The Blogger Himself

Tough editing

As you know I do an econ stats, occasional stock tip, thing for an American site. Last November I tipped Ocado. Moving from grocer to grocery tech supplier, gold rush the money’s in shovels, rerating possible. Currently showing a 148% profit that tip. So, I partly preen, a normal sorta thing in such columns, and suggest taking profits as I’ve no new information about what happens next.

The piece is rejected for being “superficial”.

That’s tough editing.

That’s a job I would take

Not that I’ve applied for it of course, nor has anyone been stupid enough to approach me:

From the coronavirus strategy to the merits of Rule, Britannia!, the prime minister’s new spokesperson will have to deal with the full range of issues confronting the government.

As the selection process for the first incumbent reaches its closing stages, though, the successful candidate is likely to face a harder question still: why on earth would you want to do it?

With the closing date for applications passed and the Downing Street machine back to full gear with Boris Johnson’s director of communications, Lee Cain, returning to the office, it was reported on Sunday that the process of sifting through the CVs will now intensify.

And although the job answering the questions of the press on camera will command a salary of £100,000 a year and a place on every news broadcast, the clearest signals yet are about those who view the opportunity with caution.

No one in their right minds would give me the job either. But I would love to be the first prime ministerial spokesman to tell a journalist, live on air, “Fuck off, twat”. It’s not whether that would happen but how quickly….

How sweet, they’ve named a street after me

$925,000
308 WORSTALL ALLEY
Newtown, PA 18940

It must be me, right? Given how rare Worstall is as a name.

This not actually being so, it’s v rare in the UK – three of us now I believe. But over in the US there are hundreds. Mostly in PA and over into OH. Leading to me once getting an email from a kid in OH somewhere asking if I was the Dr. Worstall he’d taken Driver’s Ed from…..

The price of celebrity

So, little videos made saying “Happy Birthday” and the like by famous people.

Caitlyn Jenner
Patriarch-turned-matriarch of the Kardashians
£2,075 a video

Lee MacDonald
Zammo McGuire in BBC TV’s Grange Hill
£15

Presumably “famous in the comments section of his own blog” would mean me paying them….

Questions we’ll not bother to answer

Over at Quora it’s possible to make money by posing questions for people to answer. Not a lot, it’s the sort of amount that might attract a third worlder. But possibly this model needs a certain analysis. For we do end up with questions that aren’t worth answering:

When were the Chinese economic reforms of 1978 put in place?

I do, of course, cheat at journalism

Something BiG says:

“I think you do more research for one throwaway column than the average “journalist” does for above the fold on the front page.”

And, well, I cheat. I write about things that I already know about. Or am interested in at least, have something to say about.

In one sense this is just what we’d like all to be doing. In another it’s rather different. The newspaper, the journalists on it, have to pick up the stories that are there and say something about them. That requires lots of looking around in order to have something to say. Even, to find out what is going on.

My cheat is to look around, see something I’d like to say something about, then do a piece. That is a fundamentally different approach. I’m specifically choosing the things I’ve already got an approach to, that largely guided by my already knowing something to a lot about it and having references to it. Journalism is, in its essence, the other way around. Here is something that has to be written about now, what in buggery is it?

There are rare occasions when I’m asked for a piece on something where I don’t already have a view. I flail around at such points just like everyone else.

The Maddie McCann thing is all getting closer

The prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was feared as a gun-toting criminal according to locals in the small town he holed up in shortly after she went missing.

Christian Brückner found a job as a waiter in a remote village 40 miles from Praia da Luz and befriended a German couple who looked after foster children, often staying at their house, local reports claimed on Sunday.

Remarkably, Portuguese police have not yet visited the village of Foral to interview potential witnesses, despite the overwhelming evidence that the convicted sex offender was living there in the weeks after Madeleine disappeared.

That’s the next village but one from where we were back then.

Not, actually, a lot there. In English we’d not say village but hamlet (there is no church for example, at least not that I know of). In fact, not really a Portuguese village at all. Rather more an area of spread out large houses with gardens, not the way the P countryside generally works at all. That being more small labourer’s places actually in the village, then farms around it.

A question about Academia

That’s Academia.eu, the site.

It keeps telling me that people are citing me. Which is lovely, obviously. Then they want some money each month for me to find out who and why. Which is a lot less attractive.

Is this the sort of thing that a university library would have free access to? Or is it purely a single user, single fee?

I would assume that all the cites are to me saying something at Forbes anyway – my list of academic papers is exceedingly short, even if it has just doubled by rising by one.

Mildly interesting happening of the morning

This blog’s chief canine officer gets a trot out up and down the street of a morning. Accompanied by a roll of sandwich bags to deal with the usual accompaniments of a canine morning trot up and down the street.

The roll of such I noted this morning. Or, rather, noted something about. A neatly squished mozzie – or some such – in that roll. Several layers deep, entirely dry, obviously been there some time. The assumption is that in some factory somewhere an innocent insect alighted on some moving surface of plastic which then got quickly rolled up and packed.

Mildly interesting might be stretching matters but I’ve not seen such before……

It is just me then

I was reading The Observer and thinking, hmm, haven’t I seen this before?

Not an unusual experience for that paper as the whines are ever the same.

Have they, though, forgotten to add this week’s content to the site?

Ah, no, it’s Saturday. Gonna be one of them days, eh?

It’s happening

To give workers the feeling of an immediate Brexit bounce, Mr Johnson approved an increase in the threshold at which workers start paying National Insurance from £8,628 to £9,500, resulting in a tax cut of £104 for a typical employee starting in April.

Still a way to go but the idea that the working poor shouldn’t be paying income tax and NI on their paltry earnings……it’s happening.

Good.

No call as yet

Boris Johnson is planning to beef up the House of Lords with Brexit-supporting experts to create a ‘working’ upper chamber, according to Tory insiders.

Lawyers, trade specialists and environmental gurus are expected to be elevated to the peerage in the coming days and weeks as the government seeks to strengthen its hand before passing more Brexit legislation through both Houses of Parliament.

Perhaps I should apply to be a Senior Lecturer?

The only liberal in the village

This might be a little over the top. A description of me via email:

I think your unique selling point is you not your content. I don’t read and donate (occasionally) to the CT because the content is great but because you are the only liberal journalist left.

Should I start wearing a cape?

It appears that I agree with Ted Nugent*

Or, less likely, that Ted Nugent* agrees with me:

3. Whatever the arguments for private vs public ownership of grid, I see little basis for claim that public utility would be more likely to reduce fire risk. One way or another ratepayers or taxpayers will have to pay to fireproof system. Ownership structure is mostly irrelevant.

Well, yes:

So, changing the system or ownership of provision is not going to change matters. Moving to a community-owned, state-run, or even just more regulated provider isn’t going to solve the problem.

Consumers, given their voice through that regulation process, aren’t willing to carry the costs of the maintenance and upgrade of the current system. Let alone move to that more expensive technology, the burial of cables. Who owns the system doesn’t change this underlying reality.

We are fully capable of providing an electricity grid year-round without burning down half the countryside.

*It’s Ted Nordhaus which is much less fun