A good edge

As someone who enjoys cooking, I like to get reasonable tools for the job. To be specific, knives. Recently I picked up some reasonable German made knives as part of an end of line promotion, which filled a gap in my culinary toolbox. I needed a decent Santoku for chopping, Japanese style, which was part of the set, but, and this is a big but, they’re not so satisfying to use as my ten inch wood handled full-tang Sabatier K, a handy Chef’s knife I bought when we were down in South Carolina on our 2016 cross-USA road trip.

There’s nothing fancy about it as a cooks knife because it’s simply a stamped and forged flat blank with a riveted hardwood handle. Yet none of my other cooking knives can hold a candle to it as far as holding an edge is concerned. Yes it’s heavy, the web of the blade is over 3.5mm (3/16ths of an inch) thick and the handle is pretty chunky and unrefined, but no other blade out of my serried collection of carbon and stainless steel cutting implements handles so well on the cutting board for day to day slicing and chopping. I’ve even sliced soft bread with it. Try that with a traditional cooks knife without squashing the grain of the loaf. Yet there’s nothing really special about it. Perhaps that explains why this particular piece of kit holds the place of prominence it does on my kitchen counter. Because of the sheer weight of steel in the blade it will also chop and hack as well as a light cleaver. Which is very useful for those days when bone or cartilage needs to be cut through with a single sharp blow. Yes it can and does cut beef and pork ribs. No nicks in the blade so far and it’s seen fourteen months of daily abuse at my hands. I’d say it was good kit.

Yes, and I’ve finally potted out my tomato plants which as you can see by the picture below are doing quite nicely.

So that’s it for the moment. The pantomime of BREXIT continues with the drunken lord making ridiculous pronouncements from stage left and the Demon King pops up and down through a handy trapdoor like a demented Yo-yo. Sterling is rising slowly again, well it has been over the last week, but no doubt one market panic will send it slithering back down again.

To close, I just saw the trailer for this amusing little Armando Iannucci movie which won’t be released over here. Which is a great pity. Rather like with Brian Cox in ‘Churchill‘, there’s no Canadian or US release date. There should be.

Because the cast is terrific and would make a welcome change from the usual Hollywood blockbuster bullshit.

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Confirmation of bias

Well, today I potted out my tomato plants into two larger receptacles for window ledges and made a few more handy little tripod supports for my (hopefully) impending crop of fresh tomatoes, the first tranche of which should be ready in a few months. The winds are picking up, the temperature has dropped over ten degrees since September and we’re getting some rain at long last. It’s been a long hot summer, which generally presages a very sharp cold Winter, so I’m glad Mrs S and I will be visiting family in the fabled land of Oz this festering season.

So, what’s in the ‘olds’* this week? Hollywood Producer falls from grace and is finally denounced by all the women he took sexual advantage of? Well is this news? Not really. Hollywood is a corrupt and gilded sewer, it cannot help be anything else. Showbiz has long been known as a haven for those with ‘diverse’ sexual interests. Actors, Actresses, Producers and Directors make other people happy, so they want to be made happy in return. Sex, drugs, whatever floats their boat. Unless they’re happy to be working in Repertory where the rewards are small.

As for certain actresses, some would argue that some are no better than they should be and that using their sexual appeal to bolster their careers is hard wired into their profession. Why? Because theatrical folk have long been known for such excesses. Indeed, fame has long been considered a bulwark against negative outcomes for licentious and what some would call immoral behaviour. Anyone who has read Molière (17th century) in particular Tartuffe or any of his other works would understand this. Molière held up a mirror to the misdeeds of his time and merits careful examination. In England too, theatres for centuries had the reputation of ‘Bawdy houses‘. Not to mention that the history of the theatre is richly laced with the taint of alcoholic and sexual excess. Going all the way back before Marlowe in the 16th Century. In the 20th century there was the Hollywood ‘Rat Pack’ whose alcoholic and sexual exploits are near legendary.

Also the irony of having someone whose main talent lies in portraying exaggerated emotion and parroting the words of others lecture the public on moral issues. Which comes across as, mm, how can I say this? No, there’s no other word for it; nauseating. The posturing of some people at ‘awards’ ceremonies is hard to stomach.

That irony doubles down because a number of the accusers who have only surfaced when it’s safe to do so, are those who have publicly decried sexism and racism and pretended to stand up for the rights of ‘wimmen’. Forgive me if I’m not convinced of their virtue. The very self same people have previously publicly defended Weinstein and the like. No, honestly, nothing to see here. Pass the champagne and let’s go party hearty. Forgive me for thinking that they don’t just hold double, but quintuple standards.

As for anyone pretending to be ‘shocked’ oh come on. Casting couch and similar tales have been filtering out ever since the first movies were made. Sexually abused child ‘stars’. Thespians literally prostituting themselves to those with the money and power over who does what. Young women spreading their legs to anyone who can get them a part in a movie. Sorry folks, but to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, this is just not news. So why the hell is anyone even remotely surprised? Just because the biggest turd has now been flushed out doesn’t stop it being a sewer.

*’News’ to some. To the informed, not so much.

Cognitive dissonance

Famous anniversaries post coming up. Some might have noticed, although I’d have missed it completely unless reminded that it’s fifty years since a blood soaked psychopath met his end in front of a South American firing squad.

A mass murderer and torturer executed? Good riddance to bad rubbish one might say, and you’d be right. Yet the very self same blood soaked psycho is lauded in some circles as a hero. Indeed, his likeness is found posted on many a Western Universities student union wall and t-shirt to celebrate left wing revolutionary fervour. Movies have been made of his life before he became a mass murderer. Yet this person is celebrated, even deified, despite the many evils he perpetrated.

So let’s look at his bio; Scion of a wealthy family, Medical School dropout, socialist revolutionary, Gay hater, child murderer, mass executioner. All of these things are absolutely true. Or to put it another way; a homophobic psychotic killer, rapist, racist and wastrel. A child murderer to boot. Not exactly the sort of person one would be inclined to invite to dinner.

Yet his image is deified in all places as the Winnipeg museum of Human Rights. I’ve seen it. Although I can’t be sure if it’s there as an exemplar or a warning. Even though it doesn’t flag up on the museums web site. Like the documentation of the Holocaust (11 million killed in death camps by the National Socialism) the Ukrainian Holodomor (12-20 million starved to death by the forced collectivism of Lenin and Stalin). The killing fields of Cambodia clocked up just shy of 1.4 million by Pol Pots communist regime. Well, that’s the actual number of dead they’ve found to date. Estimates of that era’s Cambodian atrocities head north of 3.4 million. Some simply for the ‘crimes’ of talking to western missionaries or selling produce to feed their families. Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Ba’athist (ostensibly Socialist) regime for mass murder of Kurds and Marsh Arabs in the late 1980’s managed barely 200,000 according to some estimates.

By the by, other 20th and early 21st century genocides by right leaning and religious governments have struggled to reach even Cuban levels. Which by contrast was small potatoes, barely reaching hundreds of thousands in body count. For which the icon of veneration below was partially responsible. We might as well venerate people like ex-Catholic Priest and Nazi collaborator Petar Brzica, an horrific individual who boasted of killing 1360 Serbians, Jews and Roma, as well as Croat and Bosniak dissidents, in a single session. With a knife, no less.

There is a strange cognitive dissonance native to those with extreme left or right wing political views, which says that killing people is the way to effect change for the better for a very strange value of ‘better’. In this way these extremists can be seen to be very stupid, because they don’t seem to understand that you can’t change the mind of a corpse, or kill an idea simply by first dehumanising, then murdering people. Because then they aren’t really people any more are they? And ideas can exist independently of individuals. The same can be said of various religious nutters from the Catholics of the medieval period to the modern resurrection of extreme Islam. In spite of the many religious wars and mass killings that flared throughout Medieval Europe, Judaism, Protestantism and Islam are still with us. There are still witches despite all those witch burnings and Cathars are still known in Southern France despite centuries of repression.

By way of contrast, it might be noted that one of the most, and rightly reviled political figures of the 20th century, also responsible for tens of millions of human extinctions, was a Europhile child and dog-loving vegan anti-smoking athiest(?) with strong environmentalist views. No prizes for guessing who that was.

All that the above have in common is that they wanted to force their chosen way of life on others and were more than happy to kill to do so. Yet leftist killers are applauded, venerated and even worshipped within some modern day seats of learning. Interesting, eh?

A little rogue English

Sometimes things just pop out. Especially if you haven’t done your zip up properly, but that’s another matter. Yesterday’s little turn of phrase turned up when I was out in the car, signaling left for the next set of lights when some dimwit in a grey Dodge Caravan carved across my path at speed then back into the lane to my right. I think there was less than six inches between us for a brief heart in mouth experience moment. Mrs S, in the passenger seat braced for an impact I was able to avoid by some pretty lively braking (Good reflexes there Bill) and shrieked loudly, it was that close. To the lack of road etiquette I responded loudly “What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” and indicated my displeasure to the offending driver, if you could call what she was doing driving, with a single upraised digit. Not that the zombiform item supposedly in control of the offending vehicle paid any attention, she seemed to think that smiling and waving made it all better. Goddamn stoner chick posing as a soccer mum.

Had I possessed a little more presence of mind I’d have logged her registration number and reported her as a possible Driving under the influence. But it’s easy to say that in hindsight. When you’re trying to avoid a large insurance claim, your attention tends to be a little more tightly focussed on your driving.

From the passenger seat came sudden peals of laughter. Which rather puzzled me despite briefly enjoying a little vented road rage at the offending driver. “Oh I must remember that one!” Exclaimed my lady wife.
“One what?”
“That saying.”
“Pardon?” I pulled up at the red stop light in the left hand filter, furrowing my brow.
“What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” She repeated.
“Oh that. Didn’t you see that crazy bitch?” I responded, still a trifle miffed at almost being run off the road into oncoming traffic.
“You do come up with them.”
“Up with what?” The filter light went green and we pulled out and turned left, watching for morons turning right into my lane instead of taking their turn like they’re supposed to.
“These rogue English sayings of yours.”
“Sorry.” I don’t swear that often. Not in real life anyway.
“No Bill. You make me laugh.”
“That bad, huh?” We turned into the car park and a parking space, watching all the time for more charm school dropouts.
“Not bad, just funny.”
“Sorry love, I just get fed up with the blind deaf and dumb sometimes. I have to vent.”
“You keep on venting like that. It keeps me amused.”
“Well I’m glad about that. Rogue English, eh? I like it.” I replied. Then I stalked off to the grocery store, still vibrating a bit from the anger, while she went to the pharmacy.

She was still grinning about it when I came back from my own errands.

Oh well. Whatever makes you happy…

I know those streets


…the streets of Barcelona. It’s one of the jewels of continental Europe and now the ground zero of the Catalan secession movement. I’ve sat and drunk coffee in front of the main cathedral, listened to the chatter around me, navigated the nearby flagstoned alleyways and peoplewatched the other tourists being startled by the dozen or so living statue mime artists that make a living at the foot of the Cathedral steps. It is one of my favourite European cities, one with a cultural identity you could bend rebar around. Like Seville, but not so much Madrid.

Now the Catelonians have voted for independence in a referendum the Madrid government and probably the EU, didn’t want them to have. The actions of the National Police riot squad have become global news which the Madrid government has totally mishandled. See this report from CGTN Africa below.

Regardless of whether the referendum itself was illegal, riot police beating up old ladies people for no better reason than they wanted to vote is like pointing a loaded gun at your foot, pulling the trigger and wondering why it hurts so bloody much. There is no way that is protecting anyone’s rights, or any form of justice, as claimed by the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, save that of wielding naked power for it’s own sake. Reporters on the ground say even the local city cops or ‘Mossos’, got in the way of the cruise shipped in riot police when ‘unofficial’ polling stations were raided. See the France24 video below and the linked story on RT.

And you thought that BREXIT was a big issue. Think of it this way, the Catalans are getting a dose of what the Spanish authorities have been doling out to the Basque since before 1876. This time however, the ‘rebels’ have tried to do things the right way, the peaceful and democratic way, yet the heavy hand of the Spanish authoritarian state has fallen upon them. As many libertarians and those who have fallen foul of any government department would say; “The State is not your friend.”

Update: After reading around and doing a little historical background I note that this is not the first ‘illegal’ referendum on Catalan independence.  The last was 2014 and before that smaller versions throughout 2009 to 2011.

Here’s a post referendum interview from Vlogger Tim Pool of expat journalist Simon Harris who is based in Barcelona.  Very enlightening insider perspective on Spanish political attitudes.

 

On the nature of trolls

Every so often in the Scriblerus group we get various types of trolling attacks. Which some justify with the WW2 derived dictum; “If you’re taking flak, you must be over the target.” Yes, we occasionally get abuse, which is why many of us have some form of moderation on our comments section because without it we’d be forever chasing our tails deleting dozens off topic comments intended to drag a discussion thread into a morass of a given trolls own unhinged obsessions. Whatever those might be.

For me this isn’t a problem, as I tend to have a rather simple ‘delete and ban’ policy toward provocateurs and police my WordPress spam filter assiduously. Theres also a handy feature in WordPress that blocks some anonymous proxies which I make use of to keep out the unwanted. My comments policy for this blog lays down some very simple rules which boil down to the following: if you’ve something to say and are willing to be civil, no problem. If you’re just abusively trolling just to see if I’ll bite, don’t even bother. You’ll waste your time and energy, not mine.

But what makes a troll? I’d call it a behaviour rather than a person. Someone who disagrees with me might indulge in a trollish attack, which in footballing terms would be called ‘playing the man, not the ball’ or if you prefer, foul play or underhand tactics. Lurking under bridges, attacking the unwary. Attacking the person, not addressing their arguments. Now that’s being a troll.

You can’t call someone Troll either simply for voicing an alternative or simply criticising a given point of view, as has been described by many of the more thin-skinned commentators out there. To them, any opposition is the work of ‘Internet Trolls’. Which isn’t true. At worst it’s heckling. A heckler openly tells you you’re being an idiot. A troll is the person who tries to push a speaker off their soapbox, throws rocks or tries to shut them up using the power of social media. Indeed, the Twitter and Facebook hate mobs who infest those benighted platforms are being trolls if they ‘go after’ someone for simply holding an opinion they don’t like, costing someone their job or damaging any other part of their social life. Which isn’t fair play by anyone’s standards.

In the words of Gomez Addams;

As for the Scriblerus group of bloggers, one thing we do when under attack is co-operate, acting as a mutual support group where an outside threat is trying to disrupt one or more of the contributors. This is a purely informal arrangement, but seeing as certain of our members have extensive experience of Interweb related stuff and a great deal of real-life experience, it works quite well. For any would be attacker I would point out that nothing on the internet is truly anonymous, just as there’s no such thing as a burglar proof house. There are only degrees of difficulty in tracking. So don’t be surprised if your nastiness comes back to bite you.

This is not to say that we in the Scriblerus group agree on everything (or anything), far from it, we might not fight like cats in a sack, but we can disagree without it turning into a mudslinging bitch-fest, regardless of style or content. It’s called maturity. We’re grown-ups (mostly). And we’ve retained our own individual senses of fun. With the emphasis on ‘our own’. So a little light ribbing between members does not lead to meltdowns or petty vendettas. Because we’re all (I think) about freedom of speech and opinion, in varying degrees. So long as it’s not destructive or abusive.

As for those taking umbrage at any point of view espoused within our loose coalition I’d say; “Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t make you right.”

Of course, this blog only reflects my personal view, you’d have to ask the other members of Scriblerus for theirs.

Like wot I wrote

Yesterday I was meandering through the back channels of the FT and came upon an article which intrigued me. It linked to a series of six youtube videos concerning active and passive phrasing in English. Fairly dry stuff you might think. Not so dear reader. There is considerable dusty passion raised within the grammarian community on this issue, even about misquoting Orwell over his famous active vs passive quote. What Professor Pullum says about Strunk & White, long thought the short cut to grammar expertise, is highly entertaining. Well, at least to anyone even vaguely interested in constructing cogent prose.

Most people’s eyes will glaze over and go away to watch a funny cat video when he starts talking about transitive verbs, but I found his six talks highly enlightening and a classic example of how groupthink and widely promoted misinformation can degrade a subject. Particularly such a critical one as English.

Like quoting out of context, because in communicating an idea, context is everything. Particularly from Orwell’s much quoted essay “Politics and the English language” in which he says;

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Now point iv is the one writing ‘gurus’ always trot out, but this raises the question; have they been abusing this quotation all along? Now I think point vi is the money shot because it tells the reader to ignore all of the above rules rather than write something which lacks clarity.

Because clarity in communicating ideas is everything and a soft word spoken truly is sharper than a swung Katana.

Chips with a twist

We’ve all suffered. Horrible oven chips with that mouth clogging floury aftertaste. Soggy fried potato strips which slip down the throat as though they were greased, but leave no enduring pleasure. Overdone, underdone, wobbling free and all phases in between. The humble chip or French fry is a difficult dish to get right.

Aficionado’s of this often-abused comestible recommend the double or even triple fried potato fries using electronic means to regulate the cooking temperature. Often recommending complex methods requiring washing, patting dry and sprinkling in salt distilled from a virgin’s tears, waiting times and special oils, or a special deep oil fryer that needs a protracted and labour intensive cleaning out after every use. Everyone has their own pet method. Well let me add my own.

Now cooking the humble French fry should not be a complicated or prolonged procedure. Yet getting it right from a standing start to produce a firm but crunchy end product that is thoroughly cooked is often a right bloody mission.

My own method came to me as a happy accident when I was looking at a way of cooking a small batch of fries just for me when I was running out of cooking oil. It’s very simple and you will need the following:
A Russet or baking potato.
1 pint of any old cooking oil.
A pan you don’t mind using for frying.
A microwave oven.
Seasoning to taste.

Method:
Put oil in pan and heat to medium high on stove.
Put potato in microwave oven and cook on full power, depending upon size from 5-9 minutes, turning once.
Leave to cool enough for handling (usually 5-10 minutes) while oil in pan heats up.
Peel loosened skin off Russet potato and cut naked spud into desired shape and size. I cut mine into at least 3/8 inch (9mm) thick slices of potato and strips of a similar cross section so they are square.
This method works best of all for really chunky chips or potato wedges. Almost more roast potato than chip. Throw cut chunks into hot oil and scoop ’em out after ten minutes or so when a light golden brown. Drain oil off using paper kitchen towel or let drain for five minutes in a large sieve. Season if necessary and serve to adoring public. Accept naked adoration (If you’re really lucky) and any concomitant praise.

Works every time and there’s less mess to clear up than with conventional fries. Job done.

Note to self

The world ended on the 23rd September. Or at least it was supposed to according to some people. Did I mark it in my calendar? No. Did I bother to look up into the skies to see when we were annihilated by a rogue planet and the sinless were transported to some domain of bliss? Well stap me vitals I missed it. Again. Too busy booking hotels in Melbourne, Australia for the New Year and looking up details of things to do on the Princes Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. Then Mrs S needed a chair fixing, there were mirrors to be hung and trans Atlantic and trans Pacific calls to be made to family and friends, and someone (me) had to cook the supper, to a brand new recipe I might add. Not to mention an online University course assignment. So yes, I missed the end of the world on Saturday. Guilty as charged, goshdarnit. Now what?

I mean, this is just not good enough young Mr Bill, you missed the apocalypse. Doesn’t matter that it didn’t happen. Again. Detention for you and a damn good spanking. If you’re lucky, you little scamp. Don’t do it again. Pay attention next time someone starts their semi autistic attention seeking about oblique biblical prophesies, Nostra-vague-as-all-fuck-damus, asteroid impacts and volcanoes. There’s bugger all you can do about them but cower, tremble and hand over the contents of your wallet. So cough up there’s a good boy, then go and quiver in that corner over there, all right? Do as you’re told.

Okay, we’re all still here on the 25th, but the end of the world schtick continues. Whether it’s climate change, running out of drinkable water, zombies or Sharknadoes, those who wish us to be frightened all the time have the UN / Al Gore / Bill Nye / David Suzuki frighten-everyone-with-dire-predictions business model. Which is fleece the punters, then feed them more scary stories so they can be fleeced again without ever doing anything about real issues. Major religions have been doing it for millennia, and now everyone else is at it. Politicians, media whores, the UN, everybody. All they want is your money. Stuff the planet.

Frankly me dears, all this doom mongering gets more than a little tiresome sometimes. There are so many real things to take simple pleasure in, even workaday chores like shopping, editing reports, cooking supper and researching. Even assembling flat pack furniture can be relaxing with the right attitude when her ladyship isn’t kibitzing over my shoulder. So long as she tells me where it has to go, that’s just dandy.

Anyway. World still here. Still be here ten centuries on. I’m cool with that. What else happened? Oh yes, my desk has a sparkly new chrome LED lamp.

Isn’t that nice?

1971 Redux etc.

I see the current situation with student unrest somehow reminiscent of the early 1970’s. I don’t know if it’s just me, but seen through the Hollywood mirror there are a lot of similarities. The banners, the language, the shouts of ‘Fascist’ at every less that extreme left wing view. Which were forgotten when the instigators ran out of other people’s money and had to get real jobs. As happened in the early 1980’s and into the 90’s, when stuff settled down and people stopped shouting about all the ism’s and we all just got on with things. Regardless of skin colour or sexual orientation. We learned to joke about ourselves again and not worry too much.

Until of course the next generation forgot the lessons of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Or at least some people forgot, or more like never learned that it is wrong do what the hell they like to hurt others, regardless of political views, just because they think they have some nebulous moral ‘right’. To them, the slavery that stained the 16th-18th century West is still real, but instead of moving on, go full retrograde and act as though slavery of the African descended importees to America were a real modern issue. All the time ignoring the real slavery of non-Western states like India (14.3 million), China (3.2 million) and Pakistan (2.1 million) to name the three biggest offenders. Map here. All the bleating is a cheap ‘give us your money’ con trick because the people who really need help will never see a penny piece while their ‘leaders’ will have pockets so full they’ll need weight training to hold their trousers up. Twas ever thus.

In the 90’s most people got over all the fuss and worked as part of a team with whatever colour skin your workmates had. No-one even asked about religion, because the question never arose. Of course there were minor frictions, but if you were good at your job and paid attention, who the hell cared? Tolerance was more widespread and opinion was less polarised than at present. Sometimes I feel that if everyone nowadays wound their collective necks in and went back to a more relaxed live and let live attitude we’d all be miles better off.

The rot seemed to set in in the late 00’s on the run up to the US Presidential elections. The Messiah was to become the US President and all the people dispossessed by the financial crash, ironically caused by an attempt to legislate ‘fairness’ by the Clinton Administration, coupled with the financial sectors solution to all the dodgy debt it created, thought that their chosen one would magic up money and make all their problems vanish. Only their problems didn’t. They got worse. Then we got all the divisive rhetoric to go with it. Here in the late 2010’s race relations are dropping through the floor because no one seems to understand that the solution to all Bear problems (Racism) is to stop prodding the fucking Bear! (and in the process giving the real racists ammunition). The answer is, as Morgan Freeman said so succinctly; “Stop talking about it.” But no-one seems to be interested. They just want a fight.

Speaking of which, looks like there’s going to be a scrap over the forthcoming Catalan referendum. If you thought there was a fuss over BREXIT, the powers that be are gearing up for some serious fun. A whole cruise ship full of armed riot Police have been brought in, just in case the election rigging doesn’t go the right way. While the EU bureaucrats look like they’re relying on Tessie May to cock things up so Britain comes back to the EU fold with tail tucked tween it’s legs, they must reckon those rebellious Spaniards will only be cowed by a sound public whipping. After all, they’ve stepped up raids against those angling for independence. Tomorrow’s vote in Germany will probably keep Merkel in power by the look of things. But polls have been wrong before. As have bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, back on the topic of BREXIT I have a hunch that May’s Florence speech was a bluff, or at least a form of damage limitation. The UK’s credit rating has been marked down, which she probably knew was coming, so her seeming to give way might just take the pressure off the city despite the fast recovering value of Sterling (Up seven cents against CAD since last Friday by my reckoning). A lot is going to happen politically and economically over the next month or so and I’m going to hunker down, financially speaking, and see what happens. This could get real interesting real fast. For a given value of ‘interesting’. P.S. I’ve sold all my Euro’s.

Update: Re the two ships reputedly full of riot Police currently docked in Barcelona. Each has a passenger complement of around 1,760. So that’s a possible 3,520 riot Police, a small army in anyone’s books. Could of course be more, as I recall tales from drinking mates who went on a little ‘Pussers holiday‘ back in 1982, and how tightly they were crammed onto every berth they could find. So the total capacity of these two ships could be over half as much again. More, if they’ve taken over all the crew cabins.

Another thought occurs; are all these riot Police actually members of the Spanish Guardia Civil or CNP, or are a few on loan from other parts of the EU? Enquiring minds etc. My, this is getting interesting.

Another Update: Merkel has held onto Germany for a fourth term, but her pro-open door immigration policies have given the extreme right a doorway into power with 13% of the vote. This is also very interesting. We’ll see what the markets say on Monday morning.

Expatriate expostulations from wherever; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

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