For years I looked at Cussons Imperial Leather soap as being nothing special. Through my childhood I had little exposure to it (not soap!) and always wondered why it appealed to so many. I thought 'how could so many be taken in by the ads or its long history or…

During December my wife brought some home, a six-pack on special offer (of course) and when my previous, moisturising, bar became too small to handle comfortably whilst attempting to wake up, and to avoid the newly-present danger of it escaping my grasp and exiting via the washbasin plughole, I opened the pack.

What a revelation! It has a distinctive aroma, of course it has, but unlike anything else I'd experienced when my parents and I shared bars, or visiting someone else's home.

So I sat and pondered for a while. Insularity, navel-gazing, easily bests following the news any day, and especially the latter days of the year just ended. But I digress…

Now I understand this soap's appeal! It's mine, untainted (too strong?) by other peoples' lack of handwashing skills, disparate fragrances, and of course inability to empty the water and soap scum from their soap dishes. In short, no-one washes with it but I.

And, while the fragrance remains on me, I smell almost human. Yes!

But how? Well, here's the thing. No-one else's sweat, sebaceous oil, flakes of dead skin, faeces, earwax, nasal mucus, none of it touches my precious bar of soap.

Its a rubbish moisturiser for faces though, my newly-scaly forehead is testament to that! Perhaps it's as well one of my Christmas presents is a moisturising cream. Now I'm definitely on the lookout for an Imperial Leather face soap.

Cussons Original Imperial Leather hand soap thus gets Baz's seal of approval and, new for 2017, a rating of 9/10 for its intended purpose.


Here we are at the end of another year. I've seen a lot. More than some, fewer than others. It qualifies me to say this: to the mountains it's utterly meaningless, to the trees and the squirrels it's irrelevant, and to humans though arbitrary it can be a time for regrouping.

I see people saying it's silly that dates chosen by another age to signify year-end and year-beginning have such significance. But this regrouping I mentioned is important; maybe even necessary. Sanity helps.

Everything we do is governed by our impressions of the world around us; family, friends, acquaintances, social media buddies, and the rest of the world. Though nothing we experience is totally random, chaos is a necessary component of life, provided we can guess what's coming up next.

And then 2016 arrived. I'm not going to meander through a year-end list of stuff that's been important to me, no. Looking back through my previous posts, I'm confident another reader will get some inkling of what it is to be me.

It's not one I'll look back on fondly, not by a long way. Usually I'm close to trembling with optimism at this point, resolutions tripping over themselves but not voiced lest I break them in humiliating fashion. But today, though I'm no longer scared of the year ahead, I'm resigned to the fact I'm not going to enjoy it.

It's not that I'm fully immersed in the depressing, doom-laden frame of mind I anticipated six months ago; surprisingly I'm simply resigned to the fact that circumstances outside my control will have an impact on me.

The need to know what's going on remains as strong as it did a year ago, and though I know I won't be prepared for it, I'll be ready for it.

This may make sense to no-one but me: I used to the word 'cathartic' in a question yesterday. Blogging is that for me, gives me a perspective that talking about stuff with others can't bring.

Talking helps. A lot.

Ah… peculiar paradoxes.

So, what will we be talking about throughout 2017? How 2016 was comparatively benign‽


We have an Amazon Echo Dot. It's touted as a voice-controlled electronic assistant. It's more than that: can stream music, create todo and shopping lists, play rudimentary games, control heating, lights - and all at the sound of one's voice. It's, and I hesitated to use the word but shall anyway, a neat gadget, and one that works really really well.

I've already posted the following to Twitter and Facebook: with a parental advisory to not trust a small child with an Amazon Echo/Dot. Ever! Such is the ephemeral nature of social networks though that I thought it best to commit this particular memory to my blog. For posterity.

Here is the video. You'll need the sound on. Funny, definitely and gloriously NSFW*:

*Not Safe For Work. Trust me.


If I were to die tomorrow I'm reasonably sure I'd be mourned, and remembered for being a reasonable facsimile of the best human being I can be.

But there's no profit in that for the type of individual whose life depends, having no other publicly visible skills, on being a professional shit-stirrer. Paid obscene amounts of money for deliberately constructing antagonistic opinions of someone else's misery, hurt, sorrow; opinions designed to inflame, incite and, most insidiously of all, to desensitise the reader to the kind of stimuli that would ordinarily bring to the fore empathy, understanding, and tolerance.

Employed and encouraged by a deeply broken media intent on retaining their services because readers equally bereft of common decency lap up this kind of commentary, and snapped up by the highest bidder because another company run by amoral businessmen would think it appropriate to make money using identical tactics…

Not exactly a golden age this, is it.

So, to all who feed the Hopkins woman and those like it, and to the nasty creature itself, this:

One day you too will die. You'll be lucky if your family retains any respect for you by then for simply putting the bread on the table by any means necessary. Attempting to make it acceptable to publicly express hate in the world my children will grow up into by the constant drip-drip-drip of bitterness isn't how I'd like to be remembered.

Rationalise it how you will, but headstone or not, your obituary won't be kind to you.


I made and uploaded a second video to YouTube! 20 seconds long, I guarantee it will not change your life.

A scroll down memory lane, it's all the Twitter accounts I've blocked in the nearly 6 years I've had the account. I started to delete a few of the first, hit the Twitter rate limit, and then simply gave up.

There never was a plan to gain followers, prestige, influence. To anyone who knows me that should be obvious.

Here us the evidence, my video.

Incidentally, at first playback it started off as low-resolution (144p) on my phone. It goes all the way to 11 (720p) for the more curious.

Is it over yet?


Merry Christmas

To everyone I know, and to everyone who sees this:

  1. Take care.



Intended primarily as a test, this day unifies 'broadcasting' my blog posts created and hosted at my account via to Twitter, to Facebook and new today, to Medium.

At least that is the intention. If it doesn't work, I can revert to copy and paste into Medium.

The addition benefit of automatic conversion of the Markdown to html will be the key here; it'll likely change the formatting from my prior Medium posts.

If the default settings applied by the IFTTT recipe work I'll be happy; it feels awkward adding tags to my posts, something I've eschewed after restarting my blogging process last year with Jason Irwin's 10Centuries social network.

By the way, the 'rant' hashtag automatically creates an issue at my 'ranty' repo. This may mean nothing to you.

And, if I've misunderstood what the IFTTT recipe will do [incidental: italics around 'do'] then the 'rant' post title becomes appropriate.

Thanks for reading.


2016 has been a year of downs, and the potential for more of the same for the foreseeable future. 2017 isn't likely to bring much in the way of relief, and I've already pretty-much written off the entire remaining noughties.

In no particular order:

  • The divide between rich and poor will increase as both Brexit's and Trump's insular influences affect the world's economies, and that's just 2 issues,
  • Melting polar ice caps will have a major impact on climate, climate control being something reduced in importance as governments prioritise other programmes,
  • Peace across the world isn't here YET, and looks increasingly unlikely to be achieved for at least my lifetime,
  • A cure for cancer REMAINS 10-20 years away,
  • Famine, the eradication of poverty: both are still with us and, though arenas with a glimmer of hope, both aren't under control,
  • Nuclear arms are set to increase as Trump's insistence that his brand of populist nationalism is best for the USA. It's only a matter of time before nuclear terrorism is a thing,
  • The golden age of computers, a future that I'd imagined ever since I got my first has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. I'd imagined that the instant availability of information would be a thing to advance 'society'. It turns out people don't NEED facts, believe anyone who voices what they THINK should happen,
  • Racism is acceptable already, not simply casual racism, but the overt 'I'll get away with this, what are you going to do about it?' variety…


  • 'Big' Sam Allardyce has been employed as a football manager AGAIN, despite his prior and very recent and embarrassing history of corruption allegations,
  • Carrie Fisher suffered a major heart attack yesterday and was hospitalised in critical comdition, the most recent figure I know of to be affected by thr curse of 2016. Take care Princess Leia, get well,
  • Though inevitable, the death of popular figures has been a fixture of the year. I'm not sure I want to know if it's a statistical aberration or just normal.


That'll do.

I'd like to imagine my family and I have a secure existence, to enable me to revel in Schadenfreude. But no, it's never going to happen, I've one-too-many spare brain cells. Just the one. Give it four more years and check back in with me?

Dark? Of COURSE it's dark! Don't expect ignoring what's ahead will remove it from your life; as-ever, understanding a situation is the key to dealing with it.

So, my word of the year is 'Normalised'. It, along with the 366 days of 2016, most emphatically does NOT get Baz's seal of approval.

Insignificant fail

At the beginning of February 2016 I decided to use a goal tracker app to create and to keep in touch with blogging and other streaks. I was pretty conservative with my targets, not wishing to place undue pressure on myself.

Five posts a week? It SEEMED easy.

I checked just now; such is my lackadaisical approach to the discipline, as of today I must create 22 blog posts a week to hit my target.

<BobTheBuilder>Can I fix it?</BobTheBuilder>