Lottery

A personal view of the British Lottery system

I’m a big fan of the National Lottery.

Where else could such a simple act as shelling out a pound bring such substantial life altering consequences?

And I do not fall under the category of ‘it won’t change my life’.  The hell it will. Big time.

Not that I have such a bad life, it is just that I do have an imagination and too much of my precious time is spent doing what I must, not what I would like.  So winning would be a truly selfish act.  Yes. Bring it on.

I will not try to convince you that I play the game for good causes.  I have a strong belief that we should not need charity because need should be properly addressed through taxation. I have no issue with the government taking a percentage of the lottery cost for extra special causes as long as it stays that way.  The causes should remain special, not need based.  The organisers already make a tidy profit and the winnings seem to be sufficiently generous to tempt me.

The only downside I see is lack of integrity.

Virtually every week one, two or more people are made very wealthy.  Camelot boast of the hundreds of millionaires made.  But there is very little evidence.

Bentley Motors shares are not going through the roof and I, nor anyone I know, is personally aware of any big time winners, except the tiny minority of reprobates featured in the red top rags.

And don’t tell me that mostly they want to keep their identities quiet or that they are all wrinklies who stuff it all under a mattress.  If I won a jackpot everyone would know.  The smile alone would give it away.

So, what stops the organiser saying there are four jackpot winners when there is only one?  I am sure that the system is correctly monitored but the ease in which this could occur stirs the conspiracy side of my mind.

Camelot you need to demonstrate your propriety better.

Finally, a lottery tip.

Buy two sets of numbers.

The second set (providing they are a different set, numbski) will double your chances of winning.  You could not improve on that.

Shelling out another quid will only increase your new chances by a third, a fourth will only increase your chance by another quarter, etc.

And don’t play on Wednesday, you’ll just bugger up my chances of a rollover from Saturday if you win.

P.S. Calling it Lotto doesn’t fool anyone.  It makes it sound cheap.  Which, I guess is the idea.  Trouble is, it is still a pound.  And I, for one, do not want a ‘cheap’ win.

What I couldn’t do with twenty million?  Well, a better website for a start.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site Version 5.028 dated 30 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
This article was written when Camelot owned the rights to the British lottery. It has since been sold to some teachers in Canada [seriously, look it up] and because teachers are not well paid it now costs two quid a go. So now I cannot afford it.
The image depicts the author pretending to be a lottery winner stood next to a Bentley Arnage in 2000 and was added in Version 5.028 30 Nov 2017.

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LCD Car Windows

The new black in car windows

Maybe it’s because I wear glasses and so cannot instantly pick up the oh-so-fashionable Oakleys everytime the sun comes out.

Maybe because I hate it when all those pillocks keep their sunvisors down long into the evening, or later.  Or forever.

Or is it just that I hate that time in a winter’s evening when the sun is right in your face, just above the steering wheel rim.

I think we need to do something about sunny days.

Why not use LCD technology to automatically black out car windows on a summers day?

It’s a well-known science, relatively cheap and controllable. Look at the watch on your wrist (no, not you Mr. Breitling).  Control could be light sensitive, or switched by yet another button with a strange logo on the dashboard.

Just imagine you’ve been out cruising all night, so your windows are clear.  It’s early morning and you are thinking of an excuse to tell the boss that you need a day off.  You know, dead grannies, leaves on the line, working from home; that sort of thing.  When you pull up next to a car and it’s the man-boss himself, on his way to work.

Just flick the switch and your car becomes a haven of seclusion.  Or a Mafia staff car.  Yes, you too could look like a reclusive film star.  In your twenty-six year old Datsun Cherry.

There is only one problem as far as I can tell.  Legislation would prevent the technology being applied to front windscreens, so all the problems listed above would still irritate me.

I guess I’m gonna have to get that Laser Surgery done so I can wear the bloody Oakleys.

Plate Tech Tonic [Addendum 2005]

A new thought has occured to me since writing this piece in 2003.

Why not apply the technology to the transparent surface of a car number plate? With a switch operation this could be utilised in the unfortunate event of being caught going a bit quick near a wayward speed camera – much safer than madly braking don’t you think?

Put the device on a timer and it would revert to looking normal soon after passing said revenue collector.

The timer device wouldn’t be so useful when fleeing a bank robbery though and it’s all probably highly illegal, so don’t say I told you to do it.

Braking Down [Additional addendum 2005]

Another idea [here we go again] for avoiding those pesky fines from those unmarked cameras that spring up suddenly would be to mount a rear braking light around the number plate.

That way it will brightly illuminate just at the point the speed is being … er … corrected, cleverly obscuring the number whilst braking but remaining undetected whilst innocently parked up.

It would only work on rear facing cameras, if at all.

However, it is also still probably illegal but a defence, if questioned, could argue that plates are there for vehicle ID when driving off. If the brake light is on the vehicle is stopping.

I think my fees as a motoring lawyer have just increased, M’lord.

.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site Version 5.084 dated 19 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited.  Addenda added in version 2.00 in May 2005
The image was added in Version 5.025 27 Nov 2017.  It depicts a blue Range Rover with blacked out windows, taken by the author in April 2012.  That is, the photo was taken, not the car.  That would be theft. And naughty.

Fluorescent Roads

The long and shiny road

The technology which brings us reflective white paint to help guide us on our roads at night is one of man’s greatest achievements. Obviously not in the league of the wheel or Penicillin. Or even bicycle clips. But pretty much up there.

As you hare down a country lane at night a pair of brilliant white lines guide you from one curve to another. The experience is surreal.

But, as usual, there is a limitation. In many cases, whilst we enjoy the reflection from the central lines sub-dividing the carriageways there isn’t always an edge marker. And let’s face it, the less unnecessary white paint embellishment on our country lanes the better.

Now, we cannot just paint the whole road surface because then we wouldn’t be able to see the central white dividing lines. Plus the grip (for those of us who go quick enough to need it) would be severely reduced, particularly in the wet, the cost of paint would be exorbitant and, quite frankly, it would be an eyesore.

Unless the paint could be made black. And reflective.

So, we need a solution. How about making the roads fluorescent.

Add a luminescent compound to the Tarmac* mix. That way all the light absorbed during the day will be magically converted to a bright ribbon of road at night.

Just think of all the gorgeous colours that could be generated. Plus, the motorways could be coloured blue, the main roads green, the minor roads red and the little lanes yellow. All to match my road atlas.

We’ll never turn onto the wrong road at night again.

Admittedly, as far as I know, luminescent paint is slightly radioactive. So all our cars will need lead underpans (lead underpants for cyclists). Then the handling and performance will be affected. So we won’t be able to go quick after all.

Come to think of it, it’s a silly idea. I tell you what – let me take another look at that bicycle clip concept again.

Author: Vince Poynter
*Little known fact: Tarmac is a registered name used in a generic way, much like Hoover
Version 5.024 24 Nov 2017 in the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site under the section ideas
First published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a Peugeot 406 Coupe travelling on a typical British A-road, taken by the author in April 2016 and was included to suggest the road could be blue, to match the car.  The image was added in the web site at Version 5.024 24 Nov 2017

Lane Discipline

I’m a fan of driving. Sure there are many reasons why I shouldn’t be. Take a peek at my opinion on driving habits if you need to see a few reasons why. But I am also an optimist, if things are bad they can be fixed.

All we need is the will and a bit of clever thinking. And that is a speciality of mine. I have worked out how we can reverse one of the worst habits of British motoring by changing some simple rules.

Why not let people who drive correctly, drive faster?

We all want to go quicker but need to do this responsibly. Here is the way.

Without changing the rules about only overtaking on the right, let us allow drivers to go quickest on the inside lane, then progressively slower in the outer lanes.

Sounds crazy? Well just think about it for a moment.

Imagine a three-lane motorway. When you are driving along with no other traffic (remember the seventies?) I propose that you should be able to charge along safely to your hearts content.

If you then come upon a slower vehicle ahead then you will need to move out a lane to pass. But you have to temper the speed a bit and go past carefully. If you again want to get going once past you will be encouraged to move back to lane 1 to be allowed to travel again at speed.

And when the traffic is so bad that all three lanes are needed then all the overtaking in lane 3 has to be so much slower, therefore safer. It is a self-restricting system. Slow when busy but with less restrictions when the roads empty.

And drivers will voluntarily move over to the left after overtaking. Simple. Like all great ideas.

Of course, the set limits would have to offer something if this is to be sold as a good system. If the government gets hold of this idea then some quango think tank will decide that on motorways the limits should be 70, 60 and 50 mph. Much easier to sell the idea to a sceptical public at 90, 70 and 60 mph.

Mind you it won’t stop the arsehole cruising along at 60 in the centre lane, clogging up the whole system. For that I propose a simpler system. That I shall be legally allowed to carry a firearm and shoot him.

(Note: Americans and Europeans will have to read this page in a mirror to get the idea)

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/ideas part of the web site Version 5.023 23 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The text is reproduced, unedited, as published in Oct 2003
The image depicts a typical British motorway scene and is used to illustrate lanes being used. There is no implication to suggest the vehicles are in the correct or incorrect lanes. The image was added in Version 5.023 23 Nov 2017

Hollywood

Cellulite and Celluloid

I’m in two minds about this one. These pages are all about getting a gripe off my chest, without the use of a fine pair of tweezers and Hollywood must be a prime target.

There is much to dislike about the pumped up, pretentious American film industry.

The powerful network can easily create a dream but so often wrecks them.

The play it safe attitude of film commissioning stifles genuine new raw talent and makes it hard for newcomers to break in.

The industry’s hypocritical attitude to sex which rams it down your throat but ensures you never see it.

The obsession with mindless violence and the assumption that pain, maiming and killing have no subsequent consequences.

All these things are gross and frankly unnecessary in such a matured industry.

Yet, somehow, all the glitz, glamour and style makes me hold back from really winding in the knife.

Some of my best memories come from watching the spectacular stunts and settings that multi-million dollar budgets can achieve. And anything associated with Kristin Scott Thomas must be OK.

And then there is the British Film Industry.

Great ideas, talent and films but no balls when it comes to funding. So don’t go whinging when Mr. USA rewrites the great British stories in his own style and makes zillions from them.

So, I have to decide one way or another, whether Hollywood is destined for the landfill dump or the mantelpiece.

Let me put it this way. Deep down, anyone who writes harbours a deep wish to become part of the circus.

Case closed.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/opinions part of the web site Version 5.020 17 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003.  It is reproduced here, unedited.
The image depicts the author in the process of creating an audition tape in May 1998. The show was a Channel 4 project entitled Trash Talk and the audition taped failed to do it’s job. The show now appears nowhere on the internet [It’s not the later NFL show]. Was it even made? Has it been removed from history? Did they pick the wrong presenter? You do the maths. The image was added in Version 5.020 17 Nov 2017

The Meaning Of Hi-Fi

This article is not about to describe my hi-fi to you. You’ll have to get to know me much better if you want to hear my set up.

No, this is a direct attack on all those manufacturers and suppliers out there who bandy about the term hi-fi when it clearly isn’t warranted.

Hi-fi, or to give it it’s full title, high fidelity, was popularly introduced in the seventies. The term may be older but it’s use became more widespread, probably to coincide with the style of denim Jeans at the time. The distinction allowed for the purity of sound extracted from the growing number of specialist separate components that outperformed the all in one music-centres of the time. Eight track anyone?

I know that the latest head-banging, superwoofered ghetto blaster can outperform these early attempts at music reproduction but that’s not the point. The term hi-fi is a moveable datum. As the general melee of equipment improves, the true high fidelity components are those that still rise above the masses producing crisp, clear sounds to die for.

And the number of lights, displays, bells and whistles don’t count either.

So, next time someone tries to flog you a ‘hi-fi’ product, at a price a teenager could afford, ask them how it compares to a top end CD transport coupled to a pair of dedicated amps and running through some major floor-standing speakers. Then get them to show you.

You might just get an idea of what my system sounds like.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/opinions part of the web site Version 5.019 16 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003.  It is reproduced here, unedited except for minor changes for readability.
The image shows the author’s own Hi-Fi system as it stood in 2001.  It was added to the article in Version 5.019 on 16 Nov 2017

Gender PC

First things first. Let’s not confuse gender with sex. Heidi Klum doesn’t have gender appeal and I’ve never had gender in the back seat of a car. Nor Heidi Klum come to think of it.

However, I am against too much of this modern fetish with political correctness. Men and women are different. Live with it. In fact, celebrate it. We don’t want to end up in an andronomous society where you can’t tell your mother from the plumber.

I’m not a misogynist (look it up) and I’m not against lesbianism. In fact I think I might be a lesbian. I share all their ideals, I just don’t get to change in the same cubicle when I go swimming. And I have better hair.

I applaud equality. That is, I applaud fair equality, not the trumped up excuses used in positive discrimination. All women shortlists should only be reserved for surrogate breast feeding jobs. Not to select members of parliament. Even if they are all tits which people suck up to! – Couldn’t resist that one.

Men love the way women look so good. In all shapes and sizes. Keep those curves on view and appreciate it when we look at your thighs. You know that if you hide yourselves away you will end up putting up your own shelves. And it has taken men millions of years to learn how to read a map. Women won’t achieve it in their lifetime.

And as for the men. Stop being a bunch of wimps. Don’t be afraid to get down the gym and pump those pecs. And it’s not an insult to hold open a door or offer your seat. Stand up and be counted. Women will only be Kylie if you are prepared to be Russell Crowe.

As for me. I’m off down the gym, to pick up my map and drive over to Heidi’s.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/opinions part of the web site Version 5.018 13 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The text is reproduced, unedited, as published in Oct 2003 and represented the author’s views at the time
The image shows the clear differences between a man and a woman.  It depicts the author and his wife sat astride a Can-Am Spyder three wheeled motorcycle as manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products. It was taken on 25 Sep 2016 and added in Version 5.018 13 Nov 2017

Fuels

Oil be seeing you. Oilways

Do you consider yourself green?

I suppose the answer would be yes if you are either a resident of the planet Nerasis (sector 45AF.789 in the Zarciod Belt, turn right past Uranus and it’s only a block or two away) or a pedal cycling, anally retentive killjoy with a huge chip on your shoulder. Either way, you ain’t gonna like what I say.

Fossil fuels. Burn ’em.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a turbo charged V8 with nitrous injection.

I overtake people on the pavement (that’s the sidewalk to all you Yanks) in the same way that I pass them on the road. Life is for living and we today are fortunate to have been blessed with the black stuff.

Oil. Fantastic product, all that energy easily stored and able to take us on adrenaline fuelled trips that crack cocaine would struggle to produce. I’m a petrol junkie.

Hold it old chap, I hear you politely say. What about the resource issue?

If we all go around mindlessly using these decomposed dinosaur reservoirs then there won’t be any left for the next generation. Stuff them! It doesn’t matter. If we didn’t have oil we would invent some other way of getting our automotive kicks and so will the next generation.

Let’s pass on something useful – The ability to have fun.

Just one reservation about oil. Why did someone invent Diesel, then think it might be a good idea to use it in cars? Beats me.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site Version 5.017 10 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The unedited content represents a view held at the time, long before the adoption of powerful electric or hybrid vehicles and modern, clean diesel engines
The image depicts a toy Shell classic petrol pump, circa 1970, taken in December 2002 and was added on 10 Nov 2017

Being European

Back in 2003 being a true European, as opposed to being within Europe, wasn’t the view of many British people, despite the European market, the European Economic Community, being created within the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and the establishment of the European Union under the Maastricht Treaty on 1st November 1993, of which Britain was a part.

Brexit, the popular term coined about the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union, was only voted for in a referendum on 23 June 2016. I have every intention of writing articles about this in the future so watch this space.
The following article was written in October 2003.

Being European

Why do so many residents of the UK fail to acknowledge that they are European? Take a look at any atlas (apart from those with the flexible borders produced by the Israelis) and the landmass of Britain is clearly in Europe. We are Europeans. End of discussion.

Of course those xenophobic Brits who refuse to acknowledge their position are really saying that they refuse to be ‘European’. Some sad misapprehension that they would be forced to eat horses in the manner that the French do, be good in bed like the Italians or strut around like they own the place like most Germans. And that just isn’t British.

My personal opinion is that having closer ties with your neighbours is a good thing. Less war, more trade and better pasta imports. As long as we don’t have to drive Czech cars. Why suffer passport and travel restrictions? We can save all that malarkey for the other world citizens nibbling at the borders.

Europe today is a small place and should be accessible to all Europeans, including us Brits. Furthermore, European union is the first step towards world union and ultimately peace for all mankind.

And the rule applies to other parts of the world too. Africa for all Africans. The Middle East for all nations – even the Israelis. And Australia for the kangaroos.

Mind you, if it comes down to a clear choice between speaking Esperanto or becoming the next state in the good old US of A then I’m a happy hamburger eater. I’ll even forgive them for not helping out in the Falklands. Or for charging us for their help in the Second World War. Or for accidentally shooting their allies everytime they open fire.

Just as long as the Yanks acknowledge that the word mum has a ‘u’ in it. Much like the word neighbour.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/political.htm part of the web site Version 5.016 9 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The unedited content represents a view held at the time, long before the adoption of powerful electric or hybrid vehicles and modern, clean diesel engines
The image depicts a flexible border…Collie, taken by the author’s family around 1974.  It was added on 9 Nov 2017

 

Bad Driving Habits

Is there anyone who has not got an opinion on driving?

Well this is one to get you all going – unless you are in London at 5.30 p.m. on a weekday. Speed limits, don’t we all just hate them? Come on, admit it. If you like limits then you are beyond hope. Just go out and stand in the road now. Only you won’t get hurt because all the cars are going so slow nowadays because of the restrictions, humps and hopeless drivers who couldn’t drive a Scalextric car.

And it’s our own fault. Limits are only put there because the general imbeciles driving around today can’t control their vehicles or judge when it is safe. Speed does not kill – bad driving does. And the general driver, despite their own high opinion of their ability to match Schumacher, drives pretty poorly.

So to counter this threat to innocent passers by and other road users the authorities (i.e. our elected representatives) put up arbitrary tin plates suggesting a recommended maximum. Now that would be fine if that was all it was. Instead, our protectors (i.e. the police) do their best to catch people going a bit quick and then to fine and humiliate us.

Fines themselves are fine, one could say a fine deterrent. It’s the points system that gets me riled. A few misdemeanours over a matter of years can lead to diabolical insurance premiums and possible incarceration with all the attendant bottom stretching. With possible loss of employment, status and respect. Ask yourself – Is that really fair punishment for going too fast?

Sure, I’d agree that bad driving deserves all the bottom expansion in the world but bad driving is difficult to measure. And all this makes for an increasingly stale road system. And for people like me with four star in their veins it isn’t good enough. We need to fight back.

We should concentrate instead on bad driving and eliminate those poor habits. So, take a look at the few listed below and if it’s you – shame…

    1. Hogging the outer lane. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Move over you pussy. I wanna go past and you ain’t the police sunshine. Imbecile.
    2. Hogging the middle lane. See above. And stop worrying about filtering off the motorway. The junction is at least two miles away and its well signed. Nerd.
    3. Inappropriate speeding. I know, after all I said but 30 mph passing a school at 9 a.m. is much worse than 120 mph at night down an empty highway. Idiot.
    4. Using your hazards whilst stopped in town. There’s always another car stopped behind you so all the passing cars can only see one of your indicators. Looks like you are about to pull out! Wombat.
    5. Parking on the ‘other’ side of the road with your lights on. The headlight dipping system blinds every passing car. And as you are stationary you hardly need to see. But we do. Dipstick

Author: Vince Poynter
This is an extract from the vinceunlimited.co.uk/petrolhead.htm website Version 5.015 dated 4 Nov 2017
This article was originally published in the first version of the vinceunlimited website, Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a typical motorway scene and is not intended to be a comment on the vehicles involved. It was taken by the author in Feb 2016