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29 December 2009

Tall Tale of the Enigmatic Christmas Bottle

Well, that's another Christmas gone, and a new year to look forward to. Of the many, varied, and wonderful Christmas gifts this year was an unlabelled bottle from a nephew, containing a home-prepared concoction.

It was clear, straw coloured, and contained a selection of seeds, a cinnamon stick and a couple of small red chillies. It provoked much discussion around our Christmas Dinner table about its properties. It was necessary to experiment, in which context I sent an e-mail to my nephew thanking him for his gift, explaining that thanks to him I had ..

  • successfully de-iced my front garden path;
  • dabbed some behind my ears (which didn't make me any more attractive to women) but did keep the flies away;
  • destroyed a couple of wasps nests;
  • cleaned all the brass and silver in my house;
  • removed some unwanted pubic hair;
  • run my car on it at illegal speeds.
It had then occurred to me that we were supposed to drink it. My son successfully set it alight, suggesting alcoholic content, then drank some. This provoked a stream of somewhat unseasonal profanities.

I followed up with some of my own bravado and took a swig, as a consequence of which my trousers fell down, my ears started revolving, and I swallowed my tongue.

I hope to be free of the oxygen cylinder within a couple of weeks.

Happy New Year!!

21 December 2009

Winter like it used to be!

Here in Yorkshire I have 5 inches of snow in my garden, and the snow on the tree branches has remained in place for several days. I'm not complaining; it's all very picturesque, and I've just read that Virginia USA has, in some parts, just received 2 feet of snow! (For the benefit of metricated readers, that's 130 mm of snow in my garden and 610 mm in Virginia).

Yesterday morning I ventured outside to do some energetic snow clearing and apply some rock salt. The salt idea didn't work out too well, because it had frozen into one solid lump. The snow clearance idea was even worse because I fell flat on my back and, whilst I was somewhere between upright and horizontal I managed to hit myself in the face with the handle of the snow shovel. It would have been highly entertaining to anybody watching, but they weren't, so my performance was wasted.

I therefore decided to return to the warmth of my home and succumb to the affluence of incohol.

My wife put scraps of food for the birds on the front lawn; she put it all on a flat baking tray to prevent the scraps becoming lost in the snow. A few minutes later a big fat pigeon made a fast landing on the tray, and stood there methodically picking up each scrap of food and tossing it remarkable distances across the garden, resembling nothing so much as someone tossing frisbees. Well, I thought, we put it there for the birds, and a pigeon is a bird, and if it wants to chuck stuff about instead of eating it, who am I to give it lessons in table etiquette?

I do hope the bankers are feeling the cold. I keep reading (and hearing) politicians, bankers, and political pundits wailing about the UK Government's proposed 50% tax on bankers' bonuses, and the phrase that keeps on coming up is, "If we tax the bonuses we are going to start losing talent to other countries". Excuse me, but would that be the same talent that got us all into this fine mess in the first place?!

By the way, I've just received from the UK Government my senior citizen's £10 Christmas Bonus. We really should be doing something about this Bonus Culture.

Merry Christmas to my two readers and their friends!

11 December 2009

Bonus Culture

I've just received my Senior Citizens £10 Christmas Bonus from the Government.

Something should be done about this Bonus Culture!

06 December 2009

Climate Change

The theft and publication of e-mails originating from climatologists in the University of East Anglia has given a morale boost to all those who would have us believe that mankind has had no effect on the our planet's climate.

These Cambridgeshire Scientists have, allegedly, skewed some data to support their strong belief that climate problems are man-made, and have rubbished other scientists who take a contrary view.

If that is the case, then they have covered their own heads in the brown stuff, for science is surely the development of theories and subsequent proof of them by demonstrating incontrovertible facts. In short, they cannot call themselves scientists.

I see the climate change affair like this .. there are two arguments:

1. Climate change is or is not occurring.
2. If the change is occurring it is or is not being caused by our own activities.

With regard to No.1 I believe you would have to be some kind of blinkered nut-case to say climate change is not occurring. After all, we can see it with our own eyes. We can see the ice caps melting, we can see shipping lanes opening up in places where previously shipping was impossible because of ice, and we can see the increasing incidents of extreme and sometimes lethal weather conditions.

With regard to No.2 I have to defer to the opinions of scientists, but some scientists are more scientific than others (it would seem). Nevertheless, I feel that even (at one extreme end of the argument) if mankind is not the major cause, and it is mainly down to natural cyclical changes, then that does not excuse us from polluting our own environment, or even just running the possible risk that we are going to make things worse. Whether or not we are the cause we have to plan for how we are to manage the effects of climate change, whilst simultaneously ensuring that we are not actually contributing to the problem.

So to anyone who saying to me that the Cambridgeshire scientists' e-mails indicates that we can carry on doing whatever we like, I say, "On your bike!" (And out of your car, by the way).