Archive | October, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

31 Oct
English: NHS logo

English: NHS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last two non-joke posts provoked some interesting comments, to my surprise. The surprise is not that they were interesting (do I not have the best, most intelligent readers in the world?  I do; and I do not want to end up needing the NHS in an urgent manner by accidentally suggesting otherwise).

My surprise came from the idea that the NHS is not necessarily a good thing. The NHS is a more than a good thing: it is a great thing.  But it is not a perfect thing.  It may have appeared that I was criticising the system and not the system practitioners; I wasn’t.  I understand that there is a finite pot of money and tough decisions have to be made.  It’s just easier if the tough decisions affect other people’s husbands.

I’ve paid for medical care (fourteen years in South Africa) and I’ve had it for nothing.  Trust me – free medical care is better.  You still have the two-hour wait in the doctor’s waiting room, but there’ll be some pennies left in your purse at the end of it.

I exaggerate: since my local surgery introduced an electronic reception board, the wait is usually brief.  And the greeting is friendlier.

The NHS may not be a perfect system and it may mean unpleasant people man the phones, but it is disinterested medical care.  Not disinterested in its patients, despite my moaning; but disinterested in its willingness to help as many people as possible, no matter what their financial circumstances.

Our financial circumstances are not great.  The NHS doesn’t mind that.  In the last few months I have had free emergency dental treatment, free doctor visits, a free mammogram and free antibiotics.  

Take a look at this:

This is the Hub’s daily tablet intake.  Fourteen tablets for his various conditions. Tablets are not cheap.  That’s what I’m told – we don’t pay for them.

The concept of free medical care is a foreign one to many of my readers but, believe me, I’m grateful.  We are grateful.  We were grateful when Spud had an emergency appendectomy.  When Tory Boy had his adenoids and tonsils removed.  When the Hub was given every test possible to diagnose his health issues.

Pound for pound, we have the best medical care in the world.  I find it incomprehensible that there is opposition to the idea elsewhere. Without free medical care, I could have died from blood poisoning brought on by oral infections which would have gone untreated because I could not afford to visit a dentist.

The NHS asks nothing of me except a portion of my taxes once I’m in a position to be taxed, and to tolerate the occasional moody receptionist.  I would tolerate a thousand moody receptionists.  It’s a small price to pay.

I’m A Tad Grumpy

31 Oct

No TV cop shows were spoiled in the making of this post.

English: Stepping Hill Hospital Viewed from th...

English: Stepping Hill Hospital Viewed from the railway bridge on Bramhall Moor Road. (Photo credit: Wikipedia  © Gerald England)

 

The dreaded ‘T’ word has been deployed – I think you know that means I’m seriously put out.

I sat at the computer for all of five minutes this morning.  The stupid chair and rotten cramped desk made my legs ache just by looking at them.  I decided to catch up with one of my favourite cop shows instead.  A character I like died saving a character I dislike.  Great.

By this time it was nine o’clock so the doctor’s surgery was open.  I waited all day yesterday and heard nothing.  No wonder my legs ache – they’ve been supporting an over-extended bladder for 24 hours.

I phoned.  Scary Receptionist wasn’t there but she had passed the details on to Uninterested Assistant Practice Manager, who ‘hadn’t gotten around to phoning’ me yet.  UAPM told me it was the Trust’s fault: they changed the ‘boundaries’ of who could have the flu jab so, even though the NHS literature says everyone with a neurological condition can have it, they mean everyone with a neurological condition who the local Trust says can have it.  I can try phoning again in early December to see if they’ve got any jabs left, but I’m not holding my breath (except to count to ten while I remember I’m supposed to love everyone, even those who work at my local doctor’s surgery).

My only comfort is that the Hub will get the flu which, because of his weak nervous system, will turn to pneumonia, causing him to be hospitalised, ruining our Christmas and costing the NHS a thousand times more in ICU fees than it would have if they’d given him the absolutely vital flu jab in the first place.

Strangely, the Hub doesn’t find that the least bit comforting, but what does he know?  He’s sick.  He is still not fully recovered from his bug and it’s been more than two weeks.  He is weak and has hardly been out of bed, never mind the house.  He went out on Sunday for thirty minutes and that knocked him flat. He’s thinking about trying to get up again today.

All joking aside, if that’s what a bug can do to him, imagine how the flu could affect him.  No wonder I’m grumpy.  I don’t want Christmas ruined.

After the waste of time that was my phone call to the doctor’s, I tried going back onto the computer to complain about it to you.  No internet for over an hour.

‘Tad’ doesn’t even begin to describe my mood today.  Well, it wouldn’t, would it? It’s a noun, not an adjective.

I would like to make one thing clear: I might complain and the Hub might get really sick but the NHS is still wonderful and one of the best healthcare systems in the world – and free, most of the time.  If the Hub does get pneumonia, they will care for him and it will cost us nothing.  So it won’t bite into my Christmas Present Budget.  There’s always a silver lining.

We have an excellent hospital in Stockport.  You may have heard of it, it was in the news: many patients were poisoned last year by a member of staff.

Joke 587

31 Oct

From ajokeaday.com.

Parrot icon

Parrot icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A woman was walking down the street to work and she saw a parrot on a perch in front of a pet store.

The parrot said to her, “Hey lady, you are really ugly.”  The woman was furious.  She stormed past the store to her work.

On the way home she saw the same parrot and it said to her, “Hey lady, you are really ugly.”  She was incredibly annoyed now.

The next day the same parrot again said to her, “Hey lady, you are really ugly.”

The woman was so annoyed that she went into the store and warned she would sue the store and have the bird put down.  The store manager apologised profusely and promised he would make sure the parrot didn’t say it again.

When the woman walked past the store that day after work the parrot called to her, “Hey lady…”

She paused and said,”Yes?”

The bird said, “You know.”

 

When Is M.E. Not a Neurological Condition?

30 Oct

Answer: When it is time for a flu jab.

"The One Ring" from J.R.R. Tolkien's...

“The One Ring” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works (Photo credit: Wikipedia) If only medical reception phones worked like this

Sigh.

The NHS gives free flu jabs every year for those with certain conditions, including pregnancy and anything neurological.  I freely admit the Hub is not pregnant, but he has M.E. which is most definitely a neurological condition.

Unless I try to book his jab, that is.  Every year we go through the same much ado about something important:

Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring [The phone in the doctor's surgery] 

Receptionist: Hello, this is your medical centre speaking.  How may I obstruct you?

Tilly Bud: Hello Beautiful Lady, Keeper of the Appointment Book.  Please may I book a flu jab for my husband if it’s not too much trouble for your Kindly Beautifulness?

Reception [Barks]: Name?

Tilly Polite: The Hub.

Loooooooooong pause.

Recepti [Grunts]: Of number street name?

Tilly Politer: That’s right, O Clever Hoarder of the Surgery Pens.

Recep [Indignant]: He’s not eligible.

Tilly Desperate [Sigh - inaudible to avoid provoking the beast]: We have this discussion every year, dear Starched Muffin of the GPs.  He has M.E., which is a neurological condition.  If you don’t mind checking his record, Lovely Tracker of the Public Toilet Toilet Paper, you will see that he has had the jab every year.

Rec [Reluctant but Dutiful]: I’ll have to speak to the nurse and get back to you. Wait by the phone.  Do not take toilet breaks.  Do not pass/go.  Let your bladder burst and soil your seat before leaving the designated hearing-of-the-ringing-telephone area.  I will make one call only.  No reply from you, and I will disappear from the face of the earth with any possible appointment that may or may not be offered or not offered to your alleged eligible spouse.  Do you understand these conditions as I have explained them to you?  DO YOU?

Tilly Terrified: Yes, O She Who Wields All The Power.  Thank you for your great mercy to this humble supplicant.

R: Don’t mention it.  No, seriously, don’t mention it.  I don’t want the other patients knowing I have a softer side.  [Hangs up]

Tilly waits.

Waits.

And waits.

Still waiting.

Yellow pool starts to rise.

Waits.

Joke 586

30 Oct
Vines

Vines (Photo credit: Ted & Dani Percival)

From punoftheday.

I wrote a novel about a fellow who had a small garden.
It didn’t have much of a plot.
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I love one-liners like this (it’s only on two lines because space is limited), so I found a few more for you on the Telegraph website, of all places.

Tim Vine (this one won him an award):

Conjunctivitis.com – that’s a site for sore eyes.

Tim with another award winner:

I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.

Matt Kirshen:

I was playing chess with my friend and he said ‘Let’s make this more interesting’. So we stopped playing chess.

Mr Vine again (I’m a fan):

Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.

 

Chocolate? Meh!

29 Oct
English: An Australian Milky Bar that has been...

English: An Australian Milky Bar that has been split in half. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading Elaine’s post today about chocolate sprinkles on bread (sorry, Elaine, but bleurgghh), it occurred to me that I am not really a fan of chocolate.  I like milk and white and would probably trade one of my children for a Malteser (only one of my kids – the other will be needed to bring me food when I’m too fat to leave my bed), but after that, I’m not bothered.  I mean, I can gulp down a Kit Kat, a Crunchie, a Bounty and a bag of Buttons in one sitting, but I can take or leave them.  Mostly take.

However, I never eat chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate puddings or drink chocolate milk shake.  I do love a good chocolate swiss roll but only if it has white fondant in the centre.

I prefer a good jelly bean or chewy sweet, angel cake or fairy cakes.  My favourite cake is the little butterfly cake that is really a fairy cake with cream or butter icing.

English: Butterfly Cake, photographed by me on...

English: Butterfly Cake, photographed by me on 1st August 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t be called a chocoholic – it’s not even a real word so if you do call me that, your slap in the face will be for the annoying neologism, not the insult – but I can be called a greedy pig.  

How about you?  Are you as annoying as my Mum, who would receive a box of chocolates at Christmas and still have half left in November?  

Or is chocolate like drugs and alcohol to you, and must be eaten immediately if you have it in the house?

 

Joke 585

29 Oct

From ahajokes.com.

 

Mike

Mike (Photo credit: MarinaAvila)

 

 

A fellow stopped at a rural gas station and, after filling his tank, he paid the bill and bought a soft drink. He stood by his car to drink his cola and he watched a couple of men working along the roadside. One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was about 25 feet behind filling in the old. The men worked right past the fellow with the soft drink and went on down the road.

 

“I can’t stand this,” said the man, tossing the can in a trash container and heading down the road toward the men.

 

“Hold it, hold it,” he said to the men. “Can you tell me what’s going on here with this digging?”

 

“Well, we work for the county government, ” one of the men said.

 

“But one of you is digging a hole and the other is filling it up. You’re not accomplishing anything. Aren’t you wasting the county’s money?”

 

“You don’t understand, mister,” one of the men said, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow. “Normally there’s three of us – me, Rodney and Mike. I dig the hole, Rodney sticks in the tree and Mike here puts the dirt back.”

 

“Yea,” piped up Mike. “Now, just because Rodney’s sick, that don’t mean we can’t work, does it?”

 

How To Settle An Argument: Write A Novel

28 Oct

Or not.

The Hub and I have an ongoing argument: he thinks I’m a great writer (no argument there) but I’m wasted on poetry because there’s no money in it.  I should write a novel, he thinks.

My argument is, I don’t have a novel in me.  No ideas for a story, no desire to write one, and my reliance on colons and semicolons is such that, although I might do a Cormac McCarthy thing and start a trend, it really helps to sell books if you tell a good story first; then the punctuation, grammar, etc., won’t matter. Just ask Stephenie Meyer.

English: British actor Robert Pattinson at the...

English: British actor Robert Pattinson at the premiere of Water for Elephants in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Gratuitous use of RP’s picture solely for the benefit of Tilly Bud

Write a book, he’s always saying.  Write a book.

Nah, is being my answer (not bad grammar – I’m paraphrasing Love Actually).

Write a book, like it’s that simple.

I’ll tell you what is not simple: listening to the Hub saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…see how quickly that becomes dull?

We watched Water for Elephants – me for Robert Pattinson; the Hub for the elephant (he’s not keen on Reese Witherspoon).  After the film, I did what I always do after a movie: checked Wikipedia for background details.  I have the internet; the information is freely available: why shouldn’t I be a nerd if I want to?

Guess what?  The film is based on the book of the same name by Sara Gruen, who wrote the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s another fact, irrelevant to this one, but I always think of it whenever I think of NaNo elephants and it creeps me out so I have to share it: the book Fifty Shades of Grey started life as Twilight fan fiction.  

You can see why that might creep me out, can’t you?  From vampire virgins to young bondage victims (I hear).  Icky.

So…best-selling novels-nagging husbands-vampires-elephants… There could be only one outcome: I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo.  At best, it will settle the argument once and for all: I do not have a novel in me.  At better, it will settle the argument once and for all: I have a novel in me.  I don’t mind the Hub winning that one if I get a book and film deal out of it.

Now, what shall I call it?  

Water for Vampires…Twilight of the Pattinsons…Fifty Shades of Elephant Grey…

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Joke 584

28 Oct

I heard this joke at the laughter conference I attended last week.

A vicar decided to drop in on one of his parishioners.  It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times.  Finally, he took out his card and wrote on the back: Revelation 3:20 and stuck it in the door.

The next day, as he was counting the offering he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was the notation Genesis 3:10.

Revelation 3:20 reads: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.”

Genesis 3:10 reads: “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked.”

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They played some comedy clips for us and I thought you might enjoy this one:

 

Review: Skyfall

27 Oct

Skyfall 007 Movie (click to view)

I haven’t seen it yet, but Spud has.  He is sixteen and unimpressable, so consider the value of this Six Word Saturday:

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Spud says:

Best Bond film ever.

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For more 6WS go here.

Joke 583

27 Oct

From jokes.com.

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1855-daguerrotype-familyphoto-joke-Punch

1855-daguerrotype-familyphoto-joke-Punch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A man was just waking up from anesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side.

His eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re beautiful!” then he fell asleep again.

His wife had never heard him say that so she stayed by his side.

A couple of minutes later his eyes fluttered open and he said, “You’re cute!”

His wife was disappointed because instead of “beautiful” it was “cute.”  She said, “What happened to ‘beautiful’?”

He replied, “The drugs are wearing off.”

 

Now I’m Really Back

26 Oct

Apartheid’s All Right If You’re White is now at Second Draft status and I am at Desperately Needing A Break status, especially if I don’t want to develop Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (Photo credit: jfravel)

I have been sitting at the computer for three days straight.  Well, not straight so much as hunched over, knees in my chin because there’s no space under the desk for my legs and perched on the edge of a chair that is either too low or too high but I’m not quite sure which but I do know it’s uncomfortable.

But it was worth it!  My book is looking good, like it might actually be a real book one day.  This is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done – and I’ve flown in aeroplanes at least twenty times.

You don’t define flying as ‘exciting’?  ‘Exciting’ for me means ‘an absolutely terrifying experience but worth the effort because of what comes at the end.’  How do you define it?

So here I am, back.  I have read all of your comments that you continued to make in my absence.  It must be like when I talk to the Hub.

Thank you for not deserting me.  Unfortunately, there’s no way I can catch up with all of them and do normal things like eat and sleep, so I will apologise right now:

Sorry, I won’t be replying to your comments.  There’s no way I can catch up with all of them  and do normal things like eat and sleep.

I do promise to visit you all, however, and not catch up on all the posts I’ve missed.  I can’t say fairer than that.

What?  We don’t have the same definition of ‘fair’, either?  Leave a complaint in the comments.

Joke 582

26 Oct

One from punoftheday.

English: Small vacuum cleaner

English: Small vacuum cleaner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My mate swallowed a cordless vacuum cleaner.

I took him to hospital and he is picking up nicely.

 

 

 

 

25 Oct

The Laughing Housewife:

Everyone should read this.

Originally posted on The World of Special Olympics:

image

John Franklin Stephens

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied…

View original 263 more words

Joke 581

25 Oct
The Wishing Fish Clock in the Regent Shopping ...

The Wishing Fish Clock in the Regent Shopping Arcade, Cheltenham, may be the world’s tallest mechanical clock. The vertical distance from the duck to the fish is 14 metres. It weighs 3 tons. On the hour the fish that is suspended under the clock revolves and blows out bubbles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From photosbykev.

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Noah started building several arks for various parts of the animal kingdom.

One was a split level job for all the fish – a multi-storey carp ark.

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Two parrots are sitting on a perch.

One says to the other, “Can you smell fish?”

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What is dry on the outside, filled with water and blows up buildings?

A fish tank.

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