Ok moving swiftly on...........
While on this side of the pond, I still like to keep in touch with news from my homeland, the Kingdom of Yorkshire to be precise. To this end, I get a daily headline email sent to my inbox so that I can catch up on events in "God's Own County" with my morning Dunkin Donuts coffee (a free 3lb bag would be much appreciated for this unabashed plug).
This morning's email had a few headlines which caught my eye and raised my hackles, which is quite an achievement at 8am I can tell you.
First up : Parents free to snap children in nativity plays.
Good start eh ? The fact that this headline had to be written at all is my gripe and the article only poured fuel on the flames of my anger and amazement.
"Parents should be free to photograph their children in nativity plays and challenge schools or councils that try to stop them under data protection laws, the Information Commissioner has said."
Now I'm not a parent but if I was, and my kid or kids were in a school event of ANY kind, I'd expect to be able to snap a photo or two of them as has been the norm since Perez Photograph developed the camera lens in 1897. Even as a friend of the family, I'd expect to do the same but once again, in this day and age of lost innocence, anyone with a camera around kids has first to prove they're not paedophiles or child stalkers and even then are often told they're not allowed to take potential family treasures due to some ridiculous rule.
It won't be long before any parent found to have photos of their children messing about in the bath tub will be added to a sex offenders list and shunned by their friends and neighbours.
"But they looked so cute splashing around and playing with their rubber ducks, officer !!"
"Maybe so, sir, but your girls are 17 now and deserve a bit of privacy."
Next up : Health and safety has gone crackers.
In the UK, and maybe in a few other countries around the globe, we have a tradition of 'pulling crackers' at Christmas. This doesn't mean it's ok for Uncle Albert to bring home a couple of strippers on Christmas Eve although more power to him if he does !
No, in this case a cracker is basically an empty toilet roll tube filled with a paper hat, a small and typically useless novelty toy and a terrible joke on a piece of paper. The roll is then covered in a tissue type paper and two strips of thin cardboard joined in the middle by a small amount of 'explosive' material so that when two people grab either end and pull, there is a minor bang (or a pathetic plop if you've scrimped on quality), the paper falls apart and the goodies within the roll all tumble out onto the dining table to much laughter and merriment.
The toy then rolls under the table never to be seen again till mid January, the paper hat is put onto a head much too large for it and the joke is read out to loud groans and promises to buy better crackers next year.
So why the headline ? Well it seems that 'the powers that be' have classed crackers as low grade fireworks and as such, cannot be bought by anyone under 16. As most businesses operate a polity where they ask for ID from anyone buying age related items who looks under 25, we have a situation where someone in their mid 20's could be stopped from buying a box of Christmas crackers if they have no proof of age !
I'm sure this policy was set up to deter youthful looking Al Qaeda members from going to ASDA and stockpiling explosives but it still seems absurd to me.
(Damn, now I'll be on a watch list for mentioning they who must not be mentioned).
Finally this morning, and remember these are just from this morning's headlines, I'll skip the one about the FBI telling its agents to be on the look out for Barbi dolls fitted with video cameras as they could be used for child pornography purposes ! Although bizarre, that's a serious issue and anyway, it's US news. I can just imagine suited men in dark sunglasses examining Barbi Dolls in Walmart. Now if I tried to do it..........!!!
So the last headline : 'Chippendale' commode fetches record £3.7m.
OK this really takes the p***. I rarely understand the art world and whoever bought that Jackson Pollock painting (No.5,1948) for over $140m a few years ago needs therapy and obviously not of the retail kind.
At least the Pollock can be hung in a living room and 'admired.' I'd still rather admire the stack of banknotes that bought it but then I'm no art lover.
But a commode ??!! Where do you display a commode ? A £3.7m commode !
It's all been too much for me this morning. Getting Yorkshire Post emails is seriously damaging my health and I may have to unsubscribe.
I'm off to the privacy of my own commode to pull my cracker and as far as I know, there is no law against that !
Smutty lot !!