I spend half my life using just to pay for the priviledge....

                      So I decided it must stop!

                      As a bold experiment in saving money I have decided that the Abacus household will no longer be slaves to the machine, we will unplug the phone and disconnect from the interweb and as for the telly....
                      I confess, I liek a bit of tv every now and then BUT rather than pay inflated fees to surf thru channel upon channel of shite I'll simply spend some of the cash I'm saving on buying the odd (or even very odd) boxset of quality tv drama, stuff that I actually do want to watch AND as teh little Abaci will no longer be bombarded by adverts we can save a packet at X-mas too.

                      I made this bold decision, I was all ready to pull the plug, I'd done the maths and worked out how much money we'd save....

                      And then Mrs Abacus pointed out that her great aunt in New Zealand rings up once in a blue moon and it's not fair to ask her to call a mobile number because of the expense .....

                      So to sum up the best way to save money, to save an absolute fortune, is to never get married.


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                      • blogspot.com / Internet Site / 44 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                        10.09.2010 14:09
                        Very helpful



                        Easy Blog

                        Not owning a computer or understanding anything about technology I never imagined that I would be able to create my own blog but only this week under the influence of meths and following a series of arguments with Vinegar Jenny, Monkey Peter demanded that I assist him in creating one.

                        We went to Cuddlin Erics house and whilst Peter had the obligatory cuddle I logged on to his (stolen) lap top and searched the interweb for an easy to use blogging site. The first one I found wouldn'y allow me to set up a site due to the perversity of my chosen password but I moved on and soon found blogspot.com.

                        It was really easy to set up my own blog page, all I needed was a googlemail e-mail address, (I borrowed yours, hope you don't mind) and then gave it a title. I did a few other really simple bits but due to all the drugs taht were racing thru my system at this point I can't tell you exactly what though it may have involved a smurf, some swarfega and an autographed polaroid of Kenny Everett.

                        Anyway, it was so easy that in the time it took Eric to welcome Peter with a cuddle I had set one up. However by this time Peter had forgotten why we were there and begged me to put his leash back on and take him home. I posted a very quick first entry and then left.

                        Today I have been back on the site all excited to see how many followers I now have, all waiting to hang upon my every word.....

                        There's not a single bugger daft enough....

                        Still, it was easy to do so I can't fault the site.

                        To see how easy it is to use go to www.blogspot.com and if you're daft feel free to check out my blog (pertabacus.blogspot.com) and if you're completely mental pop round to Erics, endure a 62 minute cuddle and then borrow his laptop, just make sure you give it a wipe as I was eating a kebab when I used it.


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                        • dooyoo Addiction / Discussion / 79 Readings / 75 Ratings
                          More +
                          11.08.2010 01:40
                          Very helpful



                          Get out, get your children out

                          Hi my name is Pert Abacus and I'm a Dooyooaholic (as well as being several other made up words like skiddlebopper and murfmurpurple).

                          It was an innocent enough mistake to make. A colleague, we'll call him 'colleague', told me about the site and how he'd recently made £15 in Amazon vouchers just for writing a few reviews.

                          He said it was just for fun....

                          He told me that if I joined the site he'd look at my reviews and rate them so I'd get some points and I'd do the same for him.

                          Looking back I feel so ashamed, it was like 1972 and 'you show me yours & I'll show you mine' all over again (though obviously without the nuns, aubergines or protracted court case).

                          I found myself logging on to the site at all hours, posting random nonsensical comments on other peoples reviews just so they'd notice me and rate mine.... I was so desperate to get miles, to convert them into vouchers for amazon...

                          I made up characters to write reviews for me, dropped in references to 'real events' in my reviews just to pad them out, invented tv shows, dead cats, radio programmes, celebrity deaths, actors, scandals, anything I could think of just to make my reviews stand out.

                          I even, God help me, ...... I even contemplated writing reviews about Lush.......

                          On my darkest days I would log on repeatedly, willing those miles to creep up.

                          I even sold out, wrote a normal review just so I could get a crown. My friend Monkey Peter helped me celebrate by getting me drunk & trying to get a tattooist to tattoo a large yellow crown on my forehead, fortunately I vomited on him before he could begin.....

                          (you see, even in a 'confessional review' I can't help myself, the nonsense creeps back in)

                          Until a few days ago I'd gone cold turkey, I hadn't been on teh site but now I find myself back here again.

                          It's 12:30 (am), I've got to get up for work in 5 hours yet here I am back on Dooyoo, a slave to the miles....

                          If you're reading this and haven't yet been sucked in then I advise you to run.... get away from this site....NOW!!!!!

                          However, if like me, you're a proper addict then I have the perfect cure for you, simply go to my profile and read each of my nonsense soaked reviews. It's like when your dad tried to get you to stop smoking by getting you to chain a whole pack until you threw. If reading all my reviews, if spending time with all that weird shit that I spout doesn't make you think twice about where this might be leading you then you;re as damned as me.

                          PS if you do decide to read my reviews don't forget to rate them ,I'll be sitting here at all hours watching the miles


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                            11.08.2010 00:52
                            Very helpful



                            A feckless review by a cheap pedant besmirching the name of a good book just to gain a few miles

                            It's rare for me to spoil the plot of a book as much as this one so be warned if you don't want to know the plot of this abomination look away now (or click out of the review as simply looking away won't remove it from your screen unless you've got one of those new thought controlled pcs that were recently banned in Westminster due to the amount of right-wing dominatrix sites that were being visited "by accident").

                            I fear I have to spoil the plot because the nations parents should be warned about how dangerous, how subversive and how sickening this book is. I would not be able to consume a muffin at the next meeting of the WI without vomiting in shame if I did not pen this warning.

                            The story, such as it is, which was penned by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury in numerous variations by Walker Books depicts that most troubling family situation of a single-parent encouraging his children to engage in dangerous activities whilst hunting.

                            We all know that outside of the glorious pursuit of foxes, that even battle between men with horses, dogs and guns and small canines, hunting is wrong yet here we have a popular text that actively encourages it.

                            How many more stories in the national press involving toddlers attacking massive mammals do we have to read before this book is taken out of circulation and burnt?

                            You may think I'm over-reacting somewhat but please, allow me to take you through the book before you condemn me.

                            *************Spoilers On!**********************

                            We start the text with the announcement that 'We're going on a bear hunt'... We don't know why the poor bear is being hunted, is it for fur, is it for pure vindictive harrassment or is there murder in mind? We simply don't know yet, We then see the hunters: A man carrying a toddler, three other children running wild and a dog, the youths obviously being led by this man... They walk through a field, they reach 'long wavy grass' that the man forces them to walk through without any concern that they might get grass-cuts or suffer from hayfever...

                            But worse is to come...so far we've witnessed a fairly innocent walk through a field, ok the alleged intent is to hunt a bear but so far it's not too bad. Then having re-iterated the fact that they are hunting a bear and that they're not scared they come to a 'deep cold river'.

                            What does our parent of the year do? He forces his children to wade through it!

                            Let me re-iterate that... A grown man, in charge of 4 children wades across a cold river which is depicted as being up to his waist whilst carrying a toddler and encourages the other 3 children to do the same.
                            Does he get them to all hold hands? No. He's too busy carrying his posh trainers to worry about one of his children being swept to their death in icy cold water.

                            To make matter worse, the picture displaying this horrific act of 'parenting' also includes a 'panty-shot' of one of the children. Not content with encouraging dangerous behaviour in parents the authors also pander to the worst kind of pervert as well.

                            The tale continues with the man dragging his children through 'thick oozy mud', 'a deep dark forest' which they blindly stumble and trip through. Again mr Dad doesn't bother to hold their hands or keep them together, then despite being repeatedly informed that 'it's a beautiful day' he drags his young charges who are clad in shorts, skirts and a babygrow through a swirling whirling snowstorm and then into a cave.

                            Not content with trying to drown them, give them pnemonia (& yes, I know I've spelt it wrong but I'm in mid rant with no time to spell check), lose them in the woods and muddy their shoes the dickhead leads them into a narrow gloomy cave!

                            Once in the cave they find the very bear they've been hunting and does the man have a plan? Does he ******** (Expletive deleted)!

                            They run back through the cave, the snow, the forest, the mud, the river and the field. The pictures for this sequence are very telling. The dad is always leading the charge away from the bear, obviously happy to sacrifice his kids to save his own skin, half the time he's handed his toddler over to one of the other kids to carry (as if they weren't slowed enough by all the hazards), then when they get home he runs upsatirs without bothering to lock the front door and has to send his kids back to lock it & hold the bear off. Then, door locked, he drags all his kids upstairs and into bed. At this point they decide that they're never going on a bear hunt again.

                            Now if it were me, bearing in mind the odd landscape that surrounds the house, the random weather conditions and that he was a man looking after 4 young kids (who may or may not have hayfever) and that he had no weapons or plan, I think the decision to not go on a bear hunt woul dhave come right at the beginning of the book.

                            A better guide for parents and kids would have gone like this:

                            'We're going on a bear hunt'
                            'No we're bloody not, it's dangerous and stupid and we haven't got any antihistamine'.

                            Perhaps a tale like that wouldn't have sold quite as many copies but think of the live sthat would have been saved if in the 21 years since this book were first published someone would have had the good sense to point out that bear-hunting is wrong, taking kids along is irresponsible and it's just not clever.

                            So by all means, by this sick filth, get a copy with a game or cd or dvd, do what you want but please, after you read it to your offspring give them a slap if they suggest actually going on a bear hunt. I know slapping kids is frowned upon these days but better a tearful child than a court appearance in which you have to explain away yet another mauling.

                            Thank you for listening...


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                            • facebook.com / Internet Site / 76 Readings / 71 Ratings
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                              08.01.2010 12:54
                              Very helpful



                              2 reviews for the price of one

                              It's a bit odd for me to be reviewing facebook as, since I don't have a computer, I've never been on the website (or any other site for that matter).

                              Fortunately 2 of my best 'friends' have been on the site several times and have offered to review it for me. So without further ado let me present the facebook experiences of Vinegar Jenny and Monkey Peter.

                              Vinegar Jenny:

                              OMG, facebook is like the best site ever, other than the Lush website of course, gotta love those bath bombs, in fact without facebook I'd never get to keep up with all my friends comings and goings or show off all my lovely pictures of my tattoos.

                              I first started using Facebook about 6 weeks ago, I know it's been around a lot longer than that but we run the power in the squat off a dynamo attached to Cedrics bike and it's only since he started taking those 'Muscle-Men' dietry supplements and his illegal steroids that we've had enough juice to be able to connect to the interweb.

                              Setting up an account is dead easy. I did it after 3 pints of vodka and if I can set one up when half-cut I'm sure you could to. LOL.

                              I typed in a few details such as where I went to school, where I used to work and things like that & facebook threw up a list of potential friends I might know. It was almost like it had looked into my soul. Old friends, colleagues and cell-mates pictures popped up on screen and within about half an hour I was connected to about 50 friends. I carried on and managed to invite 123 people I've never met to be my friends. Some of them eventually replied and were happy to be my friends and others just ignored me. They're obviously just losers.

                              I love facebook though, cos despite all the losers I can still chat to my friends, some of them are quite literally 5 minutes walk away so without Facebook we'd never get chance to talk. Ilove looking at all their photos, especially ones they took on holiday - as I'm not allowed a passport I'll never see some of these places, like Blackpool or Skegness, in the flesh - and I lurve it when there's pictures of their hunky chaps in their speedos (but don't tell Peter) ROLF, LOL, PUTGHR.

                              It's really, really good when you have a few of your cloes friends on line and you can chat and play quizzes together - my fave is 'Which member of the Russian Aristocracy circa 1837 are you?', I usually am told I'm Bernard but my friend Lucy Snorkeller has been Edward, Cynran and even Uncle Lumpy.

                              Another absolutely brilliant part of facebook is that you can play games on-line and give your friends presents or poke them - it's brilliant when you superpoke everyone and you tell them you have put a magic spell on them that will make them all have moustaches and you find out later that Daft Jennifer has then spend 4 hours Immacing her face just in case.

                              I love it and give it 4 stars as the only problem is that when Cedric gets tired I get withdrawal symptoms and start to cry.

                              Monkey Peter:

                              I tried facebook.

                              'Friend' poked me and threw pig at me. I wasn't happy. I went down to Honest Abe's butcher shop and stole pig carcass, then I looked at friends facebook pictures and found out where he live. Tomorrow I throw pig at him, he won't poke Peter again.

                              Facebook good when can get Jenny off it & can whip Cedric hard enough to get power.

                              I like looking at the photos of all the wimmen what don't hide their pictures. I like the holiday pictures best. Also, me and Huan the Ker like looking a the pictures from inside houses, find out where the valuables are, check the profile to work out where they live and when they at work. Then Huan gets chatting to them on computer to check they out and I take the gang round. We make lots of money.

                              Phillip the nonce wanted to use my facebook account to talk to young girls. Maybe they find his body one day, maybe they don't.

                              I give facebook 3 stars, useful for making money but too easy for nonces and pig-throwers.

                              So there you have it, 2 reviews for the price of one.

                              So log on, enjoy facebook but make sure you're secure with your profiles, Phillip the Nonce may be long gone but there's other dodgy folk around.


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                                23.12.2009 16:01
                                Very helpful



                                A quick read but not a good life lesson

                                Mr Bump is the 6th book of Roger Hargreaves 46 part epic saga of a bunch of unfortunate men who have various physical abnormalities and no genetalia (how we differentiate between the Mr Men & Little Misses is a mystery which might be why my 2-year old is determined that Mr Jelly is in fact a girl). Each of the characters lives up to their names which, whilst being very handy for the story-telling of the late Mr Hargreaves, must be a right bugger for Mr Alcock and Little Miss Incontinent.

                                In the story of Mr Bump the lead character, who is blue, vaguely round and wears bandages across his head and face and who has no discernable torso allegedly struggles to get a job because he bumps into things and has accidents. I suspect its more down to his appearance, especially as it was written during the 1970s when bigotry was still a hilarious past-time (as seen in TV programmes such as Love Thy Neighbour and board games such as Tickle The Cripple).

                                The story depicts a tragic life in which our 'hero' bumps into a lamp-post, falls in a hols on the beach and gets stuck, breaks a couple of windows with a ladder and gets his foot stuck in a bucket.

                                ****************SPOILERS FOLLOW************************

                                Ultimately he only finds happiness working at an orchard but rather than be provided with a ladder the hapless freak is paid to smash his body against trees so that the apples fall off and he can catch them.

                                As research for this review I tried to bring apples down by headbutting trees and I can tell you it bloody hurts and I only got one apple for half an hours banging and bleeding.

                                And we give this drivel to our children to read.

                                We should be educating our kids not advising them to headbutt trees!!!

                                Still, my daughter loves this book and various other Mr Mens that I've bought her recently so it can't all be bad.

                                Wilkinsons are currently selling them at £1.79 each or you can spend an additional 71p at leading bookshops.


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                                  22.12.2009 13:56
                                  Very helpful



                                  Best way to avoid the crowds

                                  I always find that the starting point in any plan is knowing what you want to achieve, therefore when trying to organize Christmas it's useful to know when you're planning to have your Christmas.

                                  That may sound like a daft thing to say but just because tradition states that Christmas Day is the 25th December that doesn't mean that your Christmas has to be then. Would you jump onto Cliff Richards just because everyone else was?

                                  I know that friends and family expect certain things to occur on Dec 25th but just think how much more of a surprise it will be if your family were to awake on Christmas morn and find that instead of a beautifully decorated house, the smell of roasting turkey and presents galore they got bugger all.

                                  Then imagine how wonderful it would be if, in the middle of February (for example), after weeks of arguing, sadness and confusion they were to awake to a real big festive shindig. Just picture in your minds eye the happy shock and awe on the childrens faces to discover that instead of being sent out to school / nursery / the salt mines they were going to spend a day at home opening presents, feasting on quality foodstuffs and enjoying themselves!

                                  Before you write me off as just another mentalist posting on a website here's 11 reasons why Christmas in Feb (or May or October) is a good idea:

                                  1) X-mas shopping - the shops are quieter, in recession hit Britain there's always sales on, you can buy sprouts at Tesco without having to fight over the scraps with rabid pensioners, the toys you want for the kids are well stocked.

                                  2) The kids get to go back to school after your Christmas knowing that they have lots of new toys long after all the other kids have broken their new ones or got bored of them

                                  3) Now that we all have new fangled video-taping machines you can still watch all of the televison specials that were broadcast on x-mas day without having to watch the adverts. Plus if you video a few christmas quizes you can show off to your family by getting all of the answers right (hint : play for cash).

                                  4) Instead of taking your kids to queue up for hours and hours to see a Father Christmas in town you can hire your own. All those old men who dress up in the red coat in Nov / Dec so that they can fund their alcohol consumption are desperate for extra cash the rest of the year. For a fiver and a turkey leg you can probably get one for the whole day, just be careful they don't wee on the sofa.

                                  5) You know the saying a dog is for life, not just for christmas? Well, fortunately a lot of people don't. If you time your Christmas correctly you should be able to pick up a nice new puppy incredibly cheaply by simply hanging around canels in late Jan / early Feb, just don't forget your wellies and a towel.

                                  6) When you go out carol singing you'll be the only ones at it, no competition equals big profits.

                                  7) If you wait until after the winter to have your christmas you can make savings on elderly relatives too. If it's been a particularly cold spell you'll probably have less of them to buy for and even if they have all survived you'll only have to put your heating on three quarter power when they come round for dinner instead of running your boiler on warp factor ten because great uncle Phillip feels the cold in his bones.

                                  8) Unlike in November & December the Forestry Commision take their eye off the ball in Feb - May so you can easily sneak out to local woodland and bag a really good tree for free, plus as the nights are getting lighter you can take your kids as look outs without having to worry too much about losing one.

                                  9) It's far cheaper to book a Christmas Holiday for Feb than it is for December. Admittedly you're less likely to find any Christmas shows going on at Disneyland / world / eurodisney and it seems a bit quiet at Lapland but you could save as much as lots of money by taking your family away then instead of December. And the airports are less crowded.

                                  10) You won't have to look at the Queens face as she drivels on about her horrible anus on the telly as you eat your lunch and this years plastic pop star wannabe winner of X-factor will be a forgotten memory.

                                  11) And don't forget that Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of the Christ Child and anyone who tries to get you to believe that he was born on Dec 25th is simply crackers.

                                  So go on, pick an alternative Christmas date, surprise your children, (possibly have a very unhappy few weeks), have more fun for less cash and get back to the true roots of Christmas. 'The man' has been making you celebrate on teh wrong date for years, at least this was you can take control of your own destiny. Spread Christmas happiness throughout the year.

                                  Happy Christmas whenever you decide to have it!!!

                                  (Disclaimer: Dooyoo.co.uk would like to point out that the advice of Mr Abacus should in no way be taken as the view of this website. Anyone who follows Mr Abacus's advice should point their divorce attorney in the direction of Mr Abacus and not the Dooyoo Corporation. Tear stained letters to Father Christmas with 'Why? Santa, Why?' scrawled across them should be similarly addresses to Mr Abacus)


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