Archive for the ‘BZ’ Category

Been quiet of late I know. But here’s another one for the good stuff list.

If you’re on Teesside and interesting in anything linked to cycling then get yourself down to GLG Cycles in Thornaby. They’ve just opened again after a brief spell shut due to a fire.

I’m by no means a “cyclist” and recently got myself a bike again after 15, 20, a long time off of bikes. Sent there by a friends recommendation I’m glad I did. Gary who runs it provides a friendly welcoming service and by no means a hard sell (even recommending cheaper bikes than I budgeted for!) He was happy to provide friendly easy going advice, so even if you know nothing like me you don’t feel embarrassed.

I am however a keen internet user and obviously shopped around before spending my hard earned, and the prices are easily comparable to what you find online – with better advice and the ability to pop back in if you’ve any issues.

So if you need anything cycling related on Teesside you know where to go. Thank me later.

Bravo Zulu.

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What with christams, new year and well life, it’s been a few weeks. But I hadn’t forgotten. So here’s another Friday fiver.

This week I saw a tweet from someone I follow on twitter

Now, I find Skip funny and provoking. Not to everyone’s taste certainly. But following the link i saw this charity.

Soldiers off the Street helps all branches of the forces. They provide practical and sound help to get people back on their feet and with a fighting chance of a decent life. Not a lot to ask for guys and girls who signed a blank cheque to the nation for everything up to and including their life is it?

The fact that this is needed shows what politicians really think of the forces. There to be discarded when inconvenient. Take a moment for a read, and if you can spare the price of a pint they even take paypal… go on, you know you’ll feel better for doing it.

So the Olympics is over. I found it hard to get enthusiastic about the whole thing as the enforced camaraderie was rammed down our throats and jingoism ran rampant. (Always good to stuff the french obviously and watch Aussies cry in their 4X). The cherry on the turd was the seemingly endless parade of convicted drug users, would be gangstas and stripper look-a-likes wheeled out as popstars to piss on Freddie mercuries grave at the closing ceremony…

So I find it strange that I’m feeling so much more up for the Paralympics.

Certainly Channel 4 have some great adverts out for it now.

But I think it’s more than that.

They seem unencumbered by the commercialism that polluted the games so far. They seem to cling to the actual ideals of the Olympics. Strive to win, but winning is not the all. Broken and damaged in body maybe but with better spirits and nobler passions than the glory hunting of some of the last 2 weeks.

Or maybe I’m just a victim of one of the best adverts I’ve seen in years. Watch this and tell me it doesn’t move you in some way… Roll it Chuck D.

A change from the usual moans for a review!

Buying a suit is one of the rites of manhood. It is not the same as picking up a pair of jeans and should not be treated so lightly. In the same vein as using a saw correctly, being able to light a fire, growing a beard and looking under a bonnet and being able to actually fix something, it is what separates the men from the boys.

The art of tailoring, for it is an art, deserves some time spent on it. It should not be hurried at the back of M&S, it should be savoured, admired and enjoyed. To go somewhere and be properly measured, attended to and to be provided with a superior service and finally an excellent British suit that looks and feels great is one of life’s experiences.

I can heartily recommend Charles Hobson’s of Easingwold. I visited their establishment today to purchase my third such suit from them, and it gets better every time.

From the moment you enter you are treated as a valued customer, however many times (or not!) you have visited before. You can immediately tell it is a gentlemen’s tailors and outfitters and not a run of the mill clothes shop. Today I visited with Mrs Spider and whilst she was brought a cup of tea on a comfortable sofa I was measured and then we went through a number of samples and sizes until everything was perfect. I should add that for those that don’t know me my weekend appearance is scruffy to say the least and it matters not a jot. Even just trying a sample on that you know fits just right makes you feel great (and finding one to fit my awkward shape takes some doing!)

The service is second to none. Previously whilst serving in HM forces they held my sizes and sent shirts overseas to me when I needed them at short notice. Whilst there today Mrs Spider was chatting to another customer who had made the trip from Cambridge just to visit them.

But surely all this comes at a price you may think? Well certainly it is not Primark. But for a similar price to an off the peg suit from Debenhams or some such you would normally make do with you can treat yourself to the real thing. A suit that fits you and makes you feel like a gentleman.

I may be gushing in my praise for this establishment and therefore you may wonder as to my objectivity. For regular readers you may note that in the three or four years I have been polluting the internet with my ramblings and rants there are a mere handful of reviews with this sort of recommendation. I seriously hold the experience in that high a regard.

Craftsmen (and woman) of Couture

Bravo Zulu.

…and before you wonder, no, there was no discount, bribe, or incentive for the review. Just good service!

I read today the sad news of the death of Christopher Hitchens. If you’ve never had the chance to read anything by him search the net there’s plenty out there and discover for yourself the wonderfully abrasive, unapologetic world of a truly thinking mind.

In fact, if there is one thing to take from his works it is that. Think. Truly set aside presumption and privileged position and look at things for what they are.

I’ve had some fun reading the comments on some of the obits, you can see the vitriol in the opponents of his point of view, the glee with which they celebrate his passing. I am sure the irony will be lost on them that their mocking now only serves to highlight their inability to argue against him in life.

One in the New York times

Where be your japes and gambols, now, Chris? I suspect he looks quite differently today on the “Albanian dwarf,” Mother Theresa. And this would be a propitious time for Chris to reconsider “the God myth,” too, wot! Blaspheme in haste, repent at leisure. Eternity is a long time. Plan accordingly, atheists. – Charles

In fact nothing was further from the truth. He held his conclusions to the grave, steadfastly refused to convert on his deathbed.

He was criticised for his support of the Iraq war, and for being an Islamophobe. Reading his works it is clear that he saw Islam and just another oppressive religion, albeit currently the most successful at stifling freedoms of speech, thought, science and equality, and as a result the biggest threat to a free way of life. When you actually read his works, his conclusions are hard to deny.

He took on the accepted truths. He dared to criticise Mother Theresa publically

“[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.”

He embraced the things that undoubtedly contributed to his death, smoking, drinking and his “bohemian” lifestyle. He took responsibility for his life and expected to have to live (or not as the case may be) with consequences. Fully self aware when insulted his reply was

“He says that I am an ex-Trotskyist (true), a ‘popinjay’ (true enough, since the word’s original Webster’s definition is a target for arrows and shots), and that I cannot hold a drink (here I must protest).”

Probably what I most admire him for is his willingness to participate in the debate. He not only argued a position, but was willing to change his mind. In his life he both admitted and was accused of being communist, fascist, Trotskyite, imperialist, but I think the only label in anyway appropriate was thinker. Without even considering his prodigious intellect for this reason alone his works should carry more weight than any religious text. Because they were considered, supported, and not merely a means to a social control ends.

He was a libertarian although I suspect he would not use the term. He believed in freedom of thought, freedom of action, equality of race, sex and creed. In the improvement of the species through scientific endeavour. He certainly did not believe in apologists molly-coddling hateful or spiteful religions, or that anyone who demands a belief system to have any sort of control should be immune from criticism. Probably his most famous quote was…

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

I think the final word should go to him, when those that promise eternal salvation or damnation demand you live according to their fairy tales or bow before their ridiculous rituals and idols, consider this…

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
― Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-believer

Not all teenagers are feral cenotaph swinging arses!

Came across an article in the Grauniad regarding a 17 year old skeptic putting his reasoning and blogging skills to good use fighting quackery.

Most impressed, well worth a read and hope he keeps up the good fight.

Bravo Zulu

May I humbly suggest one.

Not because he was a Royal Marine, (who I have immense respect for having slogged my way round their assault course once, sans kit and weapon!)

Not because he did a shit job in a foreign land and called it a duty.

Not because he gave his life and got less respect and recognition than some piss water perfume that some plastic faced attention whore was touting.

But because he knew this may happen, accepted it as part of the job and still made time to think for his family and friends.

So after leaving cash for his family and his favourite charity (which cares for injured marines), he took life insurance and specified it was to include a trip for his friends. Now 32 of his mates are off to Las Vegas courtesy of Marine David Hart to celebrate his memory. I hope they do him proud.

Looking out for his comrades still. A true Marine.

Bravo Zulu.

A review! Mrs Spider recently gave me a surprise present of some Foad Wax. Not as you may think some obscure toad that has been mis-spelt but some moustache wax as the face was getting decidedly hairified…
Not having been a user before I can report it is indeed good fun, however that is not what most impressed me.

Several days later Mrs Spider received another tin of the same, not as you may think an error, but the accompanying letter explained that Moustache tamer and purveyor of the aforementioned facial fur facilitator, Mr Foad was not happy with the quality of the wax in his last batch and had sent out another tin of the same size. Completely unasked for, unexpected and superb customer service. (I must confess as to not even being aware of the inferior grade of the wax already received!)


It’s not often I am genuinely impressed, so hat’s off to Mr Foad and his amazingly fun wax… I heartily recommend his website, it even has a tutorial for the newcomer to moustache taming!

Bravo Zulu