A random walk in 1999

No real topic for the first editorial of the last year of the second millenium [yes, I *still* know the third millenium doesn’t really start until 2001]. Instead random thoughts which drifted across my consciousness for one reason or other.

Watching ‘Aliens’ on TV last week [kudos to ITV for leaving the naughty language intact and {gasp!} even just slightly letterboxed], I couldn’t help wondering: at what point was James Cameron replaced by his evil twin? For I can think of no other explanation for how one man can go from directing the some of the most kick-ass, balls to the wall action films ever made, to…Celine Dion. I cling to the hope that in Schloss Cameron, the real JC is chained up somewhere, desperately awaiting rescue by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As a sequel to last time’s rambling little thoughts on hacking into chocolate machines, the following memo was sent round the office just before Christmas:


If you get a call from someone identifying themselves as a mobile phone technician performing a test, and this person asks you to press: nine (9) zero (0) hash (#)
and then hang up – REFUSE TO DO SO!!!!!

By pushing 90# you are giving this person access to your telephone line and allowing them to make long distance calls which will be charged to you on your mobile phone bill. This has been checked with Telstar by Clare Davis (C&L) and found to be correct, so please pass it on to all mobile phone to users in your area.

Cool. I pass it on less a warning as an idea, since any yuppie/drug-dealing bastard with a mobile phone deserves everything they get — especially when the bloody things go off in the cinema. It may be a cliche to say it, but I’m sure that 95% of mobile phone calls could quite easily wait until the recipient got home, or at worst, to a call-box.

Speaking of drugs, there was an interesting survey earlier in the week:

AMSTERDAM, Jan 6 (Reuters) – The Netherlands has significantly fewer cannabis users than its reputation as a soft drugs haven might suggest, according to a study released on Wednesday. The study, financed by the health ministry and conducted by Amsterdam University and the Central Bureau of Statistics, is the first to document national drugs use.

The Dutch study, published on Tuesday and which spanned 1997 and early 1998, determined 2.5 percent of those aged 12 and over had used cannabis within the last month. In contrast, U.S. National Household Survey data for 1997 compiled by the Washington-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) determined 5.1 percent of Americans were recent cannabis users. “The figures show that a repressive drugs policy, as implemented in the U.S., does not necessarily reduce drugs use,” the Dutch study said. “(Ease of) availibility is not a determining factor for the use of drugs in a country.”

So much for the War on Drugs, eh? Looks like Drugs are clearly winning that one. The reasons for this have already been given here, but the above is certainly a nice statistic to tuck away for the next time you bump into Jack Straw.

Finally, watched ‘Starship Troopers’ again last night. I continue to be amazed by the special effects — the most impressive of which had to be Denise Richards’ nose. Quite, quite incredible; no matter what angle they shot her from, you could always see straight up it. Between that, her teen-lesbo coupling with Neve Campbell in ‘Wild Things’ and her rumoured upcoming Bondness, I sense a new entry into TC’s top ten babes…