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A Message from the Queen by Way of Australia

My delightful Aussie blogging friend Greg the Explorer posted the following comment on one of my columns. Having come to the definite conclusion that some of you fail to gulp in every opinion–inane and otherwise–etched in the pages of my site, I’m using his words to fashion my post for today, so that all who come here may have these choice morsels of information, and furthermore to enable us to be aware of the queen’s edict…and choose whether or not to obey. It’s hilarious…and would you not agree that in these tension-laden days leading to the election, a tad bit of hilarity may well serve us.

MESSAGE FROM, HRH THE QUEEN

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
(You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

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1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).
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2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English.. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’
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3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
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4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,then you’re not ready to shoot grouse..
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5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
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6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
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7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
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8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
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9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. Australian beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
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10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
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11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies)..
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12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
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13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
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14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
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15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries with cream when in season.

The challenge has been issued, my friends. What will be your response? Will we fold our cherished Red/White and Blue, disband Independence Day, pay $10.00 a gallon for gasoline, suffer abysmal socialized medical care (she forgot to mention that), and call off the World Series immediately? Or will we rise with new Revolution in our (ahem–excuse me, your Majesty) guts and grab another hamburger with supersized french fries, snatch up our rifles and bag another moose, scan Google instead of the Oxford, have a slab of apple pie ala mode (with ice cream on top), inform the queen WE fashioned Microsoft…and one of our distinguished ones even invented the internet?

Can’t wait to hear from you. Hey, and you from Kansas–you must be furious. She doesn’t like you!

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America Apple Computers computers Culture Macs Science & Technology Social The World

A Skinny Apple Is a Good Apple

Yesterday, Apple presented its newest product, the MacBook Air, an ultra-sleek notebook computer.

It is extremely thin – at the narrowest point it tapers to just 4mm (0.16 inches), about the width of a pencil – and when waved about its aluminium finish gives it an almost blade-like quality.

Steve Jobs shows off the MacBook Air, the slimmest laptop in the world

But then there is this:

From Timesonline comes the report that Microsoft has applied for a patent for a software product that to many–including me–seems overly intrusive into one’s personal life. While I can’t imagine life without computers, and remain in awe of their capabilities, I don’t want a machine analyzing my frustrations and trying to “fix” me, even if it is on the job. Too much, I say.

Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

The Times has seen a patent application filed by the company for a computer system that links workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. The system would allow managers to monitor employees’ performance by measuring their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure. Unions said they fear that employees could be dismissed on the basis of a computer’s assessment of their physiological state.

The system could also “automatically detect frustration or stress in the user” and “offer and provide assistance accordingly”. Physical changes to an employee would be matched to an individual psychological profile based on a worker’s weight, age and health. If the system picked up an increase in heart rate or facial expressions suggestive of stress or frustration, it would tell management that he needed help.

The Information Commissioner, civil liberties groups and privacy lawyers strongly criticised the potential of the system for “taking the idea of monitoring people at work to a new level”. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, an expert on data protection law at Matrix Chambers, told The Times: “This system involves intrusion into every single aspect of the lives of the employees. It raises very serious privacy issues.”

Think about this and let us know your reaction, please. Do you think the good outweighs the bad in this product…or is this step taking it all too far?

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