Scrapbook for September 2019

Posted on  UTC 2019-09-01 02:01

18.09.2019 – The Brexit deal explained

Readers may have noticed that we have been silent about the Boris™ Brexit so far.

Our position is that, since no one knows anything certain (including Boris™ himself, it seems), there is no point commenting. The old Zen Buddhist maxim applies: 'Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know'.

Robert Peston, ITV News.

One of those who is paid to speak, whether he knows anything or not, is Robert Peston, purveyor of political exclusives to the British people. Yesterday, under the title 'Revealed: The Brexit deal Johnson wants…' he illuminated our darkness on the issue of Brexit:

The shape of the Brexit fix that Boris Johnson wants from the EU’s 27 leaders is now clear. Here it is:

Well, that was a confident enough beginning. But if we have been baffled up to now by Brexit, Peston's first point just increases our bafflement:

A) A unified single market for agriculture between Northern Ireland and the Republic (a single set of what are known are sanitary and phytosanitary rules), so that cross border flows of livestock and food is[sic] not hindered;

ITV News

Surely by now even scribblers like Peston have heard of the EU's Single Market and its renowned four freedoms of movement: goods, capital, people and services. Reading Peston's piece, we pedants get no farther than a 'single market for agriculture' before giving up the struggle to understand. We should have known that understanding would evade us when we first read that this 'single market for agriculture' would even be 'unified'.

It's a good job we don't read further, otherwise we would have to cope with a definition of this proposed 'unified single market for agriculture' as 'a single set of what are known are sanitary and phytosanitary rules'.

Thank you for clearing that up for us, Mr Peston.

15.09.2019 – On the rug edge

A recent encounter with the edge of a rug during a nighttime traverse of the living room – we have all got to save electricity these days, you know – almost booked your author's place in the Heavenly Band (tambourine section).

There are people in this world who have no fear of rug edges, and even actively venture forth to conquer them. Which only leads me to ask: What is the point of a life lived fearfully, hiding from rug edges, expecting one to get you at any moment?

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Roger Schaeli (upper) and Daniel Mader on the route 'Airplane Mode' on the right corner of the Geneva Pillar, on the right of the Eiger north face. The name alludes to the degree of concentration required in the difficult crux section of the route. For those who know about such things, it is rated '8a+' on the rug-edge scale of difficulty. Roger Schaeli made the first ascent in November 2018. Image: Robert Bösch/PD. [Click the image to open a large version in a new browser tab.]

11.09.2019 – Half-baked

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No idea where this came from.

03.09.2019 – Dim and dimmer

Prince Harry only has to open his mouth to make his inherited mental limitations clear to everyone.

He responded: "I spend 99% of my life travelling the world by commercial, occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe - it's genuinely as simple as that."

ITV News.

Ninety-nine percent of his life would be 361 days a year in a commercial airline. Really? Such blustering hyperbole just shows us how rattled he is by the recent criticism of his green hypocrisy.

Of course, someone who is really as green as he pretends to be would worry about the need to spend ninety-nine percent of his life in the air.

How to parse 'occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe'?

Mission impossible: even in circumstances of spontaneous improvisation before a microphone it requires a serious mental defect to come out with such a string of meaningless rubbish. To err with one word is human, to err with nineteen, one after the other, is subhuman.

Concluding with a hint that his critics are mental defectives, 'it's genuinely as simple as that', somehow manages to make the preceding garbage even worse. This is the response you get when you criticise dim self-absorbed yet arrogant people – no response to the issue, just lashing out.

02.09.2019 – Greta Thunberg: climate victim

After two weeks in a small yacht crossing Atlantic seas with only a crew of three mad German men and her father for company, a journey in which the sixteen year old girl's best friend was a plastic bucket, this is the look of someone, now landed in New York, who is trying hard to keep her breakfast down.

This photograph was removed to avoid potential copyright infringement. The photograph can be found directly at the link.
Penny for them. Image: Breitbart/AP/Mary Altaffer.

Greta is, unfortunately, no laughing matter. She is a cause for concern.

We can overlook the nonsense she spouts, since she is just parroting the nonsense that others have poured into her head. Anyone who relies on the opinions of a sixteen year old for life guidance should seek professional help.

But we are watching a girl – a minor, at that – being manipulated shamelessly by large, shady organizations and the shady people they employ. She has become a cipher.

Apart from the occasional presence of her father, she appears to have no guardian or support group which looks after her interests. We read nothing of her life, her other thoughts, her family and friends. We are told she has some level of autism and that she has suffered (or is suffering) from eating disorders.

This photograph was removed to avoid potential copyright infringement. The photograph can be found directly at the link.
The loneliness of crowds. Mother? Father? Friends? She is sixteen and 6,000 km away from home and submerged in a foreign language. Image: Daily Mail / Reuters.

Although the modern nanny state often goes much too far, a sane society would treat Greta as a vulnerable individual over whom family, friends, school and community ought to exercise some duty of care.

It says something about the deranged society in which we live that millions of people around the world seem to be able to watch this puppet show without feeling the deepest revulsion. It is time the adults amongst us looked beyond the irritating icon to the girl trapped within.

01.09.2019 – Home page illustrations

One or two readers have asked whether the illustrations we use for the home page backgrounds could be retained in some way after their alloted life span is up (the illustrations, not the readers). We now put these illustrations into a repository, linked from the home page.

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01.09.2019 – Die Schöne Müllerin website

After the monumental effort of setting up his website Winterreise (we reported here), Dr Iain C. Phillips writes to announce his latest online venture, the website Die schöne Müllerin:

The resource https://winterreise.online was launched in April 2019 and promptly found an enthusiastic and appreciative global audience. Acting on requests from several sources, developer Iain C. Phillips has now launched a twin website for that other towering Schubert creation based on poems by Wilhelm Müller, the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin.

Users are invited and encouraged to contribute material, ideas etc., with a view to making this website the ultimate go-to resource for all things related to Die schöne Müllerin. Iain can be reached via the contact form on the website.

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We looked at Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise in 2015. We wish Iain great success with his latest venture.