Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

TapGet your Bus Season Tickets NOW!

13 Apr 2011 09:04 by Rick

This applies to FirstBus Bristol. There are two reasons.

  1. FirstBus are running a promotion from April 10th to 23rd where they have reduced the Weekly and Monthly season tickets (Zones 1 & 2) to £16 and £64 respectively. In both cases this is lower than the annual season ticket (£810) when pro-rated. Get as many as you can afford because they can be purchased in advance and not activated until first use.
  2. FirstBus have yet to respond to the recent massive rise in fuel costs. History suggests that they always pass this on in increased fares.


11 Feb 2011 22:44 by Rick

by Fat + Frantic—another song with no lyrics on the internet.

Words by Jim Harris

Sung as angry and fast as possible to a 2/4 beat accompanied by guitar and spoons.

Be Proud you are English, boy, be proud you are white,
Be proud you’re a man, be proud that men are always right.
Be proud you are comfortable and smartly dressed and clean,
Be proud that you are all the things you’re ancestors have been.

Oh boy, be proud that you are tolerant, be proud that you are nice,
Be proud you’re vaguely liberal, be proud you don’t think twice.
Be proud of your education, I am proud of mine,
Be proud that you have got a job and don’t stand on the line.

Chorus: Oh boy, but I am proud of nothing when I see God’s children cry,
When I see God’s children hungry, when I see the cities die,
When I see God’s children told they are not God’s because they’re black,
People say “I love you, God,” and then “push off” behind his back.

Be proud of you’re arrogance, be proud of your spite,
Be proud of you’re brutality, be proud of well armed might.
Be proud of your hypocrisy, the things you never said,
Be proud that you are still alive when half the world is nearly dead.


But I am proud of Jesus, I am proud that he loves me,
I am proud that Jesus lived and died to set the people free,
I am proud of Jesus’ passion, I am proud of Jesus’ rage,
I am proud that he is shouting at this evil, godless age.

I am proud when people fight for Jesus’ justice and shalom,
I am proud when people rise at the oppression of the bomb,
I am proud that in South Africa and in El Salvador,
Jesus’ righteousness is frightening the oppressors more and more.


But I am proud of Jesus, I am proud that he loves me,
I am proud that Jesus lived and died to set the people free,
I am proud that in South Africa and in El Salvador,
Jesus’ righteousness is frightening the oppressors more and more.
My Jesus’ righteousness is frightening the oppressors more and more.

TapThe Word of the Lord

1 Feb 2011 23:31 by Rick

Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Music by Leonard Bernstein

You can hear (and see) it sung here—the song is in English despite the narrative being in German.

You can lock up the bold men.
Go and lock up your bold men and hold them in tow.
You can stifle all adventure for a century or so.

Smother hope before it is risen,
watch it wizen like a gourd,
but you cannot imprison the Word of the Lord.
No, you cannot imprison the Word of the Lord.

For the Word,
for the Word was at the birth of the beginning,
it made the heavens and the earth and set them spinning.
And for several million years,
it withstood all our quorums and fine ideas.
It’s been rough,
it’s been rough but it appears to be winning.

There are people who doubt it.
There are people who doubt it and shout it out loud.
There are local, vocal, yokels who we know collect a crowd.

They can fashion a rebuttal that’s a subtle as a sword,
but they’re never going to scuttle the Word of the Lord.
No, they’re never going to scuttle the Word of the Lord.

All you big men of merit,
all you big men of merit who ferret out flaws,
you rely on our compliance with your science and your laws.

Find a freedom to demolish while you polish some award,
but you cannot abolish the Word of the Lord.
No you cannot abolish the Word of the Lord.

For the Word,
for the Word created mud and got it going.
It filled our empty brains with blood and set it flowing.
And for thousands of regimes,
it endured all our follies and fancy schemes.
It’s been tough,
it’s been tough and yet it seems to be growing.

Oh you people of power,
oh you people of power, your power is now.
You may plan to go forever but you never do somehow.

So you wait in silent treason until reason is restored,
and we wait for the season of the Word of the Lord.
We await the season of the Word of the Lord.

We wait,
we wait for the Word of the Lord.

I hope that is right, I wasn’t sure about a couple of words. I was working from the 1971 recording, I hear that the newer one on the video is slightly different.

TapAn’ damn’d Excise-men in a bussle

18 Jan 2011 17:48 by Rick

All the talk this morning is about the cost of alcohol and I wondered how the tax is calculated—it is complicated. The quote in the title is to reflect that it is close to Burns Night and we are not able to get to the dinner 🙁

The general principle is that the tax (excise duty) on beer and spirits is based on the alcohol content—which makes sense. The duty on all other drinks is charged at various different flat rates—which doesn’t. The reasons are largely political. Here is a simplified table with the current rates…

Beer 17.32p/Ltr/%Alc
Still cider 1.2%–7.5% 33.46p/Ltr
Still cider 7.5%–8.5% 54.04p/Ltr
Sparkling cider 1.2%–5.5% 33.46p/Ltr
Wine & alcopops 1.2%–4% 69.32p/Ltr
Wine & alcopops 4%–5.5% 95.33p/Ltr
Still wine & alcopops 5.5%–15% 225.00p/Ltr
Sparkling wine, cider & alcopops 5.5%–8.5% 217.83p/Ltr
Sparkling Wine & alcopops 8.5%–15% 288.20p/Ltr
Wine & alcopops 15%–22% 299.97p/Ltr
Wine & alcopops >22%, spirits, all spirit based alcopops 23.80p/Ltr/%Alc

This duty is charged at source to the manufacturer. On top of this VAT, currently 20%, is charged on the retail sale price.

So lets do some examples (the minimum price assumes that it costs nothing to manufacture & ship and the end customer pays all the tax).

3.5% beer—duty 34.5p per pint—Minimum over the counter price 42p
Flandres 2.6% gnats—duty 11p per 250ml bottle—Minimum price 14p
Special Brew 9% fighting juice—duty 78p per 500ml can ==> Minimum price 94p
A nice 14.5% Rioja—duty £1.69 per 75cl bottle—Minimum price £2.03
Budget 30% vodka—duty £5 per 70cl bottle—Minimum price £6.00
Bacardi 151 death wish—duty £17.97 per litre—Minimum price £21.56

The news today was that there should be a minimum retail price for beer set at 21p per unit of alcohol (1% in 1 litre) and spirits at 28p per unit. With the same examples as above we get

3.5% beer—pint—Minimum over the counter price 42p
Flandres 2.6% gnats—250ml bottle—Minimum price 14p (costs 28p in Sainsbury’s)
Special Brew 9% fighting juice—500ml can ==> Minimum price 95p (£1.57 in Sainsbury’s)
A nice 14.5% Rioja—75cl bottle—Minimum price £2.28 (assuming the beer rate)
Budget 30% vodka—70cl bottle—Minimum price £5.88
Bacardi 151 death wish—litre—Minimum price £21.14

i.e. identical for beer and close for spirits. When there was a big fuss about this last summer I did see basic lager on sale for less than 50p per litre. 3% lager would now be at least 63p.


30 Nov 2010 17:23 by Rick

I haven’t really noticed the NT reading for Advent Sunday before so don’t know if it is always the same but this seems very appropriate for the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Romans 13:13-14

let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

TapThe Portishead Traffic Light Experiment

1 Nov 2010 11:43 by Rick

As you can see in this video, the experiment to switch off a notorious set of traffic lights in Portishead was an outstanding success. I missed this at the time but, although it clearly needs a bit of work, it was good enough for the experiment to be made permanent. Since then two zebra crossings have been introduced making it easier for disabled people, but in an unfortunate retrograde step, they have been put on raised “traffic calming” platforms. Now we just need the experiment to be repeated in Bristol itself—at sensible and appropriate locations.


20 Oct 2010 08:17 by Rick

I, N , take you, M ,
to be my wife/husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part;
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.

One or more tokens are exchanged, the text is spoken and an acknowledgement is signed in the presence of witnesses and an official with civil authority who all also sign.

This is a contract, anything else is irrelevant.

TapInstant recycling

21 Jul 2010 10:43 by Rick

…of cash!

New use for copy paper. Nakabayashi Corp. of Tokyo, announced a new floor-standing machine that converts discarded copy paper into toilet paper rolls. It is able to produce two rolls per hour from around 1800 sheets. The machine weighs 600 kilograms, and will sell for $95,000 apiece.

print4pay Hotel’s “MFP Solutions Blog”

That must be the worst return on investment ever. I even checked that it wasn’t an April 1st post.

TapThe Magic of a Chip Butty

30 Jun 2010 14:24 by Rick

Why do they taste so good? This lunchtime, as I was reduced to using the works canteen restaurant, so I thought I would experiment. To make a chip butty you need good chips and a slice or two of bread. White is better as the flavour of wholemeal would interfere with the experiment. You can also do it the Derby way with big floury baps or, as I did, with plain pitta bread. You can spread the bread thinly with butter but it is not necessary if you want the healthy option (Ha! healthy chip butties!) then lay good plump chips tightly in a row before covering with more bread. With the pittas I split them and lined the chips up inside. Despite the wiki article, any sauce is sacrilege. The remaining chips in the bowl (you always get more than enough) form the control.

Now take a good bite and taste. After clearing the palate try an equivalent number of chips straight from the bowl and detect the difference. No bread—but there is more to it than that. What seems to happen is that with plain chips the initial experience is about the outer surface with the oil and salt; with the butty, that is moderated by the bread and the initial experience is with the soft interior of the chip. You still get the crunch on the teeth but you get a fuller flavour. So that is the reason I think.

Available for restaurant criticism on request.


4 Jun 2010 12:21 by Rick

This is a picture of a sinkhole that appeared in Guatemala City last week. It is about 18m across and up to 100m deep. It gives me vertigo just looking at the picture. Apparently there was a three story clothing factory on the far side which just vanished but there are no reports of any casualties as everyone had gone home due to the storm. It is not the first time; the second picture is of a smaller one that appeared in a shanty district of the same city in 2007 and killed three people.

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