Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Watch those Air Miles

Of the numerous loyalty schemes out there, the Goat has stuck with Air Miles for many years. To clarify: these are not the frequent flyer miles dispensed by airlines, but something from https://www.airmilesme.com "The region's most exciting loyalty programme."

Collect the miles by buying stuff or by using the credit card supplied by Red Triangles Bank; the bank that is both local and global. Actually, buying stuff with a VISA card from a shop that does Air Miles doubles up the number collected, so is even better.

Enough with the free advert.

The Goat bought his first diving watch when he started scuba diving in 1996. very quickly he upgraded it to a similar model but in titanium. A Casio DEP-610, since you ask. And very good it was too. And then, in about 2003, Beloved Wife gave him a new watch. This Casio SPF-100S has proved to be excellent and the Goat's been wearing is almost continuously ever since. And, incidentally, the guy to whom he gave his DEP-610 reports that this one is still running, although it does admittedly now look rather tired.

But because nothing lasts forever, he's been looking for a replacement so that he can still tell the time when the SPF-100S ultimately dies. Or the irreplaceable O-ring gets damaged during a battery replacement and the watch fills with salt water. Or it gets dropped, lost, or stolen. The story of the Goat's life is that when he finds something that's perfect, it gets discontinued and, sure enough, the only SPF-100S that he can find is on FleaBay priced as 'rare' and 'collector's item'. But new in box, allegedly. And in Brazil.

At around $1300, which is almost AED4800, the Goat can find something newer and cheaper that will do the job.

There's a Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand, priced at around AED 4000, or maybe a bit less, in Dubai. The Goat spotted one in Budapest for around AED 2850, and Amazon sells them for about AED 2750 plus shipping  and the inevitable 5% import duty. Solar rechargeable means that the back should never have to come off, and its analogue, so arguably looks more 'professional' than a digital LCD. However, the thing is massive, would do well in hand-to-hand combat, and would probably allow the Goat to dive without a weight belt. Anyway, it went on to the Goat's wish list for when the Casio finally slides down the curtain and joins the Choir Invisibule.

And then at last, after years of the Goat being told by various Casio retailers that "The SPF-100S is long obsolete, and no; Casio does not make a diving watch" the new Casio G-Shock Frogman GWF-D1000 popped on to the local shelves. It is, for practical purposes, an updated replacement for the SPF-100S, having the same date and time functions, the same diving functions and memory, and a whole load of other bits and pieces that the Goat would never use.

But the Frogman (which is a smaller watch than the Citizen but what isn't?) is solar rechargeable so the back should never have to come off. And the compass might be useful under water or in the desert. It's also got the atomic clock radio receiver, so should stay spot on. Except that last bit only works in Japan, North America, and Europe. A bit expensive at around AED 4000 to AED 4300 dependent on the colour of the case: inter alia vile turquoise, nausea-inducing yellow, dark blue, black and silver, black and blue. So another for the list of Definite Maybe on the Goat's wish list.

Then Air Miles dropped the Goat an email that essentially advised, "Dear Mr Goat, You have an absolute shitload of Air Miles accrued over the last several years, and they're going to expire really soon. Use them or lose them."

It turns out that Arabian Centre, one of the shopping malls near the Crumbling Villa, will redeem Air Miles for vouchers that are worth actual cash money to spend in any shop in Arabian Centre. And there's also a Casio G-Shock shop. And they had the range of Frogman watches in sensible colours. And the sales staff clearly knew the casio brand: "That's an SPF-100S you're wearing, sir. They're really good and a shame Casio discontinued them several years ago."

As if the Air Miles vouchers weren't persuasion enough, the salesman pointed out that there was 30% discount until 12th August. Sold. Less than AED600 out of the door.

Happy tenth wedding anniversary from Beloved Wife.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Called it

You called it four years ago, you tangerine gobshite.


Sunday, July 30, 2017


In the latest of a series of supposedly offhand comments made by Lord Dampnut that are designed to divert attention away from  matters of State, it would appear that he advocates prisoner abuse: "When you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, ... you can take the hand away, okay?"

That is to say, Lord Dampnut advocates the physical abuse of restrained suspects who are, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, entitled to a fair trial, and who are presumed innocent until proven guilty(Article 11(1)).

But then, this is the same Lord Dampnut who advocates that terrorist suspects undergo torture "...a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding", which is in explicit violation of UDHR Article 5.

This from the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. When the supposed Good Guys are doing this, whatever will the world come to?


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Planned Obsolescence

Again (and again and again) the Goat has been frustrated with the lack of support that seems to be provided for older products. Most recently the extremely bespoke watch strap that is broken cannot be replaced because “It’s an old model and we don’t do spare parts for those any more. We can sell you a new one.”

The Goat owns a fully functional high-end diving computer that is useless because there’s seemingly no way to strap it to his body.

Just one example. Another is the perfect motorcycle tyre that lasts ages, grips tenaciously, delivers excellent handling, and is discontinued in favour of one that causes high-speed wobbles and lets go on damp asphalt.

And a third is the need to fling a recent smartphone with its working display, motherboard, and case because nobody (including eBay and Amazon) has a replacement battery.

Everything I try,
Everything I buy,
Everything I do
Always turns to poo
And I wonder why.

Everything I own
Every mobile phone
If it's bought by me
You can guarantee
That it should be thrown.

If it's bought today,
Then there is no way
To avoid what's true:
“Go and buy anew!”

If I want to keep
Something, then I'm "Cheap."
My opinion's based
On my hate of waste
That's more than skin deep.

Never mind what’s neat.
It is obsolete,
And nobody cares
That you can’t find spares,
So admit defeat.


Monday, July 03, 2017

Caprine Confusion

The Goat admits that he is nonplussed. The new UAE federal traffic rules were announced on about 29th June 2017 for implementation from 1st July. Some penalties have been increased; others have been decreased; the maximum legal window tint has been increased from 30% to 50%.

But here is where the confusion appears.

It has been normal custom and practice in the UAE to allow a 20km/h over the posted limit. Logical and not unreasonable, given instrument inaccuracy and the known fact that nobody NEVER sneaks, even inadvertently, over the posted maximum. And we are assured that this situation will prevail.  

And yet the new list includes a fine of Dh300 for exceeding the posted limit by not more than 20km/h.  

So is exceeding the posted limit by say 10km/h a punishable offence or not?

The Goat was surprised and annoyed to receive a speeding ticket earlier in 2017 for doing less than 110km/h in a 100km/h zone. In Fahrenheit, the Goat got busted for doing less than 68mph in a 62mph zone.Incidentally, just past the first 100km/h sign after a long, long stretch of 120km/h highway.

This is in accordance with the old Law 183, but is still well inside Dubai's tolerance level. But it's Sharjah; not Dubai.

The Goat suspects that these federal rules apply, but because Dubai is Special, Dubai chooses to ignore speeding less than 20km/h over the limit. Other emirates, it would seem, are not as tolerant.

The Goat also observes 1279 fines on the first day. Obviously this count does not include the speed and red-light cameras because the results from these take a few days to come through the process. Moreover, he suspects that most would have been offences under previous laws. But the fact the we see punitive action rather than compliance rather suggests that the system will take a while to become effective.

Or perhaps the novelty will wear off after a few days or weeks, and we will be back to the highway anarchy that we all know and love.

It is gratifying to the Goat to note that, at last, traffic laws pertaining to the American system of having a STOP sign on school buses have now become official. 

Compliance and enforcement? Remain to be seen; last time the Goat stopped behind a school bus with its STOP sign out he was hooted at and verbally abused by a nasty man in a large black-windowed Tahoe.

And finally, Law 155. Transporting inflammable ale is right out.

The complete list, should anyone be interested, is here.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Both kinds: Country *and* Western

Not my truck
"With the advent of autonomous motor vehicles," it said on Facebook, "It's only a matter of time before someone writes a country song about my truck leaving me."

So here is one.

I bought an F150
In the year 2019.
I gave it bigger tires
So's to make it look real mean.
It had a pair of smokestacks
Both made of polished chrome,
And a central-heated garage:
Somewhere it could call home.

My wife said I spent too much time
Out polishing my truck.
"It's gonna be the truck or me,"
She told me. Just my luck!

One day while I was drivin'
The radio was playin'
My fav'rite country music songs:
The best of all, I'm sayin'
I set the truck on Auto
For my banjo I was pickin'
Till I stopped outside a KFC
Where lunch is finger-lickin'

The truck parked up beside a 'Stang,
A fine automobile,
But when I'd had my chicken strips
My disbelief was real.

For my truck left me!
It ran off with a Mustang.
Yeah, my truck left me!
I shouted and I cussed.
My truck left me!
The moral to this story
Is never trust a truck that is autonomous.

Yeah, my truck left me!
It ran off with a Mustang.
Yeah, my truck left me!
I went home on the bus.
My truck left me!
The moral to this story
Is never trust a truck that is autonomous.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"The Boxer"? Rebellion

The Mis-Leader

In an office without corners
Sits a toupee’d tangerine
Where he ought to rule the nation,
But he tweets his indignation
When he’s criticized.

His tiny hands
That he used for grabbing pussies
Though, of course, not Kellyanne’s.

Lie-la-Lie: “Yes, the Mexicans will pay.”
Lie-la-Lie: “I’ll throw Hillary in jail.”

“When I want to be elected,
With the Russians I’ll collude.
I’ll get Vladimir to phone me;
If discovered, I’ll fire Comey
And erase my tracks.

Drain the swamp!
And avoid those Nasty Women!
I’m as bright as Forrest Gump
And tell whoppers ‘cos my name is Donald Trump.”

Lie-la-Lie: “I will never take vacations.”
Lie-la-Lie: “And I don’t do tax evasion.”



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