Saturday, February 14, 2015

How dumb is Facebook?

For no very good reason, I wandered onto Facebook and checked out "Ruislip". It has a page headed "Ruislip, Slough, Middlesex". I should have quit there and then, but...

In the same way that a motorist getting increasingly lost in a strange city will plough on rather than ask a passerby for directions, (or is that just me?) I noticed a section inviting edits. It asked me to confirm if Uxbridge Lido (a swimming pool) and Ruislip Lido (a lake and nature reserve in the centre of the historic Ruislip Woods) were the same thing. Perhaps nobody at Facebook has encountered the word lido before. Perhaps they ask visitors to the Venice page if the Venice Lido is actually the same thing as the Uxbridge Lido. Or if Venice Beach (California) is the place to go for a dip after a visit to the Rialto?

It then asked if a webreference to the Borough of Hillingdon (in which we live, not Slough) was the same as some obvious Welsh website which I cannot pronounce. 

There is nowhere I could see that would allow me to correct the unbelievable linkage of our beautiful and ancient village with the industrial mess 10 miles away to the south-west. At this point I threw in the towel and left. Visitors to Facebook will have to make of it what they will. But if they seek after truth, I suggest they find alternatives.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Meanwhile, in a shopping mall near Corleone...

 As investigations continue into goings-on at the supermarket giant we all love to hate, I am indebted to The Guardian for this quote from a story about enquiries by the "Groceries Code Adjudicator", Christine Tacon.

As Tacon highlighted some of her leading concerns about the practices at Tesco, MSP Mike Russell said such schemes were new to him. “I had only read about them and seen them in films like The God­father,” he said.

I don't know what Ms. Tacon's take on that was [And they said Music Hall was dead: Ed] but here's the so-obvious one from Ramblings.

They brought Aldi into the inner room at the back, the room where no woman was permitted to enter. Tagliatelli was there, face impassive, his clipboard as always in his left hand. Fresco nodded once but made no sign. Behind the huge desk the Don sat staring out at the trolleys in the car park and nobody dared speak until he slowly turned and his gaze bore into Aldi with all the impact of a double Clubcard promotion special.

"I am disappointed in you, my son. I put you in charge of your own aisle. I let you put up the pricing stickers yourself. You grow fat on the date-expired chocolates I let you keep, huh? And all I ask is ... a little respect"

Sweat broke out on Aldi's forehead. He saw the Arab, Al-Dente shift slightly where he stood poised beside the 42 inch TV (Special offer, buy now) in the corner. He remembered that nobody had ever found the remains of Al's former boss, Bud Gen. The silence in the room closed on in him, He fingered his tie, tried to breathe normally.

"I always respected you Godfather"

"But you never came to me and said 'Godfather, I bought some biscuits on a two for one, share them with me.' You did not invite me to your daughter's birthday party although you took the crate of lemonade delivered here by mistake with a wrong docket number.  You had dealings with the Jew, Morry and his sons - ah, you see, I know everything. And when that Scotsman, Macfisheries, make you an offer to work for him? You think I don't know?"

Aldi knew he was finished. He saw the men around him watch him like a three day old sandwich, fit only for the rubbish bin. The Godfather sighed.

"I had such plans for you. But now...   You wait outside a moment, ok?"

Aldi shuffled out, sat on the hard chair and the door closed. The Godfather looked at his trusted Capo d'aisles.

"I want this done properly. Nobody to know, nobody to get hurt"

Fresco put his hand to his pocket where he always kept his green marker pen for special promotions.

"We do it the safe way, Godfather"

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The blizzard strikes Ruislip (not)

While the eastern United States suffered snowstorms that shut down flights and cities, and northern UK had a bit of the same, we in beautiful Ruislip awoke this fine morning to find a light dusting of the white stuff. I waved a scraper at my car windscreen and most of it fell cleanly away - fortunately there was no ice underneath.

It's been cold for the past few days, temperatures dipping below zero most nights, in sharp contrast to the mild and wet January, and it feels more like winter ought to.  The Met Office people speak of blocking systems and diverted jetstreams and the like but really it is just business as usual. However whether the milder start to the year has pushed plants into a premature growth that the frosts will kill off - we will see in a few weeks time.

And speaking of commuting, which I wasn't, the Met line has been suffering a bit with all sorts of problems. Yesterday, when Mrs. Commuter and I went Londonwards, there were some gaps in the service so we had sprinted up the steps as a train came in; coming back a couple of hours later a signal failure at Moorgate had paralysed the line and it was running with severe delays. We took a Jubbly in the hope of catching a train that might start at Wembley Park but by the time we had got there the Met was running through trains again.