The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Sister Cristina Scuccia and her quite heartwarming TV moment

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I haven’t blogged in an age. So what could drag me back into writing? Well how about the story of a nun, a TV show and general all round awesomeness?

If you know me well you’ll know that gutter TV and me are in a relationship. I watch a lot of rubbish television. A lot. Like a lot of people I also enjoy The Voice, well the audition part of The Voice anyway. The rest isn’t that great but the auditions are fun. I watch the UK version. I watch the American version and I also scour YouTube to watch auditions from versions from all over the Globe.

Well over the weekend one audition has gone viral. The audition of Sister Cristina Scuccia. The 25 year-old nun who lives in Milan but originally from Sicily was insecure about her life and where it was heading. Her Mother Superior told her to use her gift of a singing voice and audition for The Voice of Italy and if on the off chance you haven’t seen it yet then it is embedded below and is just quite frankly heartwarming.

Now is it the best audition I have seen in terms of singing voice? Probably not but it is extremely good. However what makes it stand out is watching the audience go crazy and then the faces of all the judges as they turned around. If there is one thing the Italian public will like it is a nun who can entertain. She must be about as red hot favourite as their has ever been for one of these shows after just one audition. A deeply Catholic country, a nun, real singing talent, that is a recipe for insane popularity right there.

The crowd go nuts after her first line and the two males judges look at each other noticing this and knowing it must be something special. The rapper J-Ax is the one that goes first followed by former X Factor Italy star Noemi. They are both delighted with what they see and J-ax implores the other two to push their buttons. Piero Pelu does so and then after more pleading Raffaella Carrà finally turns her button but gestures clearly that she’s only done it on the say so of J-ax before turning around and her jaw hitting the ground.

Nuns from her religious order are watching and are overjoyed as everyone turns and then the judges make their cases to Sister Cristina. J-ax says that if he had heard her voice whilst in his teens then he’d probably be Pope by now and that they could be the devil and the holy water. The other male judge Piero Pelu also makes an impassioned plea for her to join his team. Raffaella Carrà is just stunned that this is a real nun and Noemi decides to attempt to engage with her religious side by proclaiming herself holy water as well.

At the end she says that she had decided beforehand that if she had to choose then she would do so solely on the basis of who turned first and therefore chooses J-ax. Sometimes opposites attract and I have a feeling these two will win the competition and she will go on to be a big star and potentially a huge asset to the Roman Catholic church as they look to engage with a younger generation. I think she chose J-ax correctly as he was clearly the most into her voice, his reactions say as much.

This audition has gone viral due to the fact it is such a feel good story. Her voice is clearly legit and isn’t TV there to get us talking and to entertain us? In this case it has certainly done that to me because I just can’t stop watching it. I will certainly be looking out for her future performances!

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Written by neilmonnery

March 23rd, 2014 at 7:41 pm

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Lactose Intolerance attack after food poisoning

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So I’ve been pretty quiet in the past fortnight or so. Hardly tweeted and not sure I’ve updated Facebook for a good while let alone write a blog. Well I am still here and the reason I’ve been relatively quiet is because yet again I have been unwell. After years of a bad cold being the low point in my health, since I decided to aggressively my weight issues I have been felled by numerous illnesses.

Top of the tree was and still is my throat, which whilst much better still isn’t 100% and recently I have been unable to fully open my jaw. This should pass relatively soon but for now watching me attempt to eat is quite a pathetic and humorous experience.

However this post is about lactose intolerance. This is the thing that really knocked the wind out of my sails. I got some very nasty food poisoning a couple of weeks back, I lost six lbs in six hours as the body expelled all of the bad stuff inside of me. It was grimmer than grim but after a day or so I felt much better and felt some sort of appetite come back so thought I would eat something. Now my mum had told me not to eat any dairy for a few days but as a non dairy eater in general I didn’t really think about it.

So I walked into the kitchen and sitting there was a packet of bakewell slices. ‘Cake’ I thought, brilliant. So I ate some and proceeded to sit down and watch the football, but then my stomach started making noises, noises that sounded like it was hungry and wanted more food so I went into the kitchen and looked in the freezer. I didn’t have a lot in there and I had nothing in the fridge as I hadn’t been food shopping yet. I thought pizzas were a no go so I delved further a saw mini kievs, simple enough, so I bunged them into the oven and ate them 20 odd minutes later. Now my stomach was all over the place, I had no idea what was going on.

My stomach was making gas noises like I had trapped wind and suddenly I was running to the loo, there I would sit for the next 6-7 hours as I suffered not knowing what the hell was going on. At that point I had not put two and two together and after several hours of immense stomach cramps, pain and expelling everything that could possibly have been inside of me, I was extremely close to calling for an Ambulance but I refrained and just decided to sit it out. The whole experience was made worse by blood coming from somewhere it shouldn’t be and that is what was really getting my attention.

Come the morning things had calmed down but still toilet tissue was smeared in blood. I didn’t know what to do, so instead of going to a healthcare professional, I went onside and dd some research. I had clearly had an lactose intolerance attack and now all the lactose had been expelled I would recover. Now I would just have to hope this was just an isolated incident and that when my stomach was fully back up to speed, my cake eating would not be curtailed in any way, shape or form by this.

Well over the weekend I decided to try and ate some cookies. My stomach held up and subsequently I have eaten more dairy and it clearly was a short-term issue. Still it was one of the most painful nights of my life and it has taught me a big lesson, after a major stomach upset, lay off the dairy whilst the body recovers and starts producing lactase again. The blood luckily came only from a cut, now whilst having a cut where you really don’t want a cut is painful enough, cuts heal pretty quickly and after a few days the blood stopped.

Still though we are ten days or so out from my initial food poisoning and I still don’t really have much of an appetite, I’m eating because I know I have to eat. I still have very little energy (quite possibly from having no appetite and therefore not eating that much) and keep falling asleep in the afternoon or evening, not just for a small snooze but for several hours at a time. I am slowly feeling better but it has just wiped me out totally.

So the lesson of the story b’s and g’s is that if your mum tells you some health advice then listen to it strictly and more bluntly, if you have food poisoning or a serious stomach upset then for your own sakes, don’t touch anything remotely dairy. Suffering from an attack of lactose intolerance is immensely painful and will wipe you out for a few days to boot.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

March 6th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Posted in General

Is carrying on a mobile phone conversation at a checkout rude or not?

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Sometimes Twitter really is great and most of those times are when I get to see a story that I would never have seen otherwise. Today that story was entitled Hang up or I won’t serve you: Sainsbury’s worker gives shopper ‘lecture on checkout etiquette’ and was in the London Evening Standard.

A young woman called Jo Clarke was talking on her mobile phone when she got to the checkout and the checkout assistant informed her that she wouldn’t be carrying on putting her items through the till until she got off her phone. Miss Clarke has since slammed the ‘rude’ assistant and has informed Sainsbury’s that she will be shopping in Waitrose from now on.

Sainsbury’s are busy falling over themselves to apologise profusely but they should read the comments on the article – the vast majority are in support of the checkout assistant and you can count me among them. I have never worked on a till at a supermarket but have worked on a till in other shops and agree that someone talking on their phone is extremely rude. Whilst I won’t say that I wouldn’t put through their items if they were on the phone I would do what most Brits do and that is curse under my breath about lack of manners.

When shopping I often have an iPod in and I ensure I either take one earphone out how I can communicate with the person on the till if needs be or turn the iPod off for a minute or so. It is just basic common decency.

I hope that Sainsbury’s don’t discipline the checkout assistant involved and I dislike the way they are fawning over themselves to apologise. By carrying on with your conversation on the phone Ms Clarke was showing that she had no concept of manners and was in fact being rude herself and not vice versa. I would like more checkout staff to do this and quickly we could eradicate people using phones when at a checkout.

Whilst I’m on this subject can people please learn how to queue properly? In my local shop the amount of times I see people pick up a paper and go directly to a till even if there is a queue is ridiculous. We are British so we should know how to queue and yet I see it all the time. Even if someone is being served at a till I will see people go stand right behind them even if people are queuing up in the designated queuing area. I mean come on people…

Basic checkout etiquette is simple and when I see people failing to adhere to it is really bugs me. Ms Clarke clearly thought she was in the right and is now getting pilloried by the general public she was hoping to get sympathy from. I do hope that the checkout assistant gets a job at Waitrose and is there the next time she shops because that would be truly magic.

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Written by neilmonnery

July 2nd, 2013 at 3:53 pm

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How (not) to woo the ladies – a non voicemail hacking story

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We are going back a bit here but I was surfing YouTube earlier and found a video that has left me conflicted. It is a video showing a recording on a woman’s voicemail by SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt who also fronts Golf on the worldwide leader as well as host his own radio show. Van Pelt has always come across as a pretty cool guy. Anyway he met a woman at a bar one night and then decided to give her a call. Listen to what he had to say.


Download | YouTube to MP3

Her response was to give the voicemail to the media to show him up. What class.

I know he was a bit dorky but I just don’t see what is too wrong with it. He plucked up the courage to ring this woman and when she didn’t answer left her one (albeit long and rambly) voicemail. He wasn’t mean. He didn’t harass her. Just phoned up a girl and in a long winded way say that she was pretty awesome (which is surely a good thing) and asked if she wanted to go out for dinner sometime.

I ask ‘what the hell is wrong with that?’ and then I ask ‘what the hell is so wrong with the message that you decide to sell the message to the media because he is famous?’

Sometimes I just shake my head. It is hard enough for some people to ask women out expecting to get a negative reply or even worse get laughed at and mocked by the woman for being not good enough for them but to get your voicemail sold to the media? Wow. Just wow. That is way harsh.

I’m 28 and I still have only asked one person out on a date who I didn’t already know to some decent degree. With women like this in the world I can’t see me doubling up on that number any time soon…

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February 28th, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Posted in American Sport,General

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Guest Blog: M&S and Christmas hampers – a rather tempting combination

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Hello All. Here is a guest/sponsored blog post from the good folk at one of the supermarkets I do happen to shop at. If they had a bigger M&S Simply Food in Southend-on-Sea no doubt I would shop there more. Far more. Please read on for their thoughts on Christmas hampers – something which is a rather big tradition with many families over here

It seems that every year, the world gets a quicker jump on the holidays. Shops begin to light up and Christmas music starts being played long before the fall season is even over, and many organized people get their shopping done long in advance. Of course, for many people it is quite a difficult concept to get Christmas shopping done in early or mid fall. After all, most people are very busy, and thus don’t even start considering the logistics of the holidays until at least November. On top of that, shopping usually takes a good deal of time and effort, and isn’t always worth thinking about months in advance. This is why, if you are thinking about trying to shop early this year, Marks & Spencer Christmas Hampers might be nice to consider.

While some, particularly those outside of the UK, are unfamiliar with the concept of Christmas hampers, they are actually popular items that can make very fitting and convenient gifts. The easiest way to think of Christmas hampers is that they are basically like very nice, ready-made gift baskets that can be bought in a variety of stores, or ordered online. Some may see these sorts of baskets as somewhat impersonal when it comes to gift giving…. But in actuality, there is enough variety in the different types of hampers offered that you will still be picking out specific gifts for specific people, rather than buying generic gift baskets simply because you cannot think of a more particular gift.

Generally, Christmas hampers contain a variety of foods and drinks that can serve as nice treats during the holiday season. You may be able to find a hamper full of nice Christmas cookies and sweet treats, for example, or one that includes nice cheeses and breads or crackers. Still other hampers tend to include selections of nice wines, beers or liquors, which may make great gifts for certain people. The fact is, there is plenty of variety when it comes to the contents of Christmas hampers.

The other obvious benefit of these hampers is how convenient it is to shop for them. While you will indeed still be making decisions based on the contents of the hampers and who among your friends and family would appreciate them, you will also be picking from a selection of pre-made gift baskets. This means that you may never even have to enter a store to do your Christmas shopping, and you certainly won’t have to go through the wrapping process. Ultimately, it seems that these classy and convenient hampers are perfect gifts to consider for those who want to shop early.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 14th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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A plea from an LJ_UK poster…

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Do you know this man?

Hi there…

Following this post over on LJ_UK I thought I’d try to help out the original poster.

If you can’t be bothered to click on the link this is what they had to say:

If anyone knows this man, they should send him this photo. I was attempting to take a picture of a tasty restaurant next to Hampton Court Palace earlier today and this man struck a pose. Not sure who he is, but I think he deserves this photo as he is clearly awesome.

So does anyone know? If not please try and spread the word via social networking and your own blogs.

I know this isn’t that important but it’s a dank drizzly Tuesday morning so…

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Written by neilmonnery

May 31st, 2011 at 10:43 am

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Comment Fail

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Oh I’m an idiot. When I migrated my website from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog I was fiddling around with a lot of widgets. One of that was a comment verification tool. I wondered why I hadn’t had a single comment on my blog since the move and the reason is painfully clear – I screwed up the plugin. Well I have deactivated the widget and all is right with the world (well the blog) for now.

I suspect very few noticed or cared but if you want to lambast me for being an idiot now you have your chance.

Apologies.

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May 18th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

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The problems of upgrading to a posh new phone – what ring tone to have?

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Since 2003 I have had a Nokia8310. It served me well. I liked the little phone but for about the past two years it had shall we say stopped working. Basically if anyone rang me it was likely to both cause the battery to die and for the phone to lose connection. I kept with it as the new world of mobile phones was both scary and expensive (and deep down I’m a right tight arse) but recently I have loosened the purse strings somewhat. Having a phone that a) works and b) gives me access to the interweb on the move was actually a pretty good idea.

So last week I purchased a second-hand iPhone 3GS and so far so good. I can check e-mails even if not at my computer. Can tweet on the move and all those added little extras like train times and information are worth it. I’m not fully a convert yet but I’m getting there.

Now the problem occurs of what to have as my ring tone as I can pretty much have anything. For years I’ve just had the standard Nokia tone but no more. So here are the candidates..

First up following on from its appearance in my last blog – The Big Fight: Live (ITV)


Download | YouTube to MP3

Next up ESPN’s College Gameday: Live


Download | YouTube to MP3

Maybe the BBC’s Golf theme?


Download | YouTube to MP3

Or it’s Cricket theme?


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Possibly even Ski Sunday?


Download | YouTube to MP3

Maybe the BBC Snooker theme?


Download | YouTube to MP3

The Chain anyone?


Download | YouTube to MP3

Maybe The Apprentice USA?


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I did/do love The Contender…


Download | YouTube to MP3

I’m certainly looking to go down the theme tune route. Any suggestions?

As it stands I’m leaning heaving to The Big Fight: Live.

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May 17th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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Chris Whitehead wore a skirt to school to stick it to the man – good on him

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At lunchtime I was pointed to this article in the Daily Telegraph about a 12 year-old boy who wore a skirt to school because his school has a ban on shorts. The kid says that it is discrimination that girls can wear skirts but boys cannot wear shorts in the summer and lets be frank – he has a point.

According to the story the school outlawed shorts in 2009 after a consultation with parents. Apparently most schools in Cambridgeshire have the same rules. I must admit I can’t remember if at either of the secondary schools I went to had a ban on shorts for boys in the summer. I imagine Oaklands probably did but Carisbrooke High may not have done. Still I didn’t care about these type of things when I was 12 but the kid makes a good point and well done to the school for not castigating him.

Whether or not you believe this is something worth fighting over you have to admire his spirit. I’m not exactly sure that wearing trousers in the hot summer is that much different to wearing shorts but heck exploit that loophole over skirts. It is certainly unfair that girls can wear either skirts or trousers and boys can only wear trousers (or skirts using this loophole). I just don’t get why this is.

So anyway another pointless ramble. Well done to the kid. Shows up the schools stupid law. Hopefully they’ll sort it out and he maintains his interest in politics.

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May 10th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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American Justice – Sheriff strangles handcuffed and shackled teen

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Sadly I see far too many of these types of videos. This one is one of the worst I’ve seen though although that one where Canadian police stripped a 15 year-old and hogtied her in a jail cell in the nip is still the most disturbing I’ve ever seen but I digress.

Sheriff Larry Amerson of Calhoun County, Alabama can clearly be seen in this video with his hands around the neck of a handcuffed and shackled inmate. Think about that for a minute and the ethics and the civil liberties behind this. We all want the police to be trustworthy people whom will treat anyone fairly even under strenuous conditions. I think everybody going for a career in criminal justice should take a look at this case, or at least the subject of police brutality. I’m beginning to wonder just what they are teaching police recruits in America. It seems though that maybe the problem goes beyond just the sheriff and partly lies with the culture

Reading the letters in The Anniston Star it seems as though the general public are fully behind the Sheriff. They think a bit of tough life and hands around a throat of a teenager toughens him up and will scare him straight. This may be the case but doing it in full view of a CCTV camera is dumb. The kid apparently was on a programme that it is hoped would ‘scare him straight’ but still I’m not sure that hands around the throat is the best way forward.

The officer is under an FBI investigation and the CCTV evidence is pretty damning. If he doesn’t lose his job he’ll be a very lucky man and I wouldn’t be shocked to see criminal charges laid at his feet.

I just wonder when people will learn that CCTV is everywhere and in this day and age you have to watch everything you say and do. Had this happened 25 years ago no-one would’ve heard about it let alone complaints made. A seemingly good career thrown away in a moment of madness. However as they say ‘if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime’ and I’m pretty sure that is assault at worst.

Watch the video below to put together your own thoughts.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

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Written by neilmonnery

May 3rd, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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