29 Aug 2014

And Now, Let’s Have A Rise….

Seems the terror threat level has been raised to, “He’s behind you!!” and Mr Cummerbund was on the TV reading out lots of words from pre-prepared pieces of paper. One bit he had to read out loud stated that terror organisations thrive where there’s political instability and weak political institutions…. Bet you gave the poor prat wot wrote that a good kicking after the show eh? At the end I felt immeasurably reassured – when he left the room.

A couple of points Dave. Passports; on Monday you’ll announce that you’ll introduce powers{?} to confiscate passports to stop folk travelling and also cancel the passports of the naughty folk who are already away. Dave, two minutes thought and you could’ve announced something along the lines of, “From the first of October we will confiscate the passport of bad fellows to prevent them leaving the country.” That’ll give ‘em a month to run. Then, on the second of October, you announce that away passport cancelling thingy.

The way you’ve done it Dave, if some fellow is so miffed he wants to travel to a far away place to hurt people to get it off his chest, how’s he going to feel after rolling up at the airport and having his passport lifted? Miffed enough to hurt someone here you think? Let ‘em go! Cancel passports when they get where they want to be. Think it through man.

The other point of interest was the bit about cutting off funding to all organisations that promote extremism. That must include ASH, that Public Health dealy-bob and all those green, environmental monsters, right?

Quote;  George Jessel.

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”

27 Aug 2014

And Then, No Connection….

No, not the WLAN problems of the past;** this was Skype. ‘Skype can’t connect’. {Only on the Windows 7 desk-top by the way.} Further down, in blue, ‘Help with this problem’. Worth a click I think. First up is the old favourite, ‘Shutdown the program and try again in two minutes.’ That didn’t work so what’s the alternative? ‘Contact your IT Administrator.’ Right, I can do that.
”G’day. How are I today?”
”I’m fine thanks. And me?”
”I’m good too. So, how can I help me?”
”Skype won’t connect.”
”have I tried shut…..”
”Yup. Didn’t work.”
”Sorry, I can’t help me then.”
”Is that the best I can offer me?”
”Yup, that it is.”
”Damn! Thank me anyway.”
”I’m welcome. And I hope I have a nice day.”
”And I. Bu-by.”

I use Skype version 4 as I also have VOIP DECT phones and learned a long time ago that they are no longer supported, driver wise, by the manufacturer and version 4 was the last compatible Skype release wot worked.

What to do. Do what we all do in such situations. Trawl Google, select the most complex, restore pointing, firewall shutdowning, registry modifying, deleting, re-installing, time consuming cure to the connection problem and have at it.

As pretty much expected, no joy.

Hay!! How about a new account? Went through the hoops only to be informed, and I kind o’ knew this was coming, Skype can’t connect at this time.

After a couple or three hours I thought, well that’s it. It’s dead in the water on this machine so I may as well load the latest desktop version and put the phone drivers on a laptop for VOIP DECT phoning, via Skype, for her indoors to call family and friends in far, far, far away places.

This I did and guess what? The latest version of Skype connected straight away. Guess what again? The VOIP phones worked straight away. I’m guessing you’ve guessed what the last ‘guess what’ is. I started ‘trouble shooting’ at the two hour hard end and worked slowly back to the two minute easy end. Why do we – okay – I always seem to do that?

** I may not have mentioned wot MAY have been the WLAN problem of old. Just before the laptop went for a few away-days, her indoors said, above my cursing the laptop, “Wot is small led light on scleen then?” That’s ‘red’ and ‘screen’ by the way.

Under the coffee table, lying there unused, was a wireless mouse. So? So it was still switched on and the ‘on’ light was reflecting in the screen. Switching him off was the moment the WLAN service started starting at start-up. So was that the cause? Was the mouse hunting for it’s dongle and causing WLAN conflicts? I have no idea but since switch-off no further problems were, or have been,
encountered. No, I haven’t tried replicating the issue.

In other surprise news today an RBS person, commenting on the fine imposed on the bank for their lamentable mortgage advice, states that lessons have been learned. Meanwhile, in Rotherham, ‘Shaun of the Left’ states he won’t be resigning as he believes he’s doing a bang-up job and anyway lessons have been learned. So there you go; ‘lessons learned’ wins the day yet again. But let’s not forget the ever popular  runners-up, ‘drawing lines’ and  ‘going forward’. Six meaningful words formed into three meaningless phrases.

Quote;  Scott Douglas.

“I am convinced that grandkids are inherently evil people who tell their grandparents to "just go to the library and open up an e-mail account - it's free and so simple.”

24 Aug 2014

And Then, Farewell….

No, sorry to disappoint you, not me. Farewell to the good Captain Ranty who informs us he’s heading for SA and a new job.

He’s also informed his readership that the future of his Blog is in some doubt. Don’t be fooled by this – he has no idea how to stop Blogging and the only comment to make regarding this statement is that we look forward to reading of your SA experiences. Personally, I’m betting he’ll be typing on the flight down there…..

Okay Captain, here’s your ‘starter’ for some cool, mellow sounds for kicking back through the balmy SA evenings. Hay!! Why’d you stop it? Oh, come on!! Let it run; it’s cool….. Okay, slide along three minutes and you’re into Enigma sounding territory. How’s that then?

And here’s a bit of ‘right-on’, we’re all one under the sun stuff from a long ways back by that radical Mr Clegg. Pardon? No, not that one, Johnny Clegg. Yo, Captain, may I offer a little advice? It may prove advantageous to learn some of Johnny’s subtle moves now so’s you’re ‘good to go’ for a Saturday night out when you get down there.  Just a thought……

I’m sure you’re keeping an eye on that Icelandic volcano. Could be better to leave the UK a tad early rather than face the embarrassment of being two weeks late on your first day.

And so from this side of the Foggy Mirror, may I wish you, once more, good health, good luck and, most importantly, good fun.

Quote;  Roman Payne.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.”

21 Aug 2014

And Then–just One More….

Owing to another comment from Caratacus I was reminded of a further safety related item from a while ago and the further I travelled towards my memories event horizon the clearer it became until it was as clear as if it’d happened only fifty years ago.

I was a pup on mans boat at the time. A time when safety was up to you and only limited by your sense of adventure. However, if it was a particularly stupid act you were guaranteed a hefty whack round the head from the Chief Mate or the Bosun - and one of those, just one, was an unforgettable lesson.

The ship was alongside somewhere up the Great Lakes. As was the norm when alongside for more than a few hours, stages were rigged for painting over the side. These stages, as shocking as it may seem to todays pups, were just the equivalent of a scaffold board with horns, rigged on manila ropes. Then, with the cunning use of one hand to hold the two parts of rope tightly together and easing off the turns round the stage with the other hand, you could slowly lower yourself down the hull side.

       pg29             eyesplice

We didn’t use that cleaver lookin’ hook thingy – we used a length of manila rope with a whipped plain end and a thimble hand-spliced into the other, known as a lizard, as shown on the right. Yup, hand spliced. ‘But the splice could pull out!!’ I here you say, aghast. Well guess what? Not only did you rig your own staging - you spliced your own lizards. Trust me, they NEVER pulled out.

That’s the kit, here’s the scene.

Two seamen were  over the side painting replete with all the kit required for those days. Fall arrestors. Lifejackets. Watchman. Safety boat. Think plan. Permits. Completed hazard assessment…. Your kidding, right? They had scrapers, paint, paint rollers, smokes and a dozen beers hidden in a bucket of rags. Each.

They’d had a heavy run ashore the night before but all was going well. Then one of the two stage working guys coughed violently and fell off the stage into the water. We learned later that he coughed out his false teeth, scrambled about to catch them, failed so jumped in to try and save them….. No, really!

The other guy looked down and noticed his buddy wasn’t visible. He then bounced up to the surface and seemed to be in some distress so he slid down the trailing stage rope, burning his hands in the process, to lend some assistance.** {The ‘distress’, we learned later, was caused by an intake of water but mainly down to him not being able to locate his teeth thus facing the prospect of spending the remainder of a two year trip with no teeth.}

His buddy got him to the dock side where, with some Dockers assistance, he was dragged from the water and promptly passed out.

A Docker had witnessed this excitement from the quay and had called an ambulance into which, upon its arrival, our guy was loaded and, with the Third Mate riding along, off they went with the medics doing that chest pumping, arm lifting stuff.
”Looks like he took on a lot of water.” Observed the Third Mate as fluid poured from the guys mouth.
”We won’t know ‘till we get all the beer out of him.” Replied a somewhat puzzled medic.

About three hours later he was not only back on the ship but back on the staging. Sulking as he was, sadly, toothless. And his chest and arms hurt from the medics pummelling.

And that was that. No recriminations, no investigations, no meetings, no lessons learned. Life went on and the world continued its leisurely rotation.

Six years on mans boats and that was the one and only accident{?} I ever saw.

**Back in the day, very few folk wot went to sea, including me, could swim. Who wants to be alone and treading water in the middle of the Atlantic in winter? It’s summed up quite well in the second quote.

Quote;  Samuel Butler.

“The Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well if it had been called The Old Sailor.”

      James Clavell.

“If you're a sailor, best not know how to swim. Swimming only prolongs the inevitable — if the sea wants you and your time has come.”

19 Aug 2014

And Then The Last H & S Bit….

To draw a line under the ‘Ealth & Safety posts, and as a supplement to the common sense obituary, below is a clip to make anyone of an age hark back to the days of yore and also to a time before that other vast money-making ‘industry’ kicked off – good ol’ work-place training. Back to the days when individuals were left to figure stuff out for themselves and, occasionally, with guidance from their peers. I’m sure no better way to learn has yet been devised. What was the old saying? Engage brain to avoid pain?

Anyone around my age, an age when I occasionally create havoc in car parks if I have to reverse and when walking generally clutter-up town and city centres for no good reason, confuse bar staff, and myself, when attempting to order food from their pictogram menus  and even somehow manages to make the countryside and shore-side look untidy just by being there, should be able to relate to this clip and wonder, as you do, where it all went so very wrong. In fact anybody over, what, fifty? should be able to relate the clip to jobs they took back in the day. This guy nails it for me.  It says so very much in a very short clip.

Do I miss it all out there? I miss how it once was; I sure don’t miss how it now is.

If you feel I’m a tad cynical regarding modern day safety practices, and to ensure you return to your side of the Foggy Mirror with a smile, please go to that Stuff You May Like thingy on the left and scroll down to ‘Stay Safe!!’.                 Or click this to save unnecessary wear and tear on you mouse or track-pad.

Quote;  Thomas A. Edison.

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”

17 Aug 2014

And Then There Was A Little H & S….

A lovely comment from Caratacus reminded me of a little pretend tale I was want to recount to Safety Officers, much to their annoyance,  back in the days when Health and Safety was slowly{?} morphing into the huge, sad monster we see today.

Many years ago, two brothers decided to seek employment out on the rigs. They got an interview with a rig manager and, by an amazing stroke of fortune, it transpired the manager was a guy they saw once in a while down the pub and had a head nodding, “Hi there” sort of relationship with.

As a further stroke of luck, the manager needed a couple of warm bodies out on his rig PDQ.
”So, assuming you can start right away, the jobs are yours.”
”We’re ready and raring to go.” said the brothers.
”Okay, I’ll get you along for a medical and then out to the rig tomorrow.”
”Cool.” And off they went to the Docs.

After their medicals they reported back to the manager for further instructions.

“Well,” he said focusing on one brother, “You’re fit to go but, sadly, I can’t hire your brother as he has a slight hearing defect and as it’s a hazardous environment out there you really need your five senses firing on all cylinders and one hundred percent hearing is vitally important. Sorry about that.”
”That’s a shame but we understand and accept it.”
”Right, I’m heading to the rig tomorrow so if you roll up here at the crack we’ll go out together.”

And this he did. And out together they went.

On the rig the ‘lucky’ brother quickly found his bunk, got changed and reported to the Control Room for a last word from the manager.

“When you go outside the Deck Pusher will be waiting for you and he’ll show you the ropes, okay?”
”Cool. I’ll get going then.” and he headed for the door.
”Yo!! Wait!! Wait!! You need a pair of these.” said the manager  handing him a set of ear defenders. “It can be noisy out there, especially in the engine room, so you need ear defenders.”
The full functioning brother put them on and noted how good they were at eliminating almost all sound. He removed them and asked, ”So I need to wear these if I go in the engine room, right?”
”Err, no, you need to wear them at all times while working.”
”Right. Hay, tell me again why you couldn’t hire my brother.”

The other brother, spotting a shift in wind direction, went on to ‘study’ Health and Safety, got a diploma and become a third party Safety Advisor to the offshore oil and gas industry and, remembering his earlier experience, became an unbelievable pain in the butt for anyone he came into contact with in an ‘advisory’ capacity.

How could I possibly post a post on this subject without pasting this at the end of the post;

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teenagers suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer paracetamol, sun lotion or a plaster to a pupil, but could not inform the parents when a pupil became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault because you protected yourself and your own.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised that he was gone.

Quote;  Dr Robert Long.

“What a strange sense of logic to fixate on the absence of something (injury) as a demonstration of the presence of something else (safety). Such a proposition misunderstands the dynamic of risk and being human.”