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1. I was offered the opportunity to take part in 40 days of prayer for the bargain price of $9.98. For this much money I would get daily e-mail updates which I could forward on to my friends for free. They would not need to pay $9.98. I’m no businessman, but it seems to me that if you’re going to run a profitable 40 days of prayer you need to get everyone paying their $9.98.
2. A ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ of the Carphone Warehouse Group contacted me to say that they would be very happy to have a link to their site on my website, and in fact they would go as far as to write a whole page of information that I could post onto my site with a link to them. All for free. Unfortunately they “are not currently in the position of being able to exchange or return links”. Much as I’d enjoy participating in such an attempt to manipulate the search engines I have declined to respond to the unsolicited e-mail. Oddly enough I had thought, until now, that the Carphone Warehouse was a legitimate and above-board sort of company.
3. The Amazon internet company had a special offer whereby one could have a FREE trial of their ‘Amazon Prime’ service, which promises to send things out on a next-day-delivery basis. I can confirm the results of the trial based on a sample of one: The goods do not arrive the next day as promised, even if you wait in all day for them. Suffice to say it is not a service that one shall be continuing with.
Posted by Dave at 11:35 am on September 26, 2008 and filed under Mundane, Slightly grumpy.
I was surprised to discover that I have made the quote of the week on the National Secular Society website (Thanks to Arun for the tip):
“A lot of people are going back to church again – this is usually because they have forgotten something like their keys or jacket or glasses”
(Dave, cartoonist at Cartoonists Blog)
Of course, as we (and they) know full well this is not a ‘quote’, but a caption from one of my cartoons:
[Large version of 'Back to Church' cartoon]
A caption is designed to be read with the cartoon it accompanies and is not the same as a quote. Out of context a cartoon caption may appear to be saying something which it is not. Thus the Secularists mislead their audience, which is a little bit naughty of them.
I had a quick look around the National Secular Society website whilst I was there. They come across as ‘oh so balanced’ upon first reading:
We want a society in which all are free to practise their faith, change it or not have one, according to their conscience.
A splendid sentiment.
But when I clicked another link at random things were not looking quite so reasonable. This page contains a letter from a reader describing a vicar as “a probable child abuser in a dress”, something that I found really quite offensive. There is no disclaimer that I could find saying ‘these letters do not necessarily represent the views of the National Secular Society’ so one assumes that they do.
If that is secularism then I think perhaps that you can probably keep it.
Update: At the time of writing the Secularist website is down if you use the normal address – but I found a version that works here.
Posted by Dave at 2:52 pm on October 4, 2007 and filed under Cartoons, Church, Religion, Slightly grumpy.
BBC NEWS | Business | Barclays accused over ‘failings’
BBC NEWS | Business | Mis-selling is ‘rife’ at Barclays
There was a programme tonight about Barclays and their many shifty dealings. This is the company who made 7 billion pounds profit last year and yet charge people £30 to go overdrawn when the cost to them is about £1.50. The programme showed telephone operatives engaging in all sorts of dubious behaviour, such as pretending they are calling as an ‘advisor’ when in fact it is purely a sales call. Then an advisor in a local branch attempting to sell home insurance to a man who can’t afford a bed in an attempt to meet a target. And many other such horrors.
Of course at the end of the programme there is a management-type person saying that what the programme reveals is not typical and that actually Barclays are respectable and lovely. But the fact is that we know (from experience) that Barclays hassle their customers with sales calls, so I know which side of the story I’m believing.
At the end of the day I am never going to be happy with a company which cold calls people. Everyone hates it. It is just not a valid thing to do any more. So there.
These links say more about the programme. Other ‘Whistleblower’ programmes are here – I talked about the estate agents one almost exactly a year ago if you remember.
Update: If you need help reclaiming bank charges (up to six years worth) or other information to do with banks and money then I personally find Martin Lewis and his MoneySavingExpert site the place to go. This is the site the banks don’t want you to know about.
Posted by Dave at 10:14 pm on March 21, 2007 and filed under Slightly grumpy, TV.
The Archbishop of York’s press officer gives VirtueOnline a well deserved telling off for writing a piece about Archbishop John Sentamu packed full of utter nonsense:
This piece is a joke. It has a factual error in almost every other sentence.
If you had any integrity whatsoever you would take it off your site and re-write it in entire and re-post having done some actual research rather than (incorrectly) cutting and pasting.
I would warn anyone against reading too much of David Virtue’s VirtueOnline site, especially the frequently hateful comments threads. It is a site that even most conservative Anglicans are ashamed of. In addition entire newspaper articles are usually printed without permission and with no link back to the originating site. You just can’t do that these days, especially if you are making advertising money with other people’s content. I for one would support any newspaper or anyone else who tried to shut him down.
Posted by Dave at 3:54 pm on December 6, 2006 and filed under Anglican goings-on, Slightly grumpy.
I am thinking of retitling this blog ‘Dave’s Daily Problem’. Once again thank you for the advice on working from home. I hope to respond to a number of the comments and e-mails sent on the subject.
Today’s subject for debate and consternation: computer updates.
Every blessed bit of software on the computer needs updating continually. Boxes pop up on an ongoing basis and various whathaveyous must be downloaded, installed, initialised (whatever that means), reconfigurated and rediscombobulated.
In some cases one gets to know that to agree to the update means it will redownload the whole programme and do so the same the next day and the next day and so on for ever. Zonealarm: I’m looking at you.
Other programmes new require a restart every time they download their updates, which is every time the computer is switched on. Literally. AVG Antivirus – are your ears burning? (Yes, I understand that it is good that antivirus programmes update daily – it is the continual demand for restarts that are frustrating.)
Other programme makers devise a version 2.0 that is so big and clunky it makes the computer crash continually whilst leaving out very basic functions that version 1.0 had meaning that every operation needs a lot more clicks than before. SmartFTP – this one has your name on it. (Anyone got a recommendation for a replacement ftp programme by the way?)
Most of the programmes that trouble me are free ones and so you are all entirely entitled to tell me not to use them if I don’t like them. But perhaps by writing this some maker of software somewhere will heed my message: Please try to keep updates to a minimum (especially after 11pm) as they are making us all a bit unhappy. Thank you.
Posted by Dave at 10:25 am on November 15, 2006 and filed under Cartoons, Slightly grumpy, Technical.
I was pleased to discover that I have been made ‘blog of the week’ on this blog on the AboutLife blogging system. AboutLife, if you have not come across it before, is connected to the Alpha Course originally devised by Holy Trinity Church Brompton and now used by churches worldwide to introduce people to Christianity via talks and tasty suppers.
I was very pleased to be called a ‘blog of the week’, so I thought I would leave a comment to show my appreciation. I tried to do so, but was dismayed to discover that commenting is not allowed unless you login as a member. ‘Oh well’, I thought to myself, ‘perhaps I’ll send the author an e-mail instead’. Once again, I tried, but discovered that one needs to be a member to send an e-mail to a member.
In desparation I decided that I would register as a member. Unfortunately one of the fields in the registration page is one saying ‘church’, with a dropdown menu. I do not belong to one of the churches on the list, and I don’t really want to pretend to be a member of Eltham Park Baptist Church when I am quite clearly not a member and in fact have never, to my knowledge, been to Eltham Park, pleasant as I am sure it is.
So I have a problem. I decided to go and look at the Frequently Asked Questions page, where I discovered:
How do I become a member?
You have to be invited by an existing member.
Ah. Another problem as I do not know any existing members. And I cannot get to know any existing members as I cannot e-mail them. Then, further down the page, advice to existing members:
Who should I invite?
Anyone who supports the aims of Alpha is welcome. The value of the network depends on everyone knowing and vouching for the other members they invite. So please never ever invite someone you do not know.
Oh dear. Leaving aside the supporting Alpha aspect as I do not know any members and no members know me I am in a bit of a pickle. I am destined to continue my life not knowing and not being known.
I can understand that the Alpha organisation want to have a forum for discussion where random idiots from the internet (like me) will not cause disruption. But I struggle to see why an evangelistic organisation, whose aim is surely to make contact with people from outside their community and evangelise them via the Alpha course, have made themselves into this gated commune where contact with the outside world is forbidden. Surely making it impossible for your neighbour to contact you goes against every principle of blogging and in fact Christianity.
I am going to send this post to the site and see what they say.
[5 minutes later] I can find no way to send an e-mail to the site except to go on a membership waiting list which is not what I am trying to do. Or to ‘report a page’, which is also not what I am trying to do, unless by ‘a page’ you include reporting the whole site. I shall give it a try.
Update: Christian, the author of the blog which made me ‘blog of the week’ contacted me:
Dear Dave, I’ve just seen your posting about the post I made with you as “Blog of the Week”. I’m so sorry about all of the not-being-able-to-comments stuff. I agree with you and have forwarded your comments to the developers.
For the record I’d view aboutlife.com as being still in Beta. I think some of the who can access stuff will get better over the next few months.
Posted by Dave at 1:18 pm on October 16, 2006 and filed under Blogging, Church, Slightly grumpy.
This is a non credit card, just in case anyone wants to print it out and then not carry it with them.
Britain is at the top of the debt league and we must all do what we can to fight back at the credit card companies who blight our lives with their continual envelopes. I put some rubbish in the pre-paid return envelopes and return them, though I do not identify myself as I do not want to be added to a list of people to whom extra misery must be caused. Sometimes I fill in the forms with gobbledygook or languages with a script of my own devising. As with the spammers you should never let them know you exist as they will send you more and more of their junk.
My view is that it is ok to have one credit card for purchases that can be made no other way, and these days there are some of those. Also when overseas it is useful to not have to carry large amounts of the currency especially if bartering with weighty produce is the local custom. But I would never borrow on a credit card as it is a bad way to borrow and also I am not good with PIN numbers.
Posted by Dave at 9:21 am on September 28, 2006 and filed under Current events, Slightly grumpy.
I hope you don’t mind me making a serious post every now and then. This one is about some local news here in Essex.
At the weekend the Basildon Islamic Centre was gutted by fire. It was almost certainly an arson attack.
I have two questions:
1) What drives someone to do such a thing?
2) Why wasn’t this news anywhere except the local Basildon newspaper? Not even BBC Essex seems to have picked up on it. Doing a search on Google news one finds that sources such as ITV picked up on the ‘Sunshine delays train by 7 minutes‘ story, but no one covered this horrible racist attack half a mile up the road.
Anyway, well done to our local bishop, Bishop Laurie, who is making moves to bring people of different beliefs together.
An additional point. The person they have charged is 15 years old. This comes at a time when Religious Education is being downgraded in Essex schools as it doesn’t contribute to the school league tables.
Posted by Dave at 10:02 am on September 7, 2006 and filed under Current events, Essex Life, Slightly grumpy.
[Click on the image to see it in a larger way]
Message to Martin Jones, formerly of Essex
We have been getting your post for the last two years. If you happen to be a Cartoon Blog reader I would highly appreciate you taking steps to rectify this. I have to admit that we are a little bit grumpy about all the post we still get for you, but as a forgetful man myself who still has post going to about 15 former residences I am, on this occasion going to spare you the full force of my wrath. Another time tell people you’re moving, there’s a good fellow.
Message to the Vodaphone* telecommunications company
We have returned the envelopes with Martin Jones’ name on them every single month for the last two years. Your company is quite clearly entirely incompetent, having no mechanism for the removal of names and addresses from your database. This being the case it is becoming clear that we are going to have to dispose of these letters ourselves for the rest of our lives. The next letter you send will be returned with an invoice covering the cost of this monthly disposal. In addition I am going to recommend to my readers that they refrain from using their Vodaphone* telephones until you sort out this almighty shambles.
*Yes, I know, this is a misspelling. But I’m not going to get a high Google ranking for ‘Vodafone’, whereas with the misspelling I just might. In any case they jolly well ought to learn to spell. Vodafone indeed. Pah.
Posted by Dave at 11:46 am on July 14, 2006 and filed under Letters, Slightly grumpy.
I am coming to the conclusion that Essex is the least ‘green’ place I have ever lived. Take recycling for instance. As I look out of my window on bin day I can see more houses which have put no recycling out than those that have. In fact I can see 11 wheely bins (normal rubbish) and 2 black boxes (Glass, cans and newspapers). Admittedly if you wander down the road to the bungalows occupied largely by pensioners the situation is better, but the commuting classes care not a jot. The evidence on the ground is borne out by the statistics, where Rochford Borough Council comes No 366 out of 393 authorities in England. That’s worse than the situation in Bristol which Paul wrote about yesterday.
Then there’s cycling. I generally feel too unsafe to cycle locally as the design of the roads from a cyclists perspective are so apalling. (And I am not, I should add, a novice cyclist. I used to race bicycles for the UK’s top sporting university and have the yellow and purple lycra to prove it.) Take Maddie_C’s town, town X. They built it with cycle paths around most of the new housing estates 15 or 20 years ago. A good thing you might think. Not really, because now 20 years later:
- The surfaces on most of the cycle routes are now appalling and unmaintained
- Because there are cycle paths most of the speed limits are 40 or 50 mph on the roads that actually go anywhere (as opposed to the ones within the housing estates), and cars typically go 10mph above the speed limit
- Most drivers have never seen a cyclist and drive accordingly
I went for a cycle ride earlier in the week and had to turn around after a mile and come home again because I reached a large dual cariageway road at which point the cycle paths all stop and there is no way to cross unless you ride on the road which at rush hour would mean probable death.
I’ve no time to say more as I have to complete a huge amount of work today, but it seems almost as if the only thing to do if you are a green-minded person living in Essex is to move somewhere else.
Posted by Dave at 9:31 am on June 29, 2006 and filed under Environment, Essex Life, Slightly grumpy.
I have had 5 visits from British Gas engineers in 2 weeks and the problem is now worse than it was at the beginning. The boiler is turned off, there is no power and so I have had to more or less abandon the house knowing that water is still leaking rom the boiler but that nothing can be done. Who knows what scene of armageddon I will face when I return.
And another thing. Reputable companies. Do not bother contacting your customers by telephone – ever. There is no way that we can be sure it is you, so we are not going to give you any information of any kind. Telephone is no longer a valid way for you to contact us. Thank you.
Posted by Dave at 1:25 pm on June 2, 2006 and filed under Cartoons, Slightly grumpy.
I normally steer clear of naming and shaming companies via my cartoons and an associated grumpy post, but I’ve now done so twice in a week. But seeing as I’m still sitting in a freezing* cold house with no heat or electricity being sued is not the first thing on my mind. I think I will try to stick to naming and shaming only one company per week from now on.
Anyway, tomorrow I am expecting the fifth visit from a British Gas engineer in a week. Every time there is some new part or new machine that is required to do the job, and every time a different engineer comes so that he (and they are all male) does not know what the previous one has done. In the meantime we cannot get the electricity fixed until we are sure that the boiler is not going to do any more leaking. As a result my entire life and business is being powered by the electricity socket next to the cooker and lots of extension leads, and I am staying elsewhere overnight as I have no fridge and no hot water (as far as I know – one can never be sure).
*Exaggeration. But 75% of British Gas engineers work with the front door open, so it has been a bit cold.
Posted by Dave at 10:24 am on May 24, 2006 and filed under Cartoons, Essex Life, Slightly grumpy.