Got suspiciously ethnic neighbours? Then you too can live out an episode of The Wire.

Yet another in the ever-growing list of police operations based on nothing more than paranoia and a willingness on the force’s part to use the freedom to dominate that Terrorism law gives them.

This time a 63 year old Jazz musician, Victor Frederick, was the subject of a surveillance operation, police searches of his studio and home, forced to the ground and stripped in the street and arrested on “suspicion of making explosives”.

Of course, he was doing nothing of the sort.  He was just pottering about making jazz music, which some people consider a crime but is certainly not cause for an arrest at gunpoint.  A list of “suspicious items” found in the studio during a police search included an “ethnic” container containing a “odourless and colourless liquid” – also known as Mauby – and a “video tape relating to Pakistan”, which (according to the victim, Mr Frederick) was a documentary about Muhammad Ali.

So, looking back at the chain of events, none of the police’s actions were justified or in proportion to the life of Victor Frederick.  Does he get an apology or compensation? No.

On February 17, armed police officers were deployed as a precaution to ensure the safety of the public and officers and a 63-year-old man was arrested. He was later released without charge.

“South Wales Police accepts Mr Frederick has done nothing wrong, and our officers acted in good faith in response to genuine concerns.

“South Wales Police has a duty to thoroughly investigate all potentially suspicious incidents in order to protect our communities.

“Suspicious incident” being euphemistic for “West Indian man minding his own business”?

They are “considering their response” to a letter from Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Leanne Wood, as are the IPCC.  Hopefully it won’t involve an armed response unit, dogs, a helicopter and a bag over her head.

(Link found via

Fitness, and stuff.

So I’ve been getting back into working out a bit more often.  Before Lisa and I got together, I used to go climbing and work out a great deal, and although it’s unlikely I’ll ever achieve the same level of fitness again (although I might come close if I actually plan my workouts as opposed to just doing things randomly like I used to do) I retain the memory of being able to do silly things with hanging off pull-up bars and stuff.

Anyway, so one of the things that has always given me trouble has been joint pain.  nothing massively serious, just the odd twinge here and there.  The worst one I had recently was my right elbow which, when under tension, felt as though something inside there was going to go “ping” and send my tricep fluttering up into my armpit and the rest of me into a paroxsymal attack.

In an attempt to combat this, I have been doing lots of low-impact exercise.  Cycling instead of running, lower weights with more reps, plenty of stretching, the usual deal.  Another thing I considered was the use of a food supplement.  Normally, I take a vitamin C and an iron supplement daily anyway, as when I go to donate blood I always seem to have borderline low blood iron, so when I noticed a deal on glucosamine sulphate at the supermarket I thought to myself, why the hell not?

I really should think before I do these things.  The glucosamine/chondroitin arthritis intervention trial (GAIT) was a 4-year primary and 2-year ancillary study into whether or not the supplement in normal and combined forms was capable of reducing pain and preventing joint degradation in osteoarthritis sufferers.

The result?  It works…almost as much as placebo does (except in the moderate -to-severe pain group, who showed a significant result with the combined supplement).

Two quid spent re-learning that lesson, then.  I think in the future I’ll stick to the lower impact stuff and maybe just eat a little better.


So, for Lisa’s birthday I bought her a Sony Reader eBook, since besides her normal habit of having at least three books on the go throughout the flat, she also reads a lot of stuff on the PC, and ends up getting tired most likely from sitting focussing on the screen for so long.

It’s a tempting thought to have one, myself, but I’m holding off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, and this is one gripe that Lisa shares with me, is that the download editions of books are currently not any cheaper than their cousins in print.

Continue reading “E-readers”