Are there signs of panic in the newsrooms? I do sense a certain desperation at Sky News, my favourite newsroom, as they scratch about trying to find, er, well, some news, actually! I mentioned a few weeks back how deadly quiet this battered old globe of ours has become which is "A Good Thing", of course, but leaves the imagination free to worry about what might be approaching from a direction none of the so-called experts ever told us about. Ah well, fingers crossed!
The end of a beautiful friendship: I have mentioned before, 'many a time and oft', 'my mate Rupe' with whom hitherto I have enjoyed an excellent friendship mainly on account of him sending me - free of charge! - a satellite dish and a dead-clever recording-thingie. Alas, I should have known that there is no such thing as a freebie from an Aussie and when I realised that I was paying £63 a month for the pleasure of not watching almost total 24-hour crap I'm afraid our friendship ended. The only thing I shall really miss will be Fox News which I rather enjoyed - on an occasional basis - although no doubt some comms swot will tell me that you can watch it live via computer. Perhaps when the 'Memsahib' runs off with the milkman I might just dispense with TV for ever.
The 'Milipede' is crawling towards victory: That is, according to Matthew d'Ancona in today's Telegraph and he is echoing what most other commentators are forecasting for the election in 2015. If it happens and if the first thing the 'Milipede' does inside No.10 is to ring up the UNITE union boss, Ed MacCluskey, for instructions, and if Ed Balls moves into No.11 to hone his borrowing and spending 'skills' then the result is all too obvious, simply look over the Channel and see what is happening in socialist France! However, even for a reckless ( and usually wrong) forecaster like me, it is far too early to call. Even so, 10-year bond yields for both the UK and the USA have now moved over 3%!
"Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry": So go the words of the old song and between them the Telegraph and the Spectator do their best to comply. If you really are in need of more melancholia then try Bruce Anderson whose title says it all: "The West has lost control of the world and disaster awaits". He starts with the death of King Frederick III in 1888 and it's downhill from there on in! But if it's 'cheerful chappies' you're after then look no further than Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph and Fraser Nelson at The Coffee House. He provides this cheerful diagram:
There, feeling better already, aren't you? Hannan adds to the jollity by reminding us that doomsters like Prince Charles, Steven Guilbeault and Chris Rose, both of Greenpeace, all share the same characteristics - being prats and being wrong!
A New Year puzzle for you all: Here is a sonnet, rather a plodding sonnet, I'm afraid, written in 1936 by Mr. David Schulman to honour one of America's heroes and entitled:
Washington Crossing the Delaware
A hard, howling, tossing water scene.
Strong tide was washing hero clean.
"How cold!" Weather stings as in anger.
O Silent night shows war ace danger!
The cold waters swashing on in rage.
Redcoats warn slow his hint engage.
When star general's action wish'd "Go!"
He saw his ragged continentals row.
Ah, he stands – sailor crew went going.
And so this general watches rowing.
He hastens – winter again grows cold.
A wet crew gain Hessian stronghold.
George can't lose war with's hands in;
He's astern – so go alight, crew, and win!
You see what I mean about 'plodding' but there is a secret and brilliant catch to this poem and if you can deduce what it it is there are two prizes to be won. The second prize is that you will be sent advanced copies of every forthcoming blog post on D&N, the first prize is that you will not!
They should all be made to wear burqas: Well, there's ugly, then there are footie fans and then, dread sight, there are footie players! I have just watched Arsenal play Newcastle and it looked like a mass escape from the nearest 'Ugliest Man in the World' exhibition at the local fairground. I am astonished that these young men are not satisfied at being just plain ugly but they needs must add to the sorry state of their features by smothering their bodies in hideous tattoos and hair cuts executed by sundry drunken barbers who obviously hate footie players. When I am reminded that they earn more in a week than I do in a year my facial tic re-appears, my fingers flex and small flecks of foam appear on my lips and I mutter to the 'Memsahib', "Fetch my meds - quick!"
Just in case you were feeling cheerful after your Christmas break: I thought this story from The Mail would return you quickly to the 'glums' you are used to:
A leading figure in the Ministry of Defence has claimed more than £100,000 expenses in his first year of work, it has been revealed.
Bernard Gray, who was appointed to help manage the budget, enjoyed 106 stays in London and Bristol hotels, for £23,000, despite his home being less than a 60-mile drive from both.
He was also given an official car and chauffeur, costing the department £65,531.
Official documents, seen by the Sunday People, reveal he also spent £17,929 on planes and trains, and £280 in taxis in 2011-2012. In the months since, he has spent £14,457 travelling abroad.
Mr Gray, who earns £220,00 a year as Chief of Defence Material, was taken on in 2010 to help target waste in the department.
Presumably this was what 'Dim Dave' was referring to when he told the troops in Afghanistan, many of whom now face redundancy when they return from 'the sharp end', that it was "mission accomplished!" For who, Dave, tell us that, for who?
No more rumbles today