Farty's Fortunes

Friday, 30 November 2007

Time For Calm Reflection

What is the world coming to? I cannot believe that the entire religion of Islam is under threat from a children's teddy bear, yet that seems to be the jist of the argument coming from Sudanese fundamentalists this week, who are now running amok in the streets calling for the immediate execution of schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons.

Thank goodness for the voice of reason. Tory MP Boris Johnson has rightfully described these reactionary forces as "utterly bonkers". Mind you he also claims that "There was a time when Britain would have sent a gunboat to rescue her".

Um, Boris, old chap, Khartoum is 400 miles inland. True, it lies on the Nile, at the junction of the White Nile and Blue Nile, but that's a hell of a long way to send a gunboat. By the time you got there, there wouldn't be much left to rescue except for a pile of bleached bones.

Not that the Sudanese still go in for cannibalism, God forbid! There hasn't been a single recorded case of that since, lessee, 1993. Ok, bad example.

Still, they should calm down and take a leaf from Western tradition. You don't hear about God-fearing Christians getting all hot under the collar over a disagreement about how their children should be educated. No, wait.

Still, with any luck she'll be out of there and on her way home in just over a week.

Unless they find the other toy first.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Top Ten Jokes

This isn't a joke site, but I just had to share these. They're only my favourites because I can remember them. Mostly.

A husband asks his wife, "If I died, would you remarry?"
"Oh darling, what a horrible thought! Don't say that!"
"But if I did," he insists, "would you?"
"Well," she replies, "a woman has needs..."
"And would he sleep in our bed?"
"He would be my husband, so of course he would."
"And would you let him use my golf clubs?"
"Oh no, dear, he's left-handed."

A man comes running into the house and yells to his wife, "Pack your bags, I've won the lottery!"
"Hurrah! What should I pack, scuba gear, skis, bikini?"
"I don't care, just feck off and don't come back!"

Three scientists are sitting at a pavement table outside a bar, enjoying a quiet pint. Across the road lies an empty building. Over the course of the afternoon, two people walk into the building and three people emerge.
The physicist says, "There's been a measurement error."
The biologist says, "It's reproduction."
The mathematician says, "If exactly one person enters the building, it will be empty again."

How many male chauvenist pigs does it take to change a light-bulb?
None. Let the bitch cook in the dark.

What's the difference between babies and marbles?
You can't stack marbles with a pitchfork.

Three girls step into a lift: a blonde, a brunette and a redhead. In a corner, they see a small puddle of a pale, viscous fluid.
"Ew," says the brunette, "that looks like man juice."
The redhead leans right over, puts her dainty little nose close up, wrinkles it and sniffs. "It smells like man juice."
The blonde leans over, dips a finger in the puddle and pops it in her mouth. After a moment's thought she declares, "Well, it's nobody from this building!"

It's moose hunting season, so two Canadian hunters hire a plane to take them up north for a shooting trip. The pilot drops them off and promises to pick them up after a week.
Next week he's back and the hunters are delighted - they've bagged five beauties between them.
"But this is just a small plane," complains the pilot, "I can only carry two, three moose at the most. You'll have to leave some and come back later."
"No way, eh," says the first hunter, "the coyotes'll have a feast while we're away. You'll have to take all five."
The argument goes back and forth, but eventually the pilot caves in and agrees to take both hunters and all five moose (meece?).
Sure enough, barely fifteen minutes into the return flight, the engine conks out and they plummet into the jungle trees in Canada.
After a few minutes, the first hunter pokes his head from the wreckage. "Well, at least we survived!"
The second hunter emerges and takes a look around. "Maybe so, eh, but we're hopelessly lost."
The pilot replies, "Nonsense, we're only half a mile from where we crashed last year!"

Two girls: a blonde and a redhead (it's the brunette's day off), enter a lift. A young man gets in and stands with his back to them, facing the doors. Whispering to each other, they agree that he's very tasty, but he has bad dandruff.
"We should give him Head & Shoulders," hisses the redhead.
"Ok," replies the blonde. "How do you give shoulders?"

Two South African hunters are out shooting in the veldt (I am so varied, me). Suddenly, one of them gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. The other hunter realises that one braai too many have finally taken their toll. He takes out his cell-phone and calls the emergency operator.
"Hello, my hunting companion has had a heart attack. I think he's dead."
The operator replies, "It's ok, don't panic, I've had training on this and I know exactly what to do. First of all, you must make sure he's dead."
"Ok, just a moment."
There's the sound of footsteps, then BLAM! BLAM!
"Right, now what?"

Three men: an engineer, a manager and a software programmer, are in a car coming down a steep mountain road when the brakes fail. The car gathers speed, but after a desperate struggle the driver finally manages to slow down by steering it against the mountainside, scraping off most of the side of the car in the process. After it finally comes to a halt, the three of them have to decide what to do next.
The engineer pops open the hood/bonnet. "Ah, yes, we just need to patch up the thingumybob with chewing gum, that'll see us clear to the next garage."
"I disagree," says the manager. "Firstly, we need to form a committee to appoint a task force to investigate all the possibile options going forward, then arrange a series of followup meetings to consider how to arrive at a decision."
The software programmer says, "Before we try anything else, we should push the car back up to the top of the hill and see if it happens again."

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Xmas Poll

Blue Peter are putting up an Xmas tree this year, but can't decide what to call the fairy at the top. So they've decided to have a poll amongst their few remaining viewers. Please select a name from the list on the right - we promise the winning name, regardless of what it turns out to be, will definitely be used.

Note: Anyone picking the name Mohammed will be given forty lashes and jailed for up to six months.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Sith Efrika

Been composing a few posts on a trip we made to South Africa a few years ago. This was in the days before we went digital, so all the photos are printed on wossname, paper? Which is very nice, but low-tech and not easily amenable to uploading and that.

Help is at hand in the form of a second-hand Xerox scanner. I've tried it out and it's very good at scanning in photos and printing them out to a printer. Er, but not so good at saving them to a file in between times. Apparently you need PaperPort(tm) software for that, which seems to cost £50 for the cheap version.

My supplier is in the process of digging through his CD collection in the hope of finding the original software disc in there somewhere between Queen and Westlife. In the meantime, here's a taster from some later trips:

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Loue Doth Bleede

Fro romaunce cut off
Ich ye peyne smert suffreth nat
Onis or tweye tymes ynogh was
And vainlye was it al
Tyme wendeth onn
Ere ye knowest it ye be freezen

But som thynge chanced
Wyth thee initiallye
Myne heorte vnto ye very soile doth melte
Som thynge trve descouvert
Eek everich oon ys castynge aboote
Weneth Ich am becom as Heather de Mills

But Ich rekketh nat what they speake
Ich dost loue thee sikerly
To pewlle me awaye they doth try
Yet they noot sooth
Mine herte ys y-cripped by ye veine
That Ich dost shutten ayen
Thou bvtchereth me & Ich

Kepe y-bleedyng
Kepe, kepe y-bleedyng loue
Ich kepe y-bleedyng
Ich kepe, kepe y-bleedyng loue

Wyth apollogys to Geoffrey Chaucer and Leona le Wys.

Friday, 23 November 2007

In The News

Loved this quote today from In The News.

The M/S Explorer was the "world's first custom-built expedition ship" when it began operating in the early 1970s.

Canada-based Gap Adventures claimed it "goes where other ships cannot" on its website, describing its "ice-hardened double hull and a fleet of robust zodiacs" making it a "go-anywhere ship for the go-anywhere traveller".

The firm says the ship's captain, Uli Demel, is "widely regarded as the master of Antarctic navigation".

Excuse me, but I think you'll find quite a lot of ships have already been there, most famously this one in April 1912.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Whinging Again

To: Customer Services, Electronic Arts
From: Farty
Date: 20th November 2007
Subject: SimCity Societies

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you concerning your latest PC game, SimCity Societies. I purchased a copy of this in good faith from a car boot sale this week after reading excellent reviews in the press and that. And not after seeing a mate's bootleg copy at all.

I feel I must point out that the game suffers from some quite serious shortcomings. The characters presented are dull and unimaginative, the settings are dreary to the point of boredom and is there really any need to have detailed descriptions of 25 million Sims, down to the level of names, addresses, dates of birth, Child Benefit numbers, National Insurance numbers and bank or building society account details?

On the plus side, I'll admit it's good fun to cut off welfare to the whole of Liverpool and watch the Scouse scroungers fighting each other over stale bread and sour rat's milk.

On second thoughts, do you have a French version? I could get into this.

Your Sincerely,
Mr Farty

Monday, 19 November 2007

Visions of the Future...from the Past

Robotic Cars

DIESEL engine idling, Alice peers left, right, then straight at me. With her headlights on in the hazy morning, the imposing grey Ford van emits a loud beep, warning the world she is about to set off with no one at the wheel.

According to New Scientist, 17 November 2007, cars like Alice are a glimpse of the future.

Alice was developed for the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge, which aims to prove that cars will, one day, be able to navigate through a city autonamus automatous completely without human help.

"Robotic cars could become a feature of our cities, and maybe reduce road deaths too."

Reduce or increase? 1

Prison overcrowding

One way to deal with prison overcrowding and the shortage of organs for transplant would be to, er, kill two birds with one stone. Take one prisoner from Death Row, match his blood and tissue types to a deserving, dying (or simply rich and overfed?) hospital patient. Snip, slice, stitch, and Robert is your mother's brother.

Surely nobody would be that ghoulish?

Oh. Right. Nobody except a major government. And if China's doing it now, can the rest of the world be far behind? 2

Non-Lethal Weapons

TASER International, Inc. has recently unveiled the eXtended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP(tm)), which "incorporates wireless Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI) technology and is designed to be launched from a 12-gauge shotgun".3

Armed Robots

A company called...wait for it...IRobot, has announced a robot warrior called Sword. Don't worry, though. "The military insists it is not unleashing a mindless killing machine. A soldier must press the fire button."

And, as we all know, a soldier isn't a mindless killing machine. 4

Where will it all end? Or indeed, where did it all begin?

1Into The Shop, Ron Goulart, 1964.
2The Jigsaw Man, Larry Niven, 1967.
3Not quite 1960s Star Trek style phasers, but getting there.
4Talos, 300BC.

Mr Farty Gets A Bit Upset #2


From: Farty@myisp
Sent: Nov 14, 2007 1:35:22 AM
Subject: McAfee Customer Service - Service Request #123

Description: When I boot up, I get an alert that my PC is not protected.

I get a prompt to verify my subscription, which comes up ok but doesn't clear the alert.

When I run VT [Virtual Technician] I firstly get an alert that I need to reinstall McAfee Personal Firewall and McAfee Privacy Service, then VT tells me it found nothing wrong.

When I go into My Account on your website - which automatically recognises me - to reinstall these services, I'm told I don't have a subscription for anything.

How do I reinstall my products?


From: McAfee EMEA Technical Support
To: <Farty@myisp>
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:17 PM
Subject: RE: McAfee Customer Service - Service Request #123

Dear Farty1,

Thank you for contacting McAfee Technical Support. My name is <name>. Having reviewed your e-mail regarding your concern, I would be happy to support you in this.

Farty, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused in this regard. Please let us know did the software come on a CD or was it a download from the Internet. I was unable to locate an account under the e-mail address you have provided. However, you are not subscribed to any of our services under this account. Usually when we see this type of scenario, our customers have registered using a different email address. Can you provide me an additional email address that you might have registered under? Please reply us with the requested information and we will be able to resolve your issue.

If you are not able to find that please contact our Customer Service. Please use this link to contact Customer Service.

I hope that I’ve answered your questions effectively. If not, feel free to contact support again. Please include all previous correspondence when replying.

If you find it difficult to follow these steps feel free to contact our free technical support chat option at <url>

Technical Support Agent
McAfee Technical Support

Slightly Pissed

From: Farty
Sent: Nov 15, 2007 3:32:43 AM
Subject: Re: McAfee Customer Service - Service Request #123

Hi <name>,

First of all, thanks for your prompt reply.

When I originally bought the PC from Dell, and switched it on, the McAfee software, as I recall, was already there. Or at least the installer was. It insisted on my supplying a valid email address, even though I had not even contacted an ISP at that time to connect my PC to the internet. So I supplied my email-via-tv address, farty@old_isp and later, when I had an internet connection established, transferred the email address over via your website. I thought this transfer had worked, as the product worked just fine until a few days ago.

I have attached the original emails I received from McAfee at that time.

Does this help?

Best Regards,


Not Really Helping

From: McAfee EMEA Technical Support
To: Farty
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 8:13 PM
Subject: RE: Re: McAfee Customer Service - Service Request #123

Dear Farty,

Thank you for contacting McAfee Technical Support. My name is <different name> Having reviewed your e-mail regarding your concern, I would be happy to support you in this.

Farty, we are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused. We have searched our data base using the e-mail address Farty@old_isp, but we are unable to pull up any records using this e-mail address also. So please provide us the e-mail address that you have registered with McAfee or provide the Order ID. If you do not remember the Order ID, please contact our Customer Support, as they are the people who deal with sales and registration issues, please call the below number in order to resolve your issue. Kindly explain them clearly about your concern and you can also refer the case number for this interaction to them which will help then to narrow down the same issue. Please call <phone number> or Visit <url> for the further support options.

I hope that I’ve answered your questions effectively. If not, feel free to contact support again. Please include all previous correspondence when replying.

If you find it difficult to follow these steps feel free to contact our free technical support chat option at <url>

Thank you for contacting McAfee Technical Support

<different name>
Technical Support Agent
McAfee Technical Support


From: Farty
To: McAfee EMEA Technical Support
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 6:41 PM
Subject: Re: Re: McAfee Customer Service - Service Request #123

Hello again.

Ok, earlier I was just confused. I thought, "Perhaps I only thought I had a free subscription, but it was only a six-month trial, now it's expired and I have to pay."

So, not wanting to remain unprotected, I signed up yesterday and handed over £39.99 for a year's subscription to your admittedly top-notch product. I attach a copy of the purchase receipt.

But even after installation and a couple of reboots, I get a warning on startup that I am not protected against: Identity Protection, Spam Protection, Content Blocking.

I also attach, yet again, an email sent from your company to my old email address Farty@old_isp - which you deny ever having sent - in which you say:

"Thank you for registering your McAfee SecurityCenter subscription. You are now entitled to updates and upgrades for your McAfee products.

McAfee VirusScan
McAfee Personal Firewall Plus
McAfee Privacy Service
McAfee SpamKiller".

To top it all, I have also managed to dig up the original purchase order for my Dell PC - attached.

And guess what? This order confirmation, dated 12th January 2007, includes the following item:
235-12764 Free 36 Month McAfee Security Centre Subscription

Note the words "free" and "36 Month".

Somewhat less than 36 months have expired since 12th January this year. In my opinion, this means I have now paid twice for something I already own. Now I'm annoyed.

Please refund my £39.99 immediately and instruct me on how properly to reinstate all of the products for which I signed up at the start of this year.

If I do not obtain satisfaction within 7 days, I shall approach the Office of Fair Trading and ask them to prosecute you for fraud.

Yours Sincerely,

1 No, not the name I used in this exchange.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Rewriting History

Funny how the mind plays tricks on you. Back in 1999, Scotch tv presenter Gail Porter famously had her lovely bum projected onto the outside of the Houses of Parliament, a move which was generally seen as a vast improvement on the arseholes inside the building.

Since then, the poor girl has suffered a series of misfortunes which have resulted in her progressively losing her beautiful long hair. Even her eyebrows.

The thing is, even though I know that 1999 photo was taken before she lost her hair, in my mind's eye she's up there in Westminster right now, bald as a coot.

And still gorgeous.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Blog Nap

I have resolved to join the writer's strike.

Ok, I just can't think of anything to write today.

There's a mildly amusing post here.

And this is rapidly going downhill.

Meh. Just browse through my blogroll, will ya? They're all better than this post.

I'm busy touching up Gail Porter. So to speak.


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Look Before You Leap

I couldn't help laughing when I saw this story in today's news. If you can't be arsed clicking on the link, or it doesn't work, I'll summarise.

Someone was seen trying to break into cars in a casino parking lot in Florida. When police approached a completely innocent bystander with 25 previous convictions for car theft who matched the perpetrator's description, he ran off and jumped into a lake. Such as you find in Florida's alligator-infested Everglades.

Sorry, but anyone who ignores a sign saying: "Danger! Live Alligators!" deserves what they get.

This is even better than the one about another criminal who jumped over a low wall to escape the police. It was only three feet high on his side. And twenty on the other. With a railway line at the bottom.

File under "self-inflicted".

Do you have a favourite Darwin Award winner?

Monday, 12 November 2007


Many moons ago God how I hate that phrase! Twenty years ago, when I was taking LMF to nursery, I used to stop off to pick up her wee pal Jimmy (or whatever the feck his name was, come on, it was twenty years ago).

Jimmy's Mum could, I suppose, have dropped him off herself, but it was really no problem for me. I was glad to help out. It gave her time between getting Jimmy up, fed, watered and out the door and getting herself dressed.

Because regardless of how well turned out her little boy was, er, Suzie never seemed to have the time to even don a housecoat over her see-through negligée. Not that I ever complained. I'm not one to complain, as you know.

After leaning waaaaaaay over to kiss young Jimmy on the top of his head, she would turn and flounce back up the stairs as the front door slowly swung shut.

Did I mention she was drop.dead.gorgeous?

Then she moved away.

Last week, Mrs Farty and I were shopping in The Gyle when whom should we see coming towards us but Mr and Mrs Suzie? And as Mrs F pointed out when we engaged them in conversation, Suzie hasn't aged a day. Like Goldie Hawn in that film, but without the hole where her guts ought to be.

Goldie Hawn
Anyway, she's a granny now, but I still would.

Friday, 9 November 2007

The New Winning

The Funniest Blog On The Interweb, with a massive 5.1% of the vote, is officially...BOSSY!

If Dubya can win with only a handful of votes, so can any other Merkan citizen.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Blog Awards



That is all.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Lest We Forget

When I was a lad at school, my form master revealed that during the war, he was in military intelligence. Exciting, eh?

Anyway, one of his many tasks was, after the war ended, to debrief the doctors who used to work in the Nazi concentration camps. It was never entirely clear why they had doctors in the first place, given what happened next...

This isn't easy.

Apparently, the doctors had to examine the Jews and decide whether they were fit enough to be gassed.

I'm really confused.

So. George (his real name) asked one of the doctors how on earth he could stand to send his fellow human beings to their deaths?

"Oh, they weren't human beings. They were Jews."

What The Fuck?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Naked Singularities and the Grandfather Paradox

According to New Scientist, it's theoretically possible, if you can find a naked singularity, to build a time machine. Apparently, naked singularities are an embarrassment to physicists, prancing about with no clothes on and that.

"I don't know why people immediately think that time travellers will be overcome with a desire to commit murder," says boffin Fernando de Felice, referring to the grandfather paradox. This states that you can't go back in time because you might kill your grandfather and thus prevent your own birth.

I think he's got it back to front.

Alex has a rich and powerful grandfather and can't wait for the old miser to keel over and pass on his riches. So he borrows capital against his inheritance and builds a time machine to take him back to the years of his grandfather's youth, neatly sidestepping the security guards in the process.

He murders the defenseless youth, then realises that Grandad hadn't yet made his fortune as the time machine promptly disappears.

But wait! Alex knows a bit about the stock market, so he's able to buy low and sell high when there are large, "unpredictable" swings in the market - which he remembers from his history lessons.

He makes his fortune, marries a nice girl, and gradually comes to realise that his wife is Grandma. Which make Alex his own grandfather. How to prevent his own grandson from going back in time and killing himself?

I hate naked singularities. They give you a sore head.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Kat Fight!

Things are really hotting up over at Battle to da DethThe All New 21st Century Online Collaborative Internet Novel.

Remember, Remember

Tourettes Society Bonfire Night