Me: Early thirties. MA in Women’s Studies. Essayist at the beginning of her career, a woman who didn’t shy away from writing about sex, trauma, addiction and all of that Hard Life Stuff.


The personal essay is a place of expression. Exploration. Experimentation. It’s a sacred space, even. I’ve figured out a lot about myself, have had life-changing revelations and intriguing insights all while orchestrating a personal essay. I say “orchestrating” because it’s more than just the actual writing that gets me closer to me, but it’s the editing that brings enlightenment—the choreography and control of relentless revisions that undoubtedly help me to understand more about me, my relationship to language, who I am in the larger world. It’s all about finding the perfect words, their power, discovering the precise way to describe the experiences that have shaped me. Made me. The revision process is when I sit down with myself—sit in myself—to soak in my words and figure out what I’m really trying to say.

How do we think this career as an essayist is going to pan out?

Oh dear

When Charlamagne protested “it’s just fruit”, Khalifa doubled down on his assertions. “You gotta break it in pieces bro … gotta break the banana in half. I’m just trying to help you out, bro. If you’re in public, just break it into pieces.”

Khalifa’s comments haven’t gone down well on the internet, with a lot of people pointing out that being afraid that eating a banana makes you look “gay” is the very essence of toxic masculinity.


James Wilkie, assistant professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame, who co-authored the study, explains that women aren’t as sensitive about making appropriate choices because they’re not penalized in the same way that men are. “If anything,” says Wilkie, “a woman might get compliments if she orders a more manly drink at the bar.” We live in a culture which rewards acting in stereotypically ‘male’ ways and punishes ‘female’ behaviour. Sad as it may be, this extends to the manner in which you eat a banana.

It is possible that the rugmunching Ms. Mahdawi is unaware of the interest shown in the manner that heterosexual women eat a banana…..

So, abusive monk


He would like the privately owned island to be taken from the monks and handed over to a conservation body. “The island and the monastery should be given to the National Trust so visitors can appreciate the natural beauty of the island without the spectre of child abuse.”

We should steal an entire island therefore?

All as we thought really, isn’t it?

Cancer patients who choose complementary medicine over treatments like chemotherapy, or surgery, are twice as likely to die within seven years, the first major study has shown.

Any specific cancer in any specific person – who the hell knows? Immune systems can do some pretty impressive things.

In general though, using that sciencey stuff, alternative medicine doesn’t work. Because, you know, if it id it wouldn’t be alternative or complementary, would it?

Sorry, this amuses

Russia’s FSB security services raided a top space research centre Friday as part of an investigation into staff alleged to have passed secret information on Moscow’s hypersonic missile programme to the West.

Some 20 years back work on the US hypersonic missile was done in Moscow. I know, I organised it.

OK, it was minor enough, producing hafnium carbide for the lining of a scramjet engine but still…..

The young women of today, strong and independent they are

Terms like “mumpreneur” and “lipstick entrepreneur” are stopping young women from starting businesses, MPs say.

In a report the All Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship said that girls were being put off launching careers as science and tech entrepreneurs because of a perception that women’s businesses belonged in the lifestyle sector.

“The media often portrays women as running ‘lifestyle’ businesses, which have little opportunity for growth. Terms like ‘mumpreneur’ or ‘lipstick entrepreneur’ do little to tackle the stereotype,” its report warns.

There mere use of a word disturbs the shrinking little violets.

Compare and contrast

July 18:

Anyone who knows anything about business knows that it is cash flow crises that kill businesses. It’s not, in my opinion, tariffs, changed regulation, the Irish border, disinvestment or anything else that will deliver mayhem in the UK next year. It’s something much more prosaic that will do that. It will be giant traffic jams at ports that will impose lasting damage on the UK. So many businesses will suffer crippling cash flow problems the impact could be massive, and cumulative of course.

Mark Carney has said he may need to reduce interest rates to compensate for Brexit. He’s not got much scope to do so. And the cost of money will not be the issue next year. It will be its absence that will matter as debts do not get paid. This is the coming crisis of Brexit. And it is beyond Mark Carney’s reach to address it.

The government could though. It will be the only creditor able to waive what is owing next year and survive the experience. PAYE, VAT and other sums owing may have to be put on hold if business is to survive Brexit, in my opinion.

That is, don’t collect taxes owed during the chaos.

July 20:

The government has now suggested how it will respond to the suggestion that Dover will cease to function in the case of a No Deal Brexit. According to the FT:

The UK government will instruct officials to relax efforts to collect border taxes if Britain leaves the EU without a withdrawal deal, a junior minister told peers on Thursday.

Speaking to a House of Lords subcommittee, Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, said the government knew it would have to balance security concerns, revenue expectations and the pressure to keep goods flowing across borders.

“We will not compromise on security,” Mr Stride said. “But there will, perhaps particularly in the case of a place like Dover, where you have to keep flow moving very quickly or you have all sorts of problems, there will be a trade off between keeping the flow going and revenue protection.”

He added: “The priority will be to keep flow moving”.

This is is a quite extraordinary statement. First, it acknowledges that there will be a break down in law and order.

Second, it acknowledges that the resultin criminality will be permitted.

Third, it admits that an unfair playing field, biased against honest domestic businesses, will be created as importers not paying VAT will be able to undermine them.

How outrageous that the government intends to do what I said government should do, don’t collect taxes during the chaos.

D’ye think he’s even noted the reversal?

Kartoshke thinks that Keynes was right. If only he understood Keynes

The people of this country are at their limits. As I have already noted this week, despite supposed record numbers of people in work real and notional incomes are falling, which is not what economic theory says should happen in that situation.

And, to make matters worse, the UK population are saving less than they ever have. This data on the so-called savings ratio is from the ONS:

The reality is that people simply do not have enough left over to save. Margins have been cut to the bone. And a decline at the rate now being seen is quite extraordinary.

It is amusing that his “already noted” links to his own blog, of this week, which shows that real wages are rising.

But what is really amusing is that he’s, once again, showing that he just doesn’t have the background in this economics stuff. For he’s missed a central Keynesian point, the paradox of thrift. In economic bad times people, individually, try to save. It’s entirely rational that they do as well, they are facing increased risk. It also rather buggers the economy, increasing the depth of the recession, as people in aggregate save instead of spend.

Thus a standard part of fighting a recession is to try and reduce the savings rate. One reason to lower interest rates for example, to make saving less attractive. That is, in economic bad times, we actively strive to reduce the savings rate.

Kartoffel is complaining both about our being in recessionary times and also that the savings rate is declining.

If only the Professor of Practice in International Political Economy knew anything about economics, eh?

So is this

And in those abnormal times, it thirdly needs to have the courage to rewrite the rules of the economic game, which means abandoning neoclassical economics,

We’re to abandon the marginalist revolution now, are we?

This is good

More important, it has no viable economic strategy at present. John McDonnell remains committed to the Jonathon Portes / Simon Wren-Lewis neoliberal strategy of a balanced current budget and borrowing only for investment, all overseen by an independent central bank that only uses QE for bailing out the finance sector. In other words, it remains in current and foreseeable circumstances quite firmly committed to pro-cyclical, recession enhancing, austerity.

He is seriously suggesting that Wren Lewis supports a balanced current budget. Rather than one – as Keynes indicated should happen – balanced over he business cycle.

You know, the Wren Lewis whose definition of austerity is not running a deficit large enough to have entirely prevented a recession happening in the first place?

El Batata is becoming ever more deluded, isn’t he?

Interesting – now ask the other question

Democrats are less inclined than Republicans to cheat on their spouses, according to researchers who matched voter records to accounts hacked from a US website that specialises in extramarital affairs.

The study of 80,000 voters in five US states found that Democrats used the Ashley Madison adultery website substantially less than Republicans, Libertarians, Greens and unaffiliated voters. Libertarians consistently ranked as the site’s most frequent clients.

The results highlight an apparent paradox where those with more conservative views and supposedly stricter attitudes towards sex seem happier to hop into bed with someone outside their relationship than more liberal types.

So, now, who divorces more often? Or, perhaps, is more likely to do so? For in one view we could argue that both adultery and divorce are reactions to monogamy…….

Well, that’s clear enough then

Dominic Raab faced ridicule on his first trip to Brussels as Brexit Secretary as the EU flatly rejected Theresa May’s Chequers plan and mocked spelling errors in translations of the document.

Senior EU diplomats made it clear that the Brexit white paper agreed at Chequers cannot form the basis for negotiations, as British sources said the EU was being “deeply unhelpful”.

So it won’t work anyway.

What would an economist say?

Retail sales growth is unsurprisingly depressed.

The pound has fallen below $1.30 this morning.

Beyond the UK, the Fed is having problems making the idea of interest rate rises stick.

They’re just a banking fantasist’s pipe dream here.

And the FTSE 100 sales on at near record highs

The markets are trying to ignore reality.

Reality is biting back.

And its message is deeply uncomfortable. I do not see that changing. And sometime the markets will note.

An actual economist would note that 75% of revenues to FTSE 100 firms are from outside the UK and not in sterling. A declining pound therefore raises he £ value of such receipts and profits.

Actually, that in the absence of any other influences (you know, that ceteris paribus bit) the FTSE 100 and the sterling exchange rate are inversely correlated?

But then that would be an economist, no a Senior Lecturer in international political economy at the technical college of a London borough.

As we get from the comments, on 21 May we had:


The peak is because the pound is fallen. These are wholly connected variables. Because so many FTSE 100 companies earn their profits in anything but sterling if the pound falls the value of their profits (in sterling) rises and so does the share price.

Not one of their brightest moments.

How so very Guardian

Drag queen (his description) meets nutter on bus. Nutter screams at drag queen. This is because:

Britain’s acute culture of intolerance breeds this conviction that “the other” deserves to be denigrated. Rather than critique our own systems of power, we are taught to blame immigrants for economic turbulence; instead of protecting trans women from acts of patriarchal violence, some of the British press seeks to vilify them as its culprits. Current waves of divisionism foster an environment in which violence towards minorities is pitched as protection, and it’s conducive to toxic forms of masculinity. For instance, in the three months following the hate-fuelled Leave campaign, attacks on LGBT people rose by a startling 147%. And during the World Cup, searches for helplines and resources about domestic violence markedly increased following matches where England lost to foreign competitors, another instance of national disappointment provoking male violence.

Maybe, y’know, you just met a nutter on the bus?

No, I don’t see it really

Theresa May has warned that giving suspects anonymity will hamper police investigations after Sir Cliff Richard won a landmark High Court privacy battle against the BBC.

The Prime Minister said that publishing the name of a suspect “enables other potential victims to come forward” in some cases and therefore “strengthens the case against an individual”.

I do understand the argument. Just as I also understand the one where anonymous accusers, who stay anonymous for life – in the absence of conviction for false accusations – might be tempted to accuse out of malice and thereby cause problems for those publicly named.

Given human nature I regard the second as the greater risk of the two.

Where accuser gains privacy protection, so should accused.

Modern language is really rather good, isn’t it?

Katy Perry had ‘situational depression’ after Witness album

Katy Perry says she had “bouts of situational depression” following the release of her latest album.

Witness reached number six in the UK charts when it was released in 2017, while her two previous records both reached number one.

The 33-year-old says she’d put a lot of “validity” into the public reaction, “and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected, which broke my heart”.

What is meant is that Katy felt a bit sad after releasing an album which was a bit shit and failed to sell in the expected train loads.

Well, OK, and what should the reaction have been?

He’s really very perceptive you know

Again, I use the word deliberately. Let’s assume that somehow or other the most potent indications of separation will not happen. Let’s assume then that, against the odds, planes do still fly to and from the EU. But let’s assume there is Hard Brexit, without agreement, because nothing else seems plausible right now.

This will men that planes might fly and ships might sail. But how long it then takes to get into and out of the UK is anyone’s guess. Unless the UK decides to abandon all border controls, the flow of people into the UK will take longer than it did before. And IT systems previously shared with the EU probably just won’t work. But we may get round this by simply giving up migration control. But the EU, I think we can be fairly sure, will not be so relaxed. Getting out of this country next year is likely to be hard work.

We’re not in Schengen. You already need a passport to enter the UK…..

And again, even if we decide to throw open our borders (with considerable risk to loss of existing tariff revenues arising as a result)

We pass those tariff revenues along to the EU….

The possibility that VAT will be due on import will be devastating for the cash flow of many small businesses.

We already have a system of suspense accounts…..

I just hope I will be proven wrong, but systemically, this is, I think, by far the biggest and potentially most dangerous crisis Brexit might create, and the most urgent that has to be addressed. But I am not hearing that this is happening.

Well quite. After all, we do expect the government to be sharing its plans with the Sage of Ely, don’t we?

Well, I’m willing to believe

Hotdogs and other cured meat such as salami and beef jerky may be causing manic episodes, according to a new study.

Scientists say they suspect the chemical preservative nitrate is causing the disorders.

They found people hospitalised for an episode had more than three times the odds of having ever eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric condition.

The study was backed up a further experiment in rats who were fed a diet with added nitrates and had mania-like hyperactivity after just a few weeks.

Well, I would be, if they then fed people leafy veg (spinach, arugula) and then found the same effect.

But the larger idea, that there might be harmful effects? Sure, why not? For as with so many things we’ not be surprised to find more than one thing going on.

Those who, historically, ate such cured meats would not be deaded through starvation. The minor effect of mania would be swamped by that carrying on living thing.