Garfield on the Oil crisis

This was emailed to me recently and not only is it funny…

A lot of folks can’t understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country.
Well, there’s a very simple answer.
Nobody bothered to check the oil.
We just didn’t know we were getting low.
The reason for that is purely geographical.
Our OIL is located in ……  The North Sea
Our DIPSTICKS are located in ……… Westminster!

Any questions?
NO? I didn’t think so.


Russell Brand & Jonathan Ross – Out of proportion

No doubt many of you have heard the most recent ground-breaking news regarding Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Those readers in the UK will most certainly have anyway.

The short version of the story is that while recording a show the pair decided to prank call the Actor Andrew Sachs (probably most fondly remembered as Manuel, the Spanish waiter in The Fawlty Towers sketches) and during this call swore & there was a mention of Russell Brand sleeping with Mr. Sachs’ Granddaughter.
Russell Brand has since resigned from Radio 2 broadcasting and made a public apology. Jonathan Ross has also apologised and since been suspended, the show was also not broadcast. There is an investigation under way.

Mr Sachs has decided not to inform the police (yeah, they probably don’t read the news) and says he isn’t going anywhere with this as he is not out for revenge.
His Granddaughter, Ms Baillie however is apparently “Thrilled” that they have been suspended and feels that justice has been done, she also said that Brand & Ross were “Beyond contempt”.

The BBC News story

Have your say

OK, so maybe it’s just me again, but is this all just a tad over the top? Somewhat blown out of proportion?
So they made a prank call. They realised and admitted that it was a silly thing to do and that while they got caught up in the moment, they went a bit far, but to sack them for that seems insanely disproportionate to the ‘crime’.
They are both known for their ‘colourful’ language and attitude and their sometimes close to the knuckle humour, after all isn’t that why they are so successful? Is it not this same trait that has now got them into so much trouble that has kept audiences faithful to their shows for so long? Can the BBC really afford to lose them?
Of course I realise that just because someone is successful doesn’t mean they can do exactly as they please, but they have both apologised and admitted that they were foolish for making such a prank call. A prank call that it must be remembered they didn’t try to hide. They knew that their voices would not be concealed, their names would be known and I believe they sincerely thought it would be taken the way it intended, as a joke. Their biggest mistake as far as I can see was that of being poor judges of character.

Prank calls can be really nasty and the general public are exposed to this on a daily basis with little or no protection. The police are never interested in the really scary prank calls that people are hounded by, threatened by, abused by and scared by. The best advice I have heard anyone get in response to reporting a prank call on a mobile phone is the suggestion of getting a new number.
Those that scare & humiliate random (and not so random) members of the public know they will get away with it, yet two celebrities do it with humour in mind (and let’s face it, nobody was harmed or terrified by this) and they stand to lose their career because of it. Chalk up another point for our selectively unbalanced system.

Is this really the crime of the century? Highest unemployment for who knows how long, fuel prices, food prices, energy price increases, hundreds of new & crazy rules & regulations created, many on a daily basis, our private lives being snooped, rights being removed and that’s not to mention the other global problems that we are faced with, but put all that aside as we have to deal with the Brand & Ross crime first.
Let’s release known terrorists, let’s lock up pensioners for not paying Council taxes, let’s let the frail freeze to death, let’s fine children for throwing a chip on the floor to feed a seagull, but first let’s sack two celebrities who must make up a considerable portion of revenue for their bosses for making a prank phone call.

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Big Brother – Urine extraction

First of all this has nothing to do with a bunch of random people in a house making fools of themselves for a TV show in the hope of impressing someone enough to give them their own show.

What this is actually all about is the Government once again doing what they have become so adept at of late and that is nationwide urine extraction. Yet again they take it upon themselves to ‘protect’ us with yet another ‘brilliant’ scheme that we have no say in, no right to challenge, in some cases no idea about and yet again takes away more of our ever dwindling rights.

“Rights?” I hear you ask. “What are these rights you speak of?”

How many of you have heard or read about this plan to tap into all emails and calls in the UK?

Before I started this particular post I rang the Daily Express to check that it would be OK for me reproduce their story in the October 6, 2008 newspaper, but they said I would have to pay. I shouldn’t have been surprised at that, after all it’s not about awareness is it? It’s about money, as with most things.

I could have just gone ahead and copied it out word for word and I doubt they would have ever found out, but I try to do the right thing. It makes no difference anyway really as I am quite capable of rewording the entire story so that I do not break any rules.

So anyway, as it stands, the new snooping plans propose to monitor all telephone calls, emails and text messages (and even log every website visited by computer users nationwide) in Britain at a cost of £12bn, which will be paid for by taxpayers. GCHQ have already had £1bn of your money to get this going.

As somebody from the anti-identity card group No2ID has already said, If you or I carried out this same kind of snooping it would be a crime. Also, consider the Government’s recent record of keeping information safe, how many times have they ‘lost’ sensitive information?

Even their own watchdog warns that such a scheme would be “A step too far for the British way of life”.

Apparently the aim is to set up a “live tap” on every electronic communication in the country. MI5 already carry out limited monitoring of emails and ‘net use.

This is all being done under the huge ‘combat terrorism’ umbrella along with attempting to stop computer fraud and internet-based paedophile rings. These reasons are all things that people should not question, we should put up with any amount of intrusion if it helps beat these things. The problem is, it wont. There will always be terrorists, paedophiles and fraud.

A few statistics:

Last year 57 billion text messages were sent in Britain, this works out to 1,800 every second. About 3 billion emails are sent every day, that’s 35,000 every second.

No2ID spokesman said: “This database could have no practical use at all. It would be so big, it would be impossible to find anything useful.”

This information is from a headline story printed in the Daily Express Newspaper on Monday October 6, 2008.

I couldn’t find that actual article on their website, but this UK News article is part of the same story and several responses in the ‘Have your say’ section below the main story.

Nightmare on ISP Street

Nightmare on ISP Street

Yes I’m still alive..

I wasn’t sure which blog category to put this into. It could fit into a couple or I could create a new one called ‘What a bunch of idiots who half of which don’t know what the other half is doing and in this day and age of technology have to make customers wait about a month to get reconnected because of crazy MAC codes and ridiculous wait times when it should be a simple case of pressing a button’.. but that is just way too long for a blog title.

So here’s the deal..

I had a phone call from another ISP (competitor) offering me the deal of the century. They claimed they could offer me the same service as I was already getting for nearly half the price.. WOW. How could I say no? I wish I had.

So I decided to take them up on their incredible offer.

I was informed that I would need to get a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) code from my current service provider and once I had this to ring them (the new service providers) and give them the code.
I rang my provider and asked for the code, and after several minutes of having to explain why I wanted to leave them, they finally confirmed that they would get the code sent to me in the mail (snail mail). They said this could take between 7 and 10 days to arrive. *Gasp* 7 – 10 days without internet access, how would I survive?

After about 5 days I received the code and quickly (very quickly) rang the new providers to give them the code.
When I eventually got through to the right department I gave them the code and asked them to confirm that I had done all that was necessary to swap to their service. I also asked them to confirm what I would be getting for the money. I was originally told that I would get the same service as I was already getting from my current ISP.

That is unlimited free phone calls (24/7), unlimited/unrestricted broadband (up to 8Mb speed) and line rental. The voice on the other end of the line said “No, that’s not what I have here”. They informed me that I would get a restricted broadband service (something like 40Gb, but even so, still not unrestricted). They said I would need to get onto BT (British Telecom – which incidentally is based in India, very British eh?) and become their customer and remain so for a minimum of 7 days before they could request control of my line. They also informed me that there is a broadband setup fee of £40 (which I was also not told about).
When I finally caught my breath I asked them what the cost would be for unrestricted broadband and it turned out to be the same as I was already paying my current provider. It did mean that I would also have to pay BT separately for the line rental.
So it turns out I was lied to about the deal initially, not told of the broadband setup fee, would ultimately be paying the same as I already was and would have to be paying two separate companies for the same service I currently received from one.

I decided to change my mind. You’d think that would be easy enough right? Surely it’s my right to do so? I changed my mind there & then on the phone. I did not wait & have to ring them back or anything, so what was the problem?
The problem was that despite saying I had changed my mind the new company decided to initiate my MAC code anyway. Maybe they thought I wouldn’t notice or something, so desperate were they to have my custom.

I rang my original provider back and told them the whole tale. They told me that as long as the other company had cancelled the MAC code and everything then my service should remain as normal. Great. 🙂

No, not great at all.

Next day my internet service stops and nothing I do will make it work. I even reset the router and entered all my details again. I rang tech support at 0.50 per minute (or whatever the ripoff charge is these days) and clocked up a good £10 call I’m sure, all to no avail. They had no idea why I had no service. they said that as far as they could see all was well their end and I should have service.
But I didn’t, and no amount of screaming down the phone or sobbing silently into my cold coffee could change that.

I rang the new company back and asked them to confirm that they had cancelled the service, to which they assured me they had.

Hmm.. something strange going on I thought.

Anyway, to cut a long and frustrating story short[er], it turns out that the new company had in fact cancelled my service, but not the MAC code that they shouldn’t have initiated in the first place.

I was a little annoyed to say the least.

I rang the new company again so I could rant & rave down the phone at them and eventually they told me I would need a new MAC code from them to give back to my original provider. OMG.
They said they would create the code (which would take up to 48 hours) and get it in the mail (snail mail again) to me, which could, of course, take up to 7 – 10 days. *Gasp* That’s like over 2 weeks now. Withdrawal symptoms setting firmly in I muttered something like “Hmm, OK, but hurry up”.

Around a week later the code arives and I get back onto my original supplier (once again, very quickly) and ask them how long before I would be connected.
They said that it could be anything up to 14 days. WHAT? ANOTHER 2 WEEKS? ARE YOU SERIOUS?
What could I do but wait? So I waited.

Finally I get a letter telling me my ‘Go live’ date, which happened to be almost another week from the day I received the letter.

The day finally arrived and here I am. At last.

One thing I forgot to mention was that when I rang BT to swear.. I mean talk to them about it all they offered me their own package deal. They said they could re-acquire my line that day. I was so excited, I thought why not? They can get me online today.

But guess what? yep, it was another lie. They could re-acquire the line for sure, but they still couldn’t connect me for 2 weeks because of this stupid MAC code business. Also their deal was less for more. Less service for more money. I didn’t want to complicate things further so I politely declined. Yeah right.

Well I’m back. It’s so nice to be back. I felt like I’d had a limb or two removed.
I should have known better, I went against all my instincts (something I very rarely do) in the hope of a cheaper deal. All that to save a few pounds.

It has taught me, or more accurately reinforced something that I already knew but chose to ignore. Two things in fact..

Better the Devil you know, and, If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Just for the record, and because they lied to me, I have decided to name the new company I almost changed to so others can be aware of some of the tactics these companies employ to gain customers.
I don’t feel bad about naming them and neither am I scared of legal proceedings against me, for I believe that if they wish to take me to court for this naming here then they will have to produce recordings of the phone conversations between me and them and that alone will prove that I am telling the truth and not just out to discredit their good name *Choke* for no reason.
I have been without a connection for around a month thanks to them and their deceit and dragging their heels as far as releasing my line again (which they should not have taken over in the first place) goes.

The company that I would not personally recommend is Sky.

Thanks for reading.

Hello world!

Greetings and thank you for visiting my blog.

I am a male living in the UK and because I live in the UK I speak and type with a UK accent, so don’t be surprised if you often find words that look as though they’re not correct, they are to me. There are many odd little differences between English English and American English as I’m sure most of you are aware. I have no desire to get into a deep debate about which is correct as of course I will say my way is correct and you will say yours is and no doubt we both have really great reasons why. My really great reason is that it is called ‘English’ and I live in England, but it does not bother me in the slightest that you may spell something differently to the way I do. As long as you understand what I am saying that’s all that matters.

I suppose I could go on here about all my interests and hobbies etc, but I find that to be a huge waste of time in most cases. If I go to a blog then I want to read what that person has to say and I’m generally not interested in which football team they support or where they like to buy their weekly groceries. If someone interests me to the point that I wish to know more about them personally then I would take it upon myself to ask them. I would hope (and welcome) that if anyone wishes to know more about me that they would do the same.

I will use this to run on a load of waffle that will be less than interesting, but might help people to realise what I will actually be doing with blog.

I have a Google blog currently and while it is not exactly huge, it is building up quite nicely. I use it mainly for moaning & groaning about things that bug me, or exposing cons, scams & such, or anything really. I will use this one for the same, plus I will hopefully be adding more general items as and when they come to mind. So basically don’t expect anything ground breaking, this will just be whatever I feel like, when I feel like it and probably totally random & disconnected. Having said that I notice there is a categories feature here which I’m sure I didn’t have with the Google blog.

The Google blog is OK, but I’m not keen on the layout for a start. It seems to put all the text down the centre of the page and leaves great gaping margins on either side. I prefer it to look more like a regular website and don’t like the fact that it wastes so much space. There is also a lack of features & tools on their blog, perhaps they will add that later, but for me right now, it’s not really looking how I’d like. Having just said that I have just noticed that there doesn’t appear to be a way to change the font, which seems very odd. Maybe there is and I just don’t see it yet. Maybe one day I will be happy with one and stick with it. Hopefully this will be the one.

Anyway, I’m off to try and find how to import the old blog into this one and just have a play around with the features & tools etc.

I hope you enjoy what you read here, but if you don’t then I shall most certainly lose no sleep over it. 🙂

Thanks for reading this first entry & hope to have something that might interest you again in the future.



Winning without playing

Well here’s a fantastic new thing that seems to sweeping the nation. You can now win things without even entering the competitions or playing the games. Isn’t that brilliant?
I think it is really great that I can win hundreds of thousands of pounds without buying a single ticket, playing a single game or entering a single competition.

Below are a few examples of emails I have received from various places informing me that I am now quite wealthy. Amazing really considering I have no idea where I entered the draws or how I won without playing.

I have not included the email addresses that the winning notifications were sent from, but I will cover that after these examples.

The following examples are shown in the order that I received them.

Congratulations You Have Won.
Peugeot Auto-mobiles headquaters, 19 Ul,
Essex , PE9 2YP , London
United Kingdom.


This is to inform you that you have been selected for
a cash prize of £300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand
Great British Pounds) and a brand new Peugeot 407
Car,From the International online programs held
recently in London the United Kingdom .

Sir John Greening,
Peugeot Auto-mobiles headquaters, 19 Ul,
Essex , PE9 2YP , London
United Kingdom.
Phone: +447045712612


Contact him with your secret pin code PGA00111234 and
your reference number PGA: 12058006/06.You are also
advised to provide him with the under listed
information as soon as possible:

Claims Requirements:

1. Name in full———————–
2. Address—————————-
3. Next Of Kin————————
4. Occupation————————-
5. Phone/Fax————————–
6. Present Country——————-

Congratulations once again!

With Best Regards
Dominic Gerald
Lottery Manager.

Wow, £300,000 and a brand new Peugeot, without even entering anything. apparently it would seem that i have just “Been selected”. Nice!


Dear Sir/Madam,
you e-mail won you the lump sum payout of(1millionGBP)Contact your claims officer for your claims/winningsEmail:

My email has won me a million. Sweet! I wonder what email that was.


Dear Lucky Winner,

The result of our computer draw (#2764) selected your name and email
address attached to e-ticket number: UK/00076295 with Serial number
4398/05 which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category i.e.

match 5 plus bonus.You have therefore been approved to claim a total
sum of £ 350,000.00( Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Great Britain
Pounds Sterling) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03, Reference
Number: LSUK/200-26937 and Batch Number: 2008MJL-01.

Find below is the contact details of our Help Desk :
Contact Person : Mr. Kenneth Rooney
Contact Address :
Direct Tel Num : +447031870768

You are advised to send the Lottery Help Desk a mail to their email
address and ask them what is the procedure of claim of your winning

Mrs. Elizabeth Grethe.
Online Co-ordinator.

This time a computer chose my email address. Again I wonder why. I notice that this one can’t even spell ‘Lotto’ in the title.


Dear Winner,

We happily announce to you the draw (#963) of the UK NATIONAL
LOTTERY,Online Sweepstakes International programme held on 10th of
February,2008 Your e-mail address has been selected randomly amongst twenty
others by a Computer Ballot Systemthrough a WORLD WIDE WEB SITE SEARCH
ENGINE”.Here is your ticket number:418 8354952 518 with Serial number 9418/07
that won you £516,778.00 Pounds.

Claims Requirements:
1.Full Name:………………………….
8.State of Origin:…………………….
9.Marital Status…………………..……………….

Claims Agent
Mr Bruce Ferguson

Yours Truly
Stacy Wagen

My email was randomly selected. I am such a lucky bloke. I’m really clocking up the cash now, after all the years of having not much luck suddenly I’m winning everything. Amazing!


We happily announce to you the draw (#999) of the UK NATIONAL
LOTTERY,online Sweepstakes International program held on the 27th of

You were entered as dependent clients with: SERIAL NUMBER: 144-66584 and
Batch number BT-4478474121P.

Your email address attached to the ticket number: 74454774 that drew the
lucky winning numbers which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd
category i.e match 5 plus bonus.

You have been approved for a payment of £800,000.00 POUNDS (EIGHT HUNDRED
THOUSAND Pounds Sterling.) in cash credited to file reference number:

This is from a total cash prize of Eight million pounds shared among the
ten international winners in first categories.

In other to file for your claim,you have to Contact our Lottery Agent with
the following information.



My email address has won me even more money without me having to do anything. Interesting that my winnings are a share of the “Eight million pounds shared among the
ten international winners in first categories.” Doesn’t that seem a bit odd that the other winners were ‘international’ considering the title says “UK NATIONAL LOTTERY”?


This email is to notify you that your email address was
randomly selected and entered into our free amount of £2,500,000.00 Great British


TICKET NUMBER:564-75600-545-188

Representative: MrDavid Spencer

This message was sent using Dodo Webmail –

Again my email address was randomly selected and has won me two and a half million pounds.

In this last example I decided to leave the address that I need to reply to. I left it to illustrate my point about all these reply addresses.
They are all similar in the way that they start with ‘verificationboard1’ or ‘claimsdepartment1’ etc.

Notice that all the reply addresses are freely available email addresses that anyone could set up?
Hotmail, Yahoo and gmail. I suppose there must be some people out there that wouldn’t question that on first impressions. Why would a company that is about to send me thousands and in some cases millions of pounds, not have a ‘proper’ business address? can these companies really not afford a private email address? They have to use Hotmail, Yahoo etc? Yeah right.

Well with the amount of spam we get these days it’s not really a surprise to see that someone gets these type of email scam attempts, but there are probably many people out there who might fall for it.

I will always expose things like this in the hope that if just one person who reads this is saved from such a scam, then I have done a good deed.

My advice: Be aware that almost everyone these days is out to rip you off. There are plenty of scams out there and many are really well set up. Much better set up than these lame attempts anyway. Some look genuine and would be hard to spot as fakes.

Read such emails carefully and look at things like reply addresses, names of businesses and all the usually overlooked details.
never give out any personal details whatsoever without thoroughly checking the sender’s details more carefully. Do a bit of research and be very wary.

It is worth remembering the old old saying that ‘If something seems too good to be true, it probably is’.

Annual £10 Smoking license. Are they having a laugh?

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the news stating that a Government health adviser has called for an annual £10 smoking license. I thought April 1st had come round early.

Click here to read the news article.

It makes me laugh how they assume that the majority of the general public are so stupid they wont question things like “Forcing smokers to apply for a £10 permit to buy cigarettes could help people to quit”.
So they’re trying to say that the £10 is nothing to do with milking smokers for a bit more money, but rather it’s for our health, our own good. I’m so glad that the government feel it is their duty to look out for me. I mean after all, they know what’s good for me better than I do, right? How thoughtful of them to think up this brilliant idea of charging me £10 more for the privilege of smoking. If I stop smoking in the future then I will be sure to thank them for their help and consideration of my health.

I wonder then, when this new smoking license actually becomes reality, will the cigarettes themselves be cheaper? I mean we already pay more tax on tobacco than almost any other country in the world.
No, of course not. I know the answer to my own question already. The £10 license fee will be on top of the current heavily taxed cost of tobacco. It wouldn’t work otherwise would it? Remember, it’s for our own good. It could help us to quit.
What about those who don’t particularly want to quit? They will still be subject to the fee.

The reality of it is that it has nothing to do with helping people quit. If someone wants to quit then they would do it. There are already enough patches, gums, pills & potions on the market to help people quit. Making it harder for people to afford to smoke isn’t really the best way to help someone quit in my opinion.
Their policy is that if we want to continue to smoke then we will have to pay whatever ridiculous charges they can dream up. Then in the face of it all they can fall back on the old ‘Well it’s for your own good’.

Allow me the indulgence of a quick rough calculation regarding how much money there is in tobacco. I must stress that this is very rough, but it makes the point adequately.

I will work with the UK alone.

UK population = approx 60 million (probably more)
Minus half that figure who are children (rough)
= 30 million population
Minus half that are non smokers (despite the claims, smokers are not in the minority, but for the purpose of this calculation we will assume half)
=15 million smoking population

1 packet of cigarettes is approximately £5 per packet.
If we assume that each smoker only smokes one packet a day.. (many people smoke more)
= £5 x 15 million
= £75 million a day.

Read it again… Seventy five million pounds a day. Most of which is tax.

And they have the cheek to treat us like dirt, like lepers or something unclean, refuse medical treatment to smokers etc.

Wanting to stop smoking and being forced to stop smoking are two completely different things.
What do they think is going to happen? Have they considered that people might just be getting a little fed up with all this constant bombardment of their rights? They obviously think that everyone is just going to accept what they do and keep on accepting it no matter how ridiculous it gets.
Surely I’m not the only one who can see how this might go. Have they considered the possibility that the tobacco trade will simply go underground?

That leads me nicely on to the next thing that I wanted to mention that is related to this subject.

WHO (World Health Organisation) wants treaty on illegal tobacco trade by 2010.

Click here to read the article.

Well isn’t that a bit of a problem? In one breath they want to force smokers to pay £10 for a license to smoke and in the next breath they state that they want to clamp down on illegal tobacco trade. Anyone see a problem with this?

The way I see it, if they are already realising that many people buy tobacco ‘illegally’ (and by illegally I assume they mean those people who buy from abroad and don’t pay the UK duty, which, as it always is in reality, the main problem, the money), how do they possibly think that by introducing a £10 fee to smoke is going to help this? Surely it is going to increase the problem.
Smokers who already pay an extortionate amount of tax on their cigarettes have been victimised over and over. Most recently the blanket ban on smoking in public places that serve food. That includes, pubs, restaurants, most workplaces now don’t allow it. This is still not enough for the anti groups. They now complain about all the people smoking outside the pubs and such and the subsequent cigarette butts scattered about outside. What do they expect? Do they really think that everyone is suddenly going to stop smoking just because they don’t like it? They had their little victory, but as is often the case that isn’t good enough. They will now push and push until they do remove other people’s rights completely. Well it’s time they shut up, people are fed up with being victimised and made to feel like lepers. Already one person’s rights have been removed to satisfy another’s, they should be happy with that and let it be.

The thing about this particular article that really annoys me (and again we see the same thing in so many cases) is the part where they say “The illicit tobacco trade is estimated to make up approximately 10 percent of global tobacco sales and costs governments between 40 and 50 billion dollars (27-34 billion euros) every year.”
That is absolute rubbish. It does not cost the government anything. Once again, the reality is that they lose the opportunity to make that amount of money. They cannot lose something they don’t already have. That is the amount of money they would make if everyone accepted their constant barrage of new rules & laws without question. When a good portion of the population don’t accept it and choose an alternative, they merely deny the government the chance to make that extra money. Basically an estimated revenue is affected by ‘illegal’ activities such as this ‘illicit trade of tobacco’. As usual they conveniently make laws to protect their rip-off tactics. So we have to pay them whatever they ask, for whatever reason they can dream up or we are deemed criminals.