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Good luck to A-Level students

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I wish everyone who is receiving A-Level results today the very best of luck. However it turns out, don’t let anyone belittle your achievement – the media pump out ridiculous lies about the exams every year, and every year I get annoyed. Congratulations to those who get good news. Those who didn’t do as well as expected shouldn’t get too disheartened – after all, you tried your best – but you may find the Guardian’s clearing site useful, as it’s chock full of useful info and will have a live adviser to answer questions later this morning.

On another topic entirely, I’ve not been great at posting this month. Sorry about that. I’ve been in Canada for two months, and thought I did quite well on keeping up the blog – for the first six weeks… I’m back now, so normal service will resume shortly. 🙂

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Notes, University.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

    03.58, 17/08/2007

Simon, are you going to stay a Limey or become a Canuk?
Perhaps I should invite you to my new home in Alma, Michigan.
And now I tell you the story of an old man’s reaching out for his youth.
A few days ago I was driving around by the Pine River when I discovered a narrow, winding, tree lined road. I followed it to where it ended and found-better then a pot of gold- and some forty years too late- the perfect make out spot.
A lovely Pine tree covered stretch of secluded beach on the pine River away from everything and perfect to either park or lay a blanket on the ground.
All I needed now was a lovely maiden to share it with.
Now that I am too old to enjoy the thrill of “making it” in the back seat, I have a large Mercury Grand Marquis-but I might just as well have an old VW-because I have no one to join me in my love trysting spot.
I took my wife to to the seductive place and suggested we forget our age and go to it like teenagers.
“Forget it. We have to go grocery shopping, ” said my wife. “Besides if anyone caught us naked in the woods I would never live it down at our age. And don’t forget the pains from curling up in cramped positions in the back seat. I hurt enough in the king size water bed.”
Why didn’t I find this place when I was a teenager?
Even though in those days I had an old compact car and could not afford a full size big new car, I still managed to make good use of the fold down seats in my Fiat.(I even had a sign on the inside roof which read-“No Taka Da Pill)
Now that I have the big fancy car I have no one to snuggle in the rear seat with.
It is not fair.
I may be old, but I am not dead.
Perhaps one of your female readers will have the same nestalga for the old teenage make out times and volunteer to join me.
Or perhaps my wife is right when she says I might get a crick in my back and not be able to drive home.
She may be right.
But it sure would be fun to find out.

Comment from Mort Karman

    22.53, 17/08/2007

Before my wife hits me over the head (the one on top) for suggesting i would Make out with someone else, let me say I was only commenting about how I found the spot when it was too late to enjoy it.
If some nice lady were to take me up on my offer I would be glad to show her the spot, but she would have to provide her own friend to make out with.
Even if she won’t go to the make out spot-I still love my wife.

Comment from Anonymous

    03.04, 18/08/2007

For some time now the Financial Times has had a first rate news ticker and pop up alert service available free on the Internet. It is one of the better providers of serious news, especially business news.
For some reason, which they have not mentioned, the service is scheduled to close on Sunday, August 20.
The Skinkers powered news and information the Financial Times provides is often not given by other desk top alerts.
I have enjoyed it while available and will miss it.
Perhaps if other readers also made use of this service we can scream at the FT and demand (or we can ask them nicely) to continue it.
Reuters,BBC, The Telegraph, The Guardian, news.co, au (Australia) CNN, The Toronto Star (Canada) and the Mail and Guardian (South Africa) all provide desk top and ticker news alerts and all are quite good, but they do not replace the FT alerts.
I suggest anyone who is a real news junkie or who is on a news desk trying to keep up with the work (as I used to do)subscribe to one or,better yet, all of them.
The combination of those resources and the sjhoward news links provide a better variety of world news then I used to have available at the old New York Herald Tribune and at KWGN TV2 news in Denver.
Most of the great news and information which we used to listen to from around the world on shortwave radio is now streaming on Internet, as is TV news.
The combination of the above and a good scanner radio for police and fire local coverage should satisfy just about any newshound.
NASA even provides feed from the space missions on Internet.
When I had my news operation in Denver it cost several thousand dollars for the special antennas and radios need to hear what I now get streaming .
Even most local BBC and CBC radio stations are on lin e as are the NPR American news radio stations.
While I am writing this I am listening to music have customized for my taste via Pandora Radio, an Internet free offering.
They and several other services provide just about any type of music you can ask for (in my case Old Country and Western and 1940’s big band and some classical)
I still have shortwave radios, but I don’t use them, or even my FM radio as much as I used to.
The only problem I have with all this is wired radio, which was what people used before cable TV, was first used widely by Hitler and Stalin. They told their people it provided clearer reception, but actually used it to block BBC,VOA and other programmes with news and information from the free countries.

We should enjoy the variety of news, information and entertainment the Internet provides. But never forget-Big Brother Government giveth but can also taketh away. Keep an old shortwave radio at home. In a real emergency it may be as necessary as food,water and a flashlight.

Comment from Mort Karman

    17.49, 18/08/2007

The comments about the make out spot remind me of a time about a dozen or so years ago.
I used to frequent a favourite restaurant when I lived in the Denver, Colorado area.
Whenever I ordered my meal with coffee the wait staff would often forget to bring a spoon for me to add sweet and low and cream and stur it up.
We finally came up with a solution-which ever of the wait staff forgot the spoon would have to do a romp in the hay with me- this was before I married my current wife.
This was fine with me as I envisioned enjoying the charms ofone of the good looking well endowed waitresses.
A few weeks later the trap sprung and my wait person forgot the spoon.
Lou accepted the blame and offered to pay the price.
I turned it down.
Lou,the person who forgot the spoon turned out to be a gay waiter.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    01.26, 26/08/2007

Hi Mort, sorry it’s taken me so long to reply!

I’m definitely going to stay in the UK for now… Whilst Canada’s great, and I really enjoyed myself, I think it has it’s own set of problems which aren’t all that different from those in the UK – It’ll certainly always be an option for the future, though.

Glad to read your clarification on the make-out spot… I was worried for your general health at the hands of your wife when I read the comment about finding a young reader to try it out with you!

As for the news ticker situation, have you tried the Guardian’s version recently? It’s fully customisable, and will alert or ticker itself based on any RSS feed. And thanks for the kind comments about the toolbar, I’m glad you enjoy it.

I particularly enjoy the NASA space shuttle coverage on ‘NASA TV’ – the launches and landings are always covered in much more depth, and with much more sense, than any of the news networks.

And as for the waiter deal… now that was just bad luck!

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