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!

Monday 31 December 2012

2013 Coming In

Well now, let's see: The Fiscal Cliff looms, there's Syria, North Korea, Eurozone stagnation etc.

Cheerful soul am I not?

Nevertheless, noblesse oblige: a happy new year to all of you.

Until 2013...

Saturday 22 December 2012

Merry Mayan Christmas


I suppose that by now most of you will have come to the conclusion that the world continues to exist, and that there have been no reported sightings of UFOs; neither have I experienced the rush of positive inter-galactic energy that some believers imagined that we were all to enjoy yesterday. 
Judging by the faces I saw whilst out shopping today in the rain, neither has anyone else. And meanwhile one poor chap has made himself very ill through eating those disgusting seasonal vegetables, SPROUTS.  Obviously something will get me in the end, but I can assure you that it will not be SPROUTS; I haven't eaten them since I was three years old...

Anyway, however you are feeling, I'll take the opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Until the next time.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Last Chance Saloon

According to some old Mayan prophecy, the world is going to end on Saturday.

So no point in wishing you all a merry Christmas is there?

The world is of course, not going to end on Friday, although I suppose Oxford Street on Saturday will most likely feel as though it has.

You have to laugh don't you?  Apparently 12% of Americans are 'worried.'

Mind you, this is my 500th post on this blog; perhaps that is significant?

Until the next time.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

They Say...

That they're protesting about the ban on the niquab - the silly headgear that unfortunate women are required to wear under the rules of their 6th century religion.

I rather like to think that it makes the oppressive uniform look pretty silly too:

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph for this one. 

Until the next time

Monday 17 December 2012

Quel Choc! (Part Deux)

A new report today from the BBC states that M. Depardieu is to give up his French passport, following his move over the border to Belgium.

The star of Asterix & Obelix is very upset by comments from M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the prime minister.

From the BBC report:

The prime minister had suggested that Depardieu's move to the town of Nechin, just over the border from the French city of Lille, was unpatriotic at a time of cutbacks.

"I find this quite shabby. All that just to avoid paying tax," he said on France 2 TV channel. "Paying a tax is an act of solidarity, a patriotic act."

M. Depardieu says that so far in his career, he has paid €145,000,000 in taxes.

Given that vast sum, I am inclined to sympathise with him!

Until the next time.

Sunday 16 December 2012

English as a Second Language Perhaps or Just a Different Clock?

The BBC has a feature today about the Japanese economy. In it is quoted a Mr Kiyoaki Fujiwara, the director of the Economic Policy Bureau at the Japan Business Federation or Keidanren:

"We think it is inevitable to raise the consumption tax to fund the social security system as our population ages quicker than anywhere else in the world." (My italics).

I'm mystified by this fascinating fact, if fact indeed it is.

Until the next time.


The picture shows the pavement ('sidewalk') of Turnham Green Terrace London W.4 yesterday afternoon.  Like most of London's pavements it is covered in  unsightly, disgusting chewing-gum abandoned or I suppose spat out, by disgusting chewing-gum users.

As a smoker, I am in today's super-state, treated like a leper; gum-chewers continue with this repulsive practice undisturbed.

Since improving the manners of the masses in this Age of the Common Man appears to be impossible, perhaps the makers of these revolting products might be prevailed upon to modify them so that they rot away - like horse-shit - or simply dissolve in the rain.

Until the next time

Saturday 15 December 2012

A Pity...

[...] that his page carries an Israeli flag with the message "I stand with Israel."

Personally I can't stand Israel - at least under its present governance.

Anyway that's all off the point. The important thing is that Greenie Watch has come up with something really nice: effectively a quote from  the IPCC that suggests that they are coming round to the idea that, quel choc! the activity of the SUN is responsible for changing our climate here on Earth.

Well, well. You read it here first: I wrote ages ago that the sun just has to fart once and we're all toast. It may be only a medium-sized star, but as I think Fred Hoyle remarked, expand the earth to the size of the sun and earth's atoms would become the size of toy balloons...

Until the next time.

Friday 14 December 2012

Quel Choc! (Pour les francais et des francophones)

No shock really: actor Gerard Depardieu is selling the hotel in Paris that he bought in 1994 for 25 million francs (£2.5 millions) - he's asking €50 million (£40,600,000) for what is a delightful property.  See the Le Monde article for a description and pictures.

Given that there is now, in the person of M. Francois Hollande a socialist president who has already raised the maximum rate of income tax to 75% and also increased the scandalous wealth taxes that have burdened the French for so long, it is hardly surprising that M. Depardieu has decided to become a tax exile: he has moved to Belgium.

Apparently M. Depardieu seeks the calme of his new place of residence; whilst this may be true, I fear that it is just window-dressing, as the French are very sensitive about rich Frenchmen 'deserting' La patrie.  I well remember the fuss when Johnny Halliday cleared out - to Gstaad in Switzerland - obviously for tax reasons.

The fact is that for years taxes have been very high in France; given the country's stagnant economy, large public debt and increasing unemployment, together with its enormous bureaucracy and expensive social model, I believe that a different approach is required - but of course the trades unions there will never wear it.  Perhaps nemesis beckons?

A la prochaine

Thursday 13 December 2012


Picture Source: BBC
It is well known that there are people alive today who think that the earth is some thousands of years old; they are known as creationists.  Further, or so I am given to understand, there are those amongst them who believe that all was made (including light itself) in six days.

I hope that at least some of them have a look from time to time at the BBC's news pages; today for example in this piece they can see, reproduced, light that is about 13 billion years old.

Sorry and all that, but I'm afraid that creationist or not, one cannot argue with mathematics.

Congratulations to all who have contributed to the magnificent Hubble telescope.

Until the next time

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Big Brother Lives - More Internet Stuff

BBC News today carries the story that the Big Brother bill is still alive although it is to be re-drafted.

A simple search on this blog using the words "Big Brother" will reveal that I am distinctly disapproving of this project, which has been under consideration for some time.  Indeed as I have remarked before, I consider that there is already more than enough government.  Also, this will be an expensive project - doubly so since the British government has a long history of very expensive failures in connexion with Information Technology, usually reported at length by Private Eye.  Recent examples include the splendid telephones cock-up at the BBC and Fujitsu's farcical performance at the NHS.

And we are supposed to be able to trust these people with our data? There have been too many cases of government officials leaving laptops in cars or even simply losing them.

Terrifying I think, although as with almost everything, there is a small silver lining: apparently Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg is opposed to the scheme; finally something on which he and I can agree - and something which will serve to justify his existence.

Until the next time

Monday 10 December 2012

Definitely Worth Supporting

From time to time here I have advocated support of various campaigns launched by the lobbying organisation AVAAZ.

This time the campaign concerns alleged attempts by the likes of the well-known freedom-loving Russian and Chinese governments (together with those of the United Arab Emirates) to impose limitations on the Internet.

As any of my regulars here know very well I am always suspicious of governments as a basic point - there's just too much - and very suspicious when they start sniffing about freedom of communication, so please join me in supporting Avaaz's campaign.  Just click on THIS LINK.

After all, we don't want anything that even vaguely approaches that which pertains in North Korea do we?

Until the next time

Monday 3 December 2012

Fortunate Tiger Cubs

Source: BBC

The BBC's website reports today that three tiger cubs abandoned by their mother, have been "adopted" by a dog.  This has taken place at a zoo in Sochi in Southern Russia.

Fortunate indeed to be in Russia.  After all, had this taken place in the UK and the dog been a member of the UK Independence Party, then those little tigers would have to be bottle-fed - and motherless, and thereby assured of a politically-correct upbringing.

Until the next time

Saturday 1 December 2012


The sum which forms the title of this piece is the amount of money owed by Greece to the United Kingdom; I do not know how much is owed by the UK to Greece.

Even these days, when we are wont to talk of "billions" when once we spoke of "millions," $8.5 billions is a great deal of money, though Greece's indebtedness to France, at nearly $40 billions must be very worrying for the French.

I see that the Greek prime minister Mr Samaras, has remarked on "a breathing space" for Greece following the deal struck with the EU; Greece will now start to receive its next "bail-out" - which will total in excess of €40 billions, 23 billions of which will go to re-capitalising Greek banks.

Apparently part of the deal includes Eurozone creditors writing-off a substantial proportion of Greece's debt which currently stands at about 180% of GDP.  We must feel sorry for the French who will obviously be hit hard by write-offs. I have been very critical of all UK governments over the years, but I must acknowledge their wisdom at least in keeping us out of the accursed Euro.

It would be interesting to know who in his right mind would have loaned money to Greece in the first place; it is well-known that Greece massaged its accounts (i.e. lied) in order to gain entry to the Euro - back in 2001 - and the availability of low-cost loans in consequence have served to compound the country's insolvency. One must assume that presumably armed with such information, the lenders were in charitable mood at the time that the loans were made.

If they are still in that frame of mind, I wouldn't mind taking out a large loan myself - one that they can write off after 11 years.

Until the next time