Friday, November 27, 2009

Back 14 December

Monday, November 23, 2009

American compliment of the week

"I loved your homily: it was about God and about 10 minutes!"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Headlines of the day

Belgian Prime Minister becomes main man in Brussels

Ex-Standards Committee Chairman refers himself to Standards Commissioner

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The three stages of Man

A Horse, Ox, and Dog, driven to great straits by the cold, sought shelter and protection from Man. He received them kindly, lighted a fire, and warmed them. He let the Horse make free with his oats, gave the Ox an abundance of hay, and fed the Dog with meat from his own table. Grateful for these favors, the animals determined to repay him to the best of their ability. For this purpose, they divided the term of his life between them, and each endowed one portion of it with the qualities which chiefly characterized himself. The Horse chose his earliest years and gave them his own attributes: hence every man is in his youth impetuous, headstrong, and obstinate in maintaining his own opinion. The Ox took under his patronage the next term of life, and therefore man in his middle age is fond of work, devoted to labor, and resolute to amass wealth and to husband his resources. The end of life was reserved for the Dog, wherefore the old man is often snappish, irritable, hard to please, and selfish, tolerant only of his own household, but averse to strangers and to all who do not administer to his comfort or to his necessities.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turn wheat into bread









Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Use of English

Last week we had the embarrassment of reading one of Gordon Brown's letters, scrawled in the sort of fashion which would cause Ed Balls to worry about the effectiveness of teaching the 3 Rs. Today I'm reading a report about the proposal in the US to delay routine mammograms until the age of 50, rather than 40. There is immediate opposition to this idea. One spokesperson says, "It has been proven that women who are regularly screened from the age of 40 die less frequently from breast cancer than those who are not."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bizarre values of the week

200 one Dollar bills were auctioned for $43.8m (ok they were painted by Andy Warhol) and a gold ring containing a lock of Napoleon's hair sold for $68,000.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Painting of the day

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

US economy

Here's a snippet from my favourite US economic commentator, James Meyer:
"So far, the government has effectively gained control of two banks (Citigroup and Bank of America), two car companies (GM and Chrysler), one auto finance company (GMAC), an insurance company (AIG) and two mortgage intermediaries (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). While it is too early to judge whether these companies are better or worse off as a result of the government’s active intervention, the scorecard to date isn’t very good. Citigroup is still a cluttered mess trying to find a way to separate its good assets from its bad ones. Bank of America is searching for a new CEO. So far, it has gotten a few rejections. GM has emerged from bankruptcy and has an experienced non-executive CEO. But it can’t find a new CFO because of pay constraints. Chrysler is a complete mess that might not survive. AIG finally got a good CEO but he now threatens to leave due to overbearing constraints. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executive suites have become revolving doors and both have needed more money and continue to do so. They currently operate with completely broken models. Now the government wants to expand further. A 2,100 page health care bill and a 1,100 page financial reform package promise to become regulatory quagmires...The bottom line is that I believe stocks will move higher at least through year end. But every day we get closer to rising interest rates, rising taxes, plus to ongoing headwinds of a weak dollar and huge deficits. I suspect that it will be harder to stocks to achieve above average gains in 2010 than it was in 2009. "

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indian roads

I hadn't been to Delhi for many years but there was no improvement in the pandemonium on the roads. One new feature was white lines to mark lanes but very few drivers seemed to find them useful. Indicators are not popular either and rear view mirrors are optional. One day a coach in which I was travelling stopped in the middle of a motorway and opened its doors: the driver had noticed a pal of his walking by the side of the road and was offering him a lift; no matter that the pedestrian had to run across two lanes of a busy motorway to get into the coach.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Indian fashion

I'm in Delhi but have not yet come across the Manish Arora Swatch which, according to a fashion mag here, is inspired by Bollywood and "exudes Manish Arora'a psychedelic spirit whilst upholding the stylish, youthful allure of Swatch." Here's an example of M.A.'s fashion. Whaddya think?