Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pseudo-Intellectual Business

I’ve just discovered a link between two things I love to rant about. Actually I’m kicking myself for not spotting it before. The more I think about it, the more obvious it is.

The link I have made is this: People who use Business Bullshit are in fact a breed of pseudo-intellectual.

Regular readers will know that I love to bait pseudo-intellectuals and expose them for what they are – bullshit merchants who know several big words and like to quote philosophy in order to make themselves  appear better than everybody else. The truth is, of course, that they blind people with their vocabulary because ultimately they don’t actually say anything that makes any sense.

My favourite pseudo-intellectuals are people who stand in front of vomit stains in contemporary art museums and try to impress upon anybody who is willing to lend an ear that the piece of shit in front of them is something more than the shallow mess it actually is.

Another breed is the hipster who dresses like a nerd just to be different and “writes random poetry to express himself”, poetry that is truly awful and meaningless, I hasten to add.

It’s no real leap of logic to discover that a new breed of pseudo-intellectual lives in the upper echelons of high management and bombards his staff with weird business argon that nobody understands, and that his peers pretend to understand.

I am disappointed with myself because this type of pseudo-intellectual has been with me my entire working life. I have found myself in meetings with people from various companies, all trying to impress upon everybody else how important and intelligent they are,  while speaking utter jibberish to bamboozle us all.

In their eyes, their peers are thinking “Wow! This guy really knows what he is talking about. We must do business with him.”

The truth is rather sad. People actually think “What in the name of all that is Holy is this ballbag talking about? It makes no bloody sense.”

Such verbal diarrhoea is responsible for many a rant from yours truly but, more importantly, inspired Scott Adams, then a disgruntled employee, to create the now massively famous Dilbert cartoon series.

At this point, I have to add that some of my work colleagues have said in the past that I bear a striking resemblance to Dilbert – judge for yourself.

Plastic Mancunian

I have never met Scott Adams so their theory is nonsense.

Anyway, here are a couple of typical Dilbert cartoons that illustrate the point.

The idea of setting up a buzzword bingo card has appealed to me for years but the problem is that business bullshit is an evolving beast with new terms popping out of the bull with alarming frequency.  This means that lowly employees like me would have to keep on top of these new terms and this is a full time job that I don’t have time to pursue.

Here are a few new ones:

“I want to jump on your radar!”

“Thought leaders”

“Idea sherpa”

“Punch a puppy”

“Thought shower”

These are terms that make me want to cringe with embarrassment.

Many years ago, there was a comedy show called Drop the Dead Donkey in the UK that had a character called Gus Hedges who basically used bullshit to communicate with his staff. Some of the terms he used were laughable – and now over 20 years later, the terms he used actually sound more believable.

Here are some of his best lines:

“We've got to downsize our sloppiness overload, Joy. Am I making myself clear?”

“There is just something I'd like to pop into your percolator, see if it comes out brown.”

“I'm setting you free. Free to roam the high seas of enterprise as the buccaneers of our broadcasting future.”

“I'm in major cellular rejuvenation mode, fast-tracking my way to eternal biological viability.”

“I think we have a slight togetherness shortfall here.”

“You see, when it comes to sexual interfacing with the female gender group, I've always been caution-orientated due to ongoing problems of an adaptive nature regarding the gooiness factor on the physical front.”

“Jill, could you come for a brief scuba in my think tank?”

“We're merely running our bulletins through the cappuccino machine of innovation, see if it comes out frothy.”

“Just a thought I wanted to pop into your fishbowl to see if it blows bubbles.”

“Problems are just the pregnant mothers of solutions.”

The good thing about Gus Hedges is that he is totally fictional. Sadly, there thousands upon  thousands of pseudo-intellectual managers who seem to have adopted him as a role model. Some pseudo–intellectuals like to quote philosophers; other like to quote Gus Hedges.

To conclude, I found a business bullshit generator that may act as inspiration for any pseudo-intellectuals desperate to climb the corporate ladder with no talent other than their use of meaningless vocabulary.

Here’s a couple I generated:

Synergistically streamline enterprise-wide collaboration and idea-sharing

Compellingly envisioneer standardized "outside the box" thinking

Uniquely reinvent sticky vortals

Have a go yourself – follow this link.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Look What I Found In My Head

Every day at work, I leave my desk at lunchtime, armed with my smartphone and my iPod and set off on a circular walk of just over two miles. My aim is fourfold:

(1) Get a little exercise.

(2) Escape the confines of the office.

(3) Enjoy some music.

(4) Clear my head.

I want to focus on item (4).

As I stroll around the streets, my mind wanders, replacing the inevitable stress and tedium of office work with a journey through my own imagination, accompanied by a musical soundtrack of songs that I love.

And that journey is usually quite fruitful.

The experience feels like I am in a room with thousands of doors. The journey begins when I open one of the doors and go through. The choice of door depends on my mood, the music I am listening to, the day I have had so far and random thoughts that have popped into my head based on conversations, news – anything really.

Ultimately I hope to find something interesting – like this idea for a blog post for example.

I am fascinated by the train of thought that eventually leads to the gems I find inside my own head. Sometimes they are good things but occasionally they are not do good. For example, if I am in a bad mood, or a little depressed about something, I find that sometimes it is difficult to drag myself from a negative path. In that respect I understand how depressed people think – I know this first hand because Mrs PM is prone to depression and in these situations it is difficult if not impossible to escape the irrational downward spiral that follows.

Happily, I have experience of seeing this is other people and can assist, if only to be the person who comforts them or to be a shoulder to cry on, so to speak. Of course, it is not as simple as that and, thankfully, Mrs PM is in control of it.

I don’t suffer from depression myself but if a negative thought threatens to enter my head and cause a negative cycle, I switch my mind to something that will distract it – like changing the song on my iPod of taking a moment to look around as I walk. This helps usually; rather like leaving the bad door alone and finding another more interesting one to go through. It doesn’t always work – and I have struggled sometimes in 2017 to be fair – but things are improving.

Sometimes, exploring my imagination can cause embarrassment. Here are a couple of examples.

Picture the scene. I am walking along oblivious to my surroundings and listening to a fantastic and happy song - a song such as this:

I find myself walking in step to the beat and imagine myself as the artist. The problem is that my step becomes jaunty and bouncy and on a couple of occasion I have actually started mouthing the words. If I have my headphones in, I can’t actually tell whether I am actually singing – I might be. In which case, it’s no surprise that I have acquired a few strange looks by people queuing up at a bus stop I have walked past.

On other occasions, a song has reminded me of a funny incident in the past caused an involuntary guffaw that is difficult to control and fuels yet more laughter, making me look like some kind of idiot marching along the streets.

Also, if I see somebody I know as I walk, I try to be polite and greet them as we pass. However, because of my headphones, it is more difficult to judge volume.

“Hi Dave,” they will say as we approach!

“HI ANDY,” I bellow at the top of my voice, in an attempt to drown out both the heavy metal song in my ears and the noise of cars, lorries and buses roaring past on the main road.

When I get back to work, I face the inevitable consequences.

“Why were you yelling at me in the street, Dave?”

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often and my walks are uneventful to watch.  The good news for me is that I have around 10,000 novel ideas as a result of my lunchtime walks. The bad news is that when I get back to work, I never write them down because the moment I sit back down at my desk, the shit hits the fan and I am plunged back into the abyss of the rat race before I have the time to write down a paragraph about invisible mutant aliens turning people into slaves.

However, I am certainly more relaxed and, for an hour or so at least, I find myself going about the daily grind with a smile on my face and a more relaxed approach to work.

I recommend you try it, dear reader. Once a day, grab hold of your own musical device and walk around the streets of your town or city for half an hour or so. Take off the chains of your imagination, walk through an interesting door and see where it leads you.

In almost all cases you will be amazed.

And for any Mancunians out there, if you see a greying blond nutcase singing or laughing as he walks – it might just be me.

Feel free to say “Hi Dave!” – I will try not to yell back at you.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A Castle

After two depressing posts, I think it’s time to add a little bit of joy to the proceedings.

This year has been shit but in the midst of the manure, I have visited a couple of great little places in England in my quest to see as much of my own country as possible.

The first place is Ludlow, a small market town hidden in the countryside of South Shropshire. It’s a wonderful little place with almost 500 listed buildings, i.e. buildings that have been added to the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

There is also an old medieval castle that has sadly fallen into decline over the years and while it is largely in ruins, it is still interesting enough to visit.

Ludlow is a lovely little town, filled with history and surrounded by verdant countryside that is excellent for a decent ramble on a Saturday morning; a great way to relax if you need to unwind after a stressful week at work.

Mrs PM and I spent the weekend simply walking around, visiting the castle and enjoying hearty English fare washed down with a pint or two of the finest English ale.

Ludlow is home to a couple of interesting structures.

First, Ludlow Castle, initially started way back in 1086, stands over the town like a silent sentinel. It’s fallen into disrepair over the years and is now largely in ruins. However, there is enough present for a stimulating visit.

Originating a couple of hundred years later, St Laurence’s church is also significant building and can be seen from most of the town.

If you are a fan of English architecture, you will love the place.

Here are few photos.

Mrs PM - A Damsel in Distress
A Knight to the Rescue

Finally, I encountered quite an interesting toilet in a pub (I’m sorry to discuss toilets again). This one had beer barrels as urinals with humorous little signs indicating how a man’s liquid waste product can be converted back into ale. I had to break men’s public toilet etiquette rules and risk being thought of as some kind of pervert by taking a photograph in the men’s loo. Thankfully I was alone when I did this. 

Here is the photo.

Which one is used for lager?
The things I do for this blog.

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Right – I’ve just written a post about Donald Trump but a recent tweet by the orange lunatic has prompted me to write yet another one. I don’t want to dedicate more posts to him but I feel I have to in this case.

I just want to tell America that Donald Trump is a liar and you should not believe a single word that comes out of his mouth or any word he throws into cyberspace via Twitter.

Here is the tweet that has forced me to rant about Trump AGAIN:

Not content with telling lies about his own country, he is now telling blatant lies about mine!
How fucking dare you! 
Let’s analyse this tweet.
Yes, crime as risen by 13% in the UK, something I am sure our government aren’t proud of. I would like to write a separate post about the reasons for that – cuts to the police force by our own incompetent ruling party if you’re interested - but I won’t because of the words of the moron in the White House.
The police have indicated that they recorded 5.2 million offences last year the bulk of which were NOT associated with terrorism. Can you read that Mr Trump? I will write it again.
Can you understand that, Mr Trump?
Most of the crimes committed were the usual things; public order offences, robbery, possession of weapons, stalking and harassment.
And here’s another statistic for you. There were 664 murders in England and Wales and only 35 of those were caused by the terror attacks in London and Manchester.
Donald Trump is a liar.
How dare he abuse a headline like this to fuel the fear of extreme radical Islamic terror.
And I had to laugh at the end of this tweet:  “We must keep America safe”.
Can I tell you how to keep America safe, you orange buffoon?
Get rid of your bloody guns!
Here are some facts that perhaps Donald Trump should worry himself about.
America is not safe and it is not due to radical Islamic terrorism.
One white non-Islamic man opened fire on a concert on October 1st of this year and killed 58 people, injuring 546. 
One man!
And that’s not the whole story. The statistics about gun crime in America make very uncomfortable reading. For example from 1st January 2015 to 2nd December 2015, there were 355 mass shootings in America. That’s 335 mass shootings in 336 days – more than one a day.
And this statistic applies every year. If you don’t believe me, take a look for yourself.
What Trump needs to do is focus on his own country’s problems by facing up to the NRA and actually doing something, instead of abusing statistics about other countries in an attempt to brainwash gullible supporters into turning against Islam with pure lies.
I’m sure many Americans stumble on this blog and I welcome them with open arms. I love America and every time I have been there I have had a great time. 
Nevertheless, I despise your current President and I suspect (hope) most of you are the same. For those who don't hate him, I implore you to ignore the blatant lies he tells in public with no shame, particularly those about other countries.
Please check the facts and don’t take the random ravings of this lunatic as gospel. 
Donald Trump is lying just to brainwash Americans into following his own deranged agenda.
The only fake news we see at the moment comes from Donald Trump’s twitter account. Every single time he opens his big mouth in public his words are lies and bullshit.
Please ignore him and do your own research. 
You know it makes sense.
In return I shall try not to post any more about Trump. 
I feel sick about this already.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Trumpa Loompa

Donald Trump!

What a man!

What a legend!

I am astonished by what he has achieved in recent years and find myself gaping in wonder at his triumphs.

Donald Trump is President of the United States of America, elected by promising to make America great again. Having been a frequent visitor to the US I wonder how this is possible but clearly he has seen something the rest of the world hasn’t. I realise that there are people out there who doubt this and my own personal theory is that he is doing his best to bring America to its knees in his first term in order to make the country rise up like a phoenix when the next President has to pick up the pieces. Clearly he thinks it will take a few terms to achieve his goals of rebuilding this self-proclaimed greatest country in the world.

And he has God on his side. At the inauguration ceremony, where it was clearly raining, Donald told the world that God made the sun shine. The rest of us saw pissing rain – but Donald saw God. The rest of us saw a below average crowd of witnesses to this event whereas Donald saw billions of people – the greatest number of people in history to witness the inauguration of a President.

Donald also has the ability to run the government on social media. Twitter has become the means of making the country amazing again with policy statement after policy statement crammed into 140 letters. He even invents new words like ”covfefe” – a true genius at work.

Talking of genius, nobody has taken Donald up on his challenge to have an IQ test. They are running scared because Donald has a higher IQ than anybody in the world. He doesn’t have to prove himself. He’s the President for heaven’s sake.

I am also envious of his hair. Yes – you read that correctly. My hair is a sentient beast and leaps at every opportunity to humiliate me.  Donald has the BALLS to face his own sentient beast and march out to face his loyal people with his head held high even when his own hair has appalling ideas of its own.

Moreover, while we’re on the subject of physical appearance, Donald is a trendsetter. His skin colour is amazing and redefines the word “orange”. We all know that “orange is the new black”, a phrase I am certain that Donald invented via Twitter sometime in the past. Either he wants to be an influential leader or he is simply an orange alien with crazy hair. You decide.

Donald also trying to redefine “misogyny” because (he says) he respects all women. All the talk about grabbing women in  intimate places has to be fake news – surely. Surely his quip about dating his own daughter was a joke, When he said way back in 1992 that “you have to treat ‘em like shit!” that had to be fake news too, didn’t it?

Okay – who am I kidding here? All the buffoonery above is total bollocks!

The man is a bloody arse. Everybody knows it but nobody will admit it.

Surely America has sussed this guy out.


There are numerous examples of him talking utter bollocks, boasting, lying, contradicting himself, being nasty to anyone who criticises him, hiring incompetents and firing people who challenge him.

There must be millions of Americans who voted for him saying “What on earth possessed me?”

Make America great again? Really?

Donald Trump has made America a laughing stock. But it isn’t funny any more. All he does in the White House is massage his own ego, something he cares about much more than his country.

Worse, his bullshit is taking a sinister turn. Here are some disturbing quotes:

“Rocket man is on a suicide mission for him and his regime.”

“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen ... he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

And what about this scary exchange when Trump recently posed with a room full of military leaders:

Trump: Maybe it’s the calm before the storm. Could be, the calm. The calm before the storm.

Press: What do you mean, Mr President?

Trump: We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening.

Press: But what do you mean by “calm before the storm”, Mr President?

Trump: You’ll find out.

What the bloody hell is THAT supposed to mean?

Is he going to authorise a major military offensive?

Is he making threats to a deranged power-hungry lunatic in North Korea who just happens to be testing missiles that may soon reach the United States armed with a nuke?

Will this be the start of World War 3?

Oh my God!

I tell you what: there has never been a President like Donald Trump – and I hope to God that there will never be another one.

Here are some thoughts from British comedians:

I hope that's cheered you up a bit.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Hello Again!

Hello again, Internet.

It’s been a while – over two months to be exact – but I do have my reasons. There has been a lot going on and I may reveal some details in due course. But then again I may not.

Anyway, enough about that.

How have you been?

By the way, when I say “it’s been a while” I really mean that it has been a while since I have bored you with drivel from my ample yet flawed imagination.

Of course I have been lurking, reading about how Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are trying to start World War 3; reading about yet another psychopath with a gun in America;  reading how Donald Trump is slowly bringing America to its knees while still pretending that he wants to make America great again; reading how the United Kingdom is heading towards oblivion with Brexit, like a ship heading towards a huge waterfall while pretending that the waterfall doesn’t exist, with politicians trying to convince the population that the ship will fly into cloud cuckoo land instead.

It’s all very depressing and doesn’t help my mood.

Yet, after all of this, I am trying to be positive again and despite fate, life and circumstance I think I am back on that road, looking forward to 2018.

Yes – that’s right. I have cast 2017 into the dumpster alongside 2016 – and you may note that it is only October.

Still – it is my birthday in just under a week so I’m looking forward to being at the age where I can get my hands on my pension, should I have the desire to jeopardize my retirement. Don’t worry, I’m not stupid enough to blow it all on a Ferrari or a round the world trip (as tempting as that is).

Normal blogging buffoonery will resume next week (I’m sure you can’t wait).

See you then.

P.S. I’ll leave you on a positive note with a nice little tune that I like from Steven Wilson’s new album.

See you soon.

Friday, 28 July 2017


Daily Mail readers are outraged – again.

Usually the target of their wrath are “looney lefties”, immigrants and people who voted Remain in the EU referendum.

This time, however, they have a new target – the BBC.

Are they angry because of media bias against their beloved Conservative Party? No. They are angry over the choice of an actor in a well-loved BBC drama.

The have chosen a woman to play the part of Dr Who.

Oh my GOD!! How could they?

Here are some of the comments that have surfaced from the politically incorrect, right-wing morons who read the Daily Mail –and the equally obnoxious newspaper, The Sun:

“Nobody wants a TARDIS full of bras!”

“If they made a separate series about a female time lord no one would watch it. Just as no one would watch a women-only tennis tournament. Women have to ride on men's coat-tails and if necessary hijack the concept in order to get noticed. This just one of the reasons why there will never be equality. Women generally don't have the initiative nor the willingness to take risks.”

“The BBC are trying to brainwash your children.”

“She'll get a second series where she'll get written out of story to make room for male Doctor. By this time the real Who fans would've stopped watching and can't be bothered due the writers bowing to feminism and the PC brigade. Not [only] have BBC shot themselves in the foot, they'll certainly lose money on the merchandising. What wants to dress up as a woman? What a waste of a regeneration!!”

“The reason the Doctor can't be female is simple, she'd only be of any use protecting mankind from the evils of the universe for three weeks out of four.”

“Knock, Knock....whose there? Dr......Dr Who? Yes,...I've lost mi key in mi handbag....let us in chuck!.”

“Time travel is for men – and men only”

“I'll stop watching now but a tip for the BBC. You're not being PC enough yet. She not an ethnic minority, lesbian, asylum seeker and didn't vote Remain.”

“Political correctness should not exist in space”

“They should rename the show “Nurse Who”

From a personal perspective, I was a little surprised but I welcome the decision. Jodie Whittaker, the new Doctor, is a great actress. Mrs PM loved her in a programme called Broadchurch.

As well as having moronic misogynistic readers, some of the right wing tabloids have decided to introduce Jodie Whittaker to those who don’t know of her by showing naked stills of her from other TV programmes.

"Here’s Jodie Whittaker – a decent actress. We don’t want to talk to her about her new role – we will just show dirty pictures of her having sex in another steamy TV programme."

All of this shows how crap the United Kingdom is becoming. This misogynistic, politically incorrect undercurrent has been bubbling under for quite a few years now but rags like the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Sun have been championing these narrow minded views, peddling hatred and obnoxious views. Their voices are getting louder now and I am disturbed by this.

People who read the Daily Mail and Daily Express take every word as gospel – even the outrageous lies that they publish. No wonder we are drifting slowly into oblivion.

Mrs PM’s mother reads the Daily Express religiously and when I visit, I sit there on her sofa ranting like a madman as I read it. I do so out of curiosity and to gain an insight into how these people think but within minutes I am almost overcome by a psychotic urge to set fire to the bloody thing in rage.

One day I may actually ask Mrs PM to video me while I am reading it. You will laugh your heads off – I promise – and I won’t be acting for the camera.

Anyway – to conclude – Dr Who is a shape-shifting alien being, owned by the BBC and, most importantly, is a work of fiction.

The BBC can do what they hell they like with the character.

I welcome Jodie Whittaker and I hope she is an amazing Dr Who.

And here’s a message for outraged Daily Mail readers and the authors of the comments above.

“Get a fucking life!”

Monday, 10 July 2017

700 Posts and More Travel Snippets

Well, folks, it’s another milestone for The Plastic Mancunian – this is my 700th post. This means that I have written 700 posts of utter drivel, averaging about 900 words per post making a rough total of 630,000 words of nonsense to bore anybody who happens to stumble on this web site whilst presumably looking for something more important and interesting.

In fact, the 10th anniversary of The Plastic Mancunian is 21st March 2018 – and I think that might be a fitting point to call it a day. I haven’t fully decided this yet but it seems a good place to stop and put my energies into writing something more worthwhile – watch this space.

However, that is about 8 months away and until then I shall continue to bore you with drivel. 

I rarely use Facebook these days, but one of the main applications I use is something from Tripadvisor that allows me to record where I have travelled. Thus far, it tells me that I have been to 34 countries, including 368 cities. By “cities” the application really means cities, towns and villages; but I’m not complaining. It also tells me that I have travelled 294,688 miles and seen 25% of the world. 

I aim to increase all of these statistics before I say hello to God in person.

Here is a map of my travels:

I thought I’d would repeat a similar post I wrote way back in 2010 (you can read it here) and share a few more snippets of fun that I have experienced from my travels from 2010 to the present day:

(1)        Muscat, Oman – I had a rather strange but very tasty dish: Camel Biriyani.

(2)        British Columbia, Canada – I stood on a glacier in the snow drinking whiskey. I hate whiskey but it was required to warm myself up.

(3)        Reykjavic, Iceland – I found myself on a dance floor in an Icelandic night club surrounded by five gorgeous, tall blond women. Mrs PM said that I looked terrified.

(4)        Boston, USA – I met Henry VIII on a street – promoting Virgin flights to the UK. He didn’t think I was English and asked if I wanted the trip of a lifetime – back to England.

(5)        Cape Cod, USA – We stayed with a wonderful old couple in Cape Cod who referred to us as “the kids”, not really realising that I was 48 at the time.

(6)        Salvador, Brazil – The only way I could communicate with a lot of Brazilians was using very bad Spanish in the vague hope that they would also speak it as a second language. It worked – once or twice.

(7)        British Columbia, Canada – the scenery in this wonderful part of the world is amongst the most breath-taking I have ever seen.

(8)        Seattle, USA – Mrs PM’s dad was asked for ID when ordering a beer. He was 68 years old at the time.

(9)        Muscat, Oman – the hottest temperature I have ever experienced is 46°C. I thought I was going to melt.

(10)     Hakone, Japan – I used an onsen for the first time. It was like taking a hot bath.

(11)     Barcelona, Spain – Barcelona is home to one of the greatest football teams in Europe, if not the world. And I managed to find a bar showing my own beloved team’s game. They are Walsall and are in the third tier of the English football league.

(12)     Santorini, Greece – I climbed a volcano in beach sandals.

(13)     Berlin, Germany – I walked into a restricted area outside the Reichstag, reserved only for German politicians and staff. A stern but friendly German police officer showed me the correct way to go.

(14)     Muscat, Oman – I refused to carry on a training course until my students agreed to form the Omani division of the Walsall Football Supporters Club. They agreed but wondered why I don’t support a good team like Manchester United or Manchester City.

(15)     Alaska, USA – Alaska is the only place I have ever seen blue ice floating in a freezing cold sea.

(16)     Blue Lagoon, Iceland – Heaven is sitting in a geothermal spa with a silica mud mask drinking a glass of beer.

(17)     Boston, USA – I informed a group of American tourists on a famous boat used in the War for Independence that they were lucky to have won and that one day we’ll be back. They took it in jest rather than lynching me – I guess Americans do understand British humour after all.

(18)     Tokyo, Japan – The Robot Restaurant is the craziest and entertaining show I have ever been to.

(19)     Bύzios, Brazil – Mrs PM and I saw a model phot shoot at our hotel whilst relaxing by a pool. I did not stare at them and I certainly didn’t take any photos myself (well not many anyway).

(20)     Alaska, USA –                 I was introduced to log rolling, where two men run on a log in water until one of them plunges into the icy water. Great fun to watch but not much fun if you lose.

(21)     Reykjavic, Iceland – I ate whale for the first and only time. Not a whole one!!

(22)     Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – The only mosque I have ever visited is the Sheikh Zayed Mosqu in Abu Dhabi. It is huge and beautiful and can accommodate 40,000 worshippers.

(23)     Kunming, China – I was asked, as guest of honour, to select the fish we would be having for dinner. The poor thing was swimming with his friends and ended up on our plate. I was sad about this particularly at the end when the tank was missing one resident.

(24)     Lisbon, Portugal – Lisbon has a smaller version of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

(25)     Hakone, Japan – We stayed in a Japanese-style hotel and wore a yukata for mealtimes.

(26)     Monaco – I have never seen so many supercars in one place at any one time.

(27)     Rome, Italy – I celebrated my 50th birthday in Rome with friends, one of whom , another Dave, was also 50. We were forced to wear a “50 Today” badge while the women in the group wore a T shirt with a picture of the two of us enclosed in a heart with the slogan “Happy 50th Birthday You Old Gits!”

(28)     Berlin, Germany – We actually ate a Berliner, which contrary to a popular ex-American president, is a doughnut (a Berliner Pfannkuchen in fact).

(29)     Tokyo, Japan – Mrs PM and I got lost in Shinjuku railway, not once but three times. The third time, a member of staff who tried to help us was also clueless.

(30)     Boston, USA – I had a beer in Cheers.

(31)     Nice, France – Nice is my favourite city in France and I will not let the antics of a nutcase in a lorry stop me from going back.

(32)     Puerto Banús, Spain – I strolled down a crowded street walking between a cruising Ferrari and a cruising Lamborghini. Bloody show offs!

(33)     Dubai, United Arab Emirates - In order to conquer my fear of heights I climbed the Burl Khalifa in Dubai – the tallest building in the world at 828 metres. My quest  failed. I am still scared of heights .

(34)     Tokyo, Japan – This city is absolutely huge. Having spent three days there I only saw about a quarter of the place.

(35)     British Columbia, Canada – I met a Mountie, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

(36)     Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – We strolled along Ipanema Beach whilst drinking a coconut and shortly afterwards on Copacabana Beach while drinking beer. Beautiful.

(37)     Marbella, Spain – Keen to show off my blossoming Spanish skills I ordered  a beer and ended up with shandy!

(38)     Kyoto, Japan – Two very drunk businessmen starting talking to us in a sushi bar and tried to persuade in very broken English to join them on a bar crawl. Thankfully we had a bullet train to catch.

(39)     Kunming, China – I ate some of the most wonderful yet weird food I have had. I avoided insects.

(40)     Beijing, China – I ate some of the most wonderful yet weird food I have ever had – again! I avoided pig brain.

(41)     Dubai, United Arab Emirates – You can buy gold bars from a vending machine. I didn’t because I am skint.

(42)     Alaska, USA – There is a photograph of me about to put a dollar bill in the cleavage of a very buxom waitress.  And Mrs PM’s dad was doing exactly the same. Don’t worry  - everybody was doing it; we were in a themed restaurant/bar pretending to be a whorehouse and it was a bit of fun. The photo was taken by his wife.

(43)     Tokyo, Japan – I used the world’s best toilet in Tokyo. I’m glad I work in IT so I could work out how to operate it.

(44)     Berlin, Germany – We were in Berlin for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall but missed the celebrations by two days.

(45)     Kunming, China – I saw the world’s worst toilet on a building site in Kunming. I am delighted that I didn’t have to use it.

(46)     Iguaçu Falls, Brazil and Argentina – I visited something more impressive than Niagara Falls, namely Iguaçu Falls. We were so impressed that we saw them in Brazil one day and just over the border in Argentina the next day.

(47)     Barcelona, Spain – La Sagrada Familia, the famous cathedral in Barcelona, is still not complete 135 years after it was started. It will finally be finished in 2026.

(48)     Kyoto, Japan – We visited a shrine with around 10,000 sacred gates (torii). An amazing sight.

(49)     Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - In order to conquer my fear of heights I climbed Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro to see the legendary statue of Christ the Redeemer. My quest  failed. I am still scared of heights

(50)     Hong Kong – After visiting for the umpteenth time in 2013, I can safely say that it is still my favourite city in the world. Mrs PM and I hope to go again in 2018 for our 20th anniversary.

That's it for now. If I have made you laugh or held you interest for a minute or two then that’s great. 

See you for post 701 and once again thank you so much for bothering to read the nonsense I write.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Anger Management

I wanted 2017 be a good year compared to the debacle that was 2016 but so far it is proving to be as bad – if not worse.

I won’t elaborate yet but suffice it to say that I am struggling to contain my anger as well as the other negative emotions that are vying for position.

The good news is that I have a new framework for controlling them – but boy is it hard sometimes.  I want to focus in particular on anger, arguably the most negative and destructive of these emotions.

I have recently been driving to my hometown of Walsall quite a lot and this has been one of many sources of anger and frustration. The distance between Manchester and Walsall is approximately 75 miles and motorways cover all but about five of those miles. On a good day, in the past, the journey has taken me about an hour and fifteen minutes – which doesn’t seem that bad – does it?

The problem is that the main motorway that joins Manchester and Walsall is the M6, which is the worst motorway in the world – or at least in the north of England (if I’m honest).

When I am driving between the two places, the motorway tries to make it as difficult as possible by pushing every single one of the hot buttons that make me angry when I am behind the wheel of a car.

The ensuing road rage is a sight to behold, particularly if you are watching from a distance. If it were a movie, you would grow fat on all of the popcorn you ate as you watched me devolve into a ranting Neanderthal version of myself.

Let me take you through some of the hot buttons.

First, there are major roadworks for four junctions near to Manchester, resulting in the speed limit being reduced from 70 mph to 50 mph. There are 17 miles of this nonsense. During this tedious distance several things happen. There is no hard shoulder so if a car or lorry breaks down or a car has an accident then the whole motorway grinds to an absolute standstill. The motorway is usually busy anyway so we all end up sitting there immobile for what seems like hours on end. Equally frustrating, cars and lorries overtake each other at approximately 35 mph sometimes slowing everybody down completely.

The M6 on a good day!!!
I have crawled along every single mile of that damned motorway at 10 mph! I know every bloody square inch of that motorway in intimate detail!

Next, the M6 is full of lorries. You have never seen so many lorries on a motorway. Some of these lorries travel at 55mph, which isn’t a bad thing until another lorry, just behind, decides to overtake at 56 mph. When this happens, some car drivers lose their minds and swerve into the fast lane without really looking. Others decide to overtake the overtaking lorry at 57 mph thus blocking the motorway for those of us who are in a hurry and travelling at 70 mph. This behaviour causes instant congestion and, depending on how busy the motorway is, can lead to irritating lengthy tailbacks.

Next, the M6 brings out the dick in many drivers’ heads turning them from normal human beings into complete dickheads. For example, there I was in the fast lane overtaking other cars in the other two lanes when Mr Dickhead came up behind me. I was travelling at around 70 mph and this moron roared up at 90 mph and got so close that I thought his car was trying to mate with mine. In my rear view mirror I could see him bashing his steering wheel in frustration. He started flashing his lights.

So where the fuck was I supposed to go? Next to me in lane two were lorries driving nose to tail. I couldn’t have pulled in if I had tried, at least not without causing a major collision.

Did he think my car was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and could take off just to let him pass?

And these dickheads always seem to be driving a Mercedes or a BMW or an Audi. Is it a prerequisite of buying such a car that you have to mutate into a total dickhead when you get behind the wheel?

And then there’s the person who was in lane two approaching a junction. I was in the slow lane. Suddenly, he realised that he was going to miss his turn off and, without even looking went to shoot across my lane to escape the insanity of the motorway. Except I was there and this pillock was inches from side-swiping my car and causing a major accident. Thankfully, he realised at the last minute and swerved back, missing his junction and making my heart miss several beats.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, dear reader. This post could have gone on for days and days but I think I had better rein myself in.

The journey generally takes at least an hour and a half with the record being two and a half hours, which included being stuck in the same place for 45 minutes while the emergency services cleared up an overturned caravan.

I am somehow managing the anger because I have my music (a useful tool for dissipating rage as described in my last post) and when the traffic comes to a standstill I tend to escape into a calmer place with mindfulness techniques.

Also, I can rant on this blog post – that’s a great anger management technique.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Guide To Life - Music

I think my views on music can be summed up perfectly by the lyrics of a song by John Miles called, simply, “Music” from 1976:

Music was my first love
And it will be my last.
Music of the future
And music of the past.
To live without my music
Would be impossible to do.
In this world of troubles,
My music pulls me through.

For me, music can change my mood completely and I often find myself turning to it to change my mood for the better. I spend a good deal of my time listening to music during the day. When I am in the house on my own and not sitting in front of the television, music will be blaring out of my computer speakers, no matter what else I am doing.

In fact, as I type this, I am actually listening to the song.

Regular readers will know about my passion for music, and the particular genres I like. However, this post is not about my own taste and I won’t be boring you with references to progressive rock and heavy metal.

Instead I would like to talk about what music means to me.

I once wrote a post about which sense I could lose for a year if I were forced to do so. Here’s what I wrote about hearing:

“Like sight, hearing is a major sense that I simply do not think I could do without. I love listening to noises and conversation and, most importantly, my vast collection of music.

Losing my hearing for an entire year would be like not listening to a single song during that period or exchanging words with friends, strangers and, of course, Mrs PM.

That would be unacceptable.”

The key thing here is music because I think I would probably go insane.

I can deal with most situations and moods but when I struggle I turn to music to help me through. Over the years music has somehow pulled me through many difficult situation and helped to change my state of mind from a negative mood to a more positive and realistic one.
I don’t really know why this is.

If I am angry, I can take that anger on with a dose of heavy metal to combat the rage head on. It may sound weird but angry music actually calms me down.

If I am sad, I can listen to uplifting more sedate songs, which help raise my mood and make my mind think of the beauty and wonder in the world, changing my focus on sadness to one of joy.

If I am bored, for example on a lonely drive to another town, I can lose myself in any kind of music and kick start my imagination to allow myself to ponder life and totally relieve the boredom of battling traffic on a busy motorway.

Similarly the boredom of travelling on a long haul flight can be relieved by listening to my vast collection of music.

I have also said on this mad blog that music for me is like a time machine and some of the older songs in my collection can take me back to happy times when I was a lot younger– kind of like a beacon to the past.

While I may criticize the musical tastes of other people, I only do so to steer them away from those who would exploit the artists. As I have become older, I have tried to stop doing this because I have learned that music is totally personal and to attack their music is almost an attack on them. These days I try to say “that’s not my cup of tea” rather than “you have no musical taste whatsoever”.

Mrs PM is a prime example of this.

Our tastes in music are poles apart and I struggle to listen to her music – and of course the opposite is true. I am educating myself to be less critical and, instead, just trying to find common ground so that we can both listen to music that we both like.

It is difficult though because music truly is personal. A song that may take Mrs PM back to a great time in her life might do the opposite to me.

I also know that no two people have exactly the same tastes in music. I have a very close friend with whom I go to concerts but while we like the same bands generally, there are some bands and styles that we simply cannot agree on. For example, I love twenty minute progressive rock masterpieces and he can’t stand them. He likes modern pop punk songs, which generally bore me.

Nobody is the same when it comes to musical taste but, I think, most people have the same passion for music.

As far as music is concerned we should all appreciate music and not criticize each other’s tastes. I have been very guilty of this in recent years and I am trying to change my attitude and open myself up to understand why somebody would rather listen to rap than rock.

It’s hard but I am slowly beginning to understand.

I will conclude by once again pointing out that there is a whole world of music out there on the internet and you shouldn’t be spoon fed your music by radio stations with a hidden agenda.

I won’t rant about it – it’s just an observation.

Music is precious and shouldn’t be exploited.

To finish off, here is the song I was listening to while writing this post. It’s a nice song.