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What makes me Laugh
Some may well be wondering just what I find to be funny or amusing, well I love clever wordplay and inventive insults that make good use of the delights of the English language Boris Johnson, the current Mayor of London is a talented wit.
• Last year, when the London assembly voted not to debate Johnson’s budget amendment and requested that he leave the hearing, he berated them as “great supine, protoplasmic invertebrate jellies“. Once again choosing jelly (see Clegg, above) as his insulting noun of choice, he qualified it with no less than four adjectives. Great, meaning large; invertebrate, meaning spineless (not like those spine-riddled jellies you get nowadays); supine, meaning inactive (again, not to be confused with those jellies you see hard at work, doing press-ups and the like) and protoplasmic – an especially odd choice of adjective for a jelly, as protoplasm is the colloidal liquid from which cells are formed.
I am very much inclined to thinking that Johnson is channelling Oscar Wilde in his put downs and insults and it should surprise no one that Wilde is also right up there on my list of great wits and masters of the Queen’s English. However when it comes to contemporary humorists and purveyors of satire my tastes are very eclectic and largely apolitical. While I certainly do like social commentators like Pat Condell I also enjoy ardently left wing comedians like Alexi Sale. In many ways I’m pretty old school when it comes to comedy and satire, The Goons, the Goodies and Monty Python are utterly classic prototypes for good humour as far as I am concerned. They all managed to produce satire and and clever jokes that are largely immune to being dated the way that many contemporary stand up routines that focus on politics become dated.
The validation process
Our Warminista friends have been rather quiet lately about “runaway global warming’ mainly because their credibility has been shot to pierces over the Cliamategate scandal and the fact that the weather has simply not been playing ball with their dire predictions at all. Nowhere is this more so than in the United kingdom, Europe and North America where we have seen three years of colder than usual winters. Now I expect that warming fools like our resident J(trust me I’m a scientist but I won’t tell you what I am qualified in)M will insist that what we are seeing here is “weather” and that it is not the same as “climate”, well frankly I think that JM is talking out of his over rated (by himself) arse.
Back in November, when the Met Office was still doing its “mild winter” schtick, Corbyn said it would be the coldest for 100 years. Indeed, it was back in May that he first predicted a snowy December, and he put his own money on a white Christmas about a month before the Met Office made any such forecast. He said that the Met Office would be wrong about last year’s mythical “barbecue summer”, and he was vindicated. He was closer to the truth about last winter, too.
He seems to get it right about 85 per cent of the time and serious business people – notably in farming – are starting to invest in his forecasts. In the eyes of many punters, he puts the taxpayer-funded Met Office to shame. How on earth does he do it? He studies the Sun.
He looks at the flow of particles from the Sun, and how they interact with the upper atmosphere, especially air currents such as the jet stream, and he looks at how the Moon and other factors influence those streaming particles.
He takes a snapshot of what the Sun is doing at any given moment, and then he looks back at the record to see when it last did something similar. Then he checks what the weather was like on Earth at the time – and he makes a prophecy.
I have not a clue whether his methods are sound or not. But when so many of his forecasts seem to come true, and when he seems to be so consistently ahead of the Met Office, I feel I want to know more. Piers Corbyn believes that the last three winters could be the harbinger of a mini ice age that could be upon us by 2035, and that it could start to be colder than at any time in the last 200 years. He goes on to speculate that a genuine ice age might then settle in, since an ice age is now cyclically overdue.
Is he barmy? Of course he may be just a fluke-artist. It may be just luck that he has apparently predicted recent weather patterns more accurately than government-sponsored scientists. Nothing he says, to my mind, disproves the view of the overwhelming majority of scientists, that our species is putting so much extra CO? into the atmosphere that we must expect global warming.
The question is whether anthropogenic global warming is the exclusive or dominant fact that determines our climate, or whether Corbyn is also right to insist on the role of the Sun. Is it possible that everything we do is dwarfed by the moods of the star that gives life to the world? The Sun is incomparably vaster and more powerful than any work of man. We are forged from a few clods of solar dust. The Sun powers every plant and form of life, and one day the Sun will turn into a red giant and engulf us all. Then it will burn out. Then it will get very nippy indeed.
Weather is to climate in the same way that the one millimetre mark is to the the one Metre mark on a measuring stick, it really is just a matter of “scale” because when you get enough “weather” measurements and consider them together you get climate. Surely this is an uncontentious observation on my part? You see I can’t get past the fact that despite the claims that “this is one of the hottest years on record” we have experienced a rather cooler and somewhat wetter year here in my part of the world and that I have been consistently seeing reports of record cold temperatures in the northern hemisphere so I wonder just how the “hottest year” claim is arrived at because as far as I understand how averages work if large parts of the planet have experienced extraordinary cold weather this year then it must be the case that more of the planet has had extraordinarily warm weather for longer periods than usual but I have heard no such reports of longer and hotter summers … well at least not enough to balance out the reports of colder and more severe winters
I freely admit my limitations on the science and the maths but I do know that those who make dire predictions and prognostications about the weather and climate require more than just a bit of luck which is why we see most predictions drawn on a scale larger than the seer’s lifetime. That way the prognosticator can safely sell their predictions to the world knowing that they will never have to answer the obvious questions when they are shown by events to have been on the wrong track.
Personally I reckon that the next couple of Christmases will be just as white as the last few in the UK and I base that on nothing more than a sort primal “I feel it in my water” instinct unlike the sort of assertions we get from our Warminista friends I admit that I could be entirely wrong and that with humility we all have to accept that the only true validation of any prediction comes in the fullness of time.
Kristina Keneally and the spin cycle
As politician’s go Kristina Keneally seems to be trying very hard to do the right thing for her state but she is rather hampered by a very dodgy crew in the NSW Labor Party. It is however rather sad to see the normally upfront and honest woman begin to take up Brother Number one’s habit of applying spin to every news story to try to wring the very last morsel of political mileage out of any announcement.
When Kristina Keneally stood in Parliament during question time on Wednesday clutching a letter from the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, she put it to good use.
Mr Johnson, the Premier declared, had ”saluted” her for the decision to purchase an ”Oyster-style” transport smartcard for Sydney. Technology from it will be used in Sydney’s version.
”There you have robust endorsement by a leading light of conservative politics,” Ms Keneally crowed at the opposition benches. ”London may be 10 hours behind Sydney but their mayor is 10 years ahead of the NSW opposition”.
Conveniently not disclosed by the Premier, though, is the real reason for Mr Johnson’s glee: royalty payments of $3.5 million to Transport for London, the super-department of which he is chairman.
The fees must be paid because the smartcard developer, Cubic, and Transport for London jointly own some of the intellectual property to be used.
I really like Boris Johnson because he is not only an amusing fellow (see his appearance on Top Gear) but also he is very much a “what you see is what you get” sort Pollie. He walks the walk and that is damn refreshing to see. Ah but the lady in red on the other hand has been hanging out with some rather more dodgey inspirations.
Every day I am thankful that I don’t have to rely on public transport but for those who do the attempts to create integrated ticketing systems seems to be something of a disappointment in many places that have tried it, the experience up here in Queensland has, like Sydney been rather fraught with difficulty.
Ah well, if the Poms can do it right and sell the that success to willing buyers well good on them but there is a big difference between being delighted at doing a good deal for his London constituents and saluting the government of NSW.
PS Is it just me or does KK look rather silly in that cycling outfit?
Reclaiming a flag
For far too long the PC brigade have portrayed displaying the Saint George flag as something akin to announcing that you are a racist thug, and I am rather pleased to see that Boris Johnson is going to make a real effort to reclaim the symbol for the ordinary English men and women so that they can celebrate their heritage and culture.
There will be readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets at the Globe Theatre to mark the 400th anniversary of their publication, real-ale tastings and an English folk music concert in Trafalgar Square, while the Mayor will take a ceremonial tour of the capital in a London bus.
The whole city is expected to be decked in the Cross of St George – with no threat of getting into trouble with the authorities, as it will be with the full authority of the Mayor.
Mr Johnson told The Mail on Sunday: ‘St George’s Day has been ignored in London for too long but I’m truly pleased to announce some fantastic events to mark this occasion. We have much to be proud of in this great country. England has given so much to the world, politically, socially and artistically.
‘St George’s Day is a time to celebrate the very best of everything English and the Cross of St George will proudly fly outside City Hall on April 23. I look forward to hopping on a Routemaster and encouraging everyone to join in the fun and celebrate England’s great patron saint.’
You don’t have to be a Christian to celebrate something like this, you can be an Englishman of any faith who feels some pride in the achievements of the nation and its people, heck even expatiates of very long standing like myself has many a good reason to celebrate being English. I remember that my late father was delighted to declare ” God is an Englishman, because he could chose his nationality” and who could argue with that logic?
“Boris is London mayor as he routs Red Ken”
Winners: Celebrations all round last night for Boris Johnson and Tory leader David Cameron
The Conservatives finished 20 points ahead of Labour around the country, enough to sweep to power at Westminster with a majority of 100 or more.
The Prime Minister must now contend with a Tory London mayor who holds one of the biggest directly-elected jobs in Europe, with an £11billion budget and a high-profile platform from which to attacks on the Government.
The presence of a powerful Tory on his doorstep will be a daily reminder to Mr Brown and his party that he now faces an uphill struggle to win the next election and stay in power.
Mr Johnson’s landmark win was hailed by jubilant Conservatives as evidence that Mr Cameron’s message of modernised Conservatism was a sure fire winner with the voters.*
As expected the Brown Government now has a new Tory Mayor of London and I don’t think that Gordon is at all happy about it 😀