Filed: This Life

Unhealthy Obsession

I’m in danger of being accused of having an unhealthy obsession with all things American with this and recent posts. It isn’t true, honest. It’s just the way things work out sometimes.

The thing that caught my attention today was the news that the increasing weight of passengers on American airlines is costing the companies is costing them $275 million (£149 million) a year in fuel to lug the load. Read more ›››

Stupid White Men

Okay so I lied in my last post, but one of the implications of the Bush election that slipped my fading memory is the effect on climate change. The previous and present regime will have no truck with the notion of global-warming and presumably that will continue.

Their tactic is to deny, or at least question the science, the main aim of which appears to be to allow US industry to carry on gobbling up fossil fuels unfettered and to ensure that the American people access to cheap fuel that they are positively encouraged to use. (One trans-pond analyst I heard last night said that buying the heaviest car you can is actually ‘incentivised’ as they say in their noun-to-verb crunching way.) Read more ›››

People Like Us

There was one of those serendipitous juxtapositions of news as I drove home tonight. First was the discovery of a skull that seems to show that there was a ‘different’ type of human around for at least some of the time that our forebears were grunting and wielding the jaw bone of an ass.

This wee soul lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago and has been nicknamed the Hobbit by her discoverers. (Who said archaeologist don’t have an eye for a headline?) Read more ›››

Sorry Seems to be the Easiest Word

Following Friday’s post, poor Boris Johnson has been consigned to Liverpool to apologise for his ‘insensitivity’ in the Spectator leader last week.(Couldn’t get on his website today — must be the traffic. See Boriswatch blog instead.)

This cult of apology is becoming a bit of a worry. “Sorry” is the most disarming word in the language, but it is rapidily becoming devalued by overuse, particularly by politicians. Read more ›››

Truth Hurts

Lord knows I’m no fan of the Spectator, or its bumbling editor Boris Johnson, but I have some sympathy with their leader article this week (you’ll have to register, but it’s free) on the reaction to the death of Ken Bigley in Iraq by the country in general and Liverpool in particular.

Okay, so saying that Liverpudlians “see themselves whenever possible as victims, and resent their victim status; yet at the same time they wallow in it” isn’t exactly going to endear you to the folks from the other end of the M62. Read more ›››

In space, no one can hear the cash register ring

Well it was bound to happen. Once that bloke in the US managed to get the first civil spaceship to leave the earth’s atmosphere, you just knew it wouldn’t be long before someone would set out to make a quick buck. Take a bow, Sir Richard Branson.

Seems he has teamed up with Burt Rutan, creator of SpaceShipOne to build five Virgin Galactica Spaceships, the idea being to bring space travel within reach of the masses. Given that each of the five seats available will cost £100,000 each, this is clearly a new definition of the term. Read more ›››

Silly and Serious

Two stories this week illustrate the wonder of accidental history and the horror of man’s alternative.

First up, the rabbit of Devizes’ Cricket Club. members of said club decided to build a bonfire of various useless stuff, piled it up and lit it. Moments later, a rabbit appeared, its arse-end on fire and ran for cover under the nearest hut. Read more ›››


No entries over the weekend because the UK is in the grip of a heatwave and frankly doing anything became a bit of a chore. Actually ‘heatwave’ is probably too strong a word to use — it rather implies a duration of more than two days which is all we had before the rain returned. Okay, so it’s still muggy, but nowhere near as bad as Sunday. Read more ›››