March 2019

We don’t matey, we don’t

Avocad-NO: why does everyone hate the Shepard avocado?
Mel Campbell
The Shepard avocado is consistently smashed online – and hatred of the green menace intensifies as Hass avocados go out of season

99% of humanity has never heard of the difference and 99.9% don’t give a shit either.

Amazingly stupid

European food and ingredients have become staple food choices for the British. The use of ingredients such as garlic, peppers, avocados, Parmesan cheese and all those other European ingredients that are now taken for granted are relatively new and were still rare in the 1990s.

Half of those named ingredients, avocados and peppers, are actually American.



That’s something I think many cisgender people don’t realise, or think about. We’re all born with the same template, and our hormones then decide what particular bits of the recipe our bodies should follow – so for example in the womb a rush of hormones tells us whether we should grow male or female gonads; in puberty hormones tell us whether to grow breasts or beards. But the template for both sexes remains, so if you take somebody born male, suppress their testosterone and increase their estrogen then their body (and their emotions; jeez, the emotions…) will change.

Reproductive systems aside, men and women aren’t that different: the idea that there are huge biological differences between the sexes is largely based on status preservation.

Hormones aren’t biological now?

Long serving restaurant people

A piccie project in London:

‘It’s like a family’: the restaurant staff who stay in the same job for decades

Couple of years back was in London, late night, went into “The Grill” just opposite Convent Garden Opera House. Used to work there when I was a student, back in ooooh, 1986? Chatted to the staff a bit and found out that, although he was off that particular night a bloke I’d been working with there was still going. At least 30 years as a waiter in a West End burger and ribs joint. That’s pretty good going….

Can’t see that the place is still there tho’….

Umm, what?

Why we need a new philosophy of sex

A number of years ago, I found myself at a public sex beach in southern France for research purposes. Unsurprisingly, I experienced some ethical dilemmas. Because I was researching the ethics of sexuality, my research involved potentially having sex with men and women at the beach.

The question of whether I “should” or “could” do so was complicated by a number of factors. I am a woman. I am queer. I am an academic. At the time, I was also in an (increasingly) difficult relationship with a man who was a philosopher. Given all of these complex factors, I desperately needed ethical assistance supported by philosophy (that I read and revered) that did not judge, and was aligned to my sexuality. But this philosophy – whichever way I turned to find it – doesn’t exist.

Engineers have, over the past few thousand years, gone from struggling over how to put the olive press together to landing men on the Moon. Philosophers are still stuck in this sort of navel gazing. Which has added more to human utility?

OK, add in that the engineers have also worked out how to clothe, feed, entertain and house us and stuff too.

Also, has the word changed meaning while I wasn’t looking? A queer woman in a relationship with a bloke? Eh?

Hope springs ever eternal

Let’s put this in context. Apparently, one in ten UK taxpayers has an offshore account.

I have always argued the scale of offshore abuse is significant. But this exceeds any estimate that I might have made.

The data has been advised by foreign governments. I suspect it is true.

Let me be clear: some will be accounts that are not in tax havens e.g. those held by those letting properties in France, for example. But all might involve evasion. And that is just as important as those that are tax haven based.

Well, yes, but we should all recall what happened over those Swiss accounts. Spudda and the like told us all that there were billions, billions I tell ‘ee, to be got from scouring the vaults of the Gnomes for tax evading accounts.

So much so that Osborne pencilled in those billions that he’d get from the agreement he made that the vaults be scoured.

As it turned out near all of the accounts were either of British citizens who weren’t resident for tax purposes, or were and were declared. Total receipts were not, you’ll be amazed to hear, those billions.

Then those Panama Papers. David Cameron had offshore! Which was all declared and tax paid. And the Liechtenstein Facility had one and only one named user. Lady Margaret, Dame Hodge, Spuddy’s fellow campaigner on tax evasion.

There just ain’t the money out there evading tax Ritchie says there is. On the very simple basis that as, by and large we don’t find ourselves oppressed by British law then we generally, being unoppressed, obey British law.

All of which would change if we changed British law to be oppressive of course.

Excellent point

‘…. and inaccurate as saying that since Hitler was a vegetarian, all vegetarians are fascists. ‘

Not quite.

Hitler was a vegetarian because he ate only vegetables, all people who eat like Hitler are, like Hitler, vegetarian.

Hitler was a Fascist because he embraced Fascist principles, all people who embrace the same principles as Hitler, are, like Hitler, Fascists.

Complete Caca, Obvious Faeces

For most people across the world, life is getting better but diets are getting worse.

How can anyone actually be so damn stupid? The current generation is the best fed one there’s been since the invention of agriculture. At least.

Yet there are people who believe this drivel.

Slightly odd thought

The first surprise is the role of Spain in the revolutionary war. In Paris in December 1776, Benjamin Franklin met in secret with the Count of Aranda, quickly convincing him Spain needed to side with the Americans. Ships leaving New England already called at Spanish ports such as Bilbao and Cádiz to purchase cod and flour.

Why would people just off the Grand Banks come to Spain to purchase cod?

I don’t know if they did or not but it does seem to be an odd thing to be doing.

This was mentioned in comments some time ago – military expert help needed

So, a sniper rifle that’s fully silenced. In he comments a story was mentioned about an SAS (?) bloke who’d used one in Iraq (?) to explode the head of a bomb making trainer. His recruits rather melted away.

Near entirely silent, subsonic bullet, sound of the action itself only apparently.

So, what’s the rifle called?

To elaborate a bit. In the story, as I recall it, range was only 400 metres. That fits i with what I want my character to have to do….

This is rather Pooter, isn’t it?

Friday’s are teaching days for me this term. I like teaching. I like students. They seem to like me. Although that said, I am not sure that Friday’s, teaching and students always mix as well as they might. Students seem to have an MP’s attitude to Friday afternoons: they’d rather be somewhere else.

Is it the Friday or the teacher?

It’s a mess.

And what is astonishing is that after a week of debate it is effectively the same mess. We went nowhere.

What a way to run down a country.

If the government was a company it would be in administration.

If it was a local authority it would have been relieved of its responsibility.

And if a public agency its management would long ago have been sacked.

But a government can just blunder on. And without an effective opposition also able to hold its party together that’s what it will keep doing.

And so the rundown will continue.

This from the man who wants government to have more power….

This is rather fun

But most of the explanation lies with O’Rourke himself. He brought to his unlikely campaign, skills and qualities that the Democratic party at national level is gasping for.

Some of those qualities are cosmetic. Tall, at 6ft 4in, with a beaming smile, a thumping stage presence and deep chocolatey voice, O’Rourke, 46, does well in front of the camera. The point may be facile, but when the Republican opponent happens to be a former reality TV star now ensconced in the Oval Office, “Betomania” is not to be sniffed at.

He’s to do well because he’s good at running. Yet the actual question we should be interested in is how well would he rule? About which absolutely no one at all is talking.

Which is rather the problem with politics as a way of running the country, isn’t it?

Interesting research document

Using global directories of the firms as indication of presence in a location and the number of employees by jurisdiction as an indication of scale, our research indicates the disproportionate activity of particular GPSFs firms, namely the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, providing tax based services in secrecy jurisdictions. This suggests that they are major suppliers of offshore financial services.

You don’t say!