Good morning to you all on what is supposed to be a sunny and tolerably pleasant November morning. It’s been a mixed week – grey, damp days interspersed with the occasional bright sunny day so let’s hope that this morning’s forecast turns out to be moderately accurate.
We are probably as delighted as those of you in the States that the most recent election has reached its conclusion. How can so many people spout such meaningless nonsense for so long? And, how much money was spent?
I was thinking that there would be at least a couple of months’ grace before the next round of elections started but I guess the newly elected Congressmen and women will have already started their re-election campaigns – two years is just not long enough to get anything done but then again, two years is probably way too long for some of these jokers. Even more depressingly, I read in the Guardian on Wednesday how commentators are already speculating about a Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton contest in 2016. And then, in yesterday’s Guardian I see that Marco Rubio has already announced his intention to visit Iowa next month, thus kicking off the 2016 campaign. I can only imagine how dispiriting it must be to face continual electioneering (i.e., flip-flopping, sound bites, attack ads and lying) for month after month, year after year.
On the other hand, if you really want to know how depressingly stupid politicians can be you can take solace from the more recent antics of one of our members of Parliament. The “big” political news at the moment is how Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for mid-Bedfordshire, has absented herself from Parliament for the next four to five weeks so that she can appear on a reality television programme being filmed in Australia. She has apparently decided that her time will be better spent participating in “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” rather than turning up at Westminster to represent her constituents.
I have to confess, she did present a very convincing rationale for taking the decision – her views would get more publicity if on a programme such as this than they would in normal circumstances.
Dorries declared: “I’m doing the show because 16 million people watch it.
“Rather than MPs talking to other MPs about issues in parliament, I think MPs should be going to where people go.
“If people are watching I’m A Celebrity on television, then that is where MPs should be going.”
And, in one sense, she’s probably right. Since she’s one of the loonier members of the loony brigade no one of any political significance pays much attention to her wackier outbursts (you may remember, she is the MP who called Cameron and Osborne “arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.”) No doubt a considerable number of her constituents will be delighted that she is currently tens of thousands of miles from Parliament. And, even though the government felt compelled to withdraw the Tory Whip from her while she’s in the jungle, one would have thought they needed all the support they can muster as they lurch from one political mishap to another. Good luck to all the poisonous reptiles and other Australian wildlife.
I ran across several items which caught my eye this week. The first, a toilet theme park in South Korea which looks like it could be a fun day out. The Restroom Cultural Park in Suwon has a museum displaying Roman style loos, European-style bedpans, and ancient Korean flush toilets, as well as fun facts about human waste and a sculpture garden dedicated to squatting figures. There’s a short video clip here.
Secondly, Simon Hoggart writes a sometimes-daily column in the Guardian, usually a political sketch but some of his other stuff is very funny. He currently has a “campaign” against stupidly pointless labelling and every so often he includes examples which readers have submitted.
John Rees-Jones acquired a scarf at Marks and Spencer helpfully marked “one size fits all”. Nick Fisher bought ice cube bags at Sainsbury’s and was relieved to find they were “freezer-safe”. David Falcon booked a flight with EasyJet. The confirmation came with an information sheet: “We recommend that you leave enough time to travel to the airport,” it said. Eh? Have they had complaints? “You never told us we needed time to get to the airport! We assumed we could just leave home five minutes before the flight took off …” Possibly so.
And finally, the most amazing video of someone riding a bicycle that I’ve seen – the Taxco downhill bicycle race. You can read about it and see a video clip of the winner’s descent here. Watch it all the way through – it is simply unbelievable. I’m looking for a similar venue around here but we don’t have that many steep mountains in our neighbourhood. (It did remind me, though, of the famous skateboard descent of Lake Avenue in Pasadena all those years ago of which some of you will be aware).
And finally, finally, we had a lovely visit with our favourite girl (and her parents) yesterday which, as always, was a lot of fun. She is now walking everywhere at about 90 miles an hour and spent the afternoon entertaining us all. That’s what Saturdays (and/or Sundays) were made for.
And finally, finally, finally, an article in the Guardian which makes the very important point that we must eat more oysters if we are to preserve the native British stock. All I can say is that I am more than willing to do my share. All in the name of conservation, of course.
And finally, finally, finally, finally we had a comment from a subscriber who, for one reason or another, did not receive notification last week that the News had been posted. The only way to really ensure you never miss an episode of Byfield’s favourite periodical is to subscribe by filling in your e-mail address in the space at the bottom right of the screen and then confirming the message you receive from WordPress. The WordPress notices get sent automatically to everyone who has subscribed. No need for some idiot to try and remember to send out a notice. The other notification that sometimes goes out comes from me and I send it when I remember. However, even when I remember there are occasions when the message never reaches your inbox because occasionally the message is deemed to be Spam. So, subscribe and you’ll never miss another notification. And, don’t worry, when it all gets too tedious you can either cancel your subscription or set up an e-mail filter to ensure that the notification goes straight into your spam box!
Love to you all,