Category Archives: Culture

From Butler to Pope

carterIn Knightfall, Jim Carter (no relation to Jimmy Carter) gets promoted. No long a butler, he is now Pope.

Nevertheless, and despite his gravitas, the show is a rather disjointed romp through the history of the Knights Templar.

The Templars were a strange lot. They faced a twin challenge: all the boring stuff that comes with Continue reading

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PE Phew

My eye was caught by this in The Times today:

Q My partner is a fitness fanatic and she only ever wants to have sex after a workout. It’s great when our endorphins are racing and we’re a bit sweaty, but sometimes I would like it to be after a romantic dinner, like a normal couple. Why doesn’t she fancy me at any other time?

A There are lots of physiological explanations for why your girlfriend likes having sex after a workout. Vigorous exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that act on the brain to block pain and create feelings of exhilaration, happiness and calm. Exercise also increases blood flow to the pelvis and the vagina. If your girlfriend is doing a lot of core exercises, such as squats, leg lifts or planks, she may be in a heightened state of arousal by the time she gets home. It’s not uncommon for exercise sequences that place a lot of pressure on the lower abdomen, hip flexors and inner thighs to bring some women close to (or even spontaneously to) orgasm.

I have never had a Continue reading

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Irish nonsense – It is all about Give and Take

leprechaunI was listening to a Brexit interview the other day with an Irish politician responding to the point that the UK’s departure from the EU does not necessitate a hard border between the north and south of Ireland. The technological solutions already in place show that checks do not need to take place at a border. The Irish politician was dismissive. He said it didn’t matter whether the checks were at the border, or somewhere else; any checks were unacceptable, and the Irish are determined to veto any withdrawal agreement without the backstop.

Now here’s the thing. Everybody assumes that the Good Friday Agreement – also known as the Belfast Agreement – prohibits a hard border between the north and south of Ireland. Actually, it does nothing of the sort. It does not even relevantly mention the border. If you would like to check, you will see that I have copied and pasted the whole of the Agreement to the end of this post.

In Irish logic, of course, the fact that an assertion is untrue has nothing to do with its utility. As far as the Irish are concerned, Brexit is a wonderful opportunity to try to prise Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK, and they have every intention of using that opportunity to the full. So they are going to insist that it is a term of any deal that Northern Ireland has to remain in the single market and part of the customs union; their veto means that they can do that. Obviously, Brexit is not achieved if Continue reading

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Some Juxtapositions about the New Boat People

FRANCE-BRITAIN-POLITICS-MIGRATION-RIGHTSSome facts, that of themselves are not really contentious:

  • Until Australia successfully introduced its “Stop the Boats” policy a few years ago, many economic migrants arrived in Australia by boat;
  • Those boats were operated by people smugglers. A passage was not cheap, so it was typically the relatively wealthy who could afford the trip;
  • Many died en voyage because the boats were unsafe;
  • Of those that made it, many have made very successful lives for themselves, working hard and often creating businesses;
  • Brexit is due in just a few months;
  • Mark Carney, the Canadian/Irish Governor of the Bank of England, a Euro-Federalist, has predicted that the UK economy will do badly following a Clean Break Brexit;
  • Nevertheless; increasing numbers of economic migrants are now seeking to get from France to England by boat, in order to get out of the EU and into the UK before Brexit;
  • Their journey across the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, at night, often in rubber dinghies or stolen small craft, is very dangerous. And expensive – these trips are organised by people smugglers who charge thousands of Euros for a passage;
  • These economic migrants are resourceful – they have made it overland from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and other countries.

But what to conclude from Continue reading

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A wet weekend

Polizei_Wasserwerfer

Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000

It is really quite likely that there will be riots on the streets of London in about six months’ time.

As I write this, the Brexit saga is on course for a clean break, on the basis that the Robbins-Weyand draft deal is likely to be voted down in the House of Commons, and there is no majority for anything else in particular. The EU, and their fellow travellers in the UK, are likely to be hopping mad. The UK, free to compete with the EU without all of the financial and regulatory burdens which apply within the EU, represents a real threat to them. The last thing they want is for an economically-liberated UK to be free to enter trade deals with the rest of the world. And they have managed to persuade a large swathes of flopsies in the UK that there is something VERY BAD about this sort of freedom.

It is possible, of course, that the EU will somehow manage to derail the whole of Brexit, perhaps by delaying it for a year[1] (“that will be another £10 billion thank you, you stupid, merde Rosbifs”) in which case, the majority of the UK electorate, which voted to break free of these ghastly bureaucratic parasites in a binding people’s vote back in 2016, will not be happy bunnies.

It has been a while since there have been decent riots in London. Global warming has not really arrived, but nevertheless, the likelihood is that there will be a nice warm weekend next summer in which large numbers of people will come out onto the streets of London, providing decent cover for those that Donald Trump calls BAD PEOPLE, and they will start smashing up shops and businesses, not to mention any people who take a different view.

Now what you need in these circumstances is two or three Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000s[2]. These water cannon don’t really hurt people[3], but they do make them cold and wet. And by and large, the flopsies don’t like getting cold and wet, and so with the assistance of Continue reading

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Chutzpah par Excellence

Israel protestChutzpah is a Jewish word, and was rather neatly explained by Malcolm Turnbull a while ago as equivalent to murdering your parents, and then claiming sympathy because you are an orphan. So it is not entirely a surprise that the Jews are rather good at it, and appear to have entirely outmanoeuvred Jeremy Corbyn.

This is what has happened. A couple of months ago, Israel passed its nationality law, which is widely been condemned as racist.  Translated into English, it includes the following:

1a. The Land of Israel is the historical birthplace of the Jewish nation, and in it the State of Israel was founded.

1b. The State of Israel is the nation state of the Jewish nation, in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination.

1c. The realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish nation.

6a. The State will invest in ensuring the well-being of members of the Jewish nation, and its citizens who are undergoing difficulties or imprisonment due to their Jewishness or their citizenship.

6b. The State will work in the Diaspora to ensure the continued connection between the State and the Jewish nation.

7a. The State sees Jewish settlement as a national value and will work to ensure and advance its creation and establishment.

It is worth unpacking this a little. It is apparent from section 1(a) that the expression “Jewish nation” does not mean the State of Israel, but Jews collectively. By paragraph 1(c) the word “unique” makes clear that it is Jews, and only Jews, who are entitled to self-determination in Israel. Not the Arabs. Oh no. Just the Jews. Uniquely. By section 6 (a) the State of Israel invests in the well-being of Jews; there is no equality here for citizens of Israel who are not Jewish. The endorsement of the settlements at section 7 (a) not only discriminates in favour of Jews, it is plainly contrary to international law.

I do not ordinarily agree with very much that finds its way into 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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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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