Tag Archives: adverts

Why are ginger blokes funny?

It seems to me that all the ginger men I know are funny. Not funny looking or funny weird, but funny ha ha. It was a blog I was reading the other day (the ginger fight back, give it a go) that got the cogs in my head turning. Are ginger men born funny? Or does it develop over time? Is it nature or nurture? What I mean is, does the fact that they get mocked because of their hair (I’m not condoning it, just stating facts of the schoolyard) mean they develop a self defence funny bone? A self deprecation that led one of my friends to walk around wearing nothing but a box which said ‘ginger nuts’ over his own (they are a type of biscuit for those that don’t know). I shall attempt to use some other genetic examples to quantify my theory.

1) Are all fat pepole cheerful? I once heard someone tell a large lady near me “if you’re gonna be fat, you could at least have the common decency to be jolly”. Let me set something straight from the off, this is not an attack on anyone, but if you are big boned or fat, you generally have a rosy completion and a cheeky, chubby face. This, to my eyes, gives you a cheerful quality. I think we could call it the Santa effect. And to be fair, most large people I know are very happy and laugh often. They are also great at hugs, but I digress. I also know some real miseries who are portly, so this does nothing to help prove my theory. Next.

2) Are all short men angry? I’m not, but then I’m just below average height. And once again, let me state that this is not an attack on dwarfs (even though one was called grumpy) or little people. Many famous leaders where short blokes:

Alexander the Great
Napoleon
Hitler
Sarkozy
Berlusconi
Cruise (maybe not)

All under 5’6, all wanting power, all angry about being short. Napoleon even had a complex named after him (in the psychological sense, not the building sense). I think then that this is nature. And why do short blokes date tall women? Anyway, next.

3) Are all pretty people arrogant? Yes we are. Only kidding. I think that this is more a nurture thing. I know some very attractive/pretty/sexy people (I also know some proper ugly ones, just to show I’m balanced), and it seems that some are very lovely and others are so full of themselves that they become repulsive, despite their looks. This viewpoint is not one of jealousy as my wife is attractive/pretty/sexy, so I’m not jaded by being turned down by the gorgeous folk, I married one. This to me is about upbringing. My wife is down to earth and doesn’t know how pretty she is, those who have been told their whole lives ‘you’re so gorgeous, you should be a model’ feel entitled. It reminds me of a song by the streets, Fit But You Know It. As an aside, I went to school with this guy below (yes, me and David Gandy are the same age, and have surprisingly similar dress sense). He never got the girls then so I hope his late blooming has kept him grounded.

So then, what have we learnt here today? Not much really. I think that the ginger blokes I know are funny because they learnt, at an early age, to laugh at themselves. My hair is all but gone and I can now laugh at bald jokes, I think it’s given me an avenue of comedic thinking I had never really gone done before. So in that respect, gingers are ahead of the curve.

Keep on being who you are my ginger friends, I may not be one of you, but pretty soon I’ll have so little hair it won’t matter anyway.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Up in the sky…(or the Boutique and Bistro in the clouds)

I remember, many years ago, smoking on a flight to America. I was 16, away with a group of friends (most of them older than me but not all over 21 so the drinking thing wasn’t too awkward) and we had 3 smoking seats between 7 or 8 smokers. It was the longest game of musical chairs in history. I understand why they stopped smoking on planes, I also understand though that the air is recirculated less (due to the lack of smelly smokiness), and so the lack of smoking directly links to the increase in picking up coughs and colds while up in the sky (and why do they still have the no smoking signs?). The point is that flying has changed massively over the past 20 years.

I also remember when you got lots of free stuff. Nuts before take off, drinks throughout the flight, snacks as well as meals, headphones, ear plugs, eye blankets (I think the correct term is face mask but eye blankets sounds better to me). Now, you get food that tastes of plastic, the drinks cart comes round every couple of hours, you have to pay for headphones, you still get the nuts but they are now mixed in with pretzels. I think that flying has become like a long train journey. It’s so ordinary and everyday that you forget how good it used to be. The following things have happened to me in planes over the last few years…

1) I had a leaky seat. Well, it was the ceiling really. It still worried me and made me study my crash card more carefully.

2) My TV didn’t work. This was responded to with the utmost malaise. The promise of a DVD player that took 3 hours, and having to ask 10 times, to come. The film choices were pretty dire too.

3) They ran out of booze. This one was terrible. It was a morning flight, heading out to the crazy world of Vegas, and so I decided to wait until a decent hour to have a beer. At 11.30am they announced that the bar was closed due to lack of alcohol. I complained and was told that some people were very drunk and rowdy…

“Good for them, I’d like the same oppertunity”

“We are very sorry sir, but we can’t discriminate on who we serve alcohol to, so we can no longer give any out”

“So you haven’t run out?”

“No sir”

And try as I might, they didn’t give me a beer. They also have flights where they need to have enough for the round trip and so cut you off at a certain point. If they can fill up on fuel then they can fill up on beer.

But this isn’t the main point of my Blog today. The main point is that of the budget airline. They have really gone the extra mile in separating you from your money. They offer very small items (of the brands you know, so you think it will be bigger than it is) for a very big price. The can of beer that is the same size as a can of Coke, the packet of Pringles that is a third of the usual size, a bag of chocolate that has less than a handful of sweets. Grrrrrrrrrr, here comes the rant… The seats are too small. The leg room is rubbish. You have to fight and scramble to get aboard to sit together. You have to pay for your bags. They constantly use the intercom to try and sell you stuff. There is no entertainment. They all wear orange. And breathe. This is all nothing new, what has changed is the pretension of these airlines. While sat in my small seat, waiting for the trolley, the following announcement was made.

“If you would like something to eat or drink, or if you would like to purchase some of our special offers in perfume of spirits, then why not take advantage of the Boutique and Bistro”

I have heard some exaggeration in my time, I am a man so prone to it myself, but to call the food trolley a Bistro and the duty free a boutique? Words fail me, and that happens as often as a freebie on a budget flight.

I am flying home today with the orange airline, wish me luck.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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Comments I’ve Made

I spend a great deal of time with my foot in mouth. So much so that I have been told I only open my mouth to change feet. I can be sarcastic, stupid, way off the mark and plain rude. This has become less over time (I once told the biggest and most aggressive kid at my school he had a big nose, he then decided to spread my nose across my face) but I am still fully capable of putting my mouth in motion before putting my brain in gear. This is in the real world. The world where don’t get to think for a few minutes before commenting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always say the wrong thing, the times I do are when I don’t have time to reflect on the stupidity of what I’m saying. In cyber space I am afforded time to reflect before making a statement, on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and in emails I can be thoughtful, witty and above all, less dumb. So here it is folks, my occasional guide to commenting on other peoples thoughts.

1) Don’t make stupid responses when kids are involved (unless the initial comment is silly): I have friends with kids. As well as a sure fire sign of getting old, this also brings with it different types of parenting. These styles mean different types of comment, and the responses can very.

Exhibit A: The proud and doting parent. Example comment: I am so proud of little Timmy today, he told me how much he loved me.

Responses

Facebook: Hit the like button or ignore altogether.

Twitter: Smiley face or ignore altogether.

Email: Hope someone responds before you and hits the ‘respond to all’ category.

WordPress: Don’t read it in the first place (unless you know the person then follow the Facebook route – see above).

Exhibit B: The parent who has the same mental age as their child. Example comment: My daughter poured her potty on my wife, couldn’t stop laughing for an hour.

Responses

Facebook: Make a well thought out, puntastic comment and then make more as they occur. Take into account what others have put and add to their comments.

Twitter: Make a less funny, less wordy comment, due to the constraints of twitter.

Email: Scour the internet for a funny link or picture related to the topic. Reply with the attachment.

WordPress: Try as hard as possible to relate the topic to a blog you have written, add a link to that blog and check your stats and comment area. Check also that they have commented on your comment.

2) Never respond to those who seem needy. You can tell these people a mile away (especially when you can be one of them). The warning signs are as follows.

a) They constantly write questions. These are to elicit a response, to make you want to reply, and to fuel their ego. These could range from questions about food i.e who loves beans? To caparisons i.e who would win in a fight, superman or Batman? To musical preference i.e who doesn’t love Elvis? Yep, if you answer, they win, you lose.

b) They comment on everything topical, all the time, non stop. Did you see… I am just watching… Cant believe that… This band are about to… Put down the phone or computer, watch what you are watching, call someone (maybe your Granny), go out, have a beer. Just don’t tell me you are doing it.

c) They look for affirmation directly and unashamedly. This mainly applies to blogs. Blogs should be a chance to produce brain vomit as a kind of therapy. If people like it good, if not then screw ’em. Sometimes it can be the bloggers screen name that does it. I recently had someone like my post whose screen name was based around the topic of not circumcising boys. Seriously, that view is your choice, but if you need to make it your screen name, then I’m not convinced of your convictions. It also made me a little uncomfortable to have that on my ‘like’ area.

3) Try to be thoughtful. I like to read other peoples blogs, and love the fact that I now have a way of tracking the responses to comments I’ve made through the WordPress dashboard. I will only comment on a blog, status update or tweet if I like it. The difference with commenting on a blog is this: you don’t know the person. The great part is that you can get to know them through their words. I consider my blog a fair representation of who I am. I would like to think the same about others and their blogs. If I read a blog but have nothing to add, then I will hit the like button. But if I feel the writer might enjoy what I have to say, then I will tell them. If they don’t, well they can just moderate and delete my comment.

I will continue to comment on blogs, annoy my friends on twitter and Facebook and write silly emails with attachments of Darth Vader playing the harmonica. Above all this though, I shall continue to speak to real people and say really dumb and sometimes insulting things. My friends will always forgive me, or at least put up with me.

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London pub etiquette.

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I live in Bethnal Green, a lovely part of the world. It has a very diverse, cultural and great mix of people that consist of old cockneys, a large contingent of people from Bangladesh and an ever growing number of east Europeans. It’s the kind of area that celebrates its diversity and means that I can get a great curry, some wonderful Czech and polish beer and have a traditional east end market stall (2 in fact, one for fruit, the other for veg) out the front of my flat. All of this is great. What makes east London fantastic though is the range of pubs.

Within a 10 minute walk of my house I have 7 pubs that I enjoy going to. 7. And if I fancy going a bit further afield, central London has many excellent pubs too. I understand that this may make me sound like a bit of an alcoholic but I have lived in the area for much of my drinking life. But, as spiderman’s uncle once said “with great pubs, comes great responsibility” Pub etiquette is paramount. Here is my short survival guide.

1) If you can’t see the pub through the windows, don’t go in. These are local places for local people. I’m local but I still wouldn’t go in them. They are run, owned and frequented by the old east end guard. The only way to safely grab a drink is to a) go in the day or b) be related to one of the old school drinkers in the pub. That’s not to say that the clientele would do you bodily harm, more a case of the reaction the new cowboy in town would get in the old westerns. Music stops, people turn and stare, a pin drops and you can hear it. Uncomfortable would be the word.

2) Don’t ask to share a table. Even if it’s one person on their own. It’s not very British, it’s certainly not very London. This will mark you out as an outsider and the cowboy thing could happen. Propping up the bar (standing at the bar and leaning) is a much better option.

3) Wait your turn to be served (but don’t queue). This is a skill that develops over time. Even if the person serving the drinks has no idea of the order, you should. Walk to the bar, scan the people, place then in chronological order, wait to asked who is next then point the bar tender to that person. If it was you and someone fails to follow this rule then shout “sorry mate/love, I was next” and start your order before any argument can happen. Also, don’t queue in a straight line, spread out across the bar.

4) If you are a man then drink a pint. Bottles are ok, half pints are a big no no. You can get around this by ordering a pint, keeping the glass when finished and pouring your half pint into the pint glass. It’s much more manly, just make sure the glass collector doesn’t take your glass.

5) Always stand your round. If you are in a group (even if you don’t know half of them) ask if anyone would like a drink. Most people will quickly decline saying they will get their own. This is fine as long as the ground rules have been established. By the same token, never accept a drink if a) you are only staying for one or b) you have a nearly full drink. Forget this rule if you are with regular drinking buddies as this will generally work itself out over time.

6) The bells at 11 mean get another one in. Most pubs will try to kick you out just after last orders, this means you’ve got at least another half hour. Use it wisely to neck (chug, scull, down) your drink and stumble out to the fresh air.

A great deal to remember I’m sure you’ll agree. If you do then you will enjoy a hassle free night of drinking. Just remember to leave the pub quietly, show some respect for the neighbours.

Cheers.

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River Thames shark sanctuary

So it appears that the river Thames been selected to host “an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks.” I honestly can’t wait. I’m just a bit gutted that the water is so murky, less chance of seeing them.

So what’s it all about? Well, two thousand sharks are to be released into the river including blue sharks, hammerheads, and a few great whites. The experiment is designed to determine whether the sharks could survive in the cold climate of London. The thinking behind it is to keep the tourist industry alive after the Olympics.

The government is said to be spending £1.3 million, but think the return could be 10 times that over the next 3 years. A representative from the Life and Inclusion Experiments organisation (L.I.E) was quoted as saying that there would probably be a noticeable decline in the populations of other fish in the river because “the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older.”
I wonder if this means they will need to introduce more fish into the Thames? You could always do feeding sessions and make it an added tourist attraction. Scuba diving in the thames? Maybe another money spinner.

Mayor Boris Johnson is said to have protested the experiment, afraid of the hazard it would pose to tourists and riverboat cleaners, but his complaints had been ignored by the the coalition government, with Cameron claiming he is under pressure from the American government to use the Thames for such research. Randy Bumgardner, aide to president Obama said that America could follow suit with the Hudson.

Happy April fools day by the way. It may not have suckered you all in, if it did then hooray for silliness.

Here is my favourite top 3 April fool pranks of all time…

3) In 1965 BBC TV featured an interview with a professor who had just invented a device called “smellovision.” This new technology allowed viewers to experience aromas produced in the television studio. The professor offered a demonstration by cutting some onions and brewing coffee. A number of viewers called in to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. That’s the power of suggestion I suppose.

2) 2000: A news release sent to the media stated that the 15th annual New York City April Fool’s Day Parade was scheduled to begin on 59th Street and would proceed down to Fifth Avenue. According to the release, floats in the parade would include a “Beat ’em, Bust ’em, Book ’em” float created by the New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle police departments. This float would portray “themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence.” The “Atlanta Braves Baseball Tribute to Racism” float would feature John Rocker who would be “spewing racial epithets at the crowd.” CNN and the Fox sent television news crews to cover the parade. They arrived at 59th Street only to discover that there was no sign of a parade, at which point the reporters realised they had been hoaxed.

1) On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.

Have a happy April fools day.

These stories were gathered from the Guardian, Independent and Times websites with special mention to the museum of hoaxes.

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An informative or persuasive message (advertisements and how to avoid them)

A point of information: if you live outside of the U.K, please substitute the word ‘adverts’ for ‘commercials’ throughout. Cheers ears.
I am a sky customer (cable in the states) and I love it. I love the fact that I have hundreds of channels. I love the fact that even when there is nothing on I can waste half an hour flicking channels. I love the never ending repeats of shows I’ve seen many times (I am still looking for the holy grail in the form of a friends episode I haven’t seen yet). All of these things I love. But more than anything else, above all of these great advantages of seemingly endless channels, I love the fact that I can record shows straight onto my sky box and fast forward the adverts.
I have never been a great lover of adverts, but now I hate them. I am so unused to seeing them that when I watch live TV it drives me mad. When I was a kid I was happy enough to watch the adverts. The toy or chocolate or McDonald’s (they are no longer allowed to advertise to kids in the U.K so Ronald McDonald has forever left our screens) or breakfast cereal or the latest cartoon. Now they drive me nuts.
It’s not just the product adverts though, oh no no no. It’s the adverts they sneak in when you think the adverts are finished. The last ad plays, the stations logo pops up, you hit play, the show starts. Right? Wrong. The logo is followed by an advert for their latest show (only days after the states they boast), then another advert for another show. Then… THEN, they decide to let you know who is sponsoring the show you are watching (Which can lead to over zealous fast forwarding and going into the show). And it’s always so random. Luscious hair shampoo, proud sponsors of The Wire. Last long washing up liquid is the proud sponsor of CSI. Dave’s pest control, sponsor of the mickey mouse clubhouse. Maybe not the last one, not yet anyway.
The adverts themselves really get on my nerves as well. Here is a short list as to why…
1) Lip sync/dubbed adverts. I think this is now more common due to massive multinational companies making ‘universal adverts’. It’s an odd thing really. You sit and watch and realise something is off, something is not quite right. Then it hits you, the person talking is not actually the person talking. These are not as bad as the complete dub though. The kind that was made in Germany, spoken in German and then dubbed into English. It’s a bit like the old martial arts films where the villain talks for about 20 seconds and all the dubbed version says is “time to die”. It’s cheap, it’s annoying and if anything, would make me go out of my way not to buy the product.
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2) Am I getting old? I used to enjoy some adverts. Used to like the humour of them, used to go out and buy the products. They don’t seem to apply to me now though. It’s not that I don’t like most of them, it’s just that either a) I don’t notice them or b) what they’re selling, I ain’t buying. Don’t want or need it. Those that really annoy are on my radar though. Those that have the following…
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3) Catchy rubbish songs. Songs that have been designed to stick in your head, that have the same tag line or hook over and over. Quirky, fun, bouncy and suckingly bad all in one. Most of them just repeat the company name over and over and over and over over. Ones that make me want to kill are a) the one for the price comparison site b) the one that wants to take my car off my hands and c) the ones from the bank that loves to sing. The only thing that makes them worse is if it’s an animal singing or a child dancing.
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4) Voice over? I was unsure if I should put this one in or not. I think that I would do a voice over if I was famous. A few grand to read a couple of sentences? Most definitely. I probably wouldn’t care about how embarrassing the product either (as long as it was ethically and morally sound). I just can’t help squirming a bit when a star I admire does the Voice over for a toilet bleach or a large supermarket in the guise of a massive duck or a cute puppy.
What I think I hate most though is the fact that I have to pay a TV licence so that the BBC can remain advert free when I don’t ever have to watch them either way. I very rarely watch live TV and if I do I generally pause it, make a cuppa and fast forward the adverts anyway. I could always stop watching as much TV, but then I’d have to talk to real people and read and stuff.
A friend of mine thinks that the adverts will have to change to meet the changes in the way we watch TV. I can see product placement being the way forward, as long as the contestants on talent shows don’t start singing advert songs and they don’t name the main character in a gritty new law drama Pepsi I’m ok with it. You?
Please feel free to re blog, tweet or Facebook this post. Any ideas in this blog are steal-able by anyone who wants them.
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