ANNE'S NEW BOOKanne debondtAKR's


Anne deBondt is an Anglo-American Critic, Cynic and Feminist who "pulls few punches" in her outspoken reviews and observations of Life on Earth..!!!!


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It’s bad enough that reality television shows have taken boredom to new heights – or should that be lows? Anyway, over and over again we’re forced to watch dim-wits do nothing while a camera follows them around doing their nothingness! And this is supposedly “must-see” TV! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always preferred watching paint dry than someone wander aimlessly through their daily routines, in a jungle, having their hair done, before they get it on with the other captives.
And no sooner said than done because now we have the “housey-housey” shows fast overtaking the reality bore-fests.
You know, where some divinity of domesticity pries into your inner most sanctums and degrades you for not knowing how to coordinate the chintz while a million viewers gawk!
I mean, to be fair, I usually agree with the presenter but trust me, if the bitch insulted my interior efforts in front of a million strong audience, she’d be toast. And another thing, the insulter is the one getting paid … you’re just the complimentary insultee – what’s up with that?
Time after time, again and again we watch friends decorate their friend’s rooms – the most popular episodes of this particular programme are the ones where the results are a disaster … Ok, I have to confess here, I am rather partial to the tragedies myself! But honestly, isn’t the real programme you want to see the one where the cameras are turned off and the designers have gone home? I’d love to see the genuine reaction and perhaps the unrehearsed reunion of the “friends”. Now that’s a reality show I’d consider watching.
Or who doesn’t love to watch the show where some California big mouth humiliates somebody for daring to live in the property they’re trying to sell? (I had no idea it was only the California Americans that had big mouths... Editor Comment)
And then there’s the harridan that barges into a household and forces the family to be brutal with their years and years of accumulated crap just so that she can turn your spare room into a generic, characterless den furnished by IKEA.
Just a little aside here, I’ve never been on board, but I’m pretty sure IKEA furnished the Starship Enterprises … I’m just saying.
And what’s worse is that all the victims surrender without a fight! You know, again, I have to say it … The bitch …T.O.A.S.T!
If it all sounds a little familiar it’s because an entire string of television programmes has been created around your mommy telling you to clean up your bedroom.
Next year – brace yourselves, adults washing behind their ears and brushing their teeth before bedtime.
It’s enough to make me long for that celebrity jungle episode where Christina Hamilton got thonked in the head while trying to capture some box thing …

On second thought, no it isn’t.

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The way British folk deal with trivial disappointments, petty irritations or minor injuries is rapidly becoming more like the American practice of bilking and milking a bad or sad situation.
Americans will not tolerate even the slightest of infractions without threatening to sue the culprit. Hell, if someone even thinks of insulting a yank they risk being taken to court — you know, as a preventative measure — such is the mindset of the American public.
We will not slip on a banana peel, eat something nasty in a restaurant or fail to enjoy the enjoyable lest we get our knickers in a twist and serve the writ! And don't even get me started on personal slurs or character assassinations …
A good case in point of the spiralling madness is the pending litigation where an African-American father of a high school basketball player is suing the team's coach for admonishing the player during a game by shouting, "Pass the ball to one of your white team mates once in a while!" Now, perhaps the comment was mildly offensive, possibly a tad insensitive, but what it wasn't was lawsuit worthy.
Yet I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts the coach in question will be fired, made to publicly apologise, or both. That is, if he's lucky enough not to be tarred and feathered once the media get hold of the story and whip the public into a politically correct frenzy.
But let's be honest, no matter how this incident is relayed, whether you are a card carrying member of the polite society or just a regular, everyday Joe, it's difficult to see how anyone could muster up enough rage to support the over exaggeration on the part of the martyr. I can think of far worse remarks made by people in far more influential positions. Did I mention that the coach is Caucasian?
Another stateside incident saw a man hauled through the courts because, when administering assistance at a roadside traffic accident, he failed to adequately deduce the gravity of the situation and helped the driver instead of the passenger! I kid you not, as a thank-you for being a Good Samaritan and stopping in the first place, the poor guy was sued for not ascertaining which of the two victims was more seriously injured.
I could go on and on with other examples but suffice it to say that it is safer to say and do nothing to no one whilst you're across the pond. And sadly, if you see someone doing something to someone else, look away — nay, run away!
In the event that you offer your services, you could find yourself being prosecuted for tending to the victim instead of having the guts to chase after the mugger and retrieve the goods.
Unfortunately things are getting as ridiculously out of hand over here.
Just recently county councils have suggested that city centres should be stripped of their lovely hanging flower baskets for fear that one might fall on a passer-by and cause injury. This is despite that there has never been an occasion to date where a member of the public has been attacked by a rogue blossom display — hanging or otherwise!
To be fair, the councils aren't entirely to blame for such twaddle and claptrap. If it weren't for incidents such as the dopey pedestrian who tripped over a lifted tuft of turf (while voluntarily taking a shortcut across the green and off the designated path) and felt that the only way to recover from the agonising trauma of a sprained ankle was to sue the council for thousands (and by council I mean the tax payer), we wouldn't see our elected officials treating us as though we were … well … as though we were clumsy pedestrians.
And, like their American cousins, British children here are now successfully suing schools for being assigned after-school detention — evidentially it contravenes human rights to confine a child, regardless of whether or not the insubordinate little brat deserved the punishment (and probably worse)!
But what adds insult to injury is when such self-absorbed, self-interested actions are rewarded with monetary recompense. More times than not, the complainant's pain and suffering — not to mention the frequently cited humiliation, degradation, mortification, misery and anxiety is grossly overcompensated for.
As in the driver who dumped hot coffee on her own lap while trying to talk on her mobile phone and steer her car and drink a McDonald's coffee — all at the same time.
Anyone ever heard of the expression "Personal Responsibility?
How on god's earth the judge ever determined that McDonald's was to be held accountable for the stupidity of the ham-fisted motorist and her lack of dexterity, I'll never know. But responsible he found them. And from what the papers reported, to the tune of a few million dollars. Not bad for a day's work, huh? Even I contemplated dowsing myself in hot liquid from a fast-food outlet after that ruling.
Pretty soon we'll be seeing headlines where someone is suing the government for failure to deliver.
… Oh wait, I might be on board with that one.

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Have you listened to the lyrics of American hip- hop/rap music lately? And I use the word "music" loosely here, as such clamour is hardly melodious - more monotonous and uninteresting - but considered music by some so I must at least pretend to conform.
If you aren't being incited to kick ass, rape your date or shake your bare body parts in someone's face … you're listening to the wrong radio station.
Honestly, it's enough to make you cringe just hearing today's version of popular music (cough!).
My purpose for mentioning this isn't because I'm trying to convert the readers to Smooth Jazz (although I would if I thought I could. I mean, there's nothing nicer than dim lights, good wine and some Will Downing or Al Jerau playing softly in the background …. )
Anyway, where was I … Oh yes, my point …
I mention the awful rap/hip-hop din because this last weekend saw the American sports event of the year, the Super Bowl, get near world-wide exposure. No, not for the points scored, or the toughness of the players. Nor was it for the contention of the game… hell, I don't' even know what the final score was.
But what I do know is that Ms. Janet Jackson (AKA Whacko Jacko's only sane sibling) and Mr. Justin Timberlake (AKA The Trousersnake) were performing a raunchy song and dance routine - as you do - during halftime when one of Ms. Jackson's boobies inadvertently freed itself from its confinement . Actually, it was at the hands of Sir Trousersnake that the accident occurred. He pulled too hard on her costume while singing the lyrics "I'll have you naked by the end of this song", and then he nearly did!
Now, call me cynical Sue but what are the odds that the entire thing was a stunt? A well planned, well executed, pre determined and skilful stunt - but a stunt all the same.
However, the American public have gone nuts. There have been calls for apologies, the prohibition of MTV to ever stage another halftime performance for the Super Bowl and an official investigation by federal authorities to see whether any indecency rules were broken.
* Plus it's only a matter of time before some buffoon sues the network due to the anguish of seeing the horrid body part flashed at them while eating their beloved chilli dog and cheesy fries, when all they thought they were going to see that day was a bunch of guys fighting over a ball. I fear there's nothing for it but counselling.
What the hell? Ok, maybe a kid or two saw something they shouldn't. Perhaps a couple of grannies dropped their knitting. But for god's sake it was only a titty! What's so offensive about that?
This is the country that originated gangster rap! These people hum to murderous ditties without feeling the need to bombard the management with complaints. In fact, some of the artist (again, cough) are the highest paid performers (ok, one last one, I promise, cough) in the business. That is, if they aren't in jail or dead from a rap-land shooting. And what about the schools? Metal detectors are more common than fanny-packs (bum bags to you and me). And with good reason … the word Columbine comes to mind.
I fail to see how the exposure of a silicone enhanced mammary gland has caused so much fuss.
If there's one thing I dislike most about my fellow American's it's their feigned wholesomeness when an event such as this occurs. They'd do better to vent their displeasures at the boob in the Whitehouse who's happily spending more money on going to Mars that getting the earthly homeless off the streets! And instead of calling for an investigation or an inquiry to pacify the fragile natures of the mock-appalled, someone should just burst their puritanical bubbles by informing them that it's just a titty!

* P.S. By the way … a Knoxville Tennessee woman has filed a class action law suit against the programmers. Told ya!

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Forgive the long interlude. I have been mourning the break-up of J-Lo and Ben Affleck and just haven't been able to lift my spirits enough to write about anything since reading they've called it a day. I mean, what's to become of the ring? What will they do with all the stuff they bought for their matrimonial home(s)? I worry about these things, I really do. Does anyone know if they have tattoos featuring each other's initials? Oh what's to become of it all?
Of course, if you've read two lines of previous AKRs you know I'm being sarcastic. Of course I'm mocking the non-stop coverage of the C list celebs and their on-off relationship - which is now off - again!
Does anyone care? Is there anyone in the entire world who gives a fig what state of play their romance is in? If there is, I've never met them.
Yet despite not being able to find the one lone fan that seems to be generating the media blitz on these two and their every move, I can't open a page or turn on the television without getting a flash bulletin on where they are and what they're doing. Like a couple weeks back when we were treated to the Bennifers actually stopping at a courthouse to purchase a hunting license … I went all goosepimply with that one, I can tell you. I mean I really, really thought they were gonna do it that time!
Doesn't it amaze you when personalities are splashed all over the tabloids and glossy magazines for doing nothing more than showing up at parties and openings? What talent does that require? Hell, anyone can overdress and flaunt it at a bash! Why all the attention for doing something so insignificant?
Cure the common cold or the dreaded hang-over on the way to celebrate some well-heeled, spoilt brat's birthday and now we're talking!
Obviously it's of no importance to the editors of these sad mags and lower end newspapers that, for the most part, I and everyone else with a life could care even less about these two and their nuptial arrangements than we do the temperature in Gstadd!
In fact, I dare say the temperatures in Switzerland are a hell sight more compelling than the constant references to Ms. Lo's butt … or her derrière, for that matter!

And since I'm in the mocking mood …
Well of course President Blair walked away from hell week without so much as a paper cut.
You'd have had to be greener than beans to think he was actually going to be held liable for his actions - especially since that hasn't happened once in the past 8 years!
And, although all that waiting for the findings was fun, wouldn't the whole whitewashed affair been slightly more convincing (and a little less insulting to our intelligence) if just a little more mud had stuck to Saint Tony?
I'll give him his due though; it was one slick, side-step of a routine. He's probably still patting himself on the back. And why not? I mean, the man virtually got away with murder … give or take a few unfound WMD's, the odd mad scientist or a mass of inadequately armed troupes, it was a good week! Hell, who wouldn't be proud?

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Man oh man, when the hounds get a whiff of blood, huh? Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk is in the dog house all because he voiced an opinion. Ok, in a nationally distributed manner … but it was still just an opinion.
And from what I can tell, according to recent polls, 97 per cent of readers and viewers agree with what he had to say.
Yet Mr. Kilroy-Silk was still suspended from the BBC television programme he has presented for over 17 years as a way of punishing him for the supposed gaffe.
Why? What exactly was his crime? Did he cause riots in the streets? Was there looting and protesting of white neighbourhoods due to his unfortunate choice of words? Did people die, were they harmed in any way?
No!
I heard a commissioner for racial equality state at the weekend that his biggest concern over the affair is that ethnic groups will get the impression that we don't want their types over here. That we white, English folk are indeed prejudiced against them after all - just as they had feared!
Oh Please! Are we to believe that immigrants and asylum seekers are that sensitive? That their feelings are so fragile? That they are willing to risk life and limb, not to mention, spend extortionate amounts of money to get here, but that they'd much rather just stay put if we're not going to play nicely?
I seriously doubt too many of them give a damn what some columnist said in some Sunday paper they probably know nothing about - and will never read. And if it were that easy to deter refugees, I think the border patrols and officials might have already employed the immature tactic. You know, as the exiles are rounded up, they get some stinking big bloke to come along and call them names, tell them we don't like them. Then they go home and find somewhere else to immigrate to … yeah, right.
But even more distressing than all this storm in a tea cup is the fact that, I dare say, had the situation been reversed and an Arab protester made his denunciation of Yanks or Brits public, there'd be nothing done about it. No action taken. No loss of job or privileges. No public outcry for justice. And I can say with a certain amount of confidence that there would have been no call for the responsible party to be excommunicated.
People - of all nationalities - need to grow up. Toughen up. Get a freekin grip! It was just an opinion for god sake.

What is it about signing dance/pop songs that is so damn stressful? What is it about performing that renders a person dopey?
We've had Mariah Carey behaving battier than a loon, Whitney Houston and her bad boy husband brawling and snorting all over the world and now Britney Spears goes off the rails by getting married and divorced within 48 hours. And before that she was snivelling on national television about the break-up of a relationship - you know, when she and he were both ten year old Mickey Mouse groupies - because she's not over him yet!
Her raunchy attire, loose morals and Madonna snogging notwithstanding, this latest act of desperation makes me wonder why she's ever let off her leash!
But what's worse, is that the public is expected to sympathise with these prima donnas when their bizarre transgressions become public. Although, I have to say, nothing was more entertaining than when Mariah lost the plot and began waxing lyrical about her bond with the cosmos … as though we didn't already know her head was full of fluff and clouds.
Anyway, the media covers their every therapeutic and clinical sojourn as though we give a damn. Every nuance of their emotional progress is reported on as if we are as interested in that as we are their vocal talents.
Ohhhh, so not true!
Not only do I not care what Whitney, Mariah or Britney do in their spare time, I care even less if they're unhappy doing it! And if singing is so challenging or demanding that it causes them to go mad or throw a wobbly simply because some thoughtless minion painted their dressing room the wrong shade of crimson, then don't sing - I'm pretty sure mankind will survive the disappointment.
If you ask me these show-offs are nothing more than spoilt brats who receive way too much attention as it is. It's not as though they cure cancer or feed the starving with their talents. No one lives a better or longer life for buying their CDs. Hell, half the time they barely feed themselves, let alone save someone else from despair.
And that's another thing … why the need for a mob of bodyguards, fitness trainers, hair and costume stylists, make-up artists, toenail polishers and nose blowers to accompany them wherever they go, just to sing in front of an audience?
The last thing these egos need is for the public to pity the fact that they have more money than common sense.

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Ok, so it goes like this … You do something stupid, different, artistic or unique in public or on television and for your efforts you receive a modicum of fame. Then you exploit your scrap of recognition and do the chat-show circuit where you babble on and on about how you did something stupid, different, artistic or unique. Then you make a fitness video!
What the hell is that?
I mean, it's bad enough that soap stars think that their ability to overact and deliver bad lines badly earns them the right to instruct us lesser folk on how to achieve the perfect ass.
And before them there were the early morning gals - one in particular still causes me to gut laugh when I think of her demented routines. I believe her name was Lizzie Webb and her companion was Joggy Bear! I mean, I must have laughed off at least a stone watching that one!
Anyway, not only do soap stars and breakfast TV keep-fit boneheads surrender their dignity by making these videos, it seems that even the golden oldies of semi-fame are at it.
While out shopping (actually, I was returning something) I became trapped in queue hell and was forced to browse the counter displays for something to do before I died of boredom when I happened upon a fitness tape by Anne Diamond.
Anne Diamond, Reeeally?
Why on earth would anyone want to look like her? The woman may have presented an early morning television programme for a hundred years, had a brood of children just in time for her other half to tootle off with a younger, slimmer mistress … but how on god's green earth does this overweight, undisciplined Z list celeb imagine that she's qualified to preach to us about shedding fat?
Oh but wait! That wasn't even the best of it. Right beside Ms. Diamond and her attack on lard was another equally pitiful contribution from Jade of Big Brother fame.
Now, I never watched a single episode of BB, but wasn't this the gal that shamelessly shoved her entire fist into her own mouth? Gee, I hope that's part of her video! I mean, I can see how it would be difficult to overindulge on fattening foods when your fist is blocking the way.
What is it about television personalities, public figures, pop idols or Hollywood big shots that inspires us when half of them don't even grow their own hair!
Let's be honest, they have their fat sucked out, asses reshaped, chins removed and their faces lifted at the first sign of imperfection. What do they know about effort? Hell, we don't need their advice on weight loss we need the telephone numbers of their surgeons and hair extension suppliers!
And I fear it's only a matter of time before we are treated to Michelle the Pork Idol and her fitness video revealing how she managed to shed her excess bulk despite not being able to manage it until the lucrative offers from misguided sponsors came flooding in.
Maybe I should make one. Maybe I should share my wise words of wisdom.
Hey, I eat, I've had babies, I'm flabby and I write an article … therefore I'm qualified.

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Is there anything you can't get a patch for these days? I mean, I can understand cigarette smokers needing a little extra help. Or alcoholics who reach for support and assistance thereby employing whatever props are available in order to rid them of the dreaded craving.
But I read where you can now get a patch to assist in weight loss. Presumably the sticky square contains a substance that seeps through your skin to make you put the cake down. Does that mean there's gum to help you avoid fish and chip shops …?
Anyway, I also heard tell of a little scrap of happiness that you inconspicuously slap onto your dermis to relieve symptoms of depression. Hell, forget patch, if this last item is genuine, I know of a few folk who could do with an entire body suit made of the stuff - complete with arms, legs and a hood!
But regrettably, as of yet, I've been unable to confirm the legitimacy of such a product.
Whatever …
Isn't this craze toward "get-fixed-quick" treatments getting a little out of hand? Soon we'll be so dependant on crutches that the very idea of weaning ourselves off of something will cause us to look for a patch of willpower in order to build up the strength before we progress to the patch that helps us give up the addiction!
I know, how silly is that?
And if this is the direction of the fad, I suggest someone take on far more serious matters other than just overindulgence or despair and look into producing patches to stop people from being stupid, bad drivers, rude, bone idle or gutless. And perhaps one to assist with personal hygiene.
Wait! I think I can see some potential for these things after all.

"I am woman; hear me roar, in numbers too great to ignore" … yadda yadda yadda. Ahhhh the remarkable Helen Reddy and her anthem to all womankind and the struggle for equality and acceptance in the workforce. What lyrics, what verve.
That song is almost as emotive as the one that goes … "I should've changed that lock; I should've asked you for the key" …whatever whatever whatever … "so you won't come back to bother me". You get my drift, music meant to encourage females to be independent and determined (and, incidentally, lonely).
But just because there's a little jingle to go with your solitude, does that mean society has to endure a season of "Tarts and Crafts" every year? I mean, tis the season and all… but for every normal, well behaved female employee there's a dozen over bleached, middle aged, recently divorced gals doing impromptu strip teases on the office water coolers pretending that their shameful behaviour hides their advancing years!
What is it about a woman who, through her own fault or not, becomes single in midlife and pacifies herself with abruptly turning into a cleavage showing, dimply thigh exposing, over perfumed tart? I can spot a spanking new divorcee a mile off ... I can smell her too, such is the amount of cheap body spray she's bathed in.
A man leaving his wife for a younger version is sad. It's demoralising. It's downright cruel. But trust me, ladies, you cannot become a convincing slut in your forties by dressing yourself in see-through blouses and skin tight leather trousers anymore than Cliff Richard will ever become a bad boy member of Guns N Roses just because he turned one of their hard rock tunes into a Christian sonnet. No matter how much he whines.
Please, I beg of you, stop undermining your sisterhood. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation whereby you are abandoned by your beloved groom after a lifetime of tending, mending and putting up with his arsey selfishness, don't demote yourself to a cartoon character. Don't let your dignity drop by trying to recapture your teen years. They're gone. No amount of war paint or fishnet material will bring them back.
Instead, if you want vengeance, retribution, reprisal - call it what you will - where it hurts, there's a very simple alternative.
Be brave, take some advice from a friend and purchase an elegant dress that flatters your figure. Have your hair done professionally - and absolutely no bleaching! If you can't afford an expensive perfume ask at the counter for a complementary sample (just enough for one night). And then ask your ex's best single mate out for a date and perhaps back to yours for "coffee" - making sure the rat hears about it!
I am strong, I am invincible ....I am womaaaan!

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This is the time of year that prompts a frequent (and loud) Oh please! from me whenever I come upon another newspaper article or television programme recommending what we females should look like during the holiday season.
Women are unfairly bombarded with page after page, scheme after scheme of "useful" tips dedicated to helping us squeeze ourselves into smaller sizes than we've been satisfied with for the last 11 months. And have you ever wondered who told these gurus in the fashion industry that we gals are unhappy with our shapelessness in the first place?
I mean, I've complained under my breath while trying on a pair of jeans or attempting to zip up a skirt that refuses to cooperate but never out loud - lest anyone agreed with my whinging.
(And this issue is an article all by itself… My other half is trained to ignore my protests and my pleas for him to comment on whether I look fat in something. Instead he feigns deafness - smart man!)
Additionally, I've never submitted or even filled out a magazine questionnaire bellyaching about my belly or waistline. So unless an omnipotent God has taken over the fashion trade, I fail to see how an entire industry could know of my frustrations despite my silence.
Furthermore, where can you find tips and strategies devoted to what a man can do to reduce his gut in time to enjoy the festivities? The answer …nowhere!
There's no money to be made from demoralising guys and their bulges because they don't care about such things. Consequently they're let of the hook.
No, if you want a man's attention write articles or produce programmes on how he can behave even more like a 12 year old than usual while increasing his consumption of booze, grub, booze and more booze at this time of year!

There are times when I want to pull the duvet up over my head and stay in bed until the despair wears off … and just this last weekend I had one of those days.
I survived the boob-job mentality without succumbing to the procedure. I managed to sidestep the nip and tuck mindset without having something nipped or tucked.
Hell, I even coped with the liposuction task force without involuntarily having my fat sucked out!
So I thought I had conquered all the demons, slain all the dragons society could throw at my aging frame…
And then I opened the Saturday paper to read where, as well as face, boob, butt, thigh and knee procedures, women are now having foot surgery to correct an unsightly foot! Bloody Hell! Is there a part of the female body allowed to age or deteriorate that doesn't require a doctor to "youth it up"? I mean, the foot? Really? Whatever next … no wait, on second thought, don't tell me, I'll never get out from under the duvet.

I'm always surprised when I am allowed to submit my "one-sided" compositions anywhere these days, by all accounts I should be out of work such is the intolerance of people for unpopular opinion.
Why are folk so rigid when coming up against an opposite point of view? What's wrong with going against the flow? Isn't rivalry the heart of all good debate? Where's the creativity or originality in cloning attitudes and viewpoints?
And God forbid a person should contest a minority or alternative lifestyle …! It would be less controversial to slap mother Theresa (if the ole' gal were still with us) than to voice an opposing opinion of, say, same sex marriages or the growing number of asylum seekers currently amassing on this already overstretched economy ( I told you that issue bugs me!).
But does simply having a contrary attitude or belief make one wrong? It's as though people are afraid of being singled out.
We should all be grown-up enough to accept that just because someone disagrees with you, that doesn't make them wrong - it makes them different.
In fact one of the highlights of submitting my work to the Ely/Newmarket Online Site is to see what resident sceptic "Brian" will make of it. I think the man is a witty opponent and an excellent devil's advocate.
And just to prove my point; I heard nothing from Brian last week concerning my pot-shot at fat people. I was certain he'd knock me down a peg or, at the very least, defend the fatties I lamented! But … nothing. Not a word.
Perhaps he's away. Or maybe, just maybe, he actually agreed with me and couldn't face the shame of it!

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I'm not sure why I've suddenly become aware of the state of Ely's pavements but I have. In the last few days while walking to and fro, back and forth, enjoying the Christmas ambience of our fine city (just a little sarcasm there - Oh come on, Ely's more like the poor step child compared to the rest of the surrounding villages. Hell, even Witchford Village College is decorated more elaborately). In any case … I noticed a staggering amount of flattened gum blobs adorning almost every inch of pavement and was appalled.
Had I not known better I would have thought the council had commissioned polka-dotted slabs!
Since when did it become acceptable to relieve the contents of your mouth in public? I have never spit my gum out onto the pavement. In fact, I have never spit anything out of my mouth, period! And I fail to understand how someone could do such a nasty thing. Thoughtlessly spewing your unwanted chewing gum into the path of oncoming pedestrians is as bad as dog owners who allow their pets to foul the walkways.
Although, to be fair, at least dogs can blame their dirty, unclean behaviour on humans too lazy to carry out their responsibilities. What excuse could humans possibly have for behaving like untamed animals!

I've been having the same debate over and over again with store employees for ages now and I'm getting a little more than perturbed with it all!
What's so difficult to accept about a person not wanting store cards? You know, the cards you submit when you're paying for your purchases so that you "supposedly" obtain discount coupons, special offers and, even better, lots and lots of junk mail?
I mean, each time I dare to admit that, "No! I don't have your unique, one of a kind, mega offer card, and I don't want one!", I am met with an attitude.
Hell, I'd do better to confess that I'm a shoplifter than to decline one of these little gems, such is the instant pique of the store employee!
I've even had one persistent member of staff attempt to persuade me despite making it absolutely clear to them that I hadn't just misplaced mine, I'd made a big girl's decision not to have one! I mean, offer me free groceries for a year and I'll reconsider. But my reward had I partaken of the questionable scheme on this occasion would have been a paltry £1.80! Not exactly a lottery win, is it?
What's the big deal with these things anyway? Wouldn't it just be savvier of the managers to reduce the price of the products instead of insisting the customer surrender their personal details merely to gain two pence off a tin of soup?
And call me cynical but does anyone else suspect that store cards aren't really store cards at all … that in fact they're the government's way of covertly distributing ID cards?
It's just a thought….

My sister Cathy and I share similar points of view on just about every topic you could imagine. Probably due to the fact that we're only 11 months apart in age. At one point in the year and for almost a month we are actually the same age. This used to baffle the hell out of our teachers until we were forced to explain that our parents were devout Catholics. I say "were" because by the time sibling number five came along our parents had somewhat lost their enthusiasm for the church (or each other, it's difficult to distinguish which came first) and were barley speaking, socialising with or attending mass! Which therefore put an end to subsequent siblings and the need to explain our use of a mini van every time we went to the corner shop.
Anyway, Sis and I often compare our opinions on world events and even the not so worldly events when the occasion arises. And we know we're right in our way of thinking because, of course, we say so…
Incidentally, Cathy is the driving force behind my public smart ass'ness. In our youth she would always encourage me with her astute wisdom… often she'd say, "Do something with that mouth of yours other than bother me or I'll whoop up side your head"! Ahhh… sisterly love.
So to the point ….
With Cathy's heartfelt support and collaboration I feel compelled to tackle a touchy issue.
Why are overweight people so convinced that the rest of us not-so-fat folk are to blame for their low self esteem? And before you feel the urge to complain, I'm not talking about the clinically overweight or the few unfortunates with a medical condition that puts them at risk … so put your pens away and stand back from the key board … I'm talking about the ones who overeat and blame the availability of fattening food for the state they're in.
I've never once made fun of a fat person, nor aimed an insensitive remark towards a person large enough to require their own seating section at a fast food restaurant. So I find it difficult to grasp just how such individuals can justify their growing prejudice against those of us who don't shop at outsize outlets.
I have been verbally accosted by a corpulent madam when she thought I was in her way - despite that she was in everyone's way! I have been inconvenienced by a hefty person when they insisted on overlapping onto my seat during a flight.
And why is it acceptable for some fat lady to growl in my direction because she couldn't fit through a narrow gangway at the same time as I? And the tight fit wasn't even my fault … I was there first!
I wouldn't dream of shoving past someone. I can't imagine thoughtlessly occupying more than my share of seating, simply because I want to be more comfortable than anyone else - slim or not.
If anything, we thinnys should be afraid, very afraid. We stand no chance. I mean, the woman flattening me into the wall could have taken me with one wobbly, grandma arm tied behind her back! The guy on the plane could've rolled over during his slumber and flattened the entire aisle!
It's unfair in the extreme that those of us with self control should be made to feel responsible for boosting the ego of those who don't. Fat people aren't the problem … fat bullies are!
There, Cathy and I feel much better.

AKR's
With Anne deBondt


As it's early days still I'll carry on gently. I mean, there's no advantage in offending everyone straight off the bat. But don't worry, I trust I'll get around to you…
Eventually!

The phrase, "Don't get me started!" is a warning most people who know me take advantage of. When at social gatherings or in private conversation, should anyone continue past the forewarning and attempt to discuss the tender topic of government - or worse, the even tender'er subjects of asylum seekers, unfair taxation without justification, insufficient law enforcement, asylum seekers, (I know I already mentioned that particular issue but that one really, really gets my goat), half full cups of coffee or bad sales service, they get what they deserve.
Hell on earth for me (and anyone within earshot) would be to have an incompetent waiter or waitress, serve half a cup of coffee at the end of a regretful meal on the same day that I hear President Tony Blair announce that he and his henchmen have decided to increase their already lavish expense accounts and allow a few more squillion asylum seekers in!
Ok, so a timid wall flower, I'm not.
But I refuse to believe that I'm alone in my opinions. Although I have resigned myself to the fact that people with chutzpah are in short supply …
It's undoubtedly more effective to complain (or "bang on" as Brian so eloquently puts it) when something you're paying for isn't satisfactory. How else do we teach the supplier the difference between good or bad, right from wrong, tolerable from no bloody way?
For instance, we've been let down badly by today's government - no one could deny President Blair's clumsy handling of important issues. And the consistent favouritism he shows to just about every nation on this earth - bar his own - is depressing. Not to mention frustrating. No amount of double-talking bulls wipe will change the fact that his boat is sinking while he paddles harder in another.
So, what do we do? Do we vote him out at the next election or cowardly allow ourselves to employ the "better the devil you know" policy and give him yet another term to sucker us?
Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all fun and tantrums in the deBondt camp. There are times when I too am forced to succumb to the unavoidable.
Such as, I don't agree with Gulf War II but I appreciate that no relative or friend of mine is fighting; therefore, out of respect for those who are and who do have family members over there, I keep my opinions to myself - well, almost to myself.
Similarly, I despise loud thumping music in retail outlets. Half the time the twits working for these establishments can't hear what the customer is saying for the racket blaring in our ears. Not that they would be of much help if they could hear you. I mean, the semi-dressed, multi-pierced brat that served me this last weekend could barely chew her gum and work the till at the same time, let alone tend to my request. But I frequent these places with my daughter and leave without offending anyone … much.
And I really, really dislike having to wait for half an hour to get through a queue when there's at least 20 tills available (unattended, within spitting distance, but unused) yet only 2 are open. However I remain calm and pay when it is eventually my turn.
And if you're wondering why I haven't "banged on" about George W. Bush in my tirade this week it's not because of the online reader who berated me for not standing in allegiance with my own government while enjoying a life abroad …Incidentally, if anyone was paying attention to the online discussion group postings last week, they would have read where I was simultaneously accused of being a waif and stray, disloyal to my own President, ungrateful to this country for allowing me to live here and looking for a pat on the head ( for what I don't know!).
Not to mention, my topic was accused as being contrary to the principles of the discussion forums. Oh yeah, and pompous …What? No questioning my religious beliefs? Oh well, give it time.
Anyway, my abstention on the subject of Mr. Bush is partly due to the fact that he doesn't head this country. Hell, considering the way he was voted (cough) into office, he almost didn't get an opportunity to run his own. Also I try to keep references of him to a minimum. That's why he hasn't been given bitch-space this week. One might say I'm Bush-whacked!
Although I was a little confused as to why he generated such venom over here during his State visit. I mean, it isn't as though we don't have a dopey leader of our very own to throw rotten fruit at. I presume it's because of the sucking up Blair does to the Americans …even I think it's nauseating ... and I am one!
I mean, short of daubing his clothing with bodily fluids, Tony couldn't have imitated Bill Clinton more had he forged his own birth certificate and claimed he was born in Arkansas. At least imitating GW has got to be easier … both men are misguided fools.
So ok, maybe a modicum of venom is called for.

 

AKR's
With Anne deBondt

Have you ever tried to fill out an internet questionnaire? If you have you probably know what hell they can be to complete. And if you haven't, take my word for it, it isn't as easy as it looks.
I'm willing to accept that because I am a little wary of the damn things I don't pay the attention I should but something peculiar happens when I send my details into the void.
I have never had a human recipient return my form telling me that I have made a mistake entering my own details. Yet, despite my confident knowledge of myself, each time I submit one of these devil forms from cyber hell I am instantly met with an "error page" that advises me of an inaccuracy somewhere along the way.
I take a deep breath, ascertain where I've gone wrong and refill the boxes with the correct answer.
Or so I think …because in a split second I am presented with yet another error page! Although this time I am informed that my gaffe is of a different nature.
Evidently I corrected the previous factual error only to have gotten something else wrong that was once right!
Anyway, I try again. I make further alterations and click submit … I think we all know where it goes from here.
There must be something about typing instead of writing that renders me incompetent. That or, as I suspect is more likely, there is a sinister force stopping these things from going through the first seven times.

I have never been hesitant when voicing an opinion of today's politicians. I unreservedly express a relentless opposition when it comes to Presidents and Prime Ministers who sucker their voting public into trusting them.
Furthermore I defend my amateur status when it comes to political affairs because I firmly believe that when a person has been voted into an office or position they are beholden to fulfil their obligations. We the public rely on a campaign promise being a guarantee of action, not just a ploy to catch our fancy.
Now, saying all that, I also think it's safe to say that the noise I've made about Presidents Bush and Blair needs no repeating. Put simply, I don't like either of them.
However, this past week I have seen protests against "Ole Hang-em-high George" that verge on the ridiculous. Have the people of the UK forgotten that President Blair and his henchmen are responsible for any foul ups or bad decisions this side of the pond - not GW?
And, more importantly, I trust I won't be the first or the last to think that the toppling of a papier-mâché George Bush was a complete misfire.
I think either the folk responsible for the daft demonstration are shockingly ignorant or just plain cruel - I suspect a bit of both.
Saddam Hussein is guilty of sever torment and brutality against his own people. His nation lived in fear of his imbalanced, unfair and evil wrath. It's a well known fact that many, many Iraqis died at his request simply as a result of hearsay.
To topple a statue of this tyrant was symbolic. It signalled the end of a torturous, sadistic domination of the people. To reproduce that image as though it were a mere folly, a scene from a children's pantomime, is sick.
I'm all for protest. I'm all about standing up for the right of man. But I draw the line when folk can't tell the difference between a good point and a cheap shot!

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