Thursday, 25 August 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Brits Out of Europe- Double *Yay*

I make no apologies for Blogging about the fall out from England voting to leave Europe.  I disagreed with it then and still do so now, quite vehemently.  We can't turn back the clock but we can highlight the fall out, so here's another from TInd which makes for painful reading:

Two months on from Britain’s EU referendum and economists are still assessing the damage from what has variously been described as “an act of self harm” a “tragic split” and “the most stupid idea of the century”. The initial panic that saw property funds shutting down and businesses wondering whether they’d have to shut up shop, is over. But it has become very clear that a decision of breathtaking recklessness and stupidity has cost UK companies billions if not trillions of pounds. And the price will continue to be paid for years to come. Here, then, is an overview of what we know so far and what we can expect from multiple economic and business sectors. Welcome to The Independent’s guide to post-Brexit Britain. 

The City

Much was made of US bank Wells Fargo’s £300m purchase of a new London HQ shortly after the EU referendum. It had planned the purchase prior to the vote, but with the pound falling against the dollar in its wake, it got an unexpectedly good price. 
“See, it’ll be alright,” said Brexit Backers. “Wells Fargo are staying. Erm, by the way, who are they?”
Well, Wells is actually a giant retail bank that doesn’t do all that much business in Europe. The big investment banks that do, and that fuel the City of London, have taken a rather different view to it. 
HSBC warned that it could shift jobs to Paris in the event of an “out” vote before the EU referendum. Its US peers have been saying much the same thing in its aftermath. At the start of the month Goldman Sachs warned that it may have to “restructure” its UK operations which currently employ about 6,000 people. JP Morgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon earlier said that his bank might have to move thousands of employees to other European centres. Similar noises have been rumoured at Morgan Stanley. 
The key to whether they do that will be what happens to the “passport rights” that the UK’s EU membership provides them with. These rights mean that UK based banks are free to sell their services across the EU. 
Some 87 per cent of US banks’ European staff work in London and if those rights are retained most, but not all, will probably stay put. If they don’t, if the fundamentalists screaming for “real Brexit” win, the City of London will be much diminished. So will the UK’s tax base, because bankers pay quite a lot of tax even if their employers largely avoid it.  

The markets 

The FTSE 250 suffered a 11.4 per cent fall immediately after the result
It didn’t come as any great surprise to see the FTSE 100 lurching into the red after the referendum. Its retreat was short lived and Brexit backers have been able to point to its recovery as evidence of Britain’s strength. That’s disingenuous at best. The index is dominated by big multinational companies that make most of their money overseas: mining companies, banks and pharmaceutical outfits with profits largely denominated in dollars or dollar linked currencies. They are thus shielded from the Brexit beat down. The UK is only a small component of their business.
The FTSE 250, made up of smaller domestic companies, has also recovered, but its rebound has been much slower and the index has under performed relative to its big brother. The shape of things to come for the UK economy? Quite probably. It will likely also underperform other big economies even if things go well, and it’s a big if. There may be a boost to exporters from the sterling’s dramatic fall against the dollar, and euro, the yen and just about every other major currency of note. But the raw materials they import will get more expensive, so it isn’t quite as good as it looks on the surface. 


Several property funds were suspended in the wake of Brexit. The initial panic about the impact of Brexit on commercial property and London lettings has subsided but the outlook remains cloudy. Residential property has also been hit. Estate agent Countrywide reckons prices in London’s fanciest neighbourhoods will fall six per cent this year following a five per cent drop in 2015. The effect of the Brexit bombshell is set to ripple out through what it describes as the “super suburbs” – Hampstead, Highgate, Barnes – where it says prices will dip by 1.5 per cent next year. Outer suburbs will be largely immune but prices across London as a whole should rise 3.5 per cent this year before falling by 1.25 per cent next year. Across the country growth is expected to slow to 2.5 per cent in 2016 with residential property prices falling by 1.25 per cent in 2017 before recovering in 2018. 

Interest rates 

The Bank of England surprised many by not cutting rates in July, only to shave a quarter point to leave base rates at a record low of 0.25 per cent earlier this month. It also re-started its programme of “quantitative easing” – buying bonds as a way of getting money into the economy. More could follow and don’t be surprised if base rates hit 0.1 per cent before the year is out. It’s terrible news for savers, moderately good news for borrowers (a quarter point cut doesn’t lower mortgage repayments by very much). All those baby boomers and gen X-ers who voted for Brexit are getting hoisted by their own petards in this respect while their offspring will find it easier to manage their debts. So there’s a silver lining for them even if it’s not very easy to see it.


Once Britain’s lone tech superstar, ARM Holdings was the subject of a takeover bid from Japanese tech investor SoftBank just days after the referendum result was in. 
The £24.3bn the Japanese company offered looked like a knock out bid and represented a 43 per cent premium to ARM’s closing share price before the deal was announced. However, sterling’s tumble against the yen took 30 per cent off the price for SoftBank.
Many were unhappy with the deal, not least ARM founder Hermann Hauser who described it as a “sad day”. However, just as ARM is a unique company, SoftBank is a unique purchaser. Its acquisition of ARM won’t lead to mass job losses as a result of the need to justify the price, nor are there any plans to break the ARM out of Cambridge’s Silicon Fen. Quite the reverse. Future predators – and the weak pound means there is a widespread expectation that there will be a lot of them circling the pride of Britain’s corporate sector – may not be so benevolent. 
The Government has said “asset strippers” are not welcome. But there is not a whole lot it can do to prevent them with the system as it stands. “Buy British and make it work,” said a Brexiter of my acquaintance. That’s going to be even more difficult than it was before the referendum if the sell-off of Britain’s best companies proceeds as expected. 

Employment, pay and inflation 

An unexpected piece of good news? The first post-Brexit data on jobs caught economists by surprise with the claimant count falling by 8,600 to 763,000 in July according to official figures. The city had expected a rise of 9,500. It was the first monthly fall since February. Average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, also ticked up 2.3 per cent in the three months to the end of June. “Remainers were wrong,” screamed the Daily Express
However, unemployment is a lagging indicator. Redundancy programmes are costly and disruptive. Firms also know that they stand to lose people they’d rather keep. So they tend to delay implementation until they have to, until the economic picture is clear. That’s not to say the post-Brexit numbers don’t represent good news. But they should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. The real picture will take time to develop and the smart money is that unemployment will start to increase before too long. That means wage growth should slow, and with the pound’s fall starting to fuel inflation, people’s living standards will move into reverse. 

Business confidence 

Economic surveys of business confidence are leading indicators. They give a view of the shape of things to come by polling decision makers on their plans. They indicate a bleak outlook. Markit CIPS PMI data for construction, manufacturing and, crucially, the dominant services sector showed sharp falls in July. The latter’s tumble from 52.3 to 47.4 (anything under 50 indicates contraction) was the sharpest fall on record. Manufacturing dropped to 48.2 in July from 52.4, while construction hit 45.9, down from an already dreadful 46.0 recorded in June. If those figures are reflected in the official figures – and there is sometimes disagreement between these surveys and the numbers put out by the Office for National Statistics – they will read through to a 0.4 per cent contraction in the UK economy in the third quarter of 2016.


One of the first casualties of the “out” vote was former chancellor George Osborne’s budget deficit reduction target. The aim of a surplus by 2019-2020 was looking challenging even when the economy was humming. His successor Philip Hammond isn’t even going to try to hit it. He had barely got his feet under his new desk at Number 11 Downing Street before he was talking of a more “gradual” approach. The Government’s new policy will become clearer when Mr Hammond unveils his autumn statement. HSBC, for one, thinks that abandoning the 2020 target could give him room to hike borrowing by £50bn in the next financial year. The aim would be to spend the money on infrastructure, thus pepping up a stalling economy. It might even work. But it might not. 


Ahead of the Brexit vote, economists had predicted growth would continue close to the jaunty 0.6 percent achieved in the second quarter. However, median forecasts in the latest poll conducted by Reuters showed the economy would contract 0.1 percent this quarter and next. Two consecutive quarters of contraction is what you need to meet the technical definition of “recession”. 
It is true that things have stabilised since the initial panic, but the UK is still in the midst of suffering an economic shock. When that blonde conman Boris Johnson declared “project fear” to be over he was right only in that the dark predictions made prior to the referendum had started to come true. The fear has become our reality. 
Even if the UK avoids the worst of the nasties predicted prior to the EU referendum it has already lost billions, if not trillions of pounds. There will be no £350m a week extra for the NHS, one of the most egregious lies put about by the Leave campaign.
There is a reason that almost every respected economist supported Remain, with only the neo-Thatcherites, nobodies, and right-wing nodding dogs who make up the membership of Economists for Brexit speaking up for Leave.
The longer term outlook remains uncertain, incredibly so, and business doesn’t like uncertainty. Faced with it, bosses tend to horde cash rather than invest, with damaging consequences for the wider economy. Much, of course, still depends on the shape of the Brexit that emerges from our political leadership. Will the UK remain inside or out of the single market, for example? If the fundamentalists win that debate, expect much worse to come, and a second shock at the very least. In the event of a Brexit-lite we’ll be poorer than we would have been in the EU, but it should be bearable. 
Some have suggested Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty may ultimately never be triggered. If that does happen, the UK, or what remains of it if Scotland departs, will still take years to get back what we have lost. 

Don't Buy it for a Minute

Between long lines, totalitarian shampoo restrictions, and the disappearance of in-flight meals, air travel has never felt like more of a hassle. But researchers say one common frustration may be worth it: Their study of domestic flights, published in the journal Management Sciencefound that charging baggage fees makes domestic flights more likely to depart on time.
The baggage-fee concept began in early 2007 when discount carrier Spirit Airlines started charging passengers for their second checked bag. A few months later, they expanded the policy to include all checked baggage. Other airlines took notice, and by December 2008, almost every major domestic airline had jumped aboard the luggage-fee bandwagon.
Passengers were understandably irritated. Charging additional fees on top of already expensive ticket prices felt like adding insult to injury, and for what? So corporations could squeeze even more money out of helpless travelers?
Partially, yes. In the first year alone, U.S. airlines raked in more than a billion dollars in baggage fees. But listen, the airlines protested as they swam through piles of money like Scrooge McDuck. We’re doing this for your own good. They claimed the fees would discourage people from checking their baggage. With a lower volume of suitcases to transfer between flights, baggage handlers could work faster, thereby getting flights off the ground closer to their scheduled departure times.
Consumers weren’t buying it, a fact the few remaining fee-free airlines decided to exploit. Southwest Airlines launched an ad campaign that declared, “Fees Don’t Fly with Us,” followed by “Bags Fly Free.” Critics argued that discouraging checked baggage would lead to overstuffed carry-ons, which would result in more delays, not fewer.
As it turns out, the fee-positive airlines were right. A team of researchers from four U.S. universities analyzed airline profits, flight delays, and customer service complaints from May 2007 to May 2009 (the period before, during, and after most major airlines started charging fees).
They found that luggage fees reduced flight delays for all domestic airlines—even those that didn’t charge—by 1.3 to 2 minutes. Airlines improved their median departure time between 3.3 to 4.2 minutes. "Because passengers changed their behavior, less weight went into the plane below the cabin," co-author and management expert Mazhar Arikan said in a press statement. "This offset any changes in carry-on luggage, and it helped airlines improve their on-time departure performance. The below-the-cabin effect dominates the above-the-cabin effect."
Because flights were more likely to leave on time, the implementation of baggage fees also decreased the number of customer service complaints.
Sadly, Southwest’s smug ad campaigns came back to bite them in the rear compartment. While they did experience a boost in on-time departures, their boost was smaller than other airlines. Anybody with baggage suddenly had an incentive to fly Southwest, and regular Southwest passengers still had no reason not to bring luggage. The researchers say the delays are costing the airline about $59 million each year.
It’s still true that airlines are looking out for their own bottom lines. But in this case, that may not be such a bad thing.

My photo

So let me get this straight.  To save us between 1.3 to 4.2 minutes, we should be thanking the airlines for charging us to carry bags in the hold?  Yeah right.

And as to encouraging us to fly with hand luggage only, what of the people who take on multiple bags and hog all the overhead cabin spaces?

No wonder air rage is rife.

Many a...

Whether we’re waffling between Facebook and Twitter, beer and wine, or pure goodness and diabolical evil, few of us are steadfast enough to avoid some flip-flopping—and inconstancy must be an ancient quality, because there are many old-fashioned words for the flighty. Make sure to use them the next time you dither.


Shittle, which goes back to the 1400s, means, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Inconstant, variable, wavering; fickle, flighty; hasty, rash.” In 1676, Aylett Sammes’ Britannia Antiqua Illustrata, Or the Antiquities of Ancient Britain demonstrated the changeability inherent in the term, describing a leader who “had once an intention to Invade Britain, but by his shittle Head, sudden repentance, and mighty designs against Germany, all came to nothing.” If you’re about as reliable as a ditzy dunderhead, you can also be called shittle-brained, shittle-headed, or the pleasingly rhyming shittle-witted.


This rare term is a bit euphemistic. It sounds like positive term for a decisive, stalwart hero, but sometimes refers to someone so overwhelmed by choices they can’t make a single one. Way back in 1591, the term was used by Edmund Spenser in his collection Complaints: “None of these ... Mote please his fancie ... His choicefull sense with euerie change doth flit.” In other words, that fella can’t make up his damn mind.


Reduplicative words are an untrustworthy bunch, with many meaning some form of malarkey, such as fiddle-faddle, jibber-jabber, and mumbo jumbo. So it’s fitting that bingle-bangle is a word for flippy-floppy behavior. This term, which showed up rarely in the 1800s, comes from a meaning of bangle that refers to the apparently aimless fluttering of a bird. Bingle-bangle-ness likewise involves a fluttering and frittering about, lost in the fog of fickledom.


Another reduplicative term with a flimsy meaning is shilly-shally, which has had several forms and uses, all relating to indecisiveness, since about 1700. This term can be an adjective, describing shilly-shally stuff and nonsense, and also a noun meaning fickleness. An 1847 example by Thomas De Quincey uses the word to describe its opposite: “She lost not one of her forty-five minutes in picking and choosing. No shilly-shally in Kate.”


This word can refer to many moony attributes, but especially the sense that the moon is influencing you—maybe not to lycanthropy, but perhaps to wishy-washiness. Moonish has been around since the 1400s, and it appeared in Shakespeare’s As You Like It in 1616: “At which time would I, being but a moonish youth, greeue, be effeminate, changeable ...”


Today, if you’re described as versatile, you’d likely take it as a compliment, meaning you can do this, that, and a lot of other things. But the history of versatility is a tad disreputable. The OED has several examples that demonstrate how ill-regarded versatility was, including quotations from 1659 (“To mold, the versatle hypocrisy of his depraved mind”) and 1882 (“He is too versatile, too soft-hearted and impressionable.)” This meaning deserves a comeback: versatile should live up to its own meaning.


This obscure word is related to frittering, which the fickle do at an Olympic level. In 1579, the term popped up in a translation of a Jean Calvin sermon: “We are so frittle, that though the way be plaine and beaten before vs, yet can we hardly lift vp one foote.”


weathercock is a rooster-ish weathervane whose name took a metaphorical turn as a word for people who also shift easily with the breeze. This term appears in Shakespeare’s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost: “What plume of fethers is he that indited this letter? What vaine? What Wethercock?” The adjectival form is the amusing weathercocky. Another variation is a synonym for fickleness that showed up in an 1887 issue of London’s Saturday Review: “To do these Radicals justice, there is a great deal of consistency in their weathercockism.”


The first uses of this word, found in the 1600s, had a simple sense: lasting a week. In the 1700s, this word evolved to refer to folks who change their minds once a week. This sentence, from Edmund Burke in 1797, describes a timeless and unpleasant experience: “Listening to variable, hebdomadal politicians, who run away from their opinions without giving us a month's warning.”

Tits Up

Why are breasts called boobs?
two-orangesThere’s an oft repeated and decidedly untrue claim that Eskimos have hundreds of words for “snow”. (Beyond the fact that there is no single “Eskimo language”, when talking about the wider Eskimo-Aleut language family, these actually have roughly the same number of root-words for snow as English.) The false claim that they have drastically more is sometimes used to demonstrate how limited the English language is when it comes to coming up with words for things, which is a little unfair considering how many synonyms currently exist for “breasts”. Of the numerous slang terms we have to describe lady-lumps, none is as non-controversial or ubiquitous as the word “boobs”. So where did the word “boobs” come from?
There’s an old joke that posits that the word “Boob” came about because it serves as a visual representation of what a pair of breasts look like from three key viewing angles, above (B), the front (oo) and the side (b) respectively. Unsurprisingly, this is just a happy accident, rather than a serious origin story.
As we’ve previously mentioned in our article on why certain traps are called “booby traps”, according to theOxford English Dictionary the earliest written example of the word “boob” being used to specifically describe breasts comes from the 1934 novel, Tropic of Cancer: “She was lying on the divan with her boobies in her hands.”
The author of that masterpiece, Henry Miller, is also often credited for the first recorded use of the slight modification, “boobs”. This occurred in another product of his literary genius, published in 1949, called Sexus in which he states,
I felt her sloshy boobs joggling me but I was too intent on pursuing the ramifications of Coleridge’s amazing mind to let her vegetable appendages disturb me…
However, upon a much more comprehensive review than just consulting the normally impeccably accurate Oxford English Dictionary, we found an earlier example of the word “boob” used in this way in the lesser known 1932 novel Young Lonigan, by James T. Farrell. In that work, you will find the line:
Studs didn’t usually pay attention to how girls looked, except to notice the shape of their legs, because if they had good legs they were supposed to be good for you-know, and if they didn’t they weren’t; and to notice their boobs, if they were big enough to bounce.
Needless to say, whether Miller, who was well known for his works of erotic, breast-centric fiction, wrote his “boobies” line before 1932 or not, it’s generally thought he did not coin this term for breasts, nor likely did Farrell.
Now, you are probably aware that the word “boob” can also be used to describe a “stupid”, “foolish”, or otherwise “clumsy” person. This particular definition is generally thought to have derived from the Spanish word “bobo” which roughly means “dunce”. This Spanish word, in turn, comes from the Latin “balbus” meaning “stammering”. There is also a less accepted theory that “boob”, meaning “stupid”, has Gaelic origins.
boobie-birdWhatever the case, the word “booby,” in English, first popped up in the sense of “fool” or “dummy” around the late sixteenth century and within decades was applied to birds of the Sula genus. These birds have very large feet that make them look clumsy and foolish when they walk or run, instead of fly. In addition, they would often land on ships and are supposedly exceptionally easy to catch, making them popular fair for sailors, who began calling the birds “boobies” for their perceived stupidity. Since then, this term has been applied to all manner of things such as the “boob-tube” (idiot box), “booby trap” (trap for dummies), and “booby prize” (prize for the biggest loser).
You might be tempted to think from this that the definition of “stupid” gave rise to “boob” being used to describe breasts, perhaps because of the way they can sometimes make men do stupid things or because of something akin to the false stereotype of a “dumb blonde”. In fact, this line of thinking is generally cited by those few who are offended by the use of the term “boob” as being the reason the term is offensive to them- that “boobs” derives from a word that means “stupid” and hence it’s kind of like calling women stupid.
However, etymologists don’t generally think this is the case; the evidence seems to indicate that “boobs”, meaning “breasts”, has an entirely separate and decidedly more innocent etymology, likely via the word “bubby”, meaning “breast”. As to where “bubby” came from, the two leading theories here are either via the German “bübbi”, meaning “teat” (not well supported via documented evidence), or simply via baby talk.
As we’ve discussed at length before, (for full and quite fascinating details see: Why Do We Call Parents Mom and Dad?), the first words children inevitably vocalise will often use consonants like P, B, D, and M in a repetitive fashion, creating formerly nonsensical words like “papa”, “dada”, “mama”, and, most relevant to the topic at hand, “buh-buh”. Thus, if “bubby” didn’t just derive from the German for “teat”, it’s generally thought it came from these vocalisations.
It has also been widely speculated that perhaps “bubby” was only partially from baby vocalisations, and in fact was just a child-speak variation of the Latin for “little girl”, “pūpa”, the feminine gender of “pūpus” (little boy), which itself may be a word that has its origins in baby-talk. However, we couldn’t find any documented connection between “pūpa” and “boob” other than a whole lot of sources claiming this without providing even the smallest amount of evidence to support the claim. So until such evidence presents itself, we’re going to remain skeptical on this one.
(Interestingly, in the mid-19th century, “bubby” was a slang term for “little boy”, but unfortunately for making a connection between “pūpus” and “bubby” meaning “breast”, “bubby” meaning “boy” first occurred almost two centuries after “bubby” was being used to describe mammaries.)
In any event, the first reference to “bubby” or the plural “bubbies” being used to describe breast appeared in a 1686 poem in New Poems by Thomas D’urfey:
The Ladies here may without Scandal shew / Face or white Bubbies, to each ogling Beau.
The next known instance appeared in one of John Arbuthnot’s John Bull pamphlets written in 1712, where it states:
One of the things, that first alarmed me, was, that they showed a spite against my poor old mother *. “Lord,” quoth I, “what makes you so jealous of a poor, old, innocent gentlewoman, that minds only her prayers, and her Practice of Piety: she never meddles in any of your concerns?” “Foh,” say they, “to see a handsome, brisk, genteel, young fellow, so much governered by a doating old woman! Why don’t you go and suck the bubby?
Thirteen years later in Richard Bradley’s Family Dictionary (vol. ii), it gives a method for helping women express milk, “But if on the contrary a Woman has no occasion for Milk, there are more Ways than one to make her lose it. First, Let her put Chervil upon her Bubbies and under her Arm-pits…”
While the OED states that this term soon became obsolete, in fact, there are numerous instances of it being used since then, even up to the present day, with it thought that this ultimately gave rise to the word “boobies” and its many variants around the 1920s.
Moving swiftly on, in regards to why “boobs” seems to be the most popular synonym for breasts, it has been speculated that it may have something to do with the fact that, for whatever reason, most people don’t seem to find the word offensive, unlike many other synonyms for breasts that tend to draw a little more ire like “tities”, “chesticles”, “God’s milk jugs”, or “fun bags”. In fact, in 2013, Bonds, an Australian women’s clothing chain did a survey and found that 74% of Australian women typically used the word “boobs” to refer to their own breasts. As such, the company went ahead and decided to use the word in their “Bonds for Boobs” ad campaign, which both advertised their bra product line as well as a partnership they’d made with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Nevertheless, as we can very much attest to, someone is wont to get upset about pretty much everything if you’ve got a wide enough audience. Unsurprisingly, a few people did complain to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) over Bonds’ use of the word “boobs”. In response, the ASB reviewed the ad campaign wording and graphics and concluded that there was nothing in the advertisement that was inappropriate for a broad audience and Bonds was allowed to continue to run the ad. No doubt Bonds was grateful for the complainers drawing media attention to their ad campaign.
Of course, the bigger question in all of this is how I’m going to convincingly explain away my search history the last couple days while researching this article… “I swear, honey, I was researching boobs… FOR SCIENCE!”
Bonus Facts:
  • Like “boob”, meaning “breast”, and “boob”, meaning “stupid”, “tit”, meaning “breast”, and “tit”, as a name for a small bird, has decidedly different origins.  The bird word is thought to derive from Norse word “tita”, meaning “small bird or animal”.  In contrast, “tit” meaning “breast” is just a variant of “teat”, directly deriving from the Old English “titt”, meaning “breast” or “nipple”, ultimately from the Proto-Germanic *titta.  The variant “titty” was first attested in the late 18th century as a nursery derivative of “teat”. Interestingly, for a time in the 16th century, “tit” as in “small animal or object” was also a term for a girl or young woman. Other places this “small X” definition has been applied includes titmouse and tomtit.
  • As for “breast”, this seems to ultimately derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhreus, meaning “to swell, sprout”.
  • “Nipple” derives from the Old English “neb”, meaning “beak”, “face”, or “nose”, or more literally “a small projection”.

Bog Off to the Burkini?

Old man at the beach in a thong
An obese old man using a postage-sized strip of material to ‘hide’ his genitals has taken offence at a woman wearing a burkini.
Harold Williams, 67, explained that when at the beach he should be free to enjoy himself while basting in oil without looking at things he doesn’t like.
He explained, “My Dad didn’t fight in the war so that women could wear what they want at the beach.
“The burkini is an affront to the freedoms I believe in, and women shouldn’t be free to wear them just because they feel like it.
“If people were free to do what they like, and wear what they want, where would we be? Probably communist China, that’s where.
Williams then bent over to pick up his book to the audible gasps of other beachgoers while revealing that his nose isn’t the only orifice sprouting massive amounts of hair.
As mothers covered the eyes of their young children, Williams continued, “I just think that if you’re going to come to the beach, you should be respectful with what you wear.
“Nobody wants to see that, do they.  Now, would you mind rubbing that baby oil into my back?”


Mosquitoes carrying malaria are repelled by chickens.

Speaking Sarfend

Southend Phrasebook

Well Said

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
Noel Coward
English actor, dramatist, & songwriter (1899 - 1973)

Back to Town

In need of another hard drive so back to the shops to pick one up.  I could wait until next week but I am enjoying popping in and having a good old window shop.

We have so many malls and shopping precincts that it is always changing and never the same for long.  You just don't get bored.


Since the post office has revamped its website, we had to register new details to be able to log on and access our account details.  Wifey has since cleared up the fraudulent entry and having reported it, it was cancelled and a new card has duly arrived.

I too have sorted out my account but somehow a bogus digit was recorded in one of my passwords and now I have to stop and think to sign in.

They say it's good to have different passwords for different sites and while we do, I would have preferred to have had my old details repeated.  Oh well, that will have fun with my Virgoan (and that is a real word) OCD...

As it Is


The Grand Ole Opry

If like me you haven't heard of this venue, come and get acquainted.

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country-music stage concert inNashville, Tennessee, which was founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM. Currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment (a division of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.), it is the longest-running radio broadcast in US history, albeit not the longest-running one on a radio network.[1][2] Dedicated to honoring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrassfolk,gospel, and comedic performances and skits.[3] It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions of radio and Internet listeners.
The Opry's current primary slogan is "The Show that Made Country Music Famous".[4] Other slogans include "Home of American Music" and "Country’s Most Famous Stage".[3]
In the 1930s the show began hiring professionals and expanded to four hours; and WSM, broadcasting by then with 50,000 watts, made the program a Saturday night musical tradition in nearly 30 states.[5] In 1939, it debuted nationally on NBC Radio. The Oprymoved to a permanent home, the Ryman Auditorium, in 1943. As it developed in importance, so did the city of Nashville, which became America's "country music capital".[6] The Grand Ole Opryholds such significance in Nashville that its name is included on the city/county line signs on all major roadways. The signs read "Music City | Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County | Home of the Grand Ole Opry".
Membership in the Opry remains one of country music's crowning achievements.[7] Such country music legends as Hank WilliamsPatsy ClineMarty RobbinsRoy Acuff, the Carter familyBill MonroeErnest TubbKitty Wells and Minnie Pearl became regulars on the Opry's stage. In recent decades, the Opry has hosted such contemporary country stars as Dolly PartonAlan JacksonGarth BrooksReba McEntireJosh TurnerCarrie UnderwoodBrad PaisleyRascal FlattsDierks BentleyBlake Shelton and the Dixie Chicks. Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville, with an annual three-month winter foray back to the Ryman since 1999. Performances have been sporadically televised in addition to the radio programs.

I Saw the Light

The (long) story of Hank Williams.

I am not a C & F fan (I hadn't even heard of the Grand Old Opry) but I had heard of Hank Williams, often referenced to by Johnny Cash in his music which I am a fan of, so I figured we'd give it a go.

Stirling performances by the cast but overly long and slow.  We picked up early on he was an alcoholic and played the field while on tour but the rest of the time we barely scratched his music catalogue and when they did, I realised I recognised far more songs that I didn't know Williams had written.

Having watched two whole hours (I nearly aborted half way through) I feel I barely knew the guy and wonder what else he did.  For me this was a two dimensional attempt to offer the viewer a look into the man's whole life and all I takeaway was he got pissed and shagged around.

I would have hoped for more.

The Wire 5

Three episodes in and I can finally convince myself we haven't seen this series before.  It's now set in the world of journalism and the hunt is on to bring to justice not only the drug barons of Baltimore, but also corrupt senators.

It's building well, the acting is still as good as ever and I am really looking forward to seeing how this climaxes.

Avon Calling

We had an experience that has not occurred to us before.  Our door bell rang at gone 22:00.  It's obviously been rung before, Khun Ayr arriving, K & D calling for us and sometimes someone from maintenance, but always during "working hours".

Intrigued, we copped a look through the peephole and saw our neighbours opposite.  Seems one of them, perhaps a little bit worse for wear, may have pressed on our doorbell by mistake, waiting to be let in.

No problems, just a bit of a surprise.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Here's the Whole List

100. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)
100. Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)
100. Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010)
99. The Gleaners and I (Agnès Varda, 2000)
98. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)
97. White Material (Claire Denis, 2009)
96. Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003)
95. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
94. Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
93. Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007)
92. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
91. The Secret in Their Eyes (Juan José Campanella, 2009)
90. The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002)
89. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel, 2008)
88. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)
87. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
86. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)
85. A Prophet (Jacques Audiard, 2009)
84. Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
83. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001)
82. A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)
81. Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)
80. The Return (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003)
79. Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000)
78. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
77. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007)
76. Dogville (Lars von Trier, 2003)
75. Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014)
74. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2012)
73. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
72. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
71. Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012)
70. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
69. Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
68. The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson, 2001)
67. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)
66. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring (Kim Ki-duk, 2003)
65. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)
64. The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
63. The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)
62. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
61. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
60. Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)
59. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
58. Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembène, 2004)
57. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
56. Werckmeister Harmonies (Béla Tarr, director; Ágnes Hranitzky, co-director, 2000)
55. Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2013)
54. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
53. Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001)
52. Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
51. Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
50. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015)
49. Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014)
48. Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015)
47. Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014)
46. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
45. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
44. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
43. Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)
42. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
41. Inside Out (Pete Docter, 2015)
40. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
39. The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)
38. City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002)
37. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)
36. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)
35. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)
34. Son of Saul (László Nemes, 2015)
33. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
32. The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
31. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
30. Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003)
29. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
28. Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002)
27. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)
26. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
25. ​Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
24. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
23. Caché (Michael Haneke, 2005)
22. Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
21. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
20. Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
19. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)
18. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009)
17. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006)
16. Holy Motors (Leos Carax, 2012)
15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
14. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)
13. Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
12. Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)
10. No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
9. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
8. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Edward Yang, 2000)
7. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
5. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
4. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
3. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
2. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
1. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)