Friday, December 8, 2017

Noel Coward

As a closet Anglophile, I have always enjoyed Noel  Coward's long list of music that he authored. Someone once asked him to write something "quintessentially" British and he composed the following about his favorite pub "The Rose & Crown".
"Saturday night at the Rose & Crown is just the place to be - soldiers and sailors - tinkers and tailors - out on the town for a bit of a spree if you're - weary of life with your husband or wife - and the kids are getting you down - things will all turn right on Saturday night - at the Rose & Crown." Buy me a pint and I'll sing you the melody.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mind Your Ps & Queues

Sarah Lyall spent seventeen years in London as the NYTimes correspondent. With British royalty again in the news, her column last Saturday recalled a reception attended by a friend some years ago. It seemed that the Queen was a surprise guest and a reception line was hastily arranged. Her friend had not yet had dinner but she had had several glasses of champagne. As she reached the Queen, the monarch greeted her with "I understand that you're from Texas." The friend, confused by the Queen's clipped accent, thought she said "Have you paid your taxes?" Replying to such a personal question by a British Monarch, the guest uttered "No taxation without representation".
And that was the end of the conversation.....but a diplomatic brouhaha was avoided.

Friday, December 1, 2017


Bitcoin - very much in the news again is also known as crypto currency - is very popular with smugglers and others interested in committing fraud. It has no regulation - fluctuates wildly - and Goldman Sachs won't touch it. But it does away with paper currency. Michael Bloomberg, being interviewed, mentioned that China is trying to do away with cash. The beggars on the street don't accept cash. They show donors a sign with their code number and well wishers flash their iphone to donate their offering. All nice and clean. One hundred years ago, John D. Rockefeller, he of Standard Oil fame, used to hand out dimes. If he visited Shanghai today he would be laughed out of town. During our Great Depression the cry often heard was "Brother, can you spare a dime?" Another time, another place.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yes! Siam!

A snake in the grass? No, more likely in your toilet. Heavy rains in Bangkok, Thailand bring a surge in the number of snakes seeking refuge indoors. The fire and rescue department has received over 31,000 calls for help in removing snakes so far this year. This city of 8.2 million has expanded into formerly wild lands and the new housing is encroaching on the creatures' domain. The eight foot python emerging from a resident's toilet was not named Monty. One native wrote "There's an old saying that if you encounter a snake, you will meet your soul mate." The bite victim replied "I'd rather be a widow."

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Don't Build a Wall

Don't build a wall - build a fence - in Northern Norway - where the National Railway freight trains killed 100+ reindeer during a four day period last week. The herders - known as Laplanders - are urging the government to erect more fences in herding areas. They estimate that 200 to 600 reindeer have been in train related accidents each year. With Northern Norway's proximity to the North Pole, it would behoove Santa to plan an alternate route this year, and he may definitely need Rudolph in the lead to light the way.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lend Me Your Ears

The upper corners of newspapers are known as "ears" and can convey a brief message. After Pearl Harbor, the Philadelphia Daily News ran the Stars & Stripes in the upper left corner with the phrase "She'll fly over Tokyo" which continued throughout WWII. The NY Times runs their motto in the left corner and a brief weather report on the right side. What I didn't know was that the Times runs 27 different Accuweather reports to coincide with their 27 printing locations. So if your weather app is not at hand and you are reading the Times in Seattle, they will give you the rainy forecast you learn to expect, while it is sunny in Manhattan. Bring the umbrella.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dating 101

China is now paying the price for their one child per family policy - since ended. With a preference for boys, many couples aborted female fetuses. Now they find that young marriage age men outnumber women by 33.6 million. With those odds even I couldn't get a date. Enter the dating coach and young men are signing up for lessons in courtship. Even the government is playing matchmaker.  And, of course, this reverses the dowry arrangement. Dolly Levi, where are you?