Home » Ain't life great. » Over the seas to sky…

Over the seas to sky…

Hey, gang, I’ve noticed it’s Thursday again.

So I’m allowed a fresh Post, as my output is now artificially limited to producing only one a week, owing to the absolute numerological necessity to post my 500th Post on the exact 4th anniversary of the founding of the BogPo, next 27th February. (This being No. 486.)

Of such tiresome conceits and obsessions is the life writerly made.

So, what do I think today?

Well, I’m amused to hear that Mr Putin has announced an official enquiry into his own government’s alleged complicity in a decades’ long campaign to illegally stimulate dozy Russian athletes, as revealed in a report from WADA, the ‘World Anti-Doping Agency’, this week; the outcome of which he seems already to have decided (he has denied it. Surely niet?); while at the same time, British PM ‘Dave’ Cameron is complaining about cuts to public services in his well-heeled Witney, Oxfordshire constituency – cuts forced on the Conservative local authority by Treasury demands for ever-greater national austerity ultimately emanating from the cabinet office of… PM ‘Dave’ Cameron.

I’m less amused that Britain is still doing fuck-all to help with the migrant crisis in Europe while Germany, Sweden and Norway, Greece and Italy are drowning under the endless tide of hopeful humanity seeking asylum from the disintegrating arc of corrupt and incompetent tyrannies, proxy wars, droughts and ultraviolent gangsterism, much of it promoted by the wealthy North, stretching from Libya in the southwest to Afghanistan in the northeast. Press attempts to pin the murderous attacks in Paris on false refugees appear not to be working. As French police belatedly catch up with the remains of the perpetrators, it appears that the majority of those allegedly involved already live in France and Belgium.

There is a noxious undercurrent of isolationism here that will inevitably result in ‘Brexit’ from the EU, which in my humble view will be a disaster all-round. Not only for those Tory wives planning to acquire an agreeable visa-free third home in Tuscany, but perhaps for more important reasons.

What, for instance, will become the common language of the EU, when there is no further purpose served by them using possibly our greatest export, English? And how is Cameron to sneer at our European partners, if we haven’t got any?

Anyway, a summit of lots of European and African leaders has been held, a group photograph taken, agreement reached. We are to start shovelling vast sums of money at the often corrupt governments of the countries where the most ‘economic migrants’ are coming from, in the hope of creating freedom, prosperity and safety for their citizens, such that they will no longer want to find new lives in Europe. (‘An Expert’ calculates the sums add up to one English pound per inhabitant of the countries specified… an incentive indeed. It is also pointed out that the money is already committed in the normal annual aid budgets of the donors. But it made a nice photo op.)

So that’s alright, then. And all the governments have to do to benefit from this cash windfall is go on pushing their unwanted minorities out in precarious rubber dinghies on the choppy Mediterranean sea.

An economic migrant myself, from overpriced and crowded England to the impoverished but more affordable principality of Wales, I have tried escaping to freedom, but no-one is buying my house and I’m not getting younger, more adventurous or better organised on the travel-booking front as the years pass. It was a fine idea three years ago, but since my urologist has given me a medicalised choice to be allowed either to piss or fuck, but not both, owing to the avocado-sized obstruction strangling my urethra, it seems less like a sensible move to escape even the poorly administered and fumbling jurisdiction of the NHS*.

Besides, I know no-one in Portugal. I’ve never been there. But it looks like a nice place to go to die.  Cameron isn’t there much now, either, as he’s presumably no longer a ‘friend’ of Sir Cliff and would have to book into a hotel…. (See Post, 29 Oct)

And it’s even more affordable, and warmer, than Wales.

*Attempting to make an appointment with ‘my’ GP yesterday, while I am physically present at the surgery, the receptionist suggests I call just after 10 am today. Why? Seems nowadays you have to make an appointment to make an appointment… a slot three weeks from now has to be booked exactly three weeks beforehand, they fill up quickly, you can’t book for December 7th until 10 am tomorrow at the earliest… and nothing is available sooner, of course. It’s the weekend.

I gaze around bleakly at the empty waiting-room. No, he’s really busy…. Fuck it, I thought. Dead is dead….

 

Willkommen, bienvenue, välkomna

Two more items on the news this morning struck me as significant, although they may not be, I am getting a little hard of thinking.

One, the number of migrants coming to work in Britain from other EU countries has passed the two million mark.

Two, despite the appalling inability of any government of the past sixty years to ensure enough new homes are built for us all, so that the average number of flatsharers in TV sitcoms has doubled since the 1970s, the economy is said to be ‘booming’.

Juxtapose these two supposed facts with two others, notably: a) the ageing native ‘baby-boomer’ population leaving the workforce, so requiring the taxable support of a non-existent younger generation and b) the record low unemployment figure (1.75 million. Economists differ on what exact number you need to maintain enough flexibility, but that seems about right).

Do these headline statistics when taken together not perhaps suggest to the legions of ludicrous kneejerk xenophobes, anti-immigrant trolls, fuckwitted white supremacists, Conservative ‘think-tank’ wonks and low-wattage British nationalists that perhaps foreigners are not such a bad idea after all? That far from ‘stealing’ our jobs and raping our womenfolk, they have been taking up the slack in the economy and fuelling the boom, creating prosperity and jobs for all?

So why is ‘Dave’ Cameron trekking round Europe trying to persuade EU leaders of the benefits of controlling immigration to Britain? And why is he pretending that changes to the benefit rules require treaty change, when every other country in the EU has its own rules and assures him that his government is perfectly at liberty to set its own if it wants to?

Why does he not just get on and introduce a system whereby only ‘in-work’ benefits can be paid to temporary residents, while ‘out-of-work’ benefits require a qualifying period and a history of National Insurance contributions? What is discriminatory about it? Or is it just that he can’t rely on his hapless Secretary of State for Pork and Beans, the balding acronym known as IDS, to deliver it?

And why do people believe anything they read in the press?

 

Humor alert, sort-of

I got this feeble idea for a joke during dinner with some lovely jazz people.

They were exchanging banter at the expense of a saxophone player (not present at table) who was allegedly claiming in his other, unreal life to be a plastic surgeon. So scruffy was he in appearance, so laid-back in manner, that anyone less likely to really be a plastic surgeon they could not imagine.

Anyway, I manage somehow to think up about one new joke a year, which makes it worth recording them for posterity. So here’s my new joke, that I thought of much too late to tell at the dinner table and so missed my chance of winning respect for my improvisation skills… (ésprit d’escalier, as the French say)

Hey, I’ve got a really unusual and interesting job!

No honestly, I have. You know those playpits filled with little coloured balls kids like to jump and swim around in? Well, I work for a company that makes them! I get to travel around the country, refilling the ball-pits in leisure centres and primary school playrooms, places like that, and I supply children’s entertainment companies with thousands of playpit balls too….

Yes, I’m a plastic sturgeon!

 

Tiresome complaint, but

Domestic goddess and thinking-teenagers’ titwank, Nigella Lawson excited the Twits after a cookery demo show last week by spreading mushed avocado on a piece of toast, using only her fingers.

It wasn’t the plainly disgusting sensuality of the image that haunted so many of the hashtag harridans, but the ‘so-yesterday’-ness of avocados, reminiscent as they are, for some of the less glamorously ageing newspaper column-hags, of 1970s bathroom suites.

Well, I don’t care. I once bought a house with an avocado suite, could never afford to change it and agree, they ought to be banned. But we made £120k on the sale, so clearly avocado is not such a turnoff as might be supposed.

I don’t care, because a) I give a flying finger for overpaid word-mavens, and b) I’m not going to be pushed around by style critics who unwisely cross the boundaries between ladies’ wotsits, interior design and food.

And I don’t care, because I LIKE avocados. They’re delicious with all kinds of stuff – crab, tomatoes – versatile and give great mouthfeel. Also, I happily imagine that eating anything that looks like my prostate is going to be a healing thing.

And yesterday, guess what? That’s right! Among the last of a box of olive-green hand-grenades in Morrison’s I found one that felt suspiciously palpable,  as though it might even be eaten that very day. One that had slipped through the net, clearly. I grabbed my chance and bought it.

One of the dreadful things about supermarkets is the great confidence trick that unripened fruits, including avocados, and their tasteless, rubbery ‘vine-ripened’ tomatoes, need only a few hours’ exposure on the windowsill to become completely edible. Because we all know they will rot first, and ripen only when Hell freezes. Cunning Mr Morrison and His Ilk then slyly put out a next-door tray of said fruits of the vine, labelled ‘ripe and ready-to-eat’, and charge twice as much for them.

Of course, they seldom are. As part of the ripening process, they will have been squeezed and poked and fondled by so many disbelieving shoppers who may not have washed their hands after going to the toilet, that they are bruised black inside and crawling with e-coli.

Either way, this stuff can rarely be recommended for human consumption. Extraordinary, how the French manage to sell you flavoursome ripe fruit and luscious tomatoes. Extraordinary too, as yesterday, when I was able for the first time in a long while to enjoy the fruits of my labours, as it were: an avocado and tomato salad with Virgin oil and a pinch of crusty sea salt.

Mmmnya. Pale-greenlicious.

 

Second tiresome complaint

Isn’t it just one of the worst things that can happen in your life, when on a shining Thursday morning in November you put on your expensive L’Aigle wellies to go out walking with Hunzi, after overnight rain, in the exurban space that passes for your local park, and within a few hundred yards you experience the disagreeable sensation of your socks crawling down inside the boots until they bunch up under your feet, and you still have two miles to hobble uncomfortably before you can take them off?

Yurgh.

 

Third tiresome w.t.f.???

Okay, I deleted 74 Spam emails off my Yahoo! account without reading them, at about half-past eight this morning. I’ve had 34 new ones since (it’s ten to three). I’ve mentioned my genito-urinary problem graphically in today’s blog. Four of the 34 new Spam emails are from the people who bring you erectile dysfunction, impotence and prostate remedies… all four arrived after 12.20; none earlier. The first Edit was posted at 11.50.

And the Home Office wants a law to allow them to carry out total surveillance on everyone? I suggest that’s not necessary, since we are being constantly monitored by Eli-Lilly.

 

And finally….

From the Today programme today, we learned that the man at the Environment Agency responsible for the UK’s flood defences is a Mr….

Phil Dyke.

It’s known as ‘nominative determinism’. Now you know why.

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