All posts by The Cat

Supermarkets Selling Sub-standard Food Are Thieves!

As you probably know I currently live in Prague the capital of the Czech republic and that is because it is in the middle of Europe and it easy enough to hop from one country to another being thoroughly fabulous and star-like. It is also cleaner, cheaper, better looking and safer than London but that is beside the point!

Unfortunately Prague living does have one or two disadvantages the main one apart from the fact that the Czech republic is an atheist country whose people believe that their cleanliness is next only to their godliness – sounds funny you should get a whiff of the people and not only the men!

Anyway this Cat is digressing when he should be digesting after having had his lunch and so he will get to the point – “thankfully I hear some of you say at the back, well my advice stay at the back! What has grabbed my Goat today and actually ever since I arrived in Prague is the standard of their vegetables.

Billa.jpg

Now this may sound a little odd for a Cat to mumble on about poor quality vegetables, and indeed fruit as well especially Lemons in a land famous for Lemon Tea no less, but and it is a great big one, but, I’ll say it again because it is so big, but the supermarkets here are like fascists and most German to boot and they seem to be only in favour of making ever larger quantities of cash and not bothering about the quality of what they sell to the in-the-main drag general public.

It also gets worse when I tell you just how these supermarkets treat shoplifters, yes before you say anything these shoplifters are filth and I am sure they make what you and I buy with our hard earned even more expensive than it already is but what I saw the other day really made me sick.

Some frail old lady, in sea blue old lady coat, with probably less than a couple of crowns to rub together was seen putting a bottle of washing up liquid into a back pack and not her shopping basket, silly old fool.

I know that was what she did because I watched the young greasy haired un-uniformed store guard – floor walker type as he watched her through a pile of cans of tomatoes, which were on offer, where he was hiding.

Well I thought no more about all of that bizarre behaviour though I couldn’t get the nasty grin that the un-uniformed store guard had on his face, until that is, I got to the check-out and unfortunately had to witness this poor woman pay for the odd two or three things in her shopping basket and then be grabbed by what looked like two black jean clad bullies who managed to give a whole new meaning to the word “man-handling” as they dragged her away to a small office for what might have been a beating I didn’t know what these bullies might do in private they seemed vigourous enough in public.

Worst of all I was not in a position to say anything because the bullies and the silly old thief of an old lady only spoke Czech – a language I refuse to even think about mastering – on grounds of stubbornness.

But the experience did make me think a few things the first is that the old lady was wrong of course, the second was that the un-uniformed bullies used too much force and the old lady should sue them for the bruises that they probably inflicted on both arms the proceeds from which would allow her to buy enough washing-up liquid to last her the rest of her life and hopefully a few more things as well.

However the main thing that this experience did is to allow me to think about crime, supermarkets and vegetables.

And here is what I have been thinking about! When I visit the states and go into a supermarket I can more of less guarantee that the ‘produce’ as the dear Americans call it is fresh, big, tasty, well presented. refrigerated, where necessary, and often even in some cases sprayed with a fine mist of water every so often to keep the ‘produce’ looking tempting to the consumer.

In England where I come from most supermarkets take pride in their “fruit and veg” department as they call it and though in the main the quality is not as high as American it is good and the “fruit and veg” is kept fresh and is therefore just like the American “produce” it is eminently edible after all that is why we buy it to eat it, if we eat fruit and vegetables that is.

So why do supermarkets in the USA and UK bother to keep things fresh and the ones in the Czech republic and frankly quite a few countries within vomiting distance of here, if you get food poisoning from the rubbish that they sell – simply it is because informed shoppers insist on quality unlike Czech shoppers and that means that three of the biggest supermarket chains in the Czech republic offer a lot of substandard produce, which is very rarely chilled or cared for in a way that would lead you to describe it as edibility let alone eminently edible.

When shopping in Prague I regularly pick up Onions that are off, and the same applies to Potatoes and Carrots. This is especially true if these vegetables are in plastic bags because they are either kept in a climate that encourages the bags to sweat or the produce is packed wet all of which makes the rotting process accelerate.

Ok I hear you say “produce/fruit and veg in the Czech republic is crap – move on to your point for God’s sake!”

Well here is my point and I apologise for it taking so long to get to. If the supermarkets such as Tesco, Albert and in particular Billa (where I witnessed the bullying) arrest, man-handle and generally treat shop-lifters who steal from them so badly what should their customers do to them? Because they are selling us food that is fit only for compost and isn’t it theft or something serious to sell goods under false pretences or misrepresentation I think so or indeed not fit for human consumption let alone choosy Cats, I think it most definitely is, we here are in the EU and the EU has a rule and law for everything.

So if you come to the Czech republic avoid the aforementioned supermarkets if you can and if not check your purchases of fruit and veg very carefully before you buy them. Or you could end up like me not only annoyed with the supermarkets inability to sell merchantable food but also sick. Yes I got sick sometime ago and when I went to the Docs (I try not to use the Vets) they took a sample of err how can I put this um, they took a sample of something that I no longer had a need for.

Then they sent it away for testing in the Public Health Lab, a lady called me a few days later and happily spoke English she told me I had food poisoning – she was obviously an expert I could tell, but then she asked if I had been in contact with Dogs, me! In contact with Dogs? It was clear that this lady didn’t know me. When I asked why she said that the bacteria that cause my food poisoning had come from Dogs, I stopped her before she said anything else that would really make me sick, or sicker than I was already.

I had only eaten food from the local Billa and I it had cooked so I shudder to think what on earth they had done to it when it was in their care.

billa2.jpg

One last observation regarding vegetables on sale in the supermarkets of Prague is a brand of Carrots that are called Mrkev – it is apparently what Carrots are called in Russia, but I started calling them Mr. Kev which is sort of the way the packaging reads and it stuck with the English speakers I know here tee hee.

By the way one other thing that check-out proles do here is to scan items twice which means that you pay twice for the same item – surely that is also a form of shoplifting that just happens to go in the supermarkets favour – it is about time we the general public called the Police when tis happens isn’t it?

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Wales is an odd country!

Wales - where all the best sheep go.jpg

I have tried for a long while to figure out just what this sign meant – well the bits of the sign that are written in a normal sane language and not the rather redundant and little used Welsh – I have several ideas and here they are.

1. – Sheep Drop – what do the Sheep drop and why are they so clumsy in this area of the Welsh mountains?

2. – Sheep Drop – a danger area for Sheep especially short sighted Ewes.

3. – Sheep Drop – yep! That’s right just tip any unwanted Sheep over the edge.

And now just to torture you here are the sentences above in Welsh!

1. – Defaid Galw Heibio – beth y gostyngiad Defaid a pham y maent mor drwsgl yn y maes hwn o’r mynyddoedd
Cymru?

2. – Defaid Galw Heibio – ardal beryglus ar gyfer defaid yn enwedig byr Mamogiaid ddall.

3. – Defaid Galw Heibio – yep! Mae hynny’n iawn yn unig tip unrhyw Defaid diangen dros yr ymyl.

And just think you don’t know if I am really using Welsh or not do you? But don’t worry billons of other people are thinking the same – gwirionedd yw bod y Gymraeg? Oh sorry I meant “is that really Welsh?”

If you want to know what my name is in Welsh sadly it is rather boring – Mae Cat obviously ‘Cat’ is ‘Cat’ in Welsh and ‘the’ is ‘mae’ which you have to admit is very mundane where as ‘The Cat’ in Czech is ‘Kočka’ now that sounds like a word with possibilities doesn’t it?

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I Know That It Is Nowhere Near Christmas – BUT!

I don’t want to worry any of my readers, except the ones who haven’t bought my book yet but there is, I have heard, been a bit of a run on stocks of my wonderful book “Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary” recently and I have been told by my rather panicky and excitable publisher that there is a possibility that supplies of my wonderful and eminently readable book might be in short supply this Christmas – a little like a Disney Buzz Lightyear toy and all of the other must have toys of the past.

With this in mind my advice to anyone wanting to buy my book for themselves or as a wonderful gift for a loved one is to get at least one copy now – just think if you buy two or more you’ll probably be able to sell the others at a massive profit like the person at at Amazon.com who is currently charging double for his or her copy and they have probably read it – I call that a ‘result’ don’t you?

If they have run out at Amazon.com don’t forget you can always get a copy of my perfect book from my www.thecatsdiary.com.

It looks like this –

book-cover.jpg

Old Bag Not Punished Enough

Mary Bale, 45, from Coventry, the dreadful woman who dumped a poor innocent Cat into a waste bin has only been fined was fined £250 plus £15 victim surcharge and court costs of £1,171.4p and sadly was reported ‘near to tears’ surely she should have been inconsolable for what she did and punished properly?

This fine does demonstrate the cost (and inefficiency) of British justice – the court costs are over four times greater than the amount expected to be paid as punishment – something is wrong there isn’t it?

Mary Bale was also banned from keeping or owning animals for the next five years duh! You’d think she would be banned etc forever, she is not a nice person is she? The answer to that is in her behaviour surely – British justice is such and arse isn’t it?

It is true to say that British justice is like a limp biscuit soft, mushy and makes a terrible mess on the carpet.

Over the next five years if you see this woman with an animal call the police immediately!

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Not All North Koreans Wield A-Bombs!

You know sometimes we think in stereotypes, we think it even if we don’t say that – The Palestinians are warlike and don’t want peace, we shouldn’t trust Israelis when they are negotiating at the peace talks, and worst of all we say that all North Koreans want to do is to use their A-Bombs, I know we do that and I admit I am one of the worst for doing so probably and in doing so I hope that I don’t lead too many of my dear fans astray.

It is for that reason that I have added this lovely innocent picture of children in North Korean dancing, they are like all children all over the world, innocent, kind and not one of them is wielding an A-Bomb or indeed hiding one behind their backs.

Not All Nth Koreans wield ABombs.jpg

If only politicians, guerrillas and all of the other people who can ruin our lives at the stroke of a pen or the pulling of a trigger would look at this picture and the hundreds of billions of little ones all over the world they might draw a breath and try things a different way for a change – wouldn’t that be nice?

It only takes one picture, one gesture, one smile to start that sort of thing going I am pretty sure of that although of course Cats don’t smile because it makes us look sinister for some unknown reason.

But then again maybe it won’t because humans are not all that nice. I remember my translator saying that he had his laptop open and it uses a picture of his niece and nephew (who are Korean-looking) as a desktop picture and as a Czech woman who worked in the Human Resources Department of a large English speaking call centre here in Prague she asked “what have you got those on your desktop for!” Prejudice and hatred crop up when you least expect it don’t they?

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A Small Problem With Gas!

This very week marks the anniversary of a very brave attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean by Airship. On
October 15 1910, the airship America slipped silently out of its hangar in Atlantic City and headed out to sea.

The ‘jaunt’ across the Atlantic Ocean in an airship was the idea of wealthy journalist and adventurer Walter Wellman who previously had failed to reach the North Pole and other undiscovered destinations in the same airship America.

The America’s 6 man expedition into what was the complete unknown aeronautically speaking was led by a Cat of course and sadly some still point their fingers at the innocent but rather good looking tabby Cat even to this day, but in his defence it has to be said that Kiddo the Cat hadn’t been asked to be put in charge of the expedition.

Melvin Vaniman and Cat.jpg

And of course it was rather odd for a Cat to lead such a difficult expedition of exploration and to complicate matter further this particular Cat had only signed on for the project just before departure and had received no formal training in not only sailing in an airship, but like most Cats in anything what so ever. Cats of course in normal life don’t really need qualifications and training, they simply rely on their good looks and charm and their ability to cuddle almost anyone affectionately.

In fact Kiddo the Cat was what humans call a “Stray Cat” and had been sleeping rather comfortably in the America’s substantial hangar and was initially picked up by Murray Simon the navigator who like many sailors was a little superstitious and knew that a Cat on board – no matter how unqualified – would bring them luck indeed wrote in his journal ‘We can never have luck without a Cat on board.’

Unfortunately not all of the crew agreed with Simon about Cats and the luck they can bring not only at sea and so as the airship was being towed from the coast by a tug boat, the not all that nice, Melvin Vaniman, who was the airship’s the chief engineer (and indeed probably the reason the expedition failed), secretly stuffed the poor unsuspecting Cat into a bag and attempted to lower the Cat in the bag into the tug boat or the sea which ever was the closer.

However Vaniman’s attempt to jettison Kiddo the Cat failed but not before the poor Kiddo the Cat was unceremoniously dunked into the sea and then pulled back onto the America – what a way to treat a Cat!

It is probably because of this behaviour that the crew decided to not only give the Cat a name “Kiddo the Cat” but also to make him Captain and let him lead the expedition, something that the rest of the crew later came to regret probably as the expedition lurched from one misadventure to the next.

After 38 hours of flying the engines failed and the unfortunate America began to drift. In a moment or two of panic the crew decided to jettisoned all excess weight which in their opinion included one of the broken engines, though happily deciding not to dump the Cat or any food, both decisions the Cat heartily welcomed.

To make matters worse Melvin Vaniman, the airship’s the chief engineer, mixed up the gas release tap with the tea urn handle or something similar and the crew were treated to a rapid rise upwards to over three and a half thousand feet where the temperature has been described as a “bit nippy.” This major loss of Hydrogen meant that the Airship eventually lost buoyancy and started to get alarmingly close to the surface of the ocean where if the crew were dumped in the drink they would have been not only a lot colder but a lot wetter than they wanted to be.

After six days of aimless drifting to and fro over the Atlantic, and having travelled a total distance of 1,370 miles (2,200 km) from the launch site in Atlantic City (a world record distance as it turned out), the Cat and crew spotted the Royal Mail Steamship Trent not far from Bermuda and reluctantly decided to abandon the America and were picked up by one of the RMS Trent’s lifeboats.

Wellman Airship.jpg

Sadly the America drifted off out of sight and was never seen again although rumours abound that to this day it haunts the Atlantic disturbing Seagulls when it creeps up on them silently.

It is not known whether there was much in the way of Cat food on board the RMS Trent but the Cat became a minor celebrity with the crew and then later a much larger celebrity upon his triumphant return to the states.

As is the way with these things especially when they involve Cats Melvin Vaniman the crew-mate who had at the start of their journey tried to dump the Kiddo the Cat into the Atlantic became the firmest of friends with the Cat, which just goes to show that if you take time to get to know someone or indeed ‘somecat’ before your try to drop them overboard in a bag; life could be so much easier and of course less frightening for any aforementioned felines.

Vaniman & Cat.jpg

When Kiddo and the rest of the crew of the ill-inflated and ill-fated airship America eventually got home they were all treated like heroes especially Kiddo the Cat who was put on display in a gilded cage in the famous Gimbels department store. Fortunately Kiddo the Cat’s life became more sedate later when he went to live with Walter Wellman’s daughter, Edith and entered a dry and peaceful retirement.

Authors thoughts:

If any readers have any more information on this brave and well travelled “Kiddo the Cat” as he was called (especially) pictures this Cat would be delighted to upload them in his honour because no matter where we live in the world we should always honour our heroes whether they are in civilian or military life.

When writing that I remembered – if you haven’t seen the marvellous movie “Taking Chance” do. It is not only a very well made movie which will make you, rightly, extremely emotional it is great and fitting tribute to the military and their sacrifices in Iraq and by association in other conflicts.

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Important – Updated Launch Dates – For NASA’s Face In Space

My loyal fans might remember that back in July I mentioned on my wonderful blog here http://blog.thecatsdiary.com the NASA Face In Space Program which those amazing people at NASA and this peerless genius of a Cat had created so that you can send a picture of your extremely good self (and or a friend) into Earth orbit on board that wonderful thing called the Space Shuttle.

Well just to give you an up date the https://faceinspace.nasa.gov/index.aspx launch dates have been updated and can be viewed either below or by clicking this pretty blue link which will whisk you at the speed of either sound or light (depending upon your internet connection) or looking at the copy of the page that you will be whisked to below.

Of course this means that you still have time to join in and get your https://faceinspace.nasa.gov/index.aspx place if you see what I mean!

NASA.jpg

I really do recommend that you join in because this is probably the last opportunity to get into space safely for us ordinary folk, you could always take a chance on the Virgin Space Plane if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars spare and any faith what so ever in the blond Richard Branson’s efforts. But frankly you only have to look at his F1 Team Virgin Racing to see just how well Virgin build anything that is supposed to be beautifully designed sleek and fast.

Mind you the poor 3-legged Virgin Racing team came into the F1 Racing series like a lion, with press releases, TV appearances, trumpets, fireworks, dozens of partly clad young ladies (who may or may not have lived up to the brand name) and so much more, with the blond beardy fella shouting his mouth off on radio and TV about how he was going take the established teams on and beat them at their own game but at the same time spend less money (billionaires don’t tend to like dipping into their pockets of course).

If finishing last or nearly last if they finish at all in F1 races is what the ‘established’ teams have been doing all these years the blond beardy one has succeeded and must be congratulated but this Cat is not a moron and tends to think that Virgin and Hi Tech don’t go together, maybe Virgin should stick to Spas and phones – oh sorry I forgot those endeavours have been sold off.

All of which suggests to this wary Cat that the best place for the $50-100 grand needed for a few minutes in space is better kept in your bank, surely it is safer to read all about the possible failure of the Virgin Space Plane than to be part of it!

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