Mr Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, has done it again – neatly summing up everyone’s feelings on the proliferation of security guards every single place you go. Below is a repost of one of his latest columns (he doesn’t just drive cars – he also has a weekly column in the UK Sunday Times you know. Click here for all the latest).
Have a read and see why I make a point of reading his column each and every week:
Notice the computer monitor...
The office sure looks safe with Wheezy and Dozy on the door
While walking through Sydney late at night recently, I encountered a weedy-looking man in a high-visibility jacket standing on the foreshore underneath the Harbour Bridge. He’s there, I’m told, to ensure that Johnny Terrorist cannot blow this symbol of Australian pride into the water.
So, let us examine his chances of success. If a band of Muslim extremists determined that Australia should be hit next — and, let’s be honest, this is a very big “if” indeed: it’d be like attacking Andorra — then yes, the Harbour Bridge would be a juicy target.
But, of course, it is actually quite difficult to blow up a bridge, especially one as sturdy and enormous as this Middlesbrough-made monster. Many hours would be needed to plant charges and, as a result, a large team of demolition experts would be necessary. Can you imagine how much planning would be required for such an operation?
Months. Years, maybe. And I’m sorry, but I doubt very much that a highly trained team of Muslim demolition terrorists would get to Sydney, with all the explosives necessary, after a year’s planning, and then say, “Oh, no. There’s a man in a high-visibility jacket patrolling the foreshore. That’s torn it.”
Of course, they could attempt to destroy the bridge by crashing a plane into it. But to prevent this, what you need is a battery of missiles on the towers. Not a skinny little man, in a yellow vest, on a beach.
Of course, we know why he’s really there. He’s really there so that if the bridge is destroyed by terrorists, the authorities can appear on the television news and say they had taken all possible precautions. Plus, if you employ a security guard, then I should imagine that your insurance premiums are going to be significantly lower.
This is probably why so many companies use security guards these days. It must be, because when it comes to preventing a crime, they are pretty much useless. No, really. If you are planning a heist, job one on the list of things to do is “take out the guard”. He is therefore not an impenetrable wall of steel; he’s just a nuisance.
And he’s not just a nuisance to the people planning to hit him on the head. He’s also a nuisance to the thousands of people who legitimately wish to enter or leave the building he’s supposed to be guarding.
At the office where I work, everyone is issued with laminated photo-ID cards that open all the barriers and doors. It is quite impossible to make any sort of progress unless you have such a thing about your person. But even so, every barrier and door is also guarded by a chap who, in a fight, would struggle to beat Christopher Robin. One looks like his heart would give out if you said “boo”. Another has a face that’s so grey that, in some lights, he appears to be slightly lilac. I cannot for the life of me work out what these people are supposed to achieve, apart from making the lives of normal people a little bit more difficult.
How many times have you been stopped on the way into an office block by an octogenarian who asks all sorts of pointless questions even though he can plainly see that what you have in your hand is a sheaf of papers and not an AK-47 assault rifle? And how many hours have you wasted while his colleagues input every single detail of your past life into a computer so that you can be issued with a visitor’s ID, which you are told you must hand in when you leave? But you never do.
If the system worked, and was necessary, they would assume as the office closed that you were still in the building somewhere, possibly wiring up a bomb. So they’d call the mobile number you’d left. And go round to your house. And contact your next of kin. But they don’t, which must mean the visitor ID card system is a waste of time.
So are the men who operate it. Recently, for instance, one asked me — by name, incidentally — for my security pass, which had just opened the tank trap that stops Osama Bin Laden getting into the car park, and stood for several moments comparing my picture and my face. Eventually, having determined that they were one and the same, he waved me through … which is odd because at no point did he ask why I had two 12-bore shotguns slung over my shoulder and a pocketful of ammo.
Not that I would have needed such artillery to take him out. A light breeze would have done the trick just as well.
I can understand why oil company executives might need security while on a fact-finding trip to Baghdad. And I can see why you might need to employ a burly chap if you run Shafters Nite Spot in Sheffield. But a firm of accountants? In Holborn? No. That’s either a sop to the insurer or, more likely, corporate vanity.
There is, however, a way that you and I can overcome the robots who guard the world from nothing at all. It’s easy to become flustered and cross with the frail old man in the yellow vest as he sticks a spanner in the smoothness of your day. But this will achieve nothing, since he is — as he will remind you — only doing his job.
Instead, just walk past them, smiling your best vicar-at-the-end-of-the-service smile and explaining that everything’s okay. It always works. They won’t actually run after you; they don’t have the breath. And they won’t physically get in your way, because there’s bound to be a health and safety rule that prevents a security guard from rugby-tackling a grown businessman.
Mostly, though, they won’t want to stop you because you were smiling and you were being pleasant. Nobody wants to become physical with someone who’s charming and pleasant. It’d be the same as punching Jilly Cooper.
Frighteningly, though, I suspect that this super-nice approach would also work for terrorists in Sydney. If they just walk past the weedy-looking chap with a smile and a couple of pleasantries, he’ll still be smiling right back when the entire bridge comes crashing down on his head.
Source: Times Online
Huh? Huh? Got a valid point, innit?
And while we’re on the subject of Top Gear (well, we aren’t really, but we are talking about Clarkson, so I guess I can feel free to harp on about the show that made him famous…), did you lot see the final episode of series 13 last night (on DSTV – shown last year in the UK)? The one where Richard Hammond offended lots of folks in ‘The Land of The Grey Cloud’? No? Here you go (as whined by the Guardian Newspaper):
Monday’s show, in comparing the merits of different executive saloon cars, alluded to the racist term for Gypsies and Travellers: “pikey”. It did this by displaying a pie and a key on the bonnet of a car, attempting to sidestep, one presumes, charges of offensive language. The point, it seems, was to indicate that the Audi in question was built for businessmen, not “pikeys”, and if the viewer wanted a more exciting drive, he or she would choose another car.
A pie. And a key. On the bonnet of an Audi. That’s brillllllliant!
Personally, I thought it to be sheer comedic genius! Quit yer bitching Mr Guardian Newspaper Dude.
While trolling the halls of Twitter, I stumbled across a profile that claims to the one, the only, Barney Stinson of How I met your mother fame, the legendary womanising character overly fond of suiting-up and high-fives, and played by Neil Patrick Harris. The Twitter profile is @brocode. (The REAL and verified Neil Patrick Harris, not a character profile, is @ActuallyNPH.
The profile quotes lines from his book The Bro Code, a book which, as previously discussed HERE, is one of the funniest books ever written, and should be considered compulsory reading by all guys the world over.
Some examples of his tweets are (again- quoted from the book itself):
jump on the grenade – the process in which a Bro “takes one for the team” by talking to a hot chick’s unattractive friend. #broglossary
#prestripclubchecklist read in-depth synopsis of movie girlfriend thinks you’re going to see
#prestripclubchecklist plant fake “movie producer” business cards on self where they might “accidentally” fall out in2 cleavage of dancer(s)
rack jack – to steal a wingman’s quarry, often with malicious, premeditated intent. #broglossary
a Bro may toss the Bro Code out the window if Scandinavian twins are involved in any capacity
regardless of veracity, a Bro never admits familiarity with a Broadway show or musical, despite the fact that yes, “Broadway” begins with Bro
Another way of continuing the awesomeness that is Barney Stinson is to read his very own blog - www.barneysblog.com. Go have a look.
So go check out profile @brocode on Twitter (after following moi, @stustake, of course…), and then get your paws on a copy of the book: The Bro Code is available from any halfway-decent bookstore, or online at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. And yes, there WILL be a pop quiz.
It’s gonna be legen….. wait for it…. dary!
Further to my previous post last week detailing and explaining the official rules of shotgun (have you been studying?) (link HERE), it has come to my attention that there is in fact another site, very official looking by the way, that has taken the trouble to once again spell out the relevant rules, with exceptions and extenuating circumstances included for those unsure moments.
Not only is it all neatly spelled out for you on the site, but the authors have very kindly taken it upon themselves to print a handy pocket reference guide with all the text included – perfect for storing in the cubbyhole (“glove department” for those of you from the New World).
Although that being said, allowing the person who has claimed shotgun primary access to the book in the cubbyhole might cause even more fights and disagreements. But that’s your problem.
That being said, it’s clearly far better to have a copy of the book anyway, as when a dispute inevitably arises, having to dart off to the PC to go search for the relevant transgression and subsequent ruling on the site may kind of ruin the party, and cause the affected party to promptly dart to the car, climb into the front passenger seat, and lock the door. And that form of hippie-like protest just will not be tolerated.
So click HERE to go to the site, brush up on any knowledge and pearls of wisdom that may have been missed in my previous post, and get your copy immediately.
I have spoken.
Thanks to Sparks for bringing this fine piece of literature to my attention.
So the eagerly awaited latest blockbuster (naturally) novel from Dan Brown is out from today.
I think it’s safe to expect utter chaos at many bookstores as everyone and their brother tries to get hold of it.
Product byline as follows (although not exactly choc-a-bloc with plot details, now is it?):
Six years in the writing, “The Lost Symbol” is Dan Brown’s extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Robert Langdon thrillers, “Angels & Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code”. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book’s narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action. Expertly researched and written with breakneck pace, “The Lost Symbol” once again demonstrates why Dan Brown is the world’s bestselling thriller writer.
Some folks are even expecting the same sort of tourism effects as caused by the Da Vince Code at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, expect this time the action takes place in Washington D.C. as shown in the following article (originally from the Canadian Press):
Washington tourism launches ‘Lost Symbol’ website for Dan Brown book
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP)
WASHINGTON — Washington is anticipating a flurry of visits from fans of Dan Brown’s new thriller, “The Lost Symbol.”
Fans of “The Da Vinci Code” novelist flocked to the Louvre in Paris and other sites in Europe that were featured in that book. One church in Scotland, the Rosslyn Chapel, saw a threefold increase in visitors after the book became a bestseller and movie.
Destination DC has launched a web page at http://www.Washington.org/lostsymbol to help readers explore some of the places and themes that are expected to receive attention from “The Lost Symbol.”
The Washington tourism agency launched the web page prior to the book’s release Tuesday, using places that were hinted at in advance publicity for the novel. The Capitol building is featured on the book’s cover, and the nearby U.S. Botanic Garden was referenced in a Today Show clue about the novel.
The novel’s plot was not revealed before publication, but the story is believed to be about Freemasons, the centuries-old fraternal organization. Other sites featured on the Washington “Lost Symbol” web page include an early 20th century Masonic stone temple at the corner of 16th and S streets, and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Va.
Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
When I get my paws on it I’ll let you know what it’s like.
Or if you want to beat me to it: Then click HERE to get your copy from Kalahari.net
Or HERE to buy it from Amazon.co.uk for only £4.99. Bargain!
Clearly some folks are way ahead of us. Here’s a review from someone over at Cracked.com who got his hands on a copy and immediately proceeded to skim through. Click HERE to read it.
I assume you lot have seen the TV series “How I met your mother“. I therefore assume you are familiar with the character Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris), the hilarious, womanising eternal bachelor, obsessed with “suiting-up” and announcing that virtually everything is “going to be legen…dary”.
Well, he and co-author Matt Kuhn have released a book of rules and regulations known as “The Bro Code”. All the basic tenets and rules of Bro-dom have been recorded in one book, a sort of guide for Bros, if you will.
To get an idea of what it’s all about, the publisher’s description sums it up pretty well:
“Everyone’s life is governed by an internal code of conduct. Some call it morality. Others call it religion. But Bros in the know call this holy grail the Bro Code. Historically a spoken tradition passed from one generation to the next, the official code of conduct for Bros appears here in its published form for the first time ever. By upholding the tenets of this sacred and legendary document, any dude can learn to achieve Bro-dom.”
The usual “About the Author” blurb from the back page is written by the Great Barney himself:
“Barney Stinson is a handsome and available Renaissance man best known for blowing up the blogosphere with www.barneysblog.com. Barney plays 83 different musical instruments, holds the record for the most weight ever calf-pressed, has flown a fighter jet around the world blindfolded, ranks first in the world in laser tag and good looks, invented that chariot thing for crippled dogs, and currently serves on the board of a Fortune 500 company, which is why he probably won’t return your calls.
As mentioned in the above blurb, further classic reading from the noble and wise Barney can be found on Barney’s Blog. Definitely worth heading over there for a look.
There is even a Wikipedia page devoted to the character of Barney. Have a look by clicking here.
It is definitely one of the funniest books around, and I implore you to read it for those laugh-out-loud moments that virtually every page will ensure.
And I because I feel the need to share Barney’s wisdom with y’all, here are a couple of links for if you wish to get yourself a copy of this legendary tome:
To purchase this book from Kalahari.net, click here, or simply click the cover image above.
To purchase this book from Amazon (UK), click here.
It’s legen… dary!
UPDATE: 12 December:
Read my new post on Barney Stinson / The Bro Code by clicking HERE.
Fans of the Spud books, which is pretty much most of South Africa, will be delighted to hear that the third installment in the series is about to be released, entitled “Learning to fly”. Should be out within two weeks.
These hilarious books chronicle Spud’s journey through boarding school, and are not to be missed. Anyone who went to boarding school in South Africa will be able to relate, and if you didn’t, well, you did go to high school (didn’t you?) so you’ll still love every page.
The 3rd book is now available to pre-order from Kalahari.net. I just ordered my copy, coz I’ve been waiting since the day the last book was released (which I promptly devoured within a day – it’s that good). To place your order, click the image below:
If you are new to the Spud series and therefore have no idea of what I’m talking about (where have you been?) then you may want to also grab hold of copies of the first two books, available by clicking the images:
Trust me – you want to read these. They are some of the funniest books around.
UPDATE 10 June:
Today is the day the book is released. You did order one didn’t you? If not… click the picture of “Learning to fly” to get yours ASAP. You know you wanna.
UPDATE 15 June:
Got my copy, and busy churning through it right now. This book is everything I had hoped for and more. Legendary. Highly recommended.
Yet another brilliant wet-yourself-funny book is “Is it just me, or is everything still kak?”. Good South African hilarious crankiness…
It’s the 2nd in the series – I haven’t had the chance to read the first one yet, but will be getting my grubby little paws on it shortly, if the sequel is anything to go by.
No South African cliche or institution is safe from these guys – they all get a well-deserved uitkak.
Brilliance – 9 points!
Click here to buy from Kalahari.net
Allow me to punt one of the world’s funniest books:
Those of you who watch Top Gear will know exactly the kind of humour to expect from old Clarkson. This book is not so much about cars, as about whatever he feels like chatting about (collection of his Sunday Times columns). Brilliant!
That’s the first in the series – volumes 2 & 3 are just as awesome. Heartily recommended. I collect the lot, plus added the RSS feed from the Times Online Jeremy Clarkson section for my weekly dose of his musings.
Clicking the pictures takes you to the respective pages on Amazon.co.uk. If you’d rather check them out at Kalahari.net, click here for Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3.