Warming my plums, and other weirdness.

Smoking stuff is well covered by Frank Davis, Junican (Bolton Smoker’s Club), Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, Dick Puddlecote and more (in the blog list) so I can veer from the usual rants this evening.

Decorating is complete, no amusing incidents this time (well, they’re amusing to you buggers at least), carpet is intact because I took the precaution of buying an enormous sheet of thin plastic in Poundland and covered the entire floor and the curtains. Ha! Spill all you want, paint, your evil plans are thwarted.

Tonight I have been heating my plums on the stove. I have thirty pounds of the damn things still and there’s at least another ten pounds on the tree. The ones I’ve picked are starting to go bad so I have rendered some down into six-pound batches for winemaking. A sort of DIY wine kit. I can freeze some batches if necessary but as they went into tin trays hot and then sealed, they should be okay for some weeks chilled. Heating will kill off the autolysing enzymes and most bacteria, keeping the air out should stop moulds and chilling should slow down any surviving bacteria. I am not going to Tyndallise the batches, that is going too far even for me.

These are the sort of tins you get takeaway curries in, Poundland sell them in packs of ten and six pounds of rendered plums go into five. There is a delay in starting booze production because the local boozemaking shop is out of the right kind of yeast – but I did learn that there is a local boozemaking group. Hm. I wonder if they need someone to make their yeast more alcohol-tolerant?

Via the View from Cullingworth, I see Old Holborn has penned a quite restrained (swearing-wise) rant on his despair at the feeble minds of modern humanity. Personally I find it all intensely funny. People, including high-ranking politicians, getting outraged at an Asda Halloween suit? Haaahahaha! What a bunch of weak and useless drones. Ripe for believing any old shit I care to make up.

The latest is the massive outrage at Tesco’s ad for an ‘inflatable gay friend’. If I had seen that product before the report I would just have collapsed in fits of mirth, and did so when I saw the report. I wouldn’t have bought one. It’s just such a bizarre idea I can’t believe anyone would ever buy one – I am having trouble believing it really exists as a product.

Years ago, I recall seeing a children’s toy phone in the shape of a frog. The handset was the eyes and the legs were wheels. I recall thinking ‘If you get a job designing children’s toys, they must provide the absolute best hallucinogenic drugs on the planet’.

How far out of your head to you have to get to think ‘inflatable gay friend’ would be a hit commercially? How stoned must you be to even think of it? I’ve been exceptionally drunk many times but that idea never once entered my head. All the way down the line from originator to packet designer, they must have all been fiercely stoned. I picture someone waking up with a sore head and thinking ‘What did I do last night? Oh hell, I didn’t put that on Tesco’s website, did I?’

There are two things funnier than ‘inflatable gay friend’. One is the mind of whoever thought it up but the funnier by far is the reaction of the po-faced, pompous prats who found it offensive. Humanity is not a total loss just yet, the po-faced are all well rated down in the comments so there are still some humour-circuits working in a few brains at least.

An inflatable gay friend offensive? Even as an abstract concept it’s hilarious! As an actual product it is hysterically funny. It would also have died out very quickly as a commercial product because it’s such a stupid idea – but I bet it sells well now.

These drones can’t get anything right. They have been promoting smoking since tobacco advertising was banned, they are now drawing the kids’ attention to the booze they have been shunning, they are pushing fast food to the point where the fast food companies might as well save money on advertising and leave them to it, and now they have boosted the profile of a balloon shaped like a guy in a pink shirt that should have died a natural death because it’s a simply idiotic commercial idea.

Everything they do has the opposite effect to what they want. Everything.

And that is the funniest part of all.

Except there is one thing even funnier… they are the only ones who don’t see it.

22 thoughts on “Warming my plums, and other weirdness.

  1. ” I wonder if they need someone to make their yeast more alcohol-tolerant?”

    Far as I know , you can buy special yeast that will go up to 21% or something like that, although it’s been 20 years since I have used any. It was, as I recall, important to invert the sucrose and feed it in over a period of time. Also when brewing super strength stuff you gotta keep the temperature high and constant, every fluctuation can cause a fermentation to stick. Oh and super yeasts need the right vitamins, PH etc

    Tannin is vital too if i recall….

    But you probably wrote the treatise on it so I’ll shut up again 😛


    • Tannin seems common in high-level booze fermentations. I have a recipe for a plum sherry that uses it. Must get some.

      Temperature, well, I have access to some +/- 1degC incubators but I bet a standard tropical-fishtank heater would do the job quite well, especially if the fermenting vessel was insulated with a bit of lagging.

      pH, okay, again, I have pH controllers but good buffering could do the job. They shouldn’t be producing much acid anyway and the CO2 is what buvbbles off. Ooo – just think how much global warming is going to result from this government’s ‘war on booze’! I bet they haven’t thought of that.

      Yes, the sugar can’t all go in at once or the yeast will just say ‘fuck it’ and go to sleep (we call it ‘feedback inhibition’ in public). On the other hand, successive sugar blasts have to go in before the fermentation has stopped and the yeast has closed down operations. The technical term is a ‘fed batch culture’.

      Vitamins – pour in a can of Red Bull. The caffeine might make it turn into Buckfast though.


  2. I liked Stonewall’s reaction to the inflatable doll.

    “‘This is like trying to sell ice to Eskimos. We can’t imagine why any woman would choose to buy an inflatable gay best friend when there are two million of the real thing already available in modern Britain and most of them are much better looking than Tesco’s pale imitation.”

    Surely the normal reaction to the preposterous is to laugh.


  3. and apparently the g*y (yes, they thought the word ‘gay’ would be offensive in the product ad!) best friend gives fashion advice… WTF – is this a talking g*y best friend or are the adults who would appreciate this as a pressie so round the twist that they’ve taken to talkiing to inanimate objects? LOL

    As for the mental/psycho costumes – if such costumes really do reinforce ‘unhelpful stereotypes’ then the mental health charities have failed miserably in educating the public about mental illness. Mind you, you’d have to be nuts to pay £20 for such tat.

    Why do I always feel that those who are offended by such things are the same people who’ll put up with real crap like intrusive surveillance and erosion of liberties? Do they feel that they’re part of some ‘on-message’ group which gives them status or summat?


    • The g*y part was unbelievably funny. How can you market an inflatable gay best friend when you think people are going to be offended by the word ‘gay’ but have never considered that an inflatable little man in a pink suit could possibly upset anyone?

      Whatever they drink in those design shops, it’s stronger than anything I’ve ever managed to get hold of.

      As for the coxtumes – when I was a kid it was ghosts, witches, Frankenstein and so on for Halloween. Most of the fun was making your own costume. Buying something you’re going to only ever wear for a few hours (they’ll have outgrown it next year) was unthinkable. It’s the fault of those ‘Halloween’ films. It never had anything to do with psychos, it was about the supernatural, scary stories and toffee apples. And that is how it should stay.


  4. I’m sure there is an “I’m better than you because I’m more offended than you” mentality at work among the professionally offended. They crawl out from under stones every time such an opportunity arises.


  5. For years inflatable lady dolls were being openly sold along Blackpool’s seafront as joky/novelty gifts. Although they looked a lot like the ones featured in the back of my Dad’s w*nk mags, these were obviously just cheap imitations which probably wouldn’t have taken any meaningful poking or prodding. They clearly sold well though. On a night you’d see groups of lads ‘n’ lasses hauling these things between the pubs and clubs… by now, often suitably dressed for the evening in bra and knickers or sporting funny hats etc. Eventually, the male versions appeared in the same stalls/shops and seemingly bought by the same groups of stag and hen visitors.

    Tacky? Yes. But funny and just one of those things, along with the willy shaped rock and the kiss-me-quick hats, that made Blackpool the colourful place that most people loved. Or it was until the Council’s Comedy Dept stepped in and ordered that these items shouldn’t be displayed/sold openly. More recently, the police will stop folk carrying them and order that they are deflated… under threat of seizure. Naturally they claim it’s on health and safety grounds because dozens of calls are made each year to the emergency services about bodies being seen at the roadside or in the sea; which then often turn out to be these dolls.

    What’s really funny is that we devote so much column inches, state resources and moral outrage on trivia like this while seemingly ignoring more important matters like people dying in our hospitals and the elderly freezing in their homes in the winter. Have we gone mad?


    • What’s really funny is that we devote so much column inches, state resources and moral outrage on trivia like this while seemingly ignoring more important matters like people dying in our hospitals and the elderly freezing in their homes in the winter. Have we gone mad?

      It’s simply because being seen to be ‘doing something’ about stuff like this is a lot easier than actually ‘doing something’ about things that really matter. So the politicians love the professionally offended because they provide them with a bit of headline grabbing without having to address the real nettle-grasping stuff. Hence all the governmental hand-wringing and carefully crafted soundbites about the non-existent ‘binge-drinking epidemic’, and the thousands of equally non-existent victims of SHS. It makes for easy politicking; very publicly pandering to the vociferous minority and garnering lots of column inches in the process.


  6. Having woken in the night to find my , then, young wife standing over the beds of our 3 small boys with a carving knife and having had to make possibly the hardest decision of my life to that point-namely ‘grave yard or jail yard’ – I think the Charities are missing the point. We say ‘someone went psycho’ for a reason. These were labelled ‘Psycho’ costumes not ‘ Bipolar Bob’ nor ‘Depressive Debbie’. If the illness is, as with my wife, Paranoid Psychosis, then the whole ‘Cleaver’ thing is not a misrepresentation. Bad taste? Yes. Not a fit subject for humour? No and neither was going down Ol’ Bedlam to jeer at the Loons (surely Parliament would have been a better choice for sheer entertainment value if one enjoys mocking the afflicted?) But ‘offensive’ or ‘misrepresentation’ ? NO.

    When you’ve
    had to make the snap decision whether or not to kill your wife or risk talking her down when she was in baby-killing-so-we-can-all-be-Jesus-mode (never try and disarm a psychotic-the hand is a very mobile FAST object, you need to put your sweet Driller Killer out of action and not grandstand) then and only then may you, MIND et al, tell me that a blood splattered jumpsuit costume is ‘turning back the clock’ (as some Minister put it I think).


  7. Is there something wrong with me ? I fail to be offended by everything that offends everyone elese. Whats is an inflatable mental ? or an inflatable gay friend ? The things that offend me seem to have become acceptable in mainstream err, things, such as media. Like killing churchgoers in Pakistan, of killing sleeping students in Nigeria; barely worth a mention on the tv. news and news websites.


  8. Thanks so much for the link to Old Holborn’s excellent social commentary. He’s hard to find sometimes (for stupid me anyway – old bookmarks and all). When he is on – he is on – the nailhead. With a pen and a mighty good hammer.

    And greetings from California, formerly the Golden State and now the Grey State thanks to an incredible influx of PC drone seedlings that planted themselves here during the shortlived Summer of Love and proceeded to spread everywhere like insipid weeds.


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