|4 May 2011|
|Harry Mahtar said: “A lurking pun is the worst pun, one the offender has been waiting to spring on you.” You have been warned.
It’s green, extremely alcoholic and supposedly mind-altering.
It’s associated with esteemed French artists and writers such as Vincent Van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine.
Nicknamed the ‘green fairy’, absinthe was an essential feature of the cultural life of Parisian boulevards in the 19th century. Then, in 1915, it was banned in France and has been outlawed ever since. Until now…
The French Senate has just voted in favour of lifting the ban and absinthe enthusiasts are overjoyed at the prospect of reclaiming part of their heritage, thus proving the old adage that … (are you ready?) … absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
I’m so sorry.
|7 January 2011|
|An item of news that caught my attention today was the detention of a vulture in Saudi Arabia. The bird is suspected of being an Israeli spy as it was carrying a GPS transmitter and a tag bearing an identification code from Tel Aviv University. It strayed into rural Saudi Arabian territory last week. Arabic-language websites and forums claim that the “Zionists” have trained the birds for espionage.
Surely, it’s all just a misunderstanding. The bird must have been stopped on its way to the Caucasus. Everyone knows vultures are attracted to Caucasus.
|20 December 2010|
|“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
As we face another day of blizzards and record sub-zero temperatures, you might be interested to hear what the clever people at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia were saying a decade ago.
In March 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the CRU, went public with the warning that within a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
Viner now works on climate change projects for the government-funded British Council and still stands by his prediction. I wonder what he thinks as the cold snap looks set to extend well into January. He’d probably say this is weather, not climate.
They say when snow falls, nature listens. Well, climate scientists don’t!
|19 November 2010|
|Chaos theory has been applied to all kinds of things like predicting weather patterns and the vagaries of the stock market. It’s all to do with butterflies, apparently. The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil sets off a hurricane in the American Midwest.
I’m all for going over to Brazil and killing all the butterflies. Just in case.
|14 October 2010|
|So, newspapers are today reporting that, according to genealogists, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are 10th cousins through a common ancestor, John Smith, a 17th century pastor.
What silly nonsense. So what if they are? Winston Churchill was descended (on his mother’s side) from Native American ancestry. Of course, people only became suspicious when he swapped his cigar for a peace pipe and had to be dissuaded from attending the war cabinet wearing a feather headdress.
If you go back far enough, you’ll find that we all share the same ancestry. Actually, we’ll all probably find apes and fish near the top of our family trees. The first few generations of humans would have practiced some inbreeding to continue the species. Explains a lot.
Pikaia (at the top of the tree?)
|13 October 2010|
|I was a bit concerned about the BBC’s account of the plan to rescue the 33 trapped miners in Chile today.
According to the Beeb, a skilled paramedic would be lowered into the mine via a custom-made capsule, dubbed the Phoenix. On reaching the men, the medic would step out and allow the first miner to be winched to safety. Then a rescue expert would be lowered and replaced with the second miner. The others would then be retrieved one at a time until all 33 were safely extracted. The mission would then be complete. Okay, good plan. Except for one thing …
As the day wears on, news reports duly describe the appearance of each miner amid scenes of jubilation.
But what about the medic and the rescue expert? Is anyone going to remember them? Or will they still be down there, miserable and forgotten, while the party of a lifetime takes place half a mile up over their heads?
|16 September 2010|
|88% of road accidents are caused by sober drivers. Something should be done about them.|