Pride and Prejudice

What a striking contrast this past week between the pride of the RAF 100th birthday celebrations, and the miserable capitulation of Theresa May to the EU.

Will she be replaced as Tory leader, and hence Prime Minister, by someone with the bottle to override the bureaucrats and to do what the country has voted for? Perhaps, but probably not quite yet. There is an anomaly. The majority of Tory voters are pro-Brexit. The majority of Tory MPs (including Theresa May) are not. So those MPs do not – on the whole – truly represent their own party.

If the party gets angry enough, might it take a leaf out the Labour Party book, and deselect the traitors? They could. Not their habit, of course; local Conservative Associations are typically loyal to their sitting MPs. But these are strange days. Get rid of the Tory MPs would do not share the views of their local parties, and TM would be out of No 10 in a jiffy.

Things might be starting to hot up, as the UK heads towards the EU rocks? Theresa May has already gravely prejudiced any prospect of a sensible Brexit deal. The only real prospect now of a proper Brexit is Continue reading

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Busted, but Back

BustedI see that tired old canard about 97% of all experts agreeing with climate change alarmism is doing the rounds again!

For heaven’s sake! This is on the level of photoshopped pictures purporting to show George W Bush holding a telephone upside down, or manufactured quotes of Donald Trump allegedly saying that he went with the Republicans because they are stupid. There are so many holes in the 97% nonsense it is hard to know where to start. And I won’t. But it has been a remarkably successful piece of propaganda, and does indicate (i) that the floppies have done surprising well taking the public for gullible fools and/or (ii) that the old Nazi technique – of repeating lies often enough turns them in facts, of a sort – does work, at least to a degree.

For a selection of the many debunkings of this 97% stuff, see Continue reading

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Quiz IX – FIFA 18 Special

A different sort of quiz this time, for all new experts in the game of football.

There are 15 knock-out matches to go, now the competition has reached the last 16. Here they are numbered: all you have to do is predict which team will win which match.

The prediction has to be made today, before you know who will be playing who in the quarter and semi finals, or the final.

One point for each correct prediction. Simple. Post your answers either here or on my Facebook Continue reading

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Chutneyed Green Tomatoes

chutneyI tried the first time making chapati to go with my curry the other day. Not a great success for that purpose, although they turn out to be surprisingly nice for breakfast instead of toast with baked beans and egg.

More successful was the green tomato chutney, which I made from my vegetable garden produce at the combined urging of my PA and my housekeeper.

Some people say “chuckney”, with a “ck” rather than a “t”. How did that happen? It may well be by route of the glottal stop: people saying “chu’ney”.

Does that mean that the origins of the stuff are rather working class? I wouldn’t Continue reading

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Losers are Grinners

nudgeThe sports press are having a whale of a time.

Both England and Belgium are now certain of qualifying from their group in the World Cup, and bizarrely, it seems so there might be an advantage for either team to lose in their final group game, against each other, since losing will probably mean less strong opposition in the next round.

One might think this is all FIFA’s fault, in arranging a draw which leads to such a bizarre circumstance. And what miserable sourpusses they are for now warning the teams of sanctions if they try to lose.[1] A game in which both parties are trying to lose[2] would be great fun![3]

Then again, it might be even more fun watching a game in which each team is trying to lose, but at the same time pretending that it is trying to win.

However things turn out, there might well be a bit of “Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more” from whichever team loses. Continue reading

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Cheering the Chavs and Bogans

The FIFA World Cup is going on right now in Russia. Living in Australia, there is a very different perspective than that from England.

newmanBoth England and Australia have qualified, but neither has much realistic prospect of winning, or even doing that well. England is better placed, you might think. After all, England has won the competition in the past (although that was quite a long time ago). It has one of the best football leagues in the world (although quite a lot of the players in that are foreign). And dammit, we invented the game in the first place. Nevertheless, the prevailing mood in the English press is one of diffident self-mockery, recognising the unlikelihood of success.

By contrast, Australia is thoroughly gung ho. For sure, Australia punches well above its weight in sporting terms for a nation of only 24 million people.  It has done well to even qualify but its track record is not good. Since it first qualified in 1974, it is played 15 World Cup matches, and only won only two of them. One of those was against Japan, and so does not really count. Nevertheless, the experts on the Australian commentary teams are thoroughly upbeat, saying in advance of each match, “Yes, we can do it”. They don’t of course. With one match to go, it looks virtually certain that Australia will be knocked out, not having won any of its matches this time either. And yet the Ozzie pundits are still in there enthusing. If Australia wins its last match against Peru 20-0, and if France make monkeys out of Denmark (or is it the other way round?), they confidently predict that Continue reading

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Mera, Mera, Off the Wall

mokoAmong people who say silly things, there is a full range from the mildly eccentric to the full-blown potty. New Zealand academic Mera Lee-Penehira looks as though she might be well up the latter end of the spectrum. For example, in 2015 she launched a criminal complaint against the United States under the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000. Why? Because she does not think the United States ought to be in Hawaii. She said:

“We need to challenge everything the U.S. government does in Hawai‘i, because on the basis of law, it is quite simply wrong. The historical documentation is clear, that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under an illegal occupation by the U.S. and that the laws of occupation must be complied with. As a victim of war crimes committed in Hawai‘i, this cannot be allowed to continue to take place with impunity.” Continue reading

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Pointless News #24196

pine conesThere is good news and bad news on the subject of pine cones.

I am not a huge fan of Christmas festivities generally, but when the children are around at Christmas, they like a Christmas tree, and hence there is usually a trip to one of the local Christmas tree farms. When the farm sells you of these trees, it does not kill the tree. Instead, it lops off the top bit of the tree, leaving the roots and the base, and that part of the tree then regrows. It has occurred to me that if I had, say, half a dozen of these trees growing in my upper paddock, I could do the same thing. Not that I particularly mind the trip to the Christmas tree farm. But unlike my old Jeep, my new Jeep does not have a roof rack, and so getting a decent sized Christmas tree home starts to be a problem.

So, earlier this week, I was taking Perdita for a run in one of the local forests and noticed freshly fallen pine cones. I stuffed my pockets with half a dozen of these, thinking that I could plant them, and hopefully end up with half a dozen pine trees.

It turns out that it doesn’t work like this. It is no good planting entire pine cones. Instead, if you want to grow pine trees from pine cones there is a routine, which works something like Continue reading

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Pointless News # 24189

cpDammit, I really LIKE Christmas pudding. Nothing much to do with Christmas, of course, although something to do with Christianity – it is a Crusader thing, brought back from the Levant. According to Elizabeth David anyway. She would have known about this stuff.

I have a Christmas pudding.  It says “best before” March 2017. I have dropped hints to my family when they have been around. I have said, “Do you fancy some Christmas pudding?”. No bites. Nothing. Not a flicker of the needle. Niete. It is now June 2018.

Carpe diem.

You can microwave these boys, apparently, but that does not seem quite right, somehow. And so I have decided to stick it on my combustion Continue reading

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Angling for Pain

wrasse

Photo by Kara Murphy

Am I alone in think that there is really something rather cruel about fishing?

Think of it from the fish’s point of view, There you are, quieting going about your business, enjoying a spot of lunch. Then suddenly – BAM! – something the size of a ship’s anchor and as sharp as a kitchen knife is embedded in your upper jaw. It is excruciatingly painful, of course, and it is barbed, so there is no escape.

This thing – the worst thing that has ever happened to you – is attached to a line, and the line gets pulled. It drives the barbed hook yet further into your jaw. You might fight, perhaps for as much as half-an-hour, but there is no escape. Relentlessly, you are pulled up and up until you hit a toxic environment where you cannot breathe.

Here is where luck cuts in. A few things might happen Continue reading

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