Johnny Foreigner

How excellent this is!

At least a third of French wine production worth almost €2bn (£1.7bn) in sales will be lost this year after rare freezing temperatures devastated many vines and fruit crops across France, raising concerns over the climate crisis.

It was only weeks ago that the same French vintners were bemoaning the fall in consumption which had led to a collapse of prices.

Self-solving problems are, well, self-solving.

One papers solution

Under Irish citizenship rules anyone who has or had a grandparent from the country is entitled to a passport once they enter into the foreign birth register.

It’s getting that foreign birth thing registered that’s the current problem. According to one bit of highly informed gossip the paperwork pile at the office which does that is 12 months long….

If anyone knows of a faster way to get that thing done do let me know – my brother would be highly appreciative.


The Swiss armed forces is taking a big step to recruit more women – by no longer making female recruits wear men’s underwear.

At present, all recruits are issued with “loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes”, the BBC reported. In a trial set to begin in April, the Swiss army said women would be issued with two sets of female underwear – one for warmer months and one for colder months.

The Swiss armed forces hope to increase the percentage of female recruits from 1% to 10% within the next decade.

Each pair is expected to get 6 months use a year?

No wonder the Guards wear such baggy pantaloons.


Marketing experts advised us not to focus on Bangladesh. They argued that very few people can locate Bangladesh on the map, and almost all associations are negative. News stories about the country are usually about catastrophes, either natural or manmade.

India is an easier sell. In Britain, we have long felt we know India; we choose to be blissfully unaware of the brutally repressive and exploitative nature of our colonial empire, but are happy to lap up its soft, frilly cultural outputs in the form of Raj romance. With their familiar favourites and decor, Indian restaurants have played up to the appetite for such stereotypes, even if their Anglicised fare bears little relation to India itself, or its food.

To a certain – large – extent Bangladesh is that memory of the Raj. You know, Bengal?

Allies? You what?

It’s not every day that the ambassador of one of Britain’s closest allies calls the prime minister a congenital liar. Sylvie Bermann, who was until 2017 France’s envoy at the court of St James,

The French? Our allies?

Close, yes, obviously, but on the basis that you keep your enemies closer…..

American foreign policy knowledge

Without al-Qaeda, we would have cared about Afghanistan and the Taliban about the same amount we care about Eritrea and its repressive king. Which, of course, is not at all.

King? Eritrea?

Lucas Kunce is the national-security director at the American Economic Liberties Project.


A small thought on Austrian economics

Austrian economics is generally antithetical to state actions supposed to make things better. No, it isn’t anti-state. There are somethings that must be done and which can only be done by government thus they must be done and by government. But beyond that the general assumption, the ethos if you wish, is that asking government to do it means it’ll get buggered up.

That’s not an unfair description of the base idea. It’s also not an unfair view to reach if you’ve been governed by Austrians for a few centuries.

The problem with this as an explanation is why in buggery do Russians always seem to desire more government?


OK, yes, accents (isn’t there movie where the bird just melts when the bloke says one word or summat?) and personal taste and utility and all that:

But my favourite accent is to be found in Belfast; a Northern Irish accent immediately adds three points to a person’s attractiveness. It has the friendliness of scouse, but is much softer and more charming.

Depends which NI accent really, doesn’t it? Ian Paisley’s would rarely be described as “soft” nor, whatever the reports of the man himself, charming.

This is fun

Australian fashion is taking notice of the country’s oldest design traditions – and we’re only just scratching the surface

You know, given that Abos didn’t, before the First Fleet, have any woven cloths of even spun yarns – other than those made from human hair. Fairly short fashion season therefore……

This is trivially easy

From the pungent scent of a cigar to the gentle fragrance of roses, smells can transport us to days gone by. Now researchers are hoping to harness the pongs of the past to do just that.

Scientists, historians and experts in artificial intelligence across the UK and Europe have announced they are teaming up for a €2.8m project labelled “Odeuropa” to identify and even recreate the aromas that would have assailed noses between the 16th and early 20th centuries.

Just go bottle the air in Paris.

Has the requisite amount of dog shit lying around, cheap tobacco and, of course, the use of too much perfume to cover up soap dodging. Done then, eh?

Would Jussi care to comment?

Finns tend not to think all that much of Swedes, I think, so the translation errors in Amazon’s new site in Sweden might amuse:

The internet giant mixed up the Argentine and Swedish flags, labelled frying pans as items for women, allowed the sale of a swastika-emblazoned shower curtain and described a silicone baking mould as suitable for “chocolate, faeces, goose water and bread”.

At least one of those seems entirely sensible. But if Jussi could aid us with this one:

Some of the errors were more offensive. The word for a cockerel was often translated as kuk, a faintly vulgar word for penis. Thus an embroidery pattern depicting a rooster became “cross-stitch for adults – big dick, do it yourself”. A stopcock head was rendered “finish dickhead”.

Presumably there are dickheads in and from Finland – nowhere is entirely free of them – but why would a Swede want to buy one?

Las Ramblas

Not to be missed from Baron Jackfield:

One of my friends recently had his pocket picked there… Nothing out of the ordinary really, except that he’s a Spanish plain-clothes policeman and a member of the team targeting pickpockets on Las Ramblas! 🙂

My own experience of the street goes back 30 years or so. The once, 30 years ago that is.

A major memory is that the further down toward the Chris Columbus thing you got the less likely it was the whores were female. All presenting as such but the ability to do so declined markedly.

The observation coming not from being a likely customer you understand, it was just rather obvious. Presumably it becomes species that is called into question right by the statue.

This will be interesting

Bolivia election: Evo Morales’s leftwing party celebrates stunning comeback
Exit polls for presidential election project win for Luis Arce as rival concedes defeat

Will the new government actually allow Morales back? It being possible to sketch scenarios in which they don’t. The new President would be overshadowed if he does come back. For example and yes, personal matters like this do make a difference. And there was a reason – other than some coup by righties because that alone wouldn’t have gained the support it did – to toss the bugger out in the first place.

Declare War On The Cold Front!

You know, this might just be true:

“We decided to use Hitler because as soon as you see him, you think of Germany. It leaves a deep impression,” said Shen, who works in the company’s planning and design department.

Shen said the company had not been worried that the public would have a negative reaction to an ad that features a man who oversaw the killing of millions of Jews during World War II.

“Most people in Taiwan are not that sensitive about Hitler,” she said.

I like this

And for the same reason that the story was chosen for publication:

Bald eagle attacks government drone and sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan
Drone was about 162ft in the sky when bald eagle attacked and tore propellor off, possibly mistaking it for a rival bird or snack

Bird attacks drone – fun if it’s Katy Price having a go at Piers Morgan perhaps. But this is a bald eagle, in the US, having a go at a government drone.

The only thing preventing it being on the front page is that it didn’t happen on July 4.

Cloggie Culture

I know we have at least one informed Cloggie reading/commentating here. So, about Cloggie Culture. Yes, we know, mountaineering doesn’t feature heavily.

However, here on the Holiday Coast Dutch teenagers seem to be an important thing. ‘Fousands of ’em in fact. From this distance of age not entirely sure whether just out of high school or university holidays. But would guess that it’s just out of high school. The question then becoming, is this a thing? That this first summer after the equivalent of A levels go off to some beach place somewhere and party?

Almost like a combo of the American prom (of course Dutch virginities won’t be quite such a feature) and Spring Break?

Actually, that’s a reasonable test of the idea. If you made a movie about Dutch teenagers and the passage into adulthood etc would it make sense to everyone if this happened on a Southern European beach in the first two weeks after high school graduation? First month maybe?

Bloody Americans

Gentleman crashes his Lamborghini 20 minutes after buying it

The Septics at Boing Boing don’t understand that a gentleman would never buy a Lamborghini. If a gentleman were to require a penis extension – an unlikely event in the first place – it would, of course, be father’s E-type or XK-120, possibly Grandpa’s pre-war Bentley. The absence of such would prove non-gentleman status, obviously enough.