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Blog Shifted

My blog has now been moved over to a different server.

Thanks again, Duncan.

I hope this means things will function better than they have recently.

Edited to add: Looking through recent posts it seems the move has caused a problem with old posts having an apostrophe (‘) or dash (-) in them not appearing as they were originally typed. I’ve amended a few of these but I doubt I will be bothered going back to change them all.

Blog Silly Beggars

You may have noticed a lack of postings here recently.

The blog has been playing silly beggars again; something to do with hosting. There are plans afoot to move it to another host.

Fingers crossed.

Blog Problems

I’ve been having some problems accessing my blog over the past few days.

I’ve asked my blog administrator to have a look at it. I’m here, so I hope it’s fixed now.

Thank you, Duncan.

Not Just Ireland

Beside the Irish shelves in my local supermarket there are no less than two others of produce surely intended to be sold in the US.

Second Set of US Shelves, Kirkcaldy Supermarket

First Set of US Shelves, Kirkcaldy Supermarket

A few of these things I’ve read about, Hershey bars (chocolate,) Jello (jelly.* – At £1.50 a packet no less. One of the packets was chocolate flavoured; how do you get chocolate flavoured jelly? The picture on the packet showed the stuff was opaque. Weird.) Lifesavers(??) Hominy grits. The rest is more or less a mystery apart from what were obviously cereals.

I suppose this has turned up here because the supermarket concerned has just abandoned its attempts to make inroads into the US market.

Here are two close-ups. Click either side to enlarge.

First Set of US Shelves, Kirkcaldy, Detail

US Shelves Kirkcaldy Detail

What on Earth is this stuff?

(*What Usians call jelly we call jam, I think. See my post on Jelly Jungle.)

Caramilk

I was thinking about Cadbury’s Caramello again today and I suddenly remembered that the bar had another name, Caramilk. It had disappeared once before and was brought back under a new name.

I can’t now remember which name came first – possibly Caramilk was the one which was around in my youth and Caramello came later.

I looked up Caramilk and it seems there is a bar of this name sold by Cadbury’s in Canada, and Caramello is found in the US, Australia and New Zealand. The Wiki article doesn’t mention Ireland though.

Here’s a link to the Irish shop and its picture of a Caramello bar which looks more like the non-vending machine size I remember buying back in the day. When I looked there though it said, “Sold Out!”

Some of the images on this page (I see mine has got on there somehow; it’s about halfway down) are of the old packaging.

Blast From The Past

I hadn’t seen one of these in years. But on 20/4/13 in my local supermarket I found for sale Cadbury’s Caramello.

Cadbury's Caramello Wrapper

Caramello is much better than the more common Cadbury’s Caramel.

I remember there used to be a Caramello bar about 1½ times the size of this though these ones could be found in vending machines back in the day.

Not only was there Caramello on that shelf but also Tiffin* bars, Mint Crisps and Golden Crisps – all of which have been notable by their absence for years from British shops.

These all may be Cadbury’s Ireland products. The Caramello bears the legend, “Official treat provider to the Irish Olympic team.”

Does this mean Caramello has been available in Ireland all this time?

Cadbury’s website has no trace of these products. Lucky Irish right enough.

*I never ever consumed a Tiffin: they have raisins in them. I always feel eating raisins, sultanas or currants must be like biting into a blister. I try to avoid them all.

Oh, Hell

SP Hell.

I see the proposals for a reconstruction of the Scottish football leagues have advanced to the point they are now to be voted on.

I haven’t commented up to now as I’ve been resigned to gloom all season. The 4-3 at Falkirk and 3-0 at Morton did cheer me up, though.

The proposals would see a merger of the SPL and SFL with a top league of 12 clubs (as now; so no change at all!) The second tier will also have 12 clubs (an enlargement of 2.) The third tier will have 18 clubs (effectively a merger of Divs 2 and 3 of the SFL minus 2 clubs.) The fourth tier disappears (but there is a mooting of introducing relegation to/promotion from a pyramid below it.)

There is in addition to be a “split” after the top two Divs have played 22 games (home and away against each other) with the 24 clubs divided into three sections of 8,8 and 8 where again there will be home and away games against each member.

There is an air of indecent haste about this as it seems to be envisaged that this will start in season 2013-2014. That would mean changing the finishing post halfway through this season (and also effectively kybosh the play-offs for this year.)

As far as the top two “new” Divisions is concerned how is this different in essence from the SPL 2 which was shot down in flames about a year ago?

And I wonder how many promotion/relegation places will there be between the third and the second. Not enough I would suggest.

It all sounds to me remarkably like a way to hike Rangers up to tier 2 a year early. They will undoubtedly win Div 3 this season and I can see the argument running that they won their league; so deserve to be promoted. The Div 2 winners (Queen of the South?) would be going up to the second tier anyway.

In this regard it would be nice to have Rangers saying that if their promotion to the second tier in one go was advocated they would refuse to accept it – but I can’t see them making that refusal: even if they have described the plans as an abomination.

By all means have a merged league – provided there are equal voting rights across the Divisions. (Otherwise how long will it be before the top two Divisions vote away the lower completely?)

Very few fans, however, want to keep the present system where clubs play each other 4 times a season. The proposals do not really address this point. Under them 20 clubs will still be doing exactly that.*

The main trouble is that Rangers and Celtic are too dominant within the Scottish game. I have frequently said that unless and until the gate income is once again shared between the two competing clubs, along with more equal division of TV monies, no other club will have a hope in hell of challenging the big two.

I do know one thing though. Whatever and whenever league reconstruction happens Dumbarton will be demoted. That’s what always happens.

1922: third bottom Div 1. Three clubs relegated to adjust division sizes. Previously only two clubs had been relegated. It took us 50 years to get back up.

1975 : fifth bottom Div 1. Only the top 10 clubs stayed in the first tier. It only took us 8 years to get up to that level (for a brief one season visit.)

1994 : fifth bottom Div 1. Three Divisions rearranged to four, bottom five in Div 1 demoted to new Div 2. Promotion the next year saw us then have our worst season in living memory (and beyond) before tumbling down the leagues. 16 long years later we finally got back to Div 1.

Demoted
Under
Materiallly
Biased
Arbitrary
Regulation
Thrice
Over
Now

*Edited to add. The 24 “top” clubs will all play four times against at least three teams.

Happy Hogmanay?

A couple of supermarkets – Morrisons and, I think, Sainsbury’s – I visited between Christmas and the New Year had signs up saying, “Happy Hogmanay.”

Happy Hogmanay?

No-one ever says that.*

My local Tesco made a better fist of it. Their sign – above the alcholic drinks isle, natch – said, “Celebrate Hogmanay,” which is more like it. But even then drink isn’t usually taken till after the bells, by which time Hogmanay is past.

So, now it’s here.

Happy New Year.

* Edited to add: except, oddly, Catriona Shearer and Craig Hill on Scotland’s Hogmanay Live last night.

Penguins? At Christmas?

Reindeer, yes. Lappland, where Father Christmas is said to live, is famous for them.

Polar bears, yes. Also Arctic creatures.

I’d give you elves at a pinch, as they’re as mythic (oops, spoiler) as Santa Claus himself.

But penguins?

No. They are generally southern hemisphere animals; most often associated with the Antarctic.

So why are there illuminated penguins for sale as Christmas decorations and cluttering up the gardens of those who like that sort of thing at this time of year?

Just because they’re normally found in a cold climate doesn’t mean they’re anything to do with others who live in similar conditions. (Not to mention anything that might have happened about 2,000 years ago.) In fact they’re a whole world away.

Penguins at Christmas?

Bah humbug!

A Mite Early, Perhaps

Yesterday on my way to work, queued up in traffic, I happened to glance in a window. There was a Christmas tree in it. It was 8.45 so no lights on but still…. it was a Christmas tree.

I know the shops do up their windows and displays but that’s to drum up business. Plus they mostly have the decency to wait till Hallowee’en and Guy Fawkes Night are over. But a domestic Christma tree?

It’s only November – not even past St Andrew’s Day. It’s enough to bring out the Scrooge in anybody.

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