ROAD CLOSED – SO THERE

October 29, 2012

I used to think that only police officers had the authority to shut roads. But now it seems that any monkey in a hard hat, hi-viz jacket and a pair of workman’s breeks that displays his bottom-cleavage has the right to close the Queen’s Highway.

There was a time that roadworks had a man stationed at either end with a big lollipop that said STOP on one side and GO on the other. Okay, so one side of the road was closed from time to time, but the traffic still moved, the work was done, and there was no round-the-country detour for motorists.

Today, all you get is a crowd control barrier and a big sign that says “Road Closed”.

Having a couple of guys with stop and go signs is too much trouble. It’s easier just to shut the road. But easier for who?

Trying to get from A to B? Tough. Find another way that involves going through C, H and T to get there.

Once again, for example, the A70 in West Lothian was closed – as happens on an annual basis. It’s an arterial route used by busy people who are trying to run their businesses and get to work. And where are the diverted to? Along the narrow West Calder main street. Genius.

Just so show you how daft it all is, a few weeks ago a tiny stretch of a road in Somerset was closed, which resulted in a – get this – 47 mile detour for drivers.

I saw something similar in Fife recently, but angry drivers had simply torn down the road closed signs and tossed them into a field. (Amazingly, the workers were working on the pavement, not the road!)

What’s the betting that the roads are shut as a way of meeting Health and Safety guidelines, because cars travelling along a road pose a risk to the workers sleeping in their van. Or, sure, the guy down the hole will be safe, but the 12 blokes watching him at work might be mown down by a passing vehicle.

And, anyway, lunch breaks mean they don’t have two guys spare to work the stop and go lollipop signs.

Everywhere you go in West Lothian you’re faced with barriers and the familiar Road Closed signs – find alternate route.

It didn’t happen before. There’s no reason for it to happen now.

Drew McAdam

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TOO OLD TO FALL?

October 21, 2012

Did you read the story reported last week, the one about the lady being told she couldn’t sky dive because she was too old? All that work, and £500 raised for the CLIC Sargent charity which helps children and young people who have cancer, and she wasn’t allowed to jump on account of her age.

Every day, 10 kids learn that they have cancer. So providing support seems like a good cause.

That aside, Fiona Duff, who is in her mid-fifties, went through the anguish of deciding to jump out a perfectly good aeroplane, and find out for herself if gravity is just a theory or if it’s a fact.

(Trust me, Ms Duff. The earth sucks.)

Meanwhile, another lady from South Queensferry, who is just the wrong side of her forties, is putting herself through the same anguish. Fiona Riley is going to take the jump – well, plummet, actually – for MacMillan Cancer Care.

Well, I have some news. I’ve done a bit of parachute jumping in my time. Just two stories… One person, having landed safely, bundled up her canopy and then wandered across the runway and was almost mown down by the aircraft sha had jumped from as it came in to land.

Another jumper (aka meat-bomb) landed safely, though it was on flat roof of a factory. She was fine, until she ran round her canopy (as you are trained) to flatten it and stop it from re-inflating. The result? She ran right off the roof and broke her ankle.

Let me just say that the people involved in both these incidents were in their early twenties. I’m sure that somebody with more experience – for that, read older – wouldn’t do something so stupid.

Apart from anything else, in 2004 Frank Moody from Australia completed a tandem jump from 10,000 feet after his friends dared him to do it. Frank, by the way, was 101 years of age. And he loved it.

Both Freefall Fionas will be jumping at some point in the future. Ladies, I salute your courage, and your charitable work.

If you know either of these ladies, slip them a few pounds for the charity. Perhaps even think about doing something similar yourself, whatever your age!

Though it may not seem like it now, ladies, once you’ve been in the wide blue sky and then floated to earth, you will experience a rush of euphoria like you have never felt before. And, as we used to tell the new jumpers: “Now you know why the birds sing!”

Drew McAdam


STUPID SCIENCE

October 15, 2012

 

Those super-smart scientists are at it again. This time it’s the turn of a team of physicists at Yale University. They have published an academic paper suggesting they’ve found a planet which is made from – wait for it – diamond!

Yes, this whole twinkle-twinkle is one big diamond sparkler.

This academic paper was, of course, followed by a Press Release thereby ensuring you don’t have to get a real job in the real world, while justifying your funding for the following year.

Even if this planet IS one big giant diamond, that contributes what exactly to humanity? It’s 40 light years away from earth.

Meanwhile, at Bonn University, physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation. Really, I promise you, I am not making this up.

You see, in layman’s terms, they made a computer simulation of the universe, and it looks a lot like us. Additionally, they say that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe. The upshot of this is that by their reckoning it’s more likely than not that our world is artificial.

So there, you go. There is no God, but we are actually a PlayStation 3 game.

Somebody pays these people a salry?

You couldn’t make it up… Well, you could, and they would give you a whacking great grant for it. Nice work if you can get it.

But can you spot the problem with all this nonsense… other than being a masterful waste of money and resources, I mean? The answer is; you can never prove any of this one way or the other.

And that’s the really clever bit.

Which is why I want the world to know that the stars at the very edge of the universe are actually made of chocolate. What’s more, we don’t actually exist; we are just the figment of a giant monkey’s fertile imagination.

After all, the chocolate and monkey theory is about as likely as the cutting-edge scientific notion that we’re all part of a computer simulation.

I wonder where I apply for my grant.

Drew McAdam


INANE ADVICE

October 7, 2012

For some reason it seems that every “life coach” and “spiritual trainer” in the country wants me as a Facebook friend. Maybe I need coaching in Life, I don’t know.

I’m sure they all mean well. Just as I’m sure they all have a healthy academic background in psychological processes – a degree or a doctorate at the very least. Surely they wouldn’t charge money for offering advice in how to live your life if they’ve only read about these techniques without appreciating the ramifications of providing a half-cock treatment. It may all seem like a mishmash of quack theory and techniques, but I’m sure it’s not.

Admittedly, I’m probably the wrong person to receive their motivational phrases and slices of pithy advice. You see, I pride myself on having a flippant attitude to just about everything. In fact, if I was a Spiritual Coach my main mantra would be: don’t treat life too seriously – you’ll never get out alive.

And that’s why I delight in responding to their guidance and counsel.

A recent one was: “Success is doing what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want as often as you want.”

The response I posted to this was: “And that, Your Honour, is the case for the defence.”

Another spiritual-life coach person posted: “Dare to live the dream.”

I replied that I was taking their advice on board, and fully intended going in to work naked.

Another life coach posted: “Nothing is Impossible.”

Oh, really? Try licking your own elbow in that case.

Another was: “Treat someone to something unexpected.”

I replied: “BOO!”

Yet another posting from an advice-giver was: “Think that you can’t do it? Be more positive!”

I replied: “Okay… I’m POSITIVE I can’t do it.”

As is often the case with quackery and woo-woo, the best way to deal with it is to gently poke fun at it.

I like to think I’m doing my bit.

Drew McAdam