My ex-mate Rupe: Yes, alas and alack, my mate Rupe and I have parted company after 20-odd years together. They were happy times, none happier than when he sent me - free of charge(!) - a satellite dish and a 'magical-do-flicker-recording-thingie' that even I could work. Also, he provided some terrific programmes like The Wire and 'Farx Noos' with all those blonde ladies and their fright-white teeth. And, yes, I know that 'Farx Noos' is to the Right of the political spectrum but it still has a long way to go before it catches up with me! Even so, my 'financial advisor', aka: the 'Memsahib', who does the books, so to speak, informed me the other day that we were paying Rupe £67 a month! I nearly swallowed the glass of very cheap red wine I was drinking at the time because, of course, I can only afford cheap red wine - and now I know why! I then checked the TV schedules and realised that 90% of what I watch on TV is available on Freeserve and that includes Sky News which, as I have mentioned before, I have on constantly but with the sound off! So, sorry, Rupe, don't think it hasn't been fun - but it's been expensive fun!
Don't ever mess with D&N: It is never a good career move to mess with this distinguished but occasionally brutal blog. It was back in January 2011 that David Ruffley MP made his first entry into these columns when I gave him a good kicking for sticking his nose so deeply into the expenses trough at Westminster. Since then he has had two further smackings from me which might account for, but not excuse, his bad temper recently during which he gave his girlfriend a slap. The 'feministas' are outraged - and for once they are right - and so to is his constituency party who look likely to insist on his resignation. So farewell, then, David Ruffley, what a pity you won't be missed!
Now you see it, now you don't: Pesky complicated things those weather stats. Here's an example from the swots at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It shows global temperature anomalies for land and sea from 2000 to 2013 and you will note - Shlock-Horror! - that over that period temperatures have risen by +0.04C!
But that's because, like me you are not used to reading graphs so you probably failed to notice that the year 2000 was particularly, perhaps unusually, chilly which means that starting from there produces an upward line in temperatures. However, if you start from 2001 through to 2014 you get this:
Golly-gosh, it cooled by -o.05C. Whodathunkit?!
The birth of a behemoth: Oh, no, not another book! Yes, I'm afraid so, and if the behemoth concerned is the rise and rise of America then you can bet that a book on the subject is going to be equally enormous. Still, I have to have it and I blame that Leftie mag, The Staggers, for my temptation. I mentioned the other day that I had bookmarked their site, especially the 'Culture' section where their book reviews lurk waiting for the unwary - me, that is! - and I knew then that no good would come of it. Here is an extract from the review quoting from a paper written by an FO official in November 1928 describing the 'new world order':
Although the UK was “still staggering from the effects of the superhuman effort made during the war . . . loaded with a great burden of debt . . . [and] crippled by the evil of unemployment”, it was better off than most. The empire was still intact – albeit in an altered state – and the domestic polity had survived the arrival of mass democracy in 1918, notwithstanding scares such as the General Strike of 1926. But in 1928, a year before the Wall Street Crash, one country stood supreme above all the others. In the United States, the official wrote, Great Britain was faced “with a phenomenon for which there is no parallel in our modern history – a state twenty-five times as large, five times as wealthy, three times as populous, twice as ambitious, almost invulnerable, and at least our equal in prosperity, vital energy, technical equipment and industrial strength”.
The book is: The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of Global Order 1916-1931 by Adam Tooze, yet another of those Brit history swots who, like one of his predecessors, Paul Kennedy, has the ability to sum up brilliantly an entire era. So go buy it, why should I be the only one to suffer!
Foodies are frequently foolish: How about that for a piece of prize alliteration? But it's a fact, some foodies are just so damned precious. Earlier this evening I enjoyed some slices off a shoulder of lamb with crisped skin, roasted potatoes hard on the outside soft on the inside, leeks, runner beans and carrots plus, of course, a jug of gravy made mostly from the juice of the lamb. In other words, a bog standard, British Sunday lunch/dinner. It was perfection! Not a mention, not a hint, not a taste, of all that 'foodie' stuff with which they ruin perfectly good meals. I read menus in restaurants and become quite excited by the main ingredient but then as I read further comes line after line listing all the other precious extras that come with it and my appetite, along with my patience, evaporates! Why can't they just leave good food alone?
No more rumbles today