ArseBook a new anti-social networking site

[W]hat do you think; it has a certain ring about it? I am thinking of starting a new networking site as an antidote to these social networks. My creation would have the purpose of discouraging anybody from joining my group.

As Groucho Marx once said “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members”.

So this is now it works, you post all your disagreeable faults:

  • Picking toe nails in bed;
  • Describing where your spots are;
  • Disgusting eating habits;
  • And any others I won’t be able to write about here.

If you are a trainspotter, fine sign up; change your underpants weekly, great; enjoy talking interminably about some obscure sport, come on down.
facebookThe original social network site, Facebook is now five years old and nothing sums up this shallow world more than a group of people chatting away to each other in cyberspace. I realise as the author of CabbieBlog I might have committed social suicide by shunning social networking, but have these people nothing better to do?

Although Facebook has been a runaway success it has its darker side. The site is increasingly being seen as a boon to scores of identity fraudsters, as you have to use your real name when you sign up, anything you reveal on your site can be used by sophisticated criminals to open bank accounts and secure credit cards in your name. On your page you could include where you live, your birthday, your e-mail address and your mobile phone number.

British public say they are not in favour of ID cards, storing the details of our phone calls, emails and texts, and they claim it would be invasion of their privacy. But on Facebook, millions regularly communicate with total strangers, telling them all about their movements and where they work.

Did you know that one in five bosses now check potential workers’ details on social networking sites in case they reveal unsuitable social habits like drug use or weird hobbies?

Another worrying aspect is that it enables men to groom children and young women via these social networking sites.

And if you’re still not convinced consider this; recently a company called Greylock invested $27 million in Facebook – and one of their senior partners, Howard Cox, sits on the board of In-Q-T, the division of the CIA which invests in new businesses.

Clearly, the CIA has fully realised the value of personal information collected on internet sites such as Facebook – so the chances are Big Brother may be monitoring you as you make new contacts online.

“Arsebook is an anti-social utility that connects you with the people YOU HATE.”

A big warning be careful out there Twittering, Big Brother may be watching your movements.

The London Omnibus

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Now children get out your Ian Allen I-Spy Bus books and get yourselves down to Oxford Street, you can while away your time counting empty buses as you sit in the 18 hour a day traffic jam caused by these monsters.

You could almost walk the entire one mile length of this shopping street on the roofs of the vehicles.

[L]ondon buses receive subsidies to the tune of £910 million per year an increase of 511 per cent since Labour came to power, while for the Shire areas of England subsidies have risen only by 52 per cent. It is in the operator’s interest to put as many vehicles on the road in London. While in small villages with lower subsidies they are losing all their routes. London is inundated with these usually empty red monsters.

The safety record of London buses is very high with one fatality for every 100 million miles operated. But am I the only driver to notice that these vehicles are not driven with the same care and pride as the old Routemasters?

Talking of which Boris is planning to introduce a new safer and wheelchair accessible Routemaster in the future. Watch this space for updates in about 4 years, in time for the Mayoral election.

With most drivers on the road having the spatial awareness of a hedgehog it is almost impossible for bus drivers to navigate London in a Bendy bus, as cars are trying to squeeze past these juggernauts at every opportunity.

Taxis, black ones from Centre Point to Marble Arch, a free shuttle service, passenger journey times reduced from 25 minutes to 8 and taxis get some kind of subsidy. Everyone’s a winner. Oh! If you want the kind of sulky driver you get on a bus ask your cabbie to oblige.

Don’t ask me I’m lost too

[M]aps define an area in more than the most obvious of ways. They define the landscape and the people that live within it. They allow us to make sense of its complexities. None more so than in London, so here are CabbieBlog’s top three London maps:

a-zThe A-Z
Born Phyllis Isobella Gross in East Dulwich on 25 September 1906 her father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant and her mother was an Irish Italian Roman Catholic suffragette. She was educated at Roedean School, a private boarding school near Brighton, which she had to leave when her father’s cartographic company collapsed.

She travelled all over Europe from an early age and then became an English tutor in a small school in Fécamp Brittany. Later, she studied at the Sorbonne, spending her first few months in Paris sleeping rough. At the age of 16 she married Richard Pearsall, an artist friend of her brother. They were together for eight years, travelling in Spain and living in Paris, but she left him in Venice while he was asleep, without telling him anything. She did not remarry.

By 1935, she had become a portrait painter, but while on her way to a party, she tried to follow the best available map of the time (a 1919 Ordnance Survey map). She discovered that this map was not up to the task, and ended up getting lost on her way. Following a conversation during this party, she conceived the idea of mapping London.

The next day, she started mapping London. This involved walking the 3,000 miles of the 23,000 streets of London, waking up at 5 am everyday, and not going to bed until after an 18-hour working day.

Throughout the walking, she was also drawing up the first A to Z map. Phyllis did all of the proof reading and design work herself, and drew up the map with the help of a single draughtsman. They founded the Geographer’s Map Company and in 1936, a year after the project begin, 10,000 copies of the first A to Z were printed. Initially, it proved hard to sell, but finally, WH Smith agreed to take 250 copies which she delivered in a wheelbarrow. It was a runaway success.

london-tube-mapHarry’s Map
Prior to Harry Beck’s diagrammatic map, the various underground lines had been laid out geographically, often superimposed on a road map. This had the feature that centrally located stations were very close together, and the out of town stations were spaced apart. Harry had the idea of creating a full system map in colour. He believed that passengers riding the trains weren’t too bothered about the geographical accuracy, but were more interested in how to get from one station to another, and where to change. Thus he drew his famous diagram, looking more like an electrical schematic than a true map, on which all the stations were more or less equally spaced. This form of map has been copied around the world for various transit systems.

Because Harry’s map has no relevance to the geographical positions of the stations above, take a cousin from out of town to Bank station and tell them to make their way to Mansion House using Harry’s map. They will gamely take the Central Line 4 stations to Tottenham Court Road, the Northern Line 3 stops to Embankment and back on the District Line for 3 stations to reach Mansion House.

In the meantime walk the 100 yards down Queen Victoria Street, go into one of the fine cafes in Bow Lane, enjoy a leisurely coffee and then cross the road to meet your exhausted and perplexed cousin.

monopoly20game20boardPass GO and collect £200
The history of Monopoly can be traced back to the early 1900s. The version we see today was born in the early 1930s, and named Monopoly. Sold by Parker Brothers and its parent companies, the first English version featured many of London streets and has come to symbolise the wealth and poverty within London. You can even go on ‘Monopoly’ Monopoly cab tours of London if your pockets are deep enough.

George Davis is Innocent

A change in attitudes has taken place over the past few years. For years graffiti has been the bane for any owner of a suitable wall which is acceptable for tagging. In the 1970s a successful campaign proclaiming on any suitable wall G. DAVIS IS INNOCENT O.K. It was claimed that a Mr. Davis was ‘fitted up’ by the police for an armed payroll robbery and after a long campaign the courts were forced to reprieve him – he was banged up later for a crime he really had committed.

[O]ther well known sayings daubed on walls are: ‘If voting changed anything, they would ban it’; or ‘Jesus Saves – at the Woolwich’.

Now an artistic genius has changed many peoples perception of street art. This person, who revels in his anonymity, goes under the name of Banksy

Banksy’s stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects include animals such as monkeys and rats, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.

Banksy even smuggled one of his works into Tate Britain art gallery which went unnoticed until it crashed to the floor hours later.

banksy_tesco_pledge_your_allegiance

So loved are his anarchic offerings, a parody of a Tesco flag being raised painted on a wall in Islington North London has a Perspex screen put in front of it, as if it needs protecting like the Mona Lisa.

Many people regard Banksy as a generic name for a group of like minded artists, hell bent on changing people’s perception of authority, one of my favourites is the simple slogan: One nation under CCTV. Another image depicted a scene from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta clutching bananas instead of guns, alas London transport workers painted over this mural which was estimated to be worth more than £300,000.

So what is to be done to combat vandalism? A recent story of an oik after being given community service was told to wear a high visibility vest while cleaning up public property, he refused to wear the vest as his friends were making fun of him, so he walked away from his duties, jail him or what?

banksy postcard

Answers on a postcard or written on any suitable building please.

An excellent site for graffiti images is to be found at the art of the state

We have heard recently of the death of Rosie, George Davis’ ex-wife from cancer. She was the driving force with Peter Chappell to free George Davis. An excellent article has been written in The Daily Mail of the campaign and Rosie has also written a book recording her involvement.

No Room at the Bin

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I don’t know how it happened, but I used only to put out the rubbish once a week, a simple task which took but a few minutes.

Now I have been promoted by Cabbie Wife to Chief Recycler. I spend a lot of time every week recycling rubbish. Newspapers and plastic bottles have to go in one box, but yellow pages for some inexplicable reason are unacceptable, wine bottles to go to the glass bank, not to mention leaves, cut grass and other garden waste collected separately. In the busy life of CabbieBlog it eats up between half an hour and an hour a week spent recycling.

Apparently I’m only member of the household who can perform this important task. If asked to get rid of a carton or bottle, which seldom happens, my family peer at it as though they have never seen such an object before.

[M]illions of us have to recycle and we live in daily fear of being fined by officious council representatives for getting our bins in a muddle, putting out rubbish on the wrong day, or just putting the bins in the wrong place.

I still harbour a distant hope that in doing so I may somehow be helping the planet by ensuring that too many nasty tins and bottles aren’t buried in Britain’s green and pleasant land and thereby stopping polar bears drown in the Arctic.

According to Peter Jones, an expert on waste, who advises the Mayor of London, “the global warming impact of putting material through an incinerator five miles down the road is actually less than recycling it 3,000 miles away”.

So there you have it, fewer greenhouse gases are produced if you burn rubbish locally than if you sort it and send it halfway round the world. Now as a result of the current precarious state of the world’s economy, there is a collapse in the market value of recyclable waste and many waste disposal firms are having to stockpile paper, metals and plastics in vast warehouses because they are unable to sell them on. This means that the rubbish I spend hours struggling to sort out every day may, in fact, never be recycled because it is not economic to do so.

The Government and local councils are fully aware of the shortcomings of recycling, and yet they do not share their reservations with us. They seek to impose ever more draconian penalties. We have to do what we are told, whereas many councils do as they choose by collecting kitchen rubbish once a fortnight, as opposed to once a week, as used to be the rule. So we are bullied and intimidated and threatened by the authorities who, meanwhile, have the nerve to set aside their own traditional obligations. I have recently received a letter with a veiled threat of prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Yet they know that recycling is a very imperfect process, and use the law to ensure that we carry it out on pain of a fine, one can only conclude that they love ordering our lives to the tiniest degree.

Most of us would cheerfully give up our time to recycle if we thought it was beneficial to the environment. But it is impossible to respect a Government which privately acknowledges the shortcomings of recycling – and whose adviser openly expresses his doubts – while it treats a small infraction in our kitchens as a crime.

Taxi talk without tipping

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