Category - Funny

Dilbert – Reborn

Quite recently, I wrote about Dilbert being cancelled by ‘woke‘. At the time, the cartoon strip was being cancelled in some American newspapers because it was lampooning ‘wokeness’ – by having a black character who ‘identified’ as white, and who was subsequently asked by management to also identify as ‘gay’ to balance out the numbers in his company.

It only involved a handful of strips over several months, but as everyone knows, in this day and age, even coming close to the ‘wokeness’ line is enough to get you ‘cancelled’.

But then, something else happened.

I’m in the UK, and I can’t get the fine detail of the hijacked timeline on all this, but it started with a Rasmussen poll in the US which asked:

  • Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  “It’s OK to be white.”
  • Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  “Black people can be racist, too.”
Rasmussen poll questions

For f*cks sake, we all live on the same planet, and we’re all far from perfect, so the correct answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. There is no valid argument against that. It is perfectly OK to be black or white, and people on either side can be racist. It’s an absolute. There was no need to ask the f*cking questions, except to stir up sh*t by using poor wording devoid of any context.

So, since we do have racists (and others of limited thought processes) among us, the results of the poll came out saying that half of black people are not OK with people being white.

The result was immediately hijacked by far right groups – and since America is substantially to right in the first place, that means a very long way to the right. You know – get some guns, kill all blacks… that kind of stuff. So the whole affair became extremely political overnight, and the poll result ended up having multiple meanings depending on where you were on the Swingometer, but with the added confusion that even if you were on the good side, some of the bad rubbed off on you if you got involved.

You see, the problem with ‘woke’ is that it is binary – it only accepts wholehearted support for its view, and everything else is wrong.

Scott Adams then put his head above a parapet and declared that those who claimed it wasn’t OK to be white were more like terrorists, and you should stay the hell away from them. And naturally, the Woke Brigade saw that as wholehearted opposition and ‘racism’.

Now, Scott Adams has a flaw. He is a brilliant cartoonist in the sense he had a popular strip which told a lot of truths. Each strip is succinct, and to the point. But when he talks, or writes prose, then cracks often appear.

The very first Dilbert book I bought was The Dilbert Principle (TDP) back in the late 1990s. That had a lot of words in it, which his later books do not (maybe that was deliberate), and I have to say that it does not read very well. Adams’ anecdotes and analogies tend to ramble, and lack structure. Not always, but quite a lot. And this is especially true when he involves politics.

TDP was funny (and highly accurate, which was the reason I liked it so much), but it could have been a lot funnier with less (and better chosen) words. Adams often keeps going when others would stop, having made their point. Subsequently, his point sometimes becomes less clear as he makes it in several different ways. And I feel that this is what caught him out in this poll situation.

He was referring directly to the poll, and the half of black people who said being white wasn’t OK. He said that that half was effectively a ‘hate’ group, and white people should stay away from them. He should have left it at that, as it is a reasonable observation and comment. But he didn’t. And it was what he then went on to say which damaged his original and very valid statement. He was trying to make a point, but he did it in a clumsy manner which was never going to achieve what he intended.

The whole affair was also further skewed by the fact that ‘it’s not OK to be white’ was now a right wing weapon of choice, and he had unwittingly aligned himself with that whether he liked it or not. He was walking through a woke minefield even before the interview began, and the mines were so close together that it was inevitable he’d step on one. Or several.

The original Dilbert website is now gone, and the only way to see any new strips is to pay an annual membership at its new home. In all honesty, if the cartoons had been free, and subscription or donation were an option, I would seriously have considered partaking once I’d validated the overall content. I say that, because the stuff that isn’t behind the paywall is distinctly political (and US political, at that), and the stuff that is teases at supporting Trump (even though Adams is officially not aligned with any party).

But the bottom line is this: It is OK to be white. It is also OK to be black. It definitely isn’t OK to for either to argue that the other isn’t OK.

Dilbert… Cancelled by Woke

Please note that I wrote this in September, 2022. Readers finding this post will no doubt be aware of Scott Adams’ more recent (February, 2023) comments. This article has nothing to do with those comments, as it predates them. However, Adams has effectively destroyed his career now, whatever point he was making – which, incidentally, is not the one the media is putting forward.

Dilbert – by Scott Adams

Anyone who has read the blog for any period of time may well be aware of the reverence in which I hold Dilbert.

Dilbert is a comic strip by Scott Adams. It deals with office life, and it was a virtual transcript of the situations and people I had to deal with when I was in the rat race myself.

Dilbert was first published in 1989, and since then it has been syndicated across 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages. In other words, it has been mega-successful, largely because nearly everyone who reads it can identify with it.

Dilbert moved with the times. In the late 80s it was just office life, but then it introduced the internet, followed by every other relevant development since then. It went to town on Teamworking, off-site development courses, and meetings. However, it has recently taken to lampooning ‘wokeness’.

Dilbert – by Scott Adams

And that appears to have now got it blocked by numerous American newspapers.

In recent strips, a character who is black (but who identifies as ‘white’ just to wind up management) has been introduced. And this trend seems to have worried some newspapers.

Ironically, ‘Dave’ – the black character – has only appeared in a handful of the daily strips since as far ago as July, but he has drawn complaints. And we all know that even one complaint on this topic is worth several thousand complaints about literally anything else in the known universe.

I said above that nearly everyone can identify with Dilbert. However, we are now in worryingly different times, and Dilbert is touching on issues about which it is close to being illegal to do anything with other than wholeheartedly embrace them and broadcast them from every rooftop and soapbox.

Scott Adams is worth about $50 million thanks to Dilbert, so I’m sure he will be deservedly secure as a result of his worthy contribution to society these last 30-odd years.

It’s the rest of us who need to be worried.

Karma, Scooter. Karma.

[vplayer id=27733]

Nottingham City Council is trialling the use of e-scooters in the city. Everyone knows that approval will be given for them to be introduced, no matter what negatives the ‘trial’ throws up. Indeed, in the last couple of months in Nottingham, there was the case of a visually-impaired woman who was injured by one, and more recently a woman sustained suspected fractures after one hit her.

There have been several cases of riders themselves crashing into things, or having things crash into them. In one recent case, a taxi collided with a scooter, and the rider sustained life-threatening injuries. Another recent one involves claims by a woman who said the scooter snapped as she was riding it. In another recent case, the police had to swerve to avoid a student who was drunk and riding one just before he crashed. And in another recent case, an 8-year old was found riding one.

This is just a very small sample of very recent cases just in Nottingham. Travel further afield, and the story repeats in all places trials are being conducted – plus anywhere where scooters are being used illegally.

Last week, I was on my way to a pupil in Beeston. As I turned on to University Boulevard from Dunkirk, I noticed a scooter in the right-hand lane. It quickly registered that he was travelling at the same speed as the traffic. He was too far in the distance to pick up properly on the dashcam, but he was zipping in and out of traffic, all of which was moving freely at 30mph. When I reached the 40mph section of that road, he appeared to cut in front of a lorry, and then shot off. He was actually going faster than me in a 40mph zone!

But anyway. I caught a couple of scooters on the dashcam tonight, and this is the best example of karma you could get.

I’d picked a pupil up in Clifton and we’d just driven away from his house. As we approached the end of the road to join Swansdowne Drive, I noticed a scooter go past. As we got closer, another followed him. We turned out on to Swansdowne and the scooter riders were all over the road in front of us. They were on the wrong side, even near a parked Police car. I warned my pupil to be careful, as they were doing it on purpose to prevent us getting by.

The best part was when the lead scooter tried to zip on to the pavement and missed the dropped kerb. He went flying arse over tit. I seriously hope he hurt himself – injury is is the only punishment these twats have to worry about, since the Council and the Police won’t do anything. But it was perfect karma.

Neither of them was old enough to have a provisional licence – one of the requirements for hiring a Wind scooter. Neither was wearing the provided helmets. Both were riding illegally, and outside the terms of Wind scooter trial.

And Nottingham City Council will approve them.

The Audi Lane – Correct Usage

Many moons ago, I wrote an article coining the term ‘the Audi lane’. It went semi-viral at the time. Here is a perfect demonstration (for Audi drivers) of how to use it.

[vplayer id=27774]

I was on my way to pick up a pupil and was driving along Wilford Lane. The speed limit is 30mph there, but as we all know, speed limits are only ‘advisory’ for Audi drivers. The black Audi (registration number SAZ 2723) was in the right-hand lane (which is a right-turn only lane) at significantly more than 30mph. And it was raining heavily.

He (or she) stayed in the right-hand lane on the roundabout, and then – without any use of indicators whatsoever – turned left off the roundabout into the estate (which is straight ahead, and requires the left-hand lane on approach if you’re doing it even close to properly).

This is absolutely the correct way to use lanes and roundabouts if you are an Audi driver.

Sometimes You’ve Just Got To Laugh

An 'outdoor area' at a local pubMy local newspaper published an article about which pubs would be opening on 12 April. For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s those with outdoor drinking areas who are allowed to do so.

The photo above is the ‘outdoor’ drinking area of one of those being touted. Precisely how is it ‘outdoors’?

I’m now waiting for someone to convince me that if you stand in the middle of the Yorkshire Moors, you’re still ‘outdoors’ if someone builds four brick walls around you and plonks a roof on top (and, no doubt, installs heating and lighting).

Plymouth Hoe and Facebook

Plymouth Hoe - Historic UKBasic geography lesson for non-UK readers.

It will undoubtedly come as a surprise to learn that ‘England’ consists of more than just ‘London’. Yes, I’m looking at you, Americans. It actually has quite a few other cities, towns, and villages – thousands, in fact.

However, although never originally intended to cater for primary school toilet humour, some places have strange names. For example, we have ‘The Wallops’, the ‘River Piddle’, ‘Sheepy Parva’ and ‘Sheepy Magna’, ‘Wetwang’, and so on. Then, for those whose minds have never left primary school, we have ‘Shitterton’, ‘Cocks’, ‘Bitchfield’, and many others.

All of these have completely logical etymologies – ‘Wallop’ for example (the three villages that comprise ‘The Wallops’ are ‘Upper Wallop’, ’Middle Wallop’, and ‘Nether Wallop’) is derived from the Anglo-Saxon or Old English words for stream (waella) and valley (hop), and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as ‘Wollop’. ‘Shitterton’ probably comes from the Old English word for sewer (scitere), meaning the place by the sewer. Even my own city of Nottingham was once called ‘Snottingham’ – or ‘’Snotengaham’ – and that began in the 6th Century when it was a settlement called ‘Snotta inga ham’ (‘Snotta’ was a person – a Saxon chieftain, whose people were the ‘Snotingas’ – ‘inga’ means ‘belonging to/the people of’, and ‘ham’ means ‘village/homestead’ in Anglo-Saxon). Nottingham appears in the Domesday Book as ‘Snotingeham’ and ‘Snotingham’. The ancients seemed happy to move vowels around and vary the consonants a bit without worrying about consistency, but you get the general idea. They were never intended as rude names, and they aren’t rude names.

As an aside, when I was seven, I began to support Arsenal Football Club. I freely admit that it was the ‘arse’ part which attracted me, but I grew up, and by the time I was learning German and French at school the desire to laugh at words which ‘sounded’ like rude things but weren’t had long since passed. Not so for many of my peers – a certain Mr Spence in my class found enormous humour in words like ‘fuchs’ (fox), and sought out every opportunity to say them loudly and with great emphasis.

Of course, and back to the present, in the last few years all hell has broken loose. Even place names that even once related to someone who lived in colonial times are under scrutiny. Most of the time they shouldn’t be, but such is the mindset of people today. And that leads further in the direction this discussion is going.

On the south coast of England – and no, Americans, I don’t mean ‘London’ – there is a coastal city known as ‘Plymouth’. It’s in the county of ‘Devon’ (which is also not in ‘London’). There’s no real problem with that name, because there’s a Plymouth in the USA, too. However, the original one in the UK has a seafront on a limestone cliff that is called ‘Plymouth Hoe’. The word ‘hoe’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hoh’, which means ‘a sloping ridge in the shape of a heel or foot’. The same Saxon word is in the root of another place name in the UK called ‘Sutton Hoo’ (the inconsistent spelling of the same word by the ancients, again). Plymouth Hoe is known as ‘the Hoe’ to people who live there. As you can see, there is nothing untoward in any of this, and nor has there been for centuries. The name simply related to the Anglo-Saxon word for the geographical feature it is built on.

Enter: Facebook. The refuge of those with primary school minds and intellects.

It seems that a group on there which is based in Devon had been having posts removed and users receiving warnings for breaching ‘community standards on harassment and bullying’. Some were even banned from posting. It seems that one user had been making hats, and had forgotten to mention where people could pick them up from. So she said ‘Plymouth Hoe’.

Although the actual mechanics of what happened after this are extremely unclear – was it a manual report by someone or an automated software action – this was what triggered the removals and bans.

Facebook has apologised and has said it is ‘looking into what happened’. My money would be on some prat trawling Facebook groups looking through a dictionary of words, which they then automatically complain about and have removed. Seriously, some people on Facebook (a hell of a lot of them, actually) only use it for this purpose these days anyway.

Some forums use automated checkers which are basic at best. You’d probably never get ‘Shitterton’ past the censor, for example. My own local newspaper will happily write an article about the discovery of a cannabis factory being shutdown by the police, but woe betide anyone who uses the word ‘cannabis’ in the comments section. It immediately goes to ‘awaiting moderation’, and it is 50:50 whether it will be approved once one of the trained monkeys (aka moderators) has looked at it.

JML Flippity Fish

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you get the Flippity Fish cat toy from JML. I just saw it advertised on TV, and I laughed out loud.

Actually, it looks like great fun, and I bet cats will love it, too.

Incidentally, it looks like JML have got into something which has been available for a while – you can buy these fish on Amazon, and some of them look very similar. There’s also a lot of other cat toys which have movement.

Mind you, we had a cat once, called Mitzi. The vet could make her swallow a tablet voluntarily when she was on his treatment table. Whenever I tried it I needed a blood transfusion after. She’d have torn this apart in five seconds flat if it annoyed her.

This Is Not A Conspiracy Post…

Virus image…so here’s a link to an outright conspiracy website, which is claiming that the UK Government ‘knows COVID-19 doesn’t exist.’

I just read precisely that on social media.

The website in question – which I’m not going to link to, because the owner needs medical help and not derision – is written by a:

Critically Acclaimed Comedian, Playwright & Filmmaker | Blacklisted ‘Potential Subversive’  Revisionist Historian | Recalcitrant Philosopher  Bankster-Busting Nemesis of the Rigged System

But it’s not a conspiracist website. Honestly.

I’m not sure what is worse. That people like this haven’t been locked up yet, or that people who follow them are allowed to teach people to drive.

They Work In Mysterious Ways

Arlesheim to NottinghamAt the weekend, I ordered a tray of semi-skimmed milk from Amazon. It’s a repeat order for my mum – ordering online means I don’t have to go into Asda or anywhere. I order stacks of stuff from Amazon and it always arrives on time. This order immediately went down as delivery for today (Wednesday), and I got a UPS message telling me the same yesterday.

As of 5pm, it hasn’t arrived – but UPS’s website says delivery is due before 8pm. I’m not optimistic about that, though. You see, I entered the tracking number into the UPS system, and the item is currently… well, not very close to me.

I typed the following into UPS’s online query system:

I am dying to know what my shipment [number], which was tagged in Tamworth about 30 miles away, and which is due for delivery today, is doing in Arlesheim, Switzerland?

The automated reply came back with:

Sometimes the route information can look very strange because of our systems.

There’s an understatement. I don’t think I’m going to get it today (Wednesday) unless the tracking information is just completely wrong.

Update: And it isn’t wrong. Amazon has now indicated delivery is unfortunately delayed. And my milk really has gone to Switzerland (via Herne-Börnig, Germany), and has now got to make its way back to the UK. A 30 mile road delivery has become a 1,500 mile international air-freight issue. What a complete f***ing carve up by UPS. I wonder what the carbon footprint for this looks like?

Update: My milk spent a nice day and a half in Switzerland soaking up the ambience, and has since moved on to Köln, in Germany, where it looks like it’ll be spending the night. I can’t be sure if it flew there, since how long it took could have been by road. I’m dying to see which UK airport it goes to – assuming that the UK is its next stop (and does involve some sort of air transport), of course. I’m not sure if UPS employs Carrier Pigeons, but you never know.

Update: It moved again during the night after a six-hour rest. It’s now back in Herne-Börnig (just Northeast of Köln) which suggests the previous hop to Köln was via air freight since it has gone from the airport to the UPS depot). It’s also worth noting that I don’t believe UPS delivers on weekends, and today is Friday.

Update: It looks like UPS don’t work at all on weekends. It’s 36 hours and counting and my milk is still in Herne-Börnig. Shipped last Monday, supposed to be delivered 30 miles by Wednesday, currently travelled 750 miles and remains 500 miles away as of 4.30pm Saturday.

Update: Sunday afternoon, and it has been sat at Herne-Börnig for 2½ days. It still hasn’t moved.

Update: It left Herne-Börnig at 3am Monday morning. As of 12.10pm Monday, it is in Stanford-le-Hope (on the north bank of The Thames, in case you didn’t know).

Update: The Amazon page updated to ‘your parcel may have been lost so you can claim a refund’. I did. Even if this arrives it is likely to be unusable because of the stresses it has endured. I have written to the UPS CEO and also the wholesaler who sold me the milk in the first place to make them aware of this fiasco. I had to order an emergency supply of milk from a different seller, and that arrived today after being ordered yesterday.

Here’s the really fun part. I re-ordered from the original wholesaler now that Amazon has refunded me. It’s gone to UPS again, and the tracking number has just been assigned in the last hour. Amazon said delivery on Thursday when I ordered, but it now says ‘tomorrow by 8pm’. UPS says delivery Tuesday (tomorrow) ‘by end of day’. And… drum roll, dramatic music, it is currently in… Tamworth.

Uncle Roger And Egg Fried Rice

First and foremost, I was relieved to discover that I have been making egg fried rice properly all these years. I just want to get that one out of the way. However, I found that out definitively after I saw an article on MSN about how Uncle Roger criticised Jamie Oliver’s egg fried rice recipe. I’d not heard of ‘Uncle Roger’ until then.

Uncle Roger is actually a Malaysian stand-up comedian, based in the UK. His Uncle Roger persona is a viral hit on YouTube. His real name is Nigel Ng, and he is a data scientist by profession. He has won several awards since 2016 after making the switch to comedy, and has his own website. He’s been on various TV shows in the UK, including Comedy Central’s Stand Up Central and Mock The Week (BBC). His website has, in it’s copyright footer, ‘I made this site myself. Don’t be stealing’ (sorry, Nigel – I only stole a little bit),

Uncle Roger is funny, especially if you aren’t so anally retentive to take his comments as if they are serious, as some do. For example, while he is working in a fast food stall:

Why you no want peanuts

I’m allergic

Allergic to peanuts? Why so weak? How you raise family you scared of peanuts? What wrong with you?

You work here?

Yeah. Uncle Roger work here. Today first day. You got problem? Peanuts. Hospital very close, don’t worry.

And his positive critique of Gordon Ramsey’s egg fried rice is equally good:

Oh, my God, he yell at customer too. This amazing. Uncle Roger love yelling at customer also.

It’s bordering on the kind of humour we lost in the 70s and 80s. And it turns out Nigel is a pretty good stand-up comedian in his own right.

Comedy as a distinct entity has always been warped in my own mind. I won’t go into details, but I’ve always seen stand-up comedians as something that exists between other, erm… performances. Though let me just say I’ve only ever seen two stand-up comedians in my entire life, and both of those were over 30 years ago.

I’ve put him on my watch list. Once all this COVID malarkey is over. I’d like to go to one of his shows.