Robert Hampton

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December 2006

3rd December 2006

They’re tormenting me with uptempo singing and dancing!
Posted by at 10.57am | Television | No responses

High School Musical:

7th December 2006

Good question
Posted by at 1.20pm | Web | No responses

So What If You Have a Blog?

What’s the formula for a great personal blog? Why do so many blogs fizzle out after a few months? The essay linked above tries to answer those and other questions, and has some good advice for bloggers keen to avoid blog stagnation.

8th December 2006

It’s personality that counts
Posted by at 5.55pm | In the News | No responses

Must… resist… temptation… to… make… smutty… joke…

A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

Seriously: men of India, I feel your pain and I sympathise. Note that I said sympathise, not empathise, because obviously not being afflicted with this problem, I’m not in a position to… Ahem.

10th December 2006

Now the calendar’s just one page, and of course I am excited
Posted by at 12.45pm | In the News, Meta | No responses

Hurrah! The red and green colour scheme and tacky Christmas clipart have been brought out of storage — with the added bonus this year of a toe-curlingly bad picture of me on the front page.

Ys, the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun. Unfortunately, before we get there, we have to endure a month’s worth of “PC killjoys abolish Christmas” headlines in the tabloids.

There’s all sorts of lunacy going around, including the Daily Mail’s assertion yesterday (article not linked online) that there are few Christmas cards available with religious themes (surely just a case of manufacturers responding to the market?). They even went so far as to call for those who want religious cards to boycott non-religious cards (so, you’re going to refuse to buy something that you weren’t going to buy anyway?). Meanwhile, Richard Littlejohn is no doubt waiting to pounce on anyone who writes “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” in their cards.

I think the “War on Christmas” is largely a myth (“bollocks” would be the less polite way of phrasing it). I think there have been a few isolated cases where well-meaning but misguided people have done something or said something negative about Christmas, which then got amplified and whipped up into a media frenzy by certain organisations and individuals with a political agenda (or who simply want to sell books). I resent Christmas being politicised in this way, especially by organisations such as the Daily Mail and Fox News, for whom the central Christmas tenets of “peace” and “goodwill” are not usually high on the agenda.

I’m not a Christian, but I’m quite happy to respect people who are. In the meantime, I will celebrate Christmas in my own way as a secular event (and before anyone complains about that, remember that Christmas is a restyling of a Pagan festival which was held every December long before Jesus appeared on the scene). I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way.

The Guardian had a good piece on the subject on Friday. If you’re not happy to believe the sandal-wearing hippies at that paper, you could just try walking along the street I live on, where already several houses (including my own) are bedecked in ridiculously over-the-top Christmas lights. If there is a War on Christmas, it’s a one-sided affair.

So there.

Pinochet? Timotei!
Posted by at 8.03pm | In the News, Web | No responses

I just found out about the death of Margaret Thatcher’s favourite murderous dictator — not from the TV, radio, or even a reputable news web site, but from reading Seb’s LiveJournal friends page.

How very Web 2.0 of me.

12th December 2006

Boring v Confusing
Posted by at 1.28pm | Television | No responses

According to MediaGuardian (registration required), Torchwood beat Lost in the ratings on Sunday.

What is wrong with the great British TV-watching public? You shouldn’t be watching either of them! They’re both crap!

13th December 2006

Too Much Information
Posted by at 1.22pm | Trains | No responses

Fancy a little light reading? The complete National Rail Timetable is now available in PDF form from Network Rail’s website. This would have come in very handy if it had been available for my Rail Rover week (I was too stingy to fork out £12.50 for the book).

14th December 2006

Get off my lawn!
Posted by at 11.13pm | In the News | No responses

I took the BBC’s teen slang quiz and now I feel more like a crotchety old man than ever.

17th December 2006

Peppermint Gomez
Posted by at 3.19pm | Television | No responses

The Daily Show gives Al Jazeera a makeover to appeal to US audiences:-

18th December 2006

Jason and the Argos-nauts
Posted by at 2.45pm | It's My Life | No responses

There’s definitely something wrong with Argos‘s business model. Having just wasted 25 precious minutes of my life queuing to pay for an item, I then had to queue again to actually pick it up.

Given that the item in question was reserved via their web site on Sunday night, you’d think they’d have it ready to collect, but no – I had to stand around for ages at Collect Point B in a scrum with about twenty other people, while some hapless shop assistant ran around shouting, “Number 656! Number 656!”

It’s not even for me; I was picking it up for someone else. That’s the last time I help anyone, ever.

20th December 2006

I hope someone bought me the Family Guy DVD I wanted
Posted by at 6.27pm | Television | 3 responses

Remember everyone, Jesus was born in Bethlehem to give unto the world a glut of good television shows to watch on his birthday (it’s been a while since I read the Bible, but I think that’s the gist). With that in mind, I’ve been through the bumper Christmas double issue Radio Times (free Doctor Who CD!) with a little pen, circling the shows I want to watch and discarding the hundreds of annoying leaflets that fell out of the magazine while I was reading it.

Here, for your edification, are my picks of the telly over the festive period. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO WATCH ANY OTHER SHOWS.

Read the rest of this post »

21st December 2006

I’m not the only one!
Posted by at 1.23pm | In the News, Trains | 1 response

Rail services under attack for 60-hour shutdowns.

For public transport to be seen as a serious alternative to owning a car, one of the things that needs to end is the annual 2-day Christmas shutdown. I’m not sure whether a Christmas Day service is justified, but there is a clear demand on Boxing Day which is not being met.

Network Rail’s spokesman, quoted at the end of the article, is talking rubbish when he says there has never been a Christmas service. Christmas Day saw a limited service until the 1960s and a near-full service operated on Boxing Day well into the 70s, until penny-pinching by British Rail closed it down.

Some train companies in the south-east are running a handful of services on the 26th this year. Let’s hope this is the start of an upward trend.

Bloody train companies — almost as useless as Thames Water!

22nd December 2006

Good Thing, Bad Thing
Posted by at 5.51pm | It's My Life | No responses

Good thing: Work has finished for the Christmas holiday!

Bad thing: I left the bag containing my gym clothes on the train this morning. I didn’t even realise it was missing until well after 1pm. I’ve left a hopeful message on Merseyrail’s lost property voicemail, but haven’t heard anything back yet.

Best case scenario is that the bag is still happily shuttling back and forth between Southport and Hunts Cross, still sitting in the luggage rack where I stowed it.

Not-so-good case scenario is that someone’s nicked it.

Worst case scenario is that someone thought it was a bomb and had the train and surrounding area evacuated, while the army fetch one of those really cool-looking robots that look like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit.

I don’t know what’s wrong — lately I feel as though I have a memory like a sieve (or a pipe owned by Thames Water).

23rd December 2006

Did you put your undies on back-to-front this morning?
Posted by at 2.25pm | Television | No responses

How on earth did I fill this blog before YouTube came along? I could watch this all day: it’s a Neighbours Christmas!

If you’re not sitting open-mouthed with astonishment by the three-minute mark, you’re not human.

Hat-tip: lowculture.

24th December 2006

Paging Dr Freud…
Posted by at 12.22pm | It's My Life | No responses

Oh, Metro, you’ve come up trumps again:-

A German woman is suing a foster agency, after her teenage foster son ruined valuable naked photos of her — by committing an act of self-love all over them.

In fairness, the pictures were so old that the unfortunate boy did not recognise his foster mother, but even so, I think a psychiatrist somewhere is going to get very rich out of this.

25th December 2006

Not quite what has gone before
Posted by at 12.44am | Sun and Cloud | 3 responses

A little something I knocked up on Draw:-

Sun and Cloud image 1
Sun and Cloud image 2
Read the rest of this post »

You’ll find out people might not throw up so much when they talk to you!
Posted by at 5.04pm | Fun, In the News | No responses

“Is it OK to go online on Christmas Day?” asks BBC News. The answer is, of course, “Yes!”

And since you’re online, you can read about the Guardian poll which suggests that 82% of Britons believe religion does more harm than good, before checking out the annual Homestar Runner Decemberween Special!

In other Christmas-related news, this time (ish) last year I was discussing an incredible Christmas lights display. However, I think we have a new contender. As one cynical YouTube commenter points out: “think of all the coal that had to be burnt to power that.”

Merry Christmas everybody!

26th December 2006

Browned Off
Posted by at 12.06pm | In the News | No responses

I forgot to mention, I was jolted out of bed by my radio alarm clock at 8am yesterday morning by a Radio 4 news bulletin announcing that James Brown had died.

The obituary report opened, unfortunately enough, with a clip of him singing “I feel good! I knew that I would!”

27th December 2006

I couldn’t find a carrot, and this sounded most like it
Posted by at 6.31pm | In the News | No responses

A story from the amazing world of animals:

The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

The bird, a captive African grey called N’kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

950 words? He could write for the Sun (provided three of those words were “Asylum”, “Seekers” and “Out”). The sense of humour part might be a problem.

N’kisi’s remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy…

OK, stop. Telepathy? I’m willing to believe a lot of things, but this last claim seems slightly dubious. Unless we are supposed to believe that this parrot has evolved extra abilities beyond those of normal birds — some sort of X-Parrot.

Actually, there’s already been an X-Parrot — he was in that Monty Python sketch.

31st December 2006

You Nears Eve
Posted by at 5.54pm | Films, Meta, Television | No responses

Presenting the RHMeUK Review of the Year 2006! Just start here and keep clicking through to the next page until you get back here. It’s like The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, but without Jimmy Carr — so it’s actually much better than The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

Anyway, my New Year’s resolution for 2007 is to write lots of interesting, compelling blog entries and not keep falling back on embedded YouTube videos. However, there’s a few hours of 2006 left, so here’s my current favourite song (Century Plant) from my current favourite film (Camp).