The Blog of Zak Spade

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  Fluffy Bunnies
Friday 22 April, 2022

Do people realise how hard it is to come up with a blog that avoids all or any mention of world events? Wars, economic hardship, sex crimes on huge scales, political scandals involving lies, war, economics and sex. What’s left to write about?

Escapism seems to be the only way to deal with the whole thing. Think of it as a way to bury one’s head in the sand without getting any grains of it in your ears.

Reading a good book isn’t brilliant. Any decent literary work will cover one of the above in some form or other, and usually a fair bit better than the players out there presently indulging in some or all of the above...

Watching television or listening to the radio can work. There are plenty of mind numbing programmes available. The problem is that they are potentially bookended by news of whatever is occupying the minds of journalists at any given time. I suppose one could skip the serious bits in the same way as many avoid the advertisements.

Browsing the likes of YouTube is usually rewarding. The caveat is that one has to be quite clear and determined in order to find videos that stick to mundane issues. Even then suggestions threaten to derail attempts to avoid the newsworthy topics. When I typed in fluffy bunnies and selected the first video, a list of suggestions down the right of my screen appeared as a video montage of delightfully fluffy leporids was displayed for my delight.

The suggestions were mainly for more videos of rabbits, but one appeared to be a student protesting over something (possibly political, although because it wasn’t in English so he may have been complaining about the cost of coffee in his college cafe). Another promised rabbits fighting to the death. A little further a video existed to tell me that I was killing my cat by using harmful cat litter.

At that point I decided to scroll down to see whether things improved. They didn’t seem to do so. Spectacular crashes at the Nürburgring were followed by tips on how to survive a sudden tornado ahead of a treatise on whether Macron's Covid fascism will cost him the French presidential election race.

I found it all rather fascinating how a search for nothing more than fluffy bunnies had world events, violence and gore thrust at me.

Now, where did I leave that isolation tank?


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Tuesday 19 April, 2022

An interesting word with multiple meanings.

When used to describe someone who writes a cheque or a money order, it is pronounced the way it looks. As an item of underwear or the magic storage compartment in the kitchen, it is pronounced draws.

Naturally the pronunciation leads to the common misspelling of the word in the same way that Wednesday (Wensday) and February (Febury) are casualties of how they are commonly spoken.

Magical storage compartment?

Yes, the word is used to term the storage tray that slides in and out of kitchen units and furniture. Usually items of cutlery or clothing can be stored within. However, at random times, things placed within can disappear without trace.

The converse is sometimes true. When one rummages through a drawer, items thought lost forever reappear, as well as strange unidentifiable objects turning up that have clearly not been placed there by anyone in the household.

By anyone’s definition, this denotes some for magic. Is anyone seriously going to suggest that the world is populated by home intruders or imps? Could it be that mysterious items found in drawers are merely mistakes due to interlopers forgetting what goes where as they make their way through countless drawers across the world?

Actually, now I think about it, there is reasonableness surrounding the idea.

Saint Anthony might be who you call on when things go missing, but no one can tell me who to turn to when you are left scratching your head over random things appearing. The nearest I can determine is Saint Denis who is said to the patron saint of headaches, as well as France.

Make of that what you will...

Thursday 14 April, 2022

Isn’t technology wonderful? For a number of years I have had a choral-like piece floating about inside my head. It is a haunting female vocal reminiscent of some of the works of Enya. However, despite it being quite clear as it flits between the brain cells between my ears, it hasn’t been identified.

Recently I watched an old edition of BBC’s Top Gear. During a short segment they played the elusive collection of notes that have dogged me for some time. It was a mere thirteen seconds, but I played it to an app on my smartphone that promised to be able to identify any music played to it.

As the segment ended and the screen of my phone displayed a swirling image that was meant to convey the message that the app was hard at work, I settled for knowing that I hadn’t imagined the work, but that I would remain oblivious to its title.

After the eddying of super small pixels had stopped, the screen displayed the words, Vision (O Euchari In Leta Via).

I entered the name into a search engine and was rewarded with a YouTube video that confirmed the result.

Thirteen seconds. It reminded me of a modern hi-tech version of Name That Tune...

  Simple Things
Tuesday 12 April, 2022

It seems that even the simple things of life are beyond some people. Take the rules of the road, for instance.

In the UK there are many. Admittedly, not all of them are simple to understand. However, some of them are pretty easy. Drive on the left. Give way to the right, generally. Obey the traffic signage and road markings.

How simple does it need to be?

Then there are the lines...

Double yellow means no parking, right? Yet vehicles are regularly seen parked or stopped on them. Why? Ignorant drivers? Possibly, but not probably.

They do mean no stopping, waiting or parking, but there are exceptions. Loading is one. Except if there are signs or markings on the kerb indicating otherwise. An exception to an exception. Blue Badge owners can park on them, subject to a myriad of restrictions which may be connected to other exceptions for other road users. Or not. It depends.

Then there are single yellow lines. These can mean the same as their double line cousins, but they rely more on instruction signage. Their existence can be for many things. The time periods during which they are in force may vary.

Basically, if you see a single yellow line by the roadside, look for instructions to tell you what they mean and do – and check the time.

If I were to exhaustively detail all the rules and instances of exceptions which apply to yellow line road markings, then this would end up becoming the longest web page in internet history.

Conversely we see that double red lines are here to rescue us and reacquaint us with the simplicity of the rules of the road. When you see a pair of red lines down the side of the carriageway they mean no stopping, no parking, no nothing. If you break down on them you will be fined and be required to appeal it. Feel free to engage an expensive lawyer to fight for justice and be prepared to end up with a hefty legal bill in the process. Or do it yourself.

Except if picking up or dropping off a Blue Badge holder, and then you are required to do just that and move off quickly.

Transport for London will provide exemption letters – for a large fee – which allow for parking on them for the purposes of moving properties when removals vehicles are required to access a property along a red line afflicted roadway. Other authorities in the country can be approached and reasoned with, if you are careful.

So, red lines are simpler. They are best treated as being an instruction to never stop for any reason.

Unless you are a taxi or private hire vehicle, displaying an exemption sticker issued at the time of inspection to gain a taxi or private hire plate.

Would anyone like me to detail the many different white lines that exist to help us on our simple way over UK roads? Anyone got a spare lifetime?

Sunday 3 April, 2022

A blog – indeed, all blogs – ought to show solidarity and get behind the most pressing morality issues in the world. They should empathise, support and extol the virtues of what cause is currently at the top of the news at any particular moment.

World events should not and cannot be ignored.

It is the responsibility of those who write and compose blogs for them to demonstrate a willingness to carry their part of the load. Painful and heavy questions of the day should be addressed.

Right, I’m ready! The only thing to do now is identify what is right and what is wrong...