Madonna – Proving that while money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you a child.

Sometimes I really do wonder what goes on in the heads of celebrities and nothing demonstrates the weirdness that is celeb-world more than Madonna. Some people when their marriage goes belly up buy a new car, get their hair restyled, buy a new pair of posh shoes, Madonna trumps all others by buying – another Malawian child. A girl this time, to match the boy she bought last time, after all, why buy the shoes and not the matching handbag? Leaving aside the fact that Madonna has bypassed all the usual systems for adoption and shot straight to the 'pick which pretty sprog you'd like' stage, how can she possibly think that introducing another child to the insane world of commercial madness, public scrutiny and upbringing-by-nanny that is life in her household? But then let's be honest, it's not about the child is it? It is, as usual, all about Madonna and what she wants. Let's face facts, with what she's paying in 'donations' to the Malawian authorities and whoever else she needs to grease the palm of, she could have set the child and its grandmother up in a secure home with a way to make their own living. She could have picked an actual orphan, a child with no family and no one to care for it because Malawi has an awful lot of those. She could have given stipends to dozens of families to ensure that they don't have to give up their kids to an orphanage because they can't afford to feed them. But she did none of these things, she chose instead to buy herself another little Malawian-shaped trinket. Rumours are that the little girl's grandmother doesn't want her to be adopted away but she needs to face facts, what one wizened old woman wants doesn't matter two hoots to the Malawian authorities when on the other side of the scales is Madonna with her massive wads of cash and support of a number of orphanages. The depth of Madge's concern for the wellbeing of the kids she's seen can be summed up by the fact that she went touring round the orphanage wearing £2000 of Chanel tracksuit. What could the average Malawian family do with £2000? Live for a good while, that's for sure. Perhaps she's in some sort of weird-ass competition with Angelina Jolie to see who can adopt the largest number of disadvantaged children in the shortest period of time or something. Still, we should be grateful for small mercies I suppose, while she's in Malawi deciding which child will go best with her new shoes, she isn't in the UK gyrating her scrawny self around on stage in an embarrassing leotard or S&M gear and she isn't releasing any pseudo-dance, craptastic pop shite. Every cloud and all that….

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Whining Lard-Buckets.

This collection of beauties is the Chawner family and today they have appeared in the Telegraph newpaper. Why? Because they have a combined weight of 83 stone, only one of them has a job (as a trainee hairdresser), the rest haven't worked for 11 years and now they are complaining that the £22,508 of taxpayer's hard earned moolah that they get is not enough. Apparently, despite the fact that they are also in receipt of housing benefit, council tax allowance AND incapacity benefit, what they get 'barely covers the bills and puts food on the table', according to Mr Chawner. Really sir? Well without wishing to sound unkind, it doesn't look like the table has been going without food very often in recent times does it? The wife and kids aren't exactly wasting away are they?

The family claim to spend £50 a week on food. Leaving aside the fact that if they only spend £50 a week on feeding 4 people the size of small horses per week then I'm the Virgin Mary, £50 a week adds up to £2600 a year. Taking that from their tax-free benefits of £22,508 leaves them the fine sum of £19, 908. So what the fuck are they whining about? They don't work so travel costs must be minimal, they get housing benefit, they don't pay council tax so what in the name of Satan's Underpants are they spending said £20k a year of leftover cash on?

Mr Chawner says that 'It's not our fault we can't work, we deserve more'. His reasoning for this is that he claims the reason his family are frankly appallingly obese is that they have a hereditary condition. Having read the rest of the article I take issue with that. Each member of the family consumes 3000 calories a day, the recommended MAXIMUM intake for men is 2500, for women 2000. "We have cereal for breakfast, bacon butties for lunch and microwave pies with mashed potato or chips for dinner. All that healthy food, like fruit and veg is too expensive. We're fat because it's in our genes. Our whole family is overweight". Dare I suggest, Mrs Chawner, that your family is not fat because you've got a hereditary condition, your family is fat because you're eating 30% more calories than the recommended maximum, you have a whole lot more energy going in than is going out and your diet is a fucking disgrace? If you got off your self-pitying mountain of an arse and got your backside into the fruit and veg aisle of your local supermarket you would discover that basic root veg are as cheap as they come and can be amde into nutritious, filling, low fat soups for between 50p and £1 per serving, even if you add a chicken breast for protein. I defy you madam, to come up with microwave pie and some chips for 50p to a quid per head. Why the frigging hell should I fork out more of my tax money to give this collection of whining, idle lard baskets more money so they can spend more time sat in front of Jeremy Kyle shovelling bacon sarnies into their oversized cakeholes? If I can stir myself to create proper food when I get in from walking the dog after my full day at work then I fail to see why someone who has bugger all to do and all day to do it in can't manage to prepare a decent, healthy meal at some point. And she needn't give me that "I don't know how' shite either. That's what the internet's for, looking up recipes. She's got plenty of time between the morning edition of Jeremy Kyle and the afternoon's Loose Women to print off the instructions for making a stew.  

Daughter Emma said "I'm a student and don't have time to exercise, we all want to lose weight to stop the abuse in the street but we don't know how". Give me strength. I'm a full time worker AND a fucking student doing a diploma and I find time to exercise. It just means less time in front of the telly. And unless she and the rest of her family have been living in a cave for the past 5 years then they DO know how to lose weight. Even if they were too terminally stupid to have taken in the helathy living message that is plastered over every form of media that we have in this country, they have regular trips to the doctor's for their various weight-related medical conditions, I refuse to believe that the doctor hasn't told them to lay off the lard and get off their arses. What she actually means is that losing weight is going to be fucking hard work. It's going to take dedication, a complete lifestyle overhaul and at the start it's going to be unpleasant and uncomfortable until they adapt to the new eating and exercise regime. What she means is that they can't be sodding well arsed to do anything about it so are expecting the taxpayer to fund their disgusting lifestyle because sorting it out would be too much like hard work. And that, Mr and Mrs Chawner, is why you'll never get any sympathy or agreement from me. I've got every respect for those who are that size and who decide to tackle it head on, it's a long road and it's a hard one but those who are trying need and deserve support. Those who are too pathetic to take responsibility for their own morbid obesity and expect me to fund their 3000 calories a day don't. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? When did we create this legion of whinging, pathetic losers who expect society and everyone but them to fund, deal with and solve their problems?  

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Gluten free Friday

In an attempt to find out what is making the Crohns Disease cross I am currently on a gluten free diet and have been so for a whole 3 days now. I suspect it's going to be a remarkably efficient weight loss regime, no only because I'm eating a lot more fruit rather than bread but also because there is every chance I will waste away while trying to work out what the feck I can eat now. At least it will become an efficient weight loss regime if I stop troughing Cadbury's chocolate buttons in an attempt to stave off starvation and depression at the fact I can no longer eat pastry. In fact the only reason I've limited my chocolate selection to a fun sized bag of chocolate buttons a day is because they didn't do Cadbury's Wispas in a multipack in Morrisons and even I thought it a tad embarrassing to got through the checkout armed with nothing but 10 bars of chocolate, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a pack of Panadol because I had a headache (possibly starvation related). I don't know if Morrison's supermarket has a psychiatry department but if it does I suspect that a basket containing those particular items would get you placed quietly and carefully in a padded room and your shoelaces and belt removed from your personage. At the very least it's going to get you funny looks from the checkout assistant.

My first thought when this idea was suggested was 'how am I going to make a bacon sandwich without bread?' so I decided to attempt a gluten free loaf in my breadmaker. I trundled back to the supermarket to buy flour (slightly less eyebrow raising than the previous basket of chocolate, booze and pills) and came back with a pack of gluten free flour (which is made of rice), some rice cakes, some flavoured rice cakes and some really fucking expensive gluten free cakes from the 'fashionable allergy' section. I tried the cakes in the car park because I was starving, having gotten bored of bananas and chocolate. Not good, not good at all. Who knew that they were just going to replace the flour with what tasted like chemically engineered sugar? So I went home, disappointed, to try my bread recipe.

The recipe listed the ingredients and I had all of them except cider vinegar. Who has cider vinegar in the house? I had cider and I had vinegar but I figured that mixing the two maybe wouldn't produce quite what they were looking for so I plonked in some white wine vinegar instead. It's fruity vinegar right? It can't be that different. After half an hour or so the machine was making stirry noises so I lifted the lid to have a peek. Fuck. The bread maker appeared to have created beige cement and no bread recipe I've ever made correctly looked like beige cement. Never mind, maybe it'd look better and rise when it was cooked. So off I went to dig through the cupboards in an attempt to find something edible that didn't have gluten in it. After a bowl of custard, some crisps and an episode of Sharpe the ping went and the bread was ready so off I went to discover what delights awaited.

I took the tin out of the breadmaker and turned it upside down and shook it. Nothing happened, the sodding thing was stuck. So I turned it upside down and shook it vigourously for a few minutes while swearing profusely. Eventually out plops the loaf. I looked closely at it – joy of joys, not entirely unpredictably my beige cement has baked into a beige housebrick. And the little swivelly gadget that turns the breadmix is stuck in the bloody bottom of the rice-brick. My attempt to get the gadget out left the loaf looking a little big messy on the bottom (I gouged out a big hole) but apart from that it was intact. I decided to try a slice and surprisingly it was not unpleasant. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't pleasant either but it was vaguely edible provided you covered it in something with a strong flavour and didn't try and think of it as bread, more as a slice of cooked rice-brick with egg and vinegar in it. I think the best way to describe it would be 'unusual'. Perhaps it's something that you get better at as time goes by…..

So now I'm sat here, trying to think of something to eat that isn't rice cakes (apparently more than 2 little packets of flavoured rice cakes a day has laxative effects) and isn't rice-brick and isn't fucking disgusting. Looks like it's back to the Cadbury's buttons. I wonder if it's too early for wine?   

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And the award for most incompetent department for this month goes to….

The Vale of Glamorgan council. Now as we all know in the UK, nary a week shall pass without another major-league fuck up from a social services department somewhere and there isn't a situation yet experienced that cannot be made be made worse by the judicial application of a social worker but even taking these facts into account, the balls up made by Vale of Glamorgan's council is epic.

What happened is this: Into their care came a 19 year old homeless man. He had a history: alleged 'inappropriate behaviour' towards an underage boy in 2004, an alleged sexual assault on a young boy in 2005, fired from a job at a bowling alley in 2007 for collecting phone numbers from underage girls,  an alleged sexual assualt on a sleeping 16 year old girl in 2008. Now given that history you would be tempted to err on the side of caution wouldn't you? You'd be really really careful where you placed him wouldn't you? Surely his social worker, counseller, psychiatrist and various case workers would be brought in for multiple meetings to find the most suitable and safe environment to put this man in, wouldn't they? You can picture the conversation:

Fiona: Now we're going to have to place him very carefully because he does present a clear and present danger to children.

Tristan: Indeed he does Fiona. Could you pass me another Jaffa Cake? Cheers. Well, I'd say we need to place him either in a secure hostel or with a specially trained foster carer who lives on their own, to prevent him causing any trouble and to protect him from himself.

Fiona: But we don't have any hostel places and the foster carers are still going through police checks. What shall we do?

Tristan: Fuck it. There's a space with that family that have the two year old and the nine year old, stick him in there, I'm sure it'll be fine and as long as the shit doesn't hit the fan then no one will be any the wiser, Right then, if there's no other business I believe that's half past two and time to go home. Lovely. Anyone mind if I pilfer the last jammy dodger?

And so off he goes, into the bosom of a fmily with two small kids who are given no information whatsoever as to his history or proclivities. And what happens? He rapes their two year old and subjects the 9 year old to a terrifying sexual assault. The police arrive, the press gets the story and yet another social services canoe sets off down Shit Creek sans paddle.

So what has the director of Vale of Glamorgan's social services department, Phil Evans had to say for himself? "The council has instigated an urgent case management inquiry into the circumstances of this young man's placement". Well Phil, that's all very well but I believe that the 'case management' horse may have already bolted, given that 2 small kids have now been assaulted, perhaps if case management had been someway off 'utterly shambolic' in the first place then you wouldn't now be looking online for the location of your nearest job centre, ready for your inevitable sacking at the end of the enquiry. Which will naturally conclude that it's all your fault, as they always do. Let's see what else Phil has to say…"Although the enquiry is at an early stage, it has become clear there was a serious error of judgement". No shit. Are you seriosuly trying to tell me Phil, that it takes an enquiry to figure that putting a paedophile in a house with two small kids is an 'error of judgement', christ on a sidecar, Sir, you'd have to have the brains of a turnip to think that this particular judgement was sound. If you can't come up with a better reason or grovelling apology than that then you are screwed, and rightly so. 

The problem seems to be that social workers are now so tied up with PC bullshit, protecting the rights of the offender and not offending anyone at all, no matter how much of a criminally bent scumlord they may be, that the actual job of 'social work' is now impossible. All the social workers who weren't afraid to speak out when something wasn't right and someone was mistreating a vulnerable person have gone, to be replaced by university graduates who become excited by equality and diversity meetings and who believe that the handbook is always right. The PC crap has taken up so much space in their heads that there's no room for common sense anymore and we're left with the most vulnerable in society being guarded by policy-spouting idiots. Marvellous. In the wake of the Shannon Matthews cock up, the Victoria Climbie fiasco, the baby P mess and all the other disasters, I think it would be fair to say that competence is not a virtue valued highly in British social services.  

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