• BBC exclusive: police turn axe into firearm

    As any fool knows, there is a world of difference between edged and bladed weapons such as axes and knives which are used at arm’s length and ranged weapons used at a distance and firing projectiles such as arrows, bullets, shells and the like.

    Today’s BBC news site features a world exclusive: the Hamburg police have been able to convert an axe so it fires bullets, thus coming up with a combined edged/bladed and ranged weapon; or if that is not the case, that’s one interpretation that can be placed on the headline in the following screenshot.

    Headline - Hamburg police shoot man with axe ahead of Euros match

    If by some chance the German police have not pulled off this incredible feat, somewhere in the depths of Broadcasting House, there is likely some hapless person who fell asleep in or was absent from school English lessons or media studies lectures when the subject of ambiguity – i.e. the quality of something having more than one possible meaning – was brought up.

    To save the hapless BBC hack any future embarrassment, your ‘umble scribe suggests that she or he visits Al Jazeera’s piece on the incident to learn how to write an unambiguous headline as per the screenshot below. Note the use of the hyphen, BBC person. 😀

    Headline - German police shoot axe-wielding suspect before Euro 2024 match in Hamburg

    One final thing: the item being carried by the person shot by Hamburg police was not actually an axe, but a slate hammer (Schieferhammer), a tool used by roofers. This was confirmed by finding a German language media report of the incident, where Schieferhammer figures prominently in the headline. The BBC was not the only British media outlet to misreport the item used by the police’s assailant; the Independent had the man attacking police with a pickaxe.

  • X Man: thin skin meets humour

    The excessively wealthy man-baby commonly known as Elon Musk is a well-known egotist.

    However, Musk, who has recently been awarded a massive and unwarranted boost to his already considerable riches by Tesla shareholders, has another asset that is less well-known, namely an excessively thin skin.

    Whilst Musk is a deeply unpleasant character who will not hesitate to insult others, once famously calling one of the rescuers of a boys football team trapped in a Thai cave “pedo guy as he felt slighted by his the person he insulted, Musk can’t handle the mildest of mocking, as the following exchange on Twitter/X shows.

    Elon Musk tweets Legalize humor! The response from Liam Nissan reaads Says the guy who banned me for calling him Sissy SpaceX.
    Think before you tweet…

    It is often said that with the wealthy the most sensitive part of their anatomy is the bank balance. Be that as it may, the above exchange proves this is not necessarily a default position for all plutocrats. In the case of Musk the ego is clearly his most delicate organ.

  • Monoglot Saxons screw up badly west of Offa’s Dyke

    Election time is the time for political gaffes by all involved in politics, a profession which has in the past been described as show business for ugly people.

    There’s been alleged prime minister Rishi Sunak accused of being a D-Day dodger by slipping away early from the 80th anniversary commemorations of Operation Overlord to do an interview with ITV. Liberal Democrat supremo Ed Davey has been filmed and photographed variously falling off objects or into water in miscellaneous stunts masquerading as political campaigning, whilst over in the Labour camp, all of its control freakery could not stop Keir Starmer being heckled at the party’s manifesto launch.

    Minor parties like the Greens or regional parties like the Scottish Nation Party and Plaid Cymru or in the occupied six counties of Ireland have struggled to get coverage in the mainstream British media, which has concentrated almost 100% of its coverage on the residents of the Westminster bubble, seemingly believing that what has been billed as a British general election is a strictly English matter.

    However, the regional press is providing its own election coverage beyond the constricting noose of the M25 London orbital car park, particularly when it comes the English political class screwing up badly in the devolved regions as Nation Cymru reports on a glaring linguistic cock-up by the Nigel Farage Fascist Fan Club Ltd., which masquerades as a political party called Reform UK.

    Farage’s fanbois and girls have been accused of a cavalier attitude towards the Welsh language after a party political broadcast used mistranslated copy in a political broadcast shown on Welsh television stations, as per the screenshot below.

    Screenshot from BBC iPlayer showing mistranslated text

    Nation Cymru helpfully states how Reform had mangled its simplistic message – Britain is broken. Britain needs Reform – in Cymraeg:

    Whilst the words ‘Prydain’ and ‘angen’ individually translate to word for word copies of ‘Britain’ and ‘need’, when used together it in fact should have been “Mae angen Reform ar Brydain”.

    The article points out that Google Translate – a tool not noted for the accuracy of a its output – managed a better translation than Reform UK did. One unnamed person quoted by Nation Cymru summarised the problem as follows:

    “This does not look particularly respectful of the Welsh people and their language. It also shows a cavalier attitude towards accuracy.”

    However, Reform’s – and Farage’s – cavalier attitude does not stop at the Welsh language. It has a wide embrace, encompassing those annoyingly important little things known to ordinary people as facts.

  • LibreOffice 24.2.4 now released

    Last week the blog of The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the release of LibreOffice 24.2.4, the latest point release of the office suite since its switch to the new version numbering system.

    LibreOffice logo

    The updated release is available for immediate download for all major operating systems, GNU/Linux, MacOS and Windows. It includes over 70 bug and regression fixes compared with LibreOffice 24.2.3 to improve the software’s stability.

    LibreOffice is the only office suite with a feature set comparable to – if not better* than – the ubiquitous and overpriced Microsoft Office suite.. It also offers a range of interface options to suit all user habits, from traditional to modern, and makes the most of different screen form factors by optimising the space available on the desktop to put the maximum number of features just a click or two away.

    See the LibreOffice wiki for the bug fixes implemented in RC1 and RC2.

    Finally, those who wish to support the work of The Document Foundation are invited to make a donation.

    * = Like direct export in the epub e-book file format, for example.

  • Vos passeports, s.v.p. !

    An irony of our times came to light at the 80th anniversary D-Day celebrations as yet another dubious Brexit bonus emerged, further illustrating the Untied Kingdom’s third country EU status, as well as depicting a bureaucratic obstacle not faced by those arriving in Normandy on 6th June 1944.

    The screenshot below of a post on X/Twitter by the Brexitshambles account needs no further comment, apart from to add that the parachutists not only had to show their passports, but get them stamped too, so that officials can check in future whether they’ve overstayed their maximum term of 90 days in a European Union member state. 😀

    Post reads - So you thought we'd reached Peak Brexit? Watch British Paratroopers who after being dropped into Sannerville, France, to commemorate D-Day, had to show their passports to the French Douane... @Nigel Farage must be so proud

    Update: 07/06/2024: Today’s Guardian has reported on the above incident, noting that ‘while immigration checks for British troops on exercise abroad are routine, doing so at a public commemoration is deemed exceptional‘.

  • Conservatives’ National Service proposal – social media responds

    Yesterday’s duff election idea from the soon-to-be-annihilated Conservative Party was the reintroduction of mandatory national service, otherwise known in more plain-speaking parts of the world as military service or conscription.

    Your ‘umble scribe remembers older people during his 1960s childhood advocating the return of conscription as a panacea to cure all the evils that emerged during the 1960s like social progress (e.g. the abolition of the death penalty, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, legalisation of abortion, etc.), youth culture, colourful clothes, the consumption of drugs other than alcohol and tobacco, contraception, sexual promiscuity and everything else they didn’t like about the time.

    Needless to say, the Conservatives’ idea to revive conscription has been widely ridiculed on social media.

    First out of the blocks, a lovely post parodying not just the idea itself, but Britain’s misplaced and chauvinistic idea of its own greatness, when in reality thanks to Brexit, it’s a small island off the west coast of Europe that has shut itself off from closer ties with its neighbours.

    Advert reads Army - Be the best. Caption reads The Tory National Service plan.

    Also featuring on social media posts was ridicule of the Conservative Party itself, particularly its more unpleasant members such as the dishonourable member for Stoke-on-Trent North, one Jonathan Edward Gullis (majority 6,286). In a previous life Gullis was a schoolteacher.

    Post reads  Dear Rishi, this is Johns mum.
He cant do National Services as hes two busy doing MPing and has a sore tummy. Love Johns mum xxx

    Whether the poor spelling and punctuation are deliberate is unknown.

    A different line of attack was taken by those who are critical of the Tories seeing everything as an opportunity to make money such as the grasping ‘Baroness’ Michelle Georgina Mone, who during the Covid-19 pandemic succeeded in selling the British government £200m of useless PPE via her husband’s newly-established PPE Medpro company.

    Photograph of Michelle Mone below the words Hi Rishi. It's Michelle from Mone Military Uniforms.

    Meanwhile in the offline world, Former chief of the naval staff, Admiral Alan West, has described the plan as “bonkers” and added it would deplete the defence budget.

  • General election – the trolling begins

    Yesterday the unelected prime minister of the Untied Kingdom, one Rishi Sunak, standing at a lectern in the pouring rain in Downing Street, announced to the assembled media sheltering under umbrellas and tarpaulins that a general election would be held on 4th July, an historic date given that in 1776, England’s north American colonies unanimously declared their desire to secede.

    To many Mr. Sunak’s announcement was utterly bizarre. It was poorly managed, badly staged and had the unmistakable feel of an impetuous last minute decision, never mind the fact that the alleged prime minister was almost drowned out by Steve ‘Mr Stop Brexit’ Bray playing D:Ream’s Things Can Only Gert Better on a portable sound system in Whitehall.

    The Guardian’s political sketch writer John Crace had lots of fun with Sunak’s soggy discomfiture, with his latest piece, entitled ‘ Cringing in the rain: soggy Rish! kickstarts his farewell tour‘.

    However, it was not just professional journalists like Mr Crace who were having fun at Fishy Rishi’s expense yesterday. There was plenty of response to the unexpected news on social media too.

    One stand-out contribution to this came from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which posted a very barbed comment at Mr Sunak and his Conservative Party which has been notoriously anti-trade union since the inception of the organised labour movement, mischievously recommending that Mr Sunak should join a union if he was being mistreated at work.

    Forced to work in the rain unnecessarily? Join a union.

    In addition, the X/Twitter account allegedly run by Larry, the Downing Street cat (also known as the Chief Mouser to the Treasury. Ed.), also joined in the fun, giving full rein to the belief that cats are allergic to rain.

    Lots of people asking me where I was when Sunak announced the election. I was inside, because it was raining. Only an idiot would have gone out in that... #GeneralElection

    It has noted by some that the timing of Sunak’s announcement is rather curious. Was it really timed to knock the Post Office Horizon public inquiry and the contaminated blood scandal off newspaper front pages?

    Have your say in the comments below.

    No doubt lots more banter and trolling will be forthcoming over the next weeks…

  • Blakey’s discourteous successors

    Cyril 'Blakey' Blake played by actor Stephen LewisFrom 1969 to 1973, ITV aired a comedy entitled On The Buses. One of the main characters in this mixture of sexism and misogyny that passed for humour at the time was Cyril ‘Blakey’ Blake (right) played by actor Stephen Lewis. One of the duties of inspectors in those days was to check passengers were travelling with valid tickets.

    Skip forward half a century and inspectors have been replaced by so-called Revenue Protection Officers, by FirstWorstBus, which along with its fellow WorstGroup subsidiary GWR, has a virtual public transport monopoly in the Greater Bristol area. GWR also employs Revenue Protection Officers.

    Your ‘umble scribe had the misfortune to encounter two of these successors to Blakey yesterday afternoon, when they board a no. 24 service on the Stapleton Road. Dressed like pound shop police officers but with the words Revenue Protection Officers embroidered on the back of their uniform, the larger of the two proceeded to address the bottom deck of the bus: “Hi guys. Please have your tickets and passes ready for inspection”.

    Guys? Neither we the travelling public nor you are American! Besides that, guys in this country normally end up on bonfires every 5th November or thereabouts.

    That was informality bordering on the discourteous, which got your correspondent thinking of a more courteous and appropriate form of address, after a long discussion with others on social media yesterday and more especially bearing in mind the fact that some degree of formality is required when dealing with the public in a formal/official capacity.

    First of all the Hi! needs ditching. Far too informal. As an interjectory greeting, it dates to the 1860s and originates in the American Midwest. It should be replaced by a Good (morning/afternoon/evening) (delete as appropriate. Ed.).

    That’s the easy bit done. In these enlightened times ladies and gentlemen might not cover how everyone chooses to identify, e.g. the non-binary. Everyone would therefore seem to be the most apposite way to address a diverse inner-city busload of passengers. So, for the benefit of any passing WorstBus successors to Blakey, my suggested form of greeting when doing your job would be: Good (morning/afternoon/evening), everyone. Please have your tickets and passes ready for inspection, please!

  • A bloody portrait

    In today’s attempt to divert attention to the dire political and economic situation of the English Empire/Untied Kingdom, the media are today awash with the story of the unveiling of a portrait of Mr Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor, frequently referred to by the gullible as King Charles.

    Here’s the BBC’s example.

    Here’s what all the fuss is about.

    The new portrait of Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor looking flushed

    The BBC also records varying public reactions to the portrait, as long as they do not stray from the sycophantic.

    Many were initially taken aback by the vivid red colour with some saying it looked like fire. Others described the painting as “unexpected” but “modern”.

    However, not so much sycophancy exists on social media where much more republican sentiment and an alterative reading of history were apparent, as in a post on X/Twitter (or whatever the man-baby called Musk is calling it this week. Ed.) by Sandra Eckersley.

    Post reads - Remarkable painting of King Charles with the unexpected subtext of Colonial British History. Soaked in blood & gore yet with a butterfly on his shoulder. As Bart Simpson once said ‘nobody suspects a butterfly’. Clever piece, beautifully executed. Great Art.

    Your ‘umble scribe believes Ms Eckersley shares his view of colonial English/British history, a series of crimes against humanity lasting several centuries, involving invasion, murder, theft, exploitation, expropriation and slavery to name but a few offences on the charge sheet.

    Needless to say, Mr Mountbatten-Windsor is rather pleased with his new portrait, apparently unworried about being depicted as wallowing in a bloodbath.
  • You couldn’t make it up!

    Opticians chain Specsavers is rightly renowned for its advertising slogan, “Should have gone to Specsavers“, which has been applied to every bad decision ranging from one’s choice of partner to driving ability.

    Talking of the latter, yesterday’s Daily Post carries an article which combines skill behind the wheel with the aforementioned opticians, in which the driver ended before the crown court in Abertawe, which some also call Swansea, for an incident which occurred in Castell Nedd (Neath) in November last year.

    Headline - Driver knocked over elderly couple while on his way to Specsavers

    No further comment is necessary on the headline behind the story. However, your ‘umble scribe is intrigued by the first sentence: “A driver on his way to Specsavers struck two elderly pedestrians with his car while reversing through a pedestrianised shopping area“.

    What was the driver doing in a pedestrianised area – where he should not have been – anyway? Exercising his over-developed sense of entitlement. For his lack of care for other road users, the perpetrator ultimately received a 12-month community order, a two-year driving ban and must pass an extended driving test before he can regain his licence.

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