Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Sunday 22 March 2009

More on Saudi-Arabia

I recently mentioned this state in my first article about nations making themselves laughing-stocks as a result of bizarre ideologies.

In that article, I drew attention to the appalling sentence of whipping handed down to a 75-year-old widow for "mingling with men to whom she was not related."

Today I read in this IHT article that the Saudis consider themselves victims of terror carried out by Islamic extremists. In fact as the article explains, commendably the Saudis are training hard in order to defeat the jihadists.

Saudis training in anti-terrorist tactics
Picture: IHT

As Private Eye might remark: "shome mishtake shurely?" It is hard to believe that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs my little blog to draw attention to the fact that the absurd Wahabi theocracy that prevails in the Kingdom can only serve to encourage those fanatical crackpots who wish to turn the world back to the fifteenth century with the aid of beards, burkhas, AK-47s and shaped charges?

Ironically the fanatics say they wish to destroy the Kingdom; whatever could they think up to replace it? The Taliban I suppose!

Until the next time

Sunday 15 March 2009

Another Laughing-Stock

It was only a few days ago that I wrote a piece about how a country or state can make itself a laughing stock. Being the way I am, I inevitably included my usual suspects: Zimbabwe, North Korea, China and so on. I made the point that all such a state has to do is to adopt some crackpot ideology - e.g. extreme Islam, extreme nationalism, Stalinist Communism etc.

Well today's Daily Telegraph reports that a Super-State is (again actually) making itself a laughing-stock. The Super-state is of course the European Union and the ideology utilised this time is political correctness, another of my pet "hobby-horses."

Unbelievably - to me at least - these crazy people want to ban such words as "Miss" and "Mrs" and of course their equivalents in other European languages such as "Senora" and "Senorita" and "Madame" and "Mademoiselle." All language it seems shall be "gender-neutral" in future.

The reasoning? Well it seems that it is thought that female members of the European Parliament (MEPs) might be "offended" - that damned word again.

I am furious that anyone who might be occupying a seat in the European Parliament should be so incredibly stupid as to be offended by the use of words such as those mentioned above. I am also furious that such a stupid initiative should be yet another charge on the taxpayer resulting from the insane regulations that continue to be issued from Brussels.

The article points out that every pair of rubber boots sold in the EU must be accompanied by a "User Manual" - printed in 12 languages!

Imagine: first a page telling the owner not to burn the boots and to dispose of them in an environmentally-responsible fashion, blah blah. Then a list of the multifarious organisations that have declared the boots (no doubt at vast expense) fit for use. These pages of tedium would perhaps be followed by illustrations showing how to put on the boots and perhaps how to walk in them.

Potty, absolutely potty.

Until the next time

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Amusing Post...

Once again I simply must plug CM's excellent blog Jour Après Jour. She has a knack of finding wonderful items and being mullti-lingual she oftens includes English ones.

The latest item, Si les navigateurs etaient des femmes (If web browers were women) is a gem - click on the "lien" (link) in the article and you will find a page in English; most amusing and surprisingly accurate in many ways.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 10 March 2009

How to make your country a laughing-stock - or perhaps not...

The easiest way to make a country a laughing stock is to practise some sort of stupid ideology. Good examples of this would be Kim Jong-Il's ludicrous Stalinist state of North Korea, a country which cannot feed itself yet produces missiles and Albania under the rule of the pathetic Enver Hoxha - and of course Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Another state that should be a laughing stock is Saudi Arabia, with its Islamo-Facistic religious régime complete with its own Mohammedan Gestapo, the so-called "religious police" praise its bloody holy name... Of course when you have the world's largest proven oil reserves and stupendous quantities of money, others tend not to laugh so much, but condemning a 75-year-old widow to a whipping? Barbarians for all their revolting holiness.

The tragedy of course is that these perverted states and in the case of Tibet regions, are a nighmare for the persecuted innocents who are not allowed freedom of expression - no laughing matter for those poor souls.

Zimbabwe, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Belarus, Chechenya, Tibet, Russia, China etc. etc. etc.

Until the next time

Sunday 8 March 2009

"Then you'll never hear surf music again"

So said Jimi Hendrix in "3rd Stone from the Sun".

Well I disagree: of course there was crap in the "surf" genre, but the Chantays' 1963 hit, "Pipeline" is brilliant.

See and hear for yourself:

Until the next time

Saturday 7 March 2009

More on Bankers and the Financial Crisis

Source: Private Eye No 1231

Recently I wrote something about British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Sir Fred Goodwin, erstwhile Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive.

It was reassuring to find today following the arrival of my copy of Private Eye, that Lord Gnome seems to agree as the cartoon reproduced above suggests.

There is interesting coverage in the same issue from "In the City". "Slicker" writing about the pension row says:

"What has followed has been little more than political posturing, not just by Harriet Harman but also by Brown, Darling and Myners. They all know that legally, Goodwin and his pension are probably bombproof but cannot admit that because of their failure to act back in October."

"Slicker" of course has a lot more to say - generally indicating that the situation has arisen ultimately for reasons of saving face - and of course Goodwin was reportedly a pal of Browns...

Finally, this evening I received an excellent email from a friend. For those of you who are baffled by the complexities of the "financial products" that led to the current crisis here is a straightforward explanation:

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase
sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are
unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of
the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood
into Heidi's bar.

Taking advantage of her customers' freedom from immediate payment
constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the
most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank
recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and
increases Heidi's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the
alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these
customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These
securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really
understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are
guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the
securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager
(subsequently of course fired due his negativity) of the bank
decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts
incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfil her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs
better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar, having granted her generous payment due
dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new
situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is
taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-
clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties.

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on
the non-drinkers.

Until the next time

Sorry about the formatting of the story above; HTM 'ell refuses as usual to let me do anything

Thursday 5 March 2009


Yes, effrontery - in other words, a bloody cheek.

I have three instances for you to consider.

First, we have the recent case where in some London play, members of the cast performed something called a "Haka" which by all accounts originates with the Maori natives in New Zealand. The Maoris, or at least their spokesman objected to this performance on the grounds that "it insulted their culture."

Second, the Chinese have protested about the sale of a couple of old bronze figures which they say were stolen from China around 1860. Supposed to be worth around €14 million apiece, the Chinese say that the sale of these sculptures "insults their culture." Indeed some individual representing some sort of Chinese interest actually bid for these items, won the auction and now refuses to pay. The Chinese seem to imagine that the current owner will just give the sculptures back to China! Dreamers.

And finally we have the story from Gibralatar reported today in the Daily Telegraph. Yesterday, the Princess Royal arrived to perform the official opening of a military clinic. The Spanish Government has protested about the visit saying "It is an affront to Spain." Why?

My word, isn't everybody quick to take offence?

The Maoris protest about some dance routine about 10,000 miles away; what the hell has it got to do with them? None of their damned business is it?

The Chinese protest about the sale of a pair of sculptures; they have possibly a bit more of a case, but frankly it was 149 years ago - are they really serious?

The Spanish of course have an absolute bloody cheek. Gibraltar has been British since 1713 - ceded by Spain as part of the treaty of Utrecht. What goes on there is none of their damned business; it is a British colony. As Gibraltarian resident observed:

"As for Spain, well what happens here is none of their business," she commented. "They lost Gibraltar 300 years ago and its time they got over it and left us alone."

All over the world we have countries, groups, religions and individuals taking "offence;" we have the ludicrous situation where prime ministers and presidents apologise for events hundreds of years old.

What's the matter with all these people?

Until the next time.