Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Advances in Medicine

A Twelve-Month, Multiethnic, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Scarlet-Engined study comparing the toxicity and efficacy of daily treatment of Donald J. Trump over 4 years with the same treatment over 8 years in otherwise healthy consorts of Americans 

"I like thinking bigly. I always have. To me it's very simple: If you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think bigly." – Donald J. Trump


Lash out - rip -garbage - guess what - believe me - don't be rude - I'll be honest - Nascent puberty - tremendous - great big, big - fantastic - incredible - totally never happened - Give me a break - ribbed six-pack abs

Here is Trump in action – how he runs his business and how he ruins his life – as he meets the people he meets to need, tweets with family and friends, insults enemies, and changes the face of the New York City bunsecured. Trump shutters myths; he names names, zeroes out the spells, and totally reveals the meal-daker's art. And throughout, Trump talks –  I mean totally talks – about how he does it. Trump: The Art of the Deal is an unguarded look into the mind of a deranged cabinet-maker. It's the most bookwise street there is

Proud and Prejudiced

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

All Change

Wishing to check something that I had come across at the end of All Change, the last volume of Elizabeth Jane Howard's extraordinary Cazalet Chronicles. Although I knew that the reference was contained in the very last sentence of the book, I made the lethal mistake of starting a few pages earlier. Before I knew it, I was swept up once again in the life of the Cazalet family, so beautifully written and so beautifully rendered, that I completely forgot what I was supposed to be looking for.

The last two paragraphs of the five volumes, wrenched out of context, are sure to fall flat but here they are just the same:

Sid's room was still full of her things, Rachel took the little woolly hat she used to wear when her hair was falling out, and the long silk scarf that had been her last present. Tomorrow she would tell Eileen to clear everything else and give it a charity. From the nursery so took a box of dominoes, and The Brown Fairy Book, her favourite when she had been a child; she had coloured all the black and white Henry Ford illustrations; all the princesses had long golden hair and the dragons were bright green. She would be able to read it to Laura now, and also teach her to play dominoes.

Then she went to bed, in her own room, which Villy had left immaculate. She knew she was tired, as her back was hurting, but she felt infinitely warm from all the love she'd received. And now - better still - she was going to be needed.

Monday, January 09, 2017


GPs have gone downhill a lot since I was a boy, since the days when they were respected members of the local community who would not feel out of place if invited to afternoon tea along with the vicar and his wife. Nowadays they're good for thrusting the credit card terminal in your direction and that's about all. Their mission in life is to prod you in the direction of someone who may be able to help you, for they certainly can't. In a word of their choosing, they are "pathfinders".

How can you tell the worth of a GP? By the quality of his or her waiting room, of course. and in particular the glossiness of the magazines placed at our disposal. In recent times I have come to appreciate a journal aimed unabashedly at people of my generation, these days not so much pinball wizards as promotors of zimmer frames. It is called Notre Temps. It even has its luxury cruises:

Come and see what's in store for you when you choose a Golden Sunset cruise with Notre Temps!
- Special charter flights from Paris to Baffin Island or alternative destination
- Board and lodging (elevenses, afternoon tea, horlicks)
- Transfer Captain's table - private cabin
- Luggage transfer provided by highly trained porters 
- Emergency repatriation, extreme unction, burial fees
- Administrative fees
Free gift: emergency flare gun. Useful in emergency snow drifts
M/S Astoria, an elegant cruise boat. Max 50,000 guests!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Home Truths?

I'm speaking in the broadest of terms, but why is it that the British tend to be so aggressive or at the very least "laddish" in their attitude towards other European countries? Could it be that the default British attitude in fact hides a massive inferiority complex?

I think so. A large part of our bullishness may be explained by the fact that the vast majority of us are quite incapable of speaking a single world in a foreign language. We may laugh off this lamentable state of affairs by insisting that it's up to other countries to learn English but I do not think such a reaction can wholly mask a feeling of inadequacy.

At this point let me say that I do not take any credit for my ability to speak one foreign language. I know full well that had I stayed in England, I would almost certainly never have had either the inclination or the will-power to learn French. The only thing that might conceivably have induced me to do so was a vague feeling of inferiority, of inadequacy, of being at a disadvantage.

I don't know how much credence should be given to the chart provided in the link below but I don't think its findings can be very wide of the mark.


And here in Britain?

I could talk about the factors contributing to this state of affairs, but I prefer to dwell on the consequences, direct or indirect:

  • UK schoolchildren are now less likely to speak a foreign language than those in any other European nation.
  • Just one in 40 British diplomats is fluent in the language of the country where they work with the majority lacking even basic grasp sufficient for day-to-day exchanges.
  • Theresa May, Nigel Farage and David Cameron do not speak a foreign language. How can they not feel at a disadvantage when conversing with their French and German counterparts?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Uptown, Downtown

Downtown was released by Petula Clark in 1965. In those days downtown was obviously the place to be  if you were feeling lonely and generally out of sorts. I was 21 at the time and keen to "linger on the sidewalk where the neon lights were pretty". You see, the lights are so much brighter there , you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares. I'm not sure that downtown Braintree was exactly what she had in mind in 1965 and I'm pretty sure that neither she nor my mother would recognise it today with its endless supply of food courts.

We ourselves didn't live downtown and we certainly didn't live uptown either. Where did we live exactly? We lived on the edge of town where the bright city lights gave way to pig farms and Eastern National double-decker busses. Not much in the way of civilisation and certainly not an uptown girl in sight.

By the time New York degenerate Billy Joel got around to singing Uptown Girl in 1983, things had changed to the extent that uptown  had become a gated community complete with inland marinas and private security firms. You wouldn't think that uptown girls would want anything to do with the swarthy mechanics running amok downtown, but such is the mystery of life, girls were to be found drawn to the "authentic" values of Billy and his mates. The charm very soon wore off, of course, and the girls, older if no wiser, dried their tears and returned to the warm embrace of daddy.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Follow the Money

Having a job is a good antidote to obsessions of various kinds. When we are trying to make a living we have less time to devote to conspiracy theories or, in my case, to seething at the likes of Nigel Farage.

I accept the truth of that observation, just as I accept that if you are looking for a balanced account of the rights and wrongs of Brexit, you have quite obviously come to the wrong place. I am sure that there are good arguments on both sides, but if we think that there is nothing untoward or unseemly in Mr Farage continuing to receive his £84,000 salary as a Member of the European Parliament, even as he has successfully campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, then we have lost all sense of right and wrong.

Isn't it possible for Brexit supporters to condemn Mr Farage's behaviour? Apparently not.

In these polarised times, it seems that you cannot espouse a political point of view without embracing, or at the very least turning a blind eye, to the antics of those promulgating such a view.

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