Swedish Imperialism


Academics in Denmark have accused Ikea, the furniture chain, of "Swedish imperialism" for naming its cheaper products after Danish towns.

The researchers claim to have discovered a pattern where more expensive items, such as beds and chairs, have been named after Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian towns whereas doormats, draught excluders and runners are named after Danish places.

"The stuff that goes on the floor is about as low as it gets," said Klaus Kjöller, of the University of Copenhagen, who described the phenomenon as "Swedish imperialism".

Well, Not Really

Two siblings being born on the same day in different years was unlikely enough. But when Kim MacKriell had a third child delivered on the same day, she beat odds of more than 130,000 to one.

Ruby MacKriell was born last month on January 29. Her brother, Robin, was born on January 29, 1994, and her sister, Rebecca, on January 29, 1996.

According to statisticians at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, the chances of this happening are 7.5 in 1 million.

Depends how often you shag really. If it\’s a special event every April 29th then those odds really do shorten quite a lot.

Very Cruel, Very Cruel

I know, I\’m an extremely bad man, but I really couldn\’t help giggling here:

A Monk was killed when he was run over by his own sit-on lawnmower as he trimmed the grass at a convent, an inquest heard.

Moments before, the 50-year-old was seen running after the driverless machine as it set off in the 12-acre grounds of a peace temple.

No, that\’s not what caused the giggle, although someone running after a lawnmower is funny, getting run over by it isn\’t. But this:

The Milton Keynes coroner heard that 10 years earlier, Rev Seiji Handa had lost three fingers in another lawnmower accident.

Nick Sarkoszy

Two stories, one after the other, on the Telegraph web page:

The new first lady of France, the former model and singer Carla Bruni, said that her first meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy was love at first sight and she expects the marriage to last a lifetime.


President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has called for the world to unite to explore Mars.

Not bad, eh? Conquer Venus and move on to the next planet immediately?

Jack Brod


Another recently deceased New Yorker didn\’t even shift a millimetre across the city\’s map in nearly 80 years but still embodied the American dream.

Jack Brod, who died earlier this month at 98, chose to go up rather than across to define his success. The last original tenant of the Empire State Building, Mr Brod spent the years since it opened in 1931 gradually working his way from the seventh floor to the 76th (via the 14th, 15th and 66th) as his business grew and he could afford a better view.

He started as a Depression-era debt collector. When many debtors paid with jewellery, Mr Brod became a jeweller. Stationed in England during the Second World War, he did well from hard-up stately home owners, shipping boat-loads of cut-price antiques back to America.

Mr Brod\’s post-war entrepreneurism, including an engagement ring that "costs you nothing if she dumps you within 60 days", helped push him further up the skyscraper. By the time – reportedly, in 2004 – he was offered the solid gold dental bridge that had popped out of the mouth of a jilted lover who had jumped off the building, he could afford to say no to new business.

Entirely trivial, but fascinating.

I Thought Everyone Already Knew This?

Mongrels are cleverer than pedigree dogs, according to research.

Hybrid vigour isn\’t it called?

It\’s one of those things that has always amused me about those who worry about "racial purity" in humans. The more the merrier for the pool your genes come from rather than being limited to a sub-group.


Newsreaders Really Are Serious, Professionsal Journalists, Oh Yes

Kate Silverton, the BBC newsreader, is threatening to sue a leading Harley Street doctor after routine laser surgery left her face so badly marked she was unable to work.

Miss Silverton, 37, was forced to take a fortnight off after the laser skin-rejuvenation procedure, which should have removed acne scars and improved her skin tone, left her in agony.

Her face was covered in painful and unsightly swellings, sores and lumps.

She returned to work last week and has instructed lawyers to begin proceedings following her experience at the Jan Stanek clinic in London.

The presenter, who is tipped as the BBC\’s next golden girl now that Natasha Kaplinsky has defected to Five News, is due to take over the One O\’clock News from Sophie Raworth when she goes on maternity leave next month.

On Sunday Miss Silverton said: "It\’s been awful. I went in to get some minor scarring on my cheeks treated. I was told it would be a routine procedure and I\’d be back to work in days. The treatment, however, caused a massive skin reaction."

Miss Silverton visited Dr Stanek\’s clinic last month because she wanted to remove minor scars and blemishes before the introduction of high definition television.

Brushing up on the shorthand, taking a sabbatical to learn more about the world, practising tose precis-ing skills, just what\’s needed to revitalise the career, eh?

$ 8 Glasses

I was paid to promote this elsewhere…..I\’m not being paid to do so here.

I\’ve come across a company offering prescription glasses for $8 a pair. Less than the cost of a packet of fags. Here.

Amazing or what?

Colours In Fashion


It\’s nearly tautological that colors come and go with fashion. But it\’s empirically interesting to ask which colors and why? For starters, is Pantone actually the leader it\’s posing to be, or does the designation of blue iris reflect the net leanings of fashion\’s myriad of tastes and designs?

From memory (as ever, rather fallible) there\’s something of a get together between the yarn, weaving and fashion industries which details which colours are going to be available for the mass market 18 months hence. Certainly, I\’ve been told this is true for knitwear.

Thus the way that colours flow through fashion might simply be a result of a cartel.

The Bad Elf

I love this:

Canada\’s post office and police are trying to track down a "rogue elf" who wrote obscene letters to children on behalf of Santa Claus, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Ottawa Citizen said at least 10 nasty letters had been delivered to little girls and boys in Ottawa who wrote to Santa this year care of the North Pole, which has a special H0H 0H0 Canadian postal code. Return letters from Santa are in fact written by an 11,000-strong army of Canada Post employees and volunteers.

"We firmly believe there is just one rogue elf out there," a Canada Post spokeswoman told the paper.

Canada Post\’s popular "Write to Santa" program — which last year delivered more than a million letters to children in Canada and around the world — has been shut down in Ottawa until the offender is caught.

A new meaning of "Going Postal" I suppose. I wonder what was actually in the letters?

And as to one rogue elf? Not now people have got the idea there won\’t be.


Anyone Fancy a Cottage?

There\’s a couple of cottages down at the end of our road. A couple of kilometres outside Messines (walk in 10 minutes) which is itself a town of about 5,000. There village here is maybe 100 souls. Little pub etc.

The cottages aren\’t all that great. 10 and 25 metres from the main road.

1) A ruin, sound walls but needs new roof and complete redoing of plaster, windows, electrics etc. No garden, but small terrace at back (away from the road).

Price, so I was told in the pub last night, €9,000. At local costs, need perhaps another € 30,000 to turn into a finished 2 bed one recep.

2) A liveable 2 bed cottage. Small garden but this is detatched, across the lane. € 20,000. Would obviously be better if it got the full treatment as above.

No, I haven\’t left a zero out of those numbers.

I\’m pondering one or the other….but I\’m not quite sure what I would actually do with it once finished.

Or, how about people who want a little place in the Algarve and are willing to pay someone to oversee the whole process? Ride the builders, sort out the paperwork and so on? Anyone think there\’s a viable business there?


Sara Welch

So, a model called Sara Welch falls through a catwalk at a fashion show. 1,5 million people have watched this so far on You Tube.

I dunno: sure Sara Welch is good looking and all, but I\’m not so sure what\’s so funny about her falling over.

I\’ve seen from one news report that the runway was built over the hotel\’s swimming pool and that if Welch hadn\’t stopped herself with her hands, she\’d have gone right in and had to swim out.

Now that would have been funny.

Or am I evil for thinking so?

Somewhat Geeky

Don\’t you think?

I write as a woman whose brother wears socks with the name of the day woven into the sole. Sometimes, he wears them on the wrong day, which I think is a sign of his renegade spirit.