Friday, September 23, 2005

Beard Guy

Russian Beard Guy

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In India...

...the Cow is sacred, and cannot be killed, molested or generally disturbed in any way whatsoever.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, live and let live etc etc ...

... but lets also remember here, the cow is not exactly your obvious choice for religious veneration.

Its not even like the Indians had no choice in what animal to choose. India is teeming with bird and animal life. In the "What shall we make sacred today" stakes, they are almost spoilt for choice.

There are Eagles flying majestically almost everywhere you look...

Both Lions and Tigers are native animals...

They even have Elephants! Wise, long lived, generally damn impressive whichever way you look at it Elephants for Petes sakes!

So why the Cow?

Did someone have a religious vision whilst sucking too hard on a McDonalds milkshake?

Did they see a revelation in the way cow-pats were one day spread across a hillside in the shape of Lord Krishna's divine countenance?

Who knows..... ??

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Your Gym - a seething hotbed of fear and resentment?

Sports Science is apparently the 10th most popular choice of University course for British Students, with just over 2% of all students enrolling in theses courses. Essentially this means 1 in 50 people educated to degree level in the UK are qualified to manage a gym or sports centre.

As 20% of all people in the UK have a degree, this then means that one person in every 250 in the UK population is qualified to manage a sports centre.

However, only 7% of the UK population are members of a gym . Or 17 out of every 250.

Gym staff-member ratios are around 200-1, so there are clearly not enough jobs to go round - by a long way.

Assuming that anyone who was dedicated enough to do Sports Science to degree level will certainly be a member of a gym after they graduate, 1 in 17 people using your gym are also going to be qualified to manage it.

Take away the near-50% of people who join, go for the first 2-3 months and then slack off, and suddenly around 1 in 8 people pedalling away on an exercise bike near you are also qualified gym managers - unable to get one of the handfuls of jobs actually working in the gym itself.

All across the country legions of unemployed Sports Science graduates are sat right now pedalling away, giving the evil eye to the handful of staff fortunate enough to actually get jobs in the gym, and plotting ways to kill, kidnap or generally sabotage the genuine instructors and managers, all the while bitterly muttering under their breath "I could do your job far better..."

10 Rules for Doing Business in Moscow - UPDATED

1. You know that smell of petrol just outside the airport terminal? Its not "just" outside the airport terminal...

2. No, you are wrong. Your driver has probably been picked because he drives MORE safely than the average Russian

3. 30% of all coffee in Moscow is OK. 70% tastes like its been made from ground squirrel droppings and tree bark. The decor, cost or location of the establishment is not a guide.

4. There are three standards of eye contact you will experience in Moscow:
a/ Blatant, slightly aggressive yet also blank faced staring = I am a normal Russian
b/ No eye contact whatsoever = I am a waiter or waitress in a restaurant you are sitting in
c/ Eye contact with an open, warm smile = I am a hooker working your hotel bar for punters

5. Other Russian translations:
"Bored, uninterested, slow and unhelpful" = "Waitress".
"Bored, uninterested, slow, unhelpful and rude = "Waiter"

6. There is no word in Russian for restaurant. The closest word actually translates as "Totally OTT themed eating establishment, ideally with the most obscure theme imaginable, extending throughout the menu, decor and costumes of the staff."

6.a. And you can choose from the sushi menu for your starter. Sushi is a part of every theme.

7. There is no Russian word for "personal space". If you are a small women and its a tall man then it really is very unpleasant which is why most Russian women wear very high heels (see point 11)

8. Don't drink Russian beer. It's all poisoned

9. Cream cakes. They look nice but don't be fooled. They are all made from a slightly denser version of the "not really-cream" that gets sprayed from a can.

10. The petrol smell does go, eventually. It then turns into a nasty, nagging taste at the back of your throat that lasts until about 3 days after you get home.

11. Never check in luggage on the way out. Its no less likely to arrive than anywhere else, but if you have to buy clothes in Russia, you may decide that it is better to go straight home and not cut the deal rather than wear Russian shoes...

12. Fags are cheaper in the airport before duty free

13. Most Russians do not wear deodorant or perfume. They are confident that their own body odour acts as a perfectly reasonable substitute. You may want to plan you trip to avoid periods of warmer weather accordingly

14. Yes, I know there were supposed to be 10 rules. But "President Putin decided last week...."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Norwegian Currency Guide

Norwegian currency comes in 2 denominations

First, there is the "200 Kronor Note". This is used to pay for everything you might buy in a small local shop or cafe, admission to a museum - or several can be combined to buy rail tickets or items that are marginally too big to fit in your pocket. (Restaurants and larger items require credit cards).

The other denomination is "change from a 200 Kronor note". This consists of a series of basically worthless notes and coins.

I am told if you stay for more than 2 weeks you may save up enough "change from a 200 Kronor note" to exchange it at a bank or post office for " a 200 Kronor Note"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Traffic in Delhi - how bad is it really ?

3 american soldiers, in full camo gear got into the lift at my hotel this afternoon. From their insignia, they were from the 3rd Armored Division .

The 3rd fought in both Gulf wars and is equipped with the latest US hardware, the 50+ tonne Abrahams main battle tank, and the fully armoured, tracked Bradley IFV.

As they got into the lift, one of the guys said to the others

"That traffic out there is so dangerous - I can't believe we've not seen anyone have an accident or get hurt yet?"

QED I believe...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Russian Shoe Gallery III

More Russian Shoes..
Its nothing really...

And the winner is...?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Speaking In Chinese

"I didn't know that you could speak Manadarin"

" I can't, but if I hear someone speak it, I can understand some segments"

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Russian Shoe Gallery II

More Russian Shoe Style

Hello Ladies !

Do you think we could make a beautiful foursome ?

His shoes entered the room several minutes before he did

Let me slip into something more comfortable..

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Russian Shoe Gallery

Moscow is the only city in the world Carrie from "Sex in the City" would come home from without buying any new shoes.

This is why...

Friday, September 02, 2005

M6 toll Road

The M6 Toll road is a wonder of modern engineering - going round Birmingham has been transformed from a horrendous walking pace slog to a 99mph cruise on a perfect open highway.

Even the adverts for it are clever - using an image of "headache pills" they promise the M6 toll offers "Relief from Congestion"

The clever commercial people behind this brilliant road have even found a great way to advertise - on the backs of freight lorries - perfectly placed for the target audience (motorway drivers) to see.

Unfortunately these same lorries also use the M6 toll road

So the last time I saw this advert was from behind a huge arctic truck. That was in the slow lane.

On the M6 toll road.

Not so clever now eh?

What's next?

Branding Danish Bacon with "Linda McCartney" adverts through it like Blackpool rock?

Kidney dialysis machines where the saline has been dyed yellow as part of a sponsorship from Red Bull ?

New Orleans Mayor Disaster

The Mayor or New Orleans is called:

"Ray Nagin"
Personally I think he may want to change that fairly sharpish ..

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans

Snipped from The BBC website

President Bush's aircraft circled low over the stricken region on Wednesday as it flew him to Washington, ending his month-long break in Texas a few days earlier than scheduled.

As he passed over towns whose rooftops alone remained visible above flood waters, Mr Bush said:

"It's devastating. It's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

Smart. Some might even say perceptive. Clever guy...

..but it would also be fair to say that being "on the ground" in the worse natural disaster ever to hit the US is probably just a teeny-weeny bit more than "doubly" as bad as flying above it in Airforce One and then going back to your 10,000 acre oil billionaires ranch to resume your holiday...?

Maybe he really isn't able to count beyond 2 ?

(I have tried to avoid mentioning Mr B on this blog, as it seems almost a blog-pulsary thing to do, however this was just too much to pass up.)