In a cloud of Guinness

Sorry for being late!
My finger still works but I will use the right one mainly over the next few days.

I have to start with a quote from Mark Twain. «It is easier to fool the people than to get them to admit that they have been fooled.»
How often every day does this adage prove to be true?
Answer: in every news report on anything, everywhere.
Let’s check…

Who votes for the Orange Shit Gibbon?, you ask. Well, just about everyone in the US. That doesn’t make them all stupid, just unwilling to admit that they were taken in by someone who is actually stupid.
You will remember the Gulf war when the USA «coalition» moved into Irak, deposed Saddam and replaced him with worse and allowed the «Imperial Guard» of Saddam to go away and form the Daesh.
Anyway, there was one genuinely funny moment for history amongst all the bloodshed. The minister for publicity, sorry, information, under Saddam was Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf. Meanwhile, Saddam’s brother, Ali Hassan al-Majid, was the minister of defence who dropped lethal gases on the Kurds. For this he was nicknamed «Chemical Ali».
On the day that the Information minister was standing on a platform in the centre of Bagdad announcing to reporters from everywhere that the Americans had been repulsed with great success at the border, several American army vehicles drove over the cross-road directly behind him. When the reporters, laughing with incredulity, tried to point this out to him, he just got more animated and continued to shout that the imperial pigs would never enter Irak He did not look over his shoulder.
For this reason, he was known from then on as Comical Ali.
Why do I mention this?
Well, Drumpf has been busy impersonating Comical Ali.
After his latest great success/humiliation (delete as required) negociating with Kimical Un of North Korea, he was told by a reporter during a press conference that the Koreans were again building launch pads for more nuclear missiles. There were even satelite pictures. He replied that Kim would not do that. He said «I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim, and I don’t think I will be, but we’ll see what happens.» More Comical Ali than idiot? You decide!
In any case, who would admit that they were wrong in voting for him?

I watched another video of him being interviewed by two reporters from the southern states at the start of his mandate as POTUS. The two men were of the episcopalian religious right. They read the Bible and take it literally.
What’s your favourite book? asked one of them.
Oh, I would have to say the Bible, of course, anounced the Shit Gibbon to loving religious applause from the loving religious audience.
Wonderful!, the two men cooed, and what is your preferred book in the Bible?
Panic on the Shit Gibbon’s face as he looked to simultaneously dissimulate his complete ignorance of the book in question, try to remember or even invent a possible plausible title and, to find some excuse for not answering.
This was already excruciatingly embarrassing, but about to get worse.
After weakly and lengthily prevaricating, they changed tack and asked for his favourite passage from the Bible.
I was already laughing out loud at this point because if he couldn’t think of a book of the Bible, what hope had he of guessing a line?
I prefer not to say, he eventually replied, it is too personal. And repeated it like the terrible actor that he is.
And the two credulous fools asking the questions believed him.
Finally, when the program time was running out and you could see the relief on the Shit Gibbon’s face that the ordeal was just about over, they suddenly added in one last question just before the credits rolled.
You could see he was having difficulty controlling his sphinctor at this stage.
«Are you an Old Testament man or a New Testament man?», the interviewer asked, with a big friendly and genuine smile on his stupid face.
Silence and panic.
Cringe-meter exploding..
Oh, I’m 50 – 50 answered the Shit Gibbon with fake gravitas.
Roll credits!
So, tell me, is Mark Twain right?  Would you admit to having been fooled by the fool-in-chief?

In a week when the only plane stories were of the Boeing 737 Max 8 disaster, you might have missed another little tale of a woman who should only be given soft toys. Her Malaysia-bound plane had to turn back to Saudi Arabia after a she realised she had left her baby in the terminal. I am not making this up.
The pilot had to request a turn around, something only allowed in life threatening emergency.
The video of him calling air traffic control is worth a look if you can find it. However, it disappeared from the source site some days ago.
“May God be with us. Can we come back?” says the pilot. You could sense the state of astonishment of the air traffic controller, wondering if this was real or a joke. You can just about hear him conferring with others around him about what to do. He says again, loudly,
“This flight is requesting to come back. A passenger forgot her baby in the waiting area, the poor thing.”
The flight turned back.
Felix, count your kids when you are next taking the plane!
That woman didn’t count. One…. One….. One….  Count them… One. How difficult is that?

France now and expansion…
The O’Tacos phenomenon. This chain of shite «food», or just shite, is a French thing. These fast food dumps are opening everywhere selling vomit in a dough covering. The smell from the street causes me to cross the road to avoid it.
Apparently the O’Tacos chain are expanding fast and a lot. While journalists marvel at this great success, I wonder at their job titles. I usually expect journalists to investigate.
So far, all they have researched is that these shite fast foods hovels started in Grenoble after «three school friends got together with an idea».
This is where I started to get a bad feeling.
The tacos joints started among the north African community as a front for laundering drugs money. The cheapest of shite sold cheaply. There is no way that they could have the financial turnover that they claim. They don’t have 10000 customers par day.
Now, with the strong rise in drug selling all over Europe (this is taking on unheard of proportions according to a police friend of mine here) there is a need for more and more money laundering outlets.
The kebab and taco shops.
A simple glance will tell you first. Then the vile smell will inform you of the «quality» of what is being sold.
Teenagers buy this shite because it is cheap and filling.
But then, so is cement.
And the drugs keep being sold.
My arse!
At best, inept… at worst, complicit. 
Another example of fools who prefer to believe the nonsense rather than admit they got it wrong.

Still in France…
You think despairingly that Spain is far too interested in football?
A football-mad couple in south-west France have been barred from naming their son “Griezmann Mbappe”.
An old French student of mine from my Guildford days married a family judge, He sent this to me some weeks ago but I missed the email until last week.  They live and work in Brive-la-Gaillarde, a town so devoid of normal life that you could make science fiction films there about a hidden alien takeover of humanity by just filming in the street on any given day. His wife just got famous for legally stripping the baby boy of his two first names, nearly five months after his birth. The local authorities referred the parents to prosecutors as they deemed their choices of name were damaging for the child. Yes, it took that long.
His parents have now decided to call him Dany Noe instead.
Checking this on-line on the official government site threw up some gems. The most striking name of all to have been deemed illegal was “Jihad”.
I mean, who the fuck?

Political correctness gone mad again in the US.
Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke acknowledged making mistakes as a teenager. But then, who hasn’t made mistakes in their teenage years?
During a political podcast in Iowa (which makes Almendralejos seem positively cosmopolitan) he addressed criticism of his campaign-trail joke that his wife, Amy, has raised their three kids “sometimes with my help”.Okay, fun good humour on the campaign trail.Then all of a sudden he was fiercely criticised as being insensitive to the challenges faced by single parents raising children.Outrage! Outrage!! I want, nay, demand to be outraged.
And he apologised?

Three Michael Jackson fan groups are suing his alleged victims in France for “sullying his memory” by taking part in the «Leaving Neverland» documentary.
Okay, he was a chronic paedophile but you shouldn’t say bad things about him, right?
The Michael Jackson Community – which claims to be the “official fan club forum” – and the MJ Street and On The Line groups accuse the Robson Wade and James Safechuck (the two sexually abused by Jackson when children) of “lynching” Jackson.
Their pay off money must have run out then.

Let’s move south…
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have protested across Algeria for a fourth consecutive Friday, as the country’s political elite began distancing themselves from the «ailing 82-year-old president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika».
He has decided to not run for the presidency, they announced as a result.
The thing is that he is, medically, a vegetable.
I mean, he has no operating physical functions beyond the machine that keeps him vaguely alive. Just like several USSR leaders in the past and Michael Schumacher now.
The coterie of money men running the country using him as a front, are now busy looking for a new popular and highly complicit candidate.
Good luck with that in Algeria, boys!

Headline of the week from the Guardian yet again…
«I met my girlfriend’s parents – and realised I once slept with her father»
with the sub headline:
«She is everything to me and I was going to propose – but now he has told me to end it with her»
I first thought that it referred to a lesbian affair but I was wrong. It was a man talking. Who is this bloke?

In the US they are asking about weak academic students with money who can get into top colleges easier than poor students who are excellent academically.
The British are asking, without a hint of self-awareness or irony if there are any mediocre students getting into Oxford or Cambridge.
Given that quite a significant number of the most idiotic ministers and ex-ministers (all supporting Brexit, not at all surprisingly) in the present UK government are graduates of both of these universities, the question is answered.
And I, along with many others, ask: how did these eejits ever get through a university cursus?
Fooled by these people? I wouldn’t admit it either.

As you no doubt know, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to our own sun, at around four light years away. It’s believed that Proxima Centauri has at least one planet in its orbit that may have conditions close to those of Earth. In four years time, the lucky inhabitants of that planet will be picking up tv and radio signals from the news/parliament channels of Brexit Britain, 2019. They are in for an unparalleled comedy treat when they start to watch the ridiculous carry-on over Brexit in the absurd UK House of Commons.
So, at that point, not only will Britain be an international laughing-stock, it’ll be an intergalactic one, too.

My seriously too great intake of Guinness last night prevents me from further concentration.Blessings and ardour be heaped upon you allf

De granjero en Osterdalen (Noruega 86)

La granja donde viviamos
la alergia no me abandonó
Cansado del trabajo
Un descanso de colgar hierbas
En la «casa de campo» del granjero
El conejo se hizo mi amigo
…y se venía a todos lados!
Con Yves, otro trabajador (francés), en la barca del lago.
Otra «casa de campo» desde el lago
Descansando en la casa de campo
Vista de Roros (1)
Vista de Roros (2)
Vista de Roros (3)
Vista de Roros (4)

Meanwhile, in the real world

We’re doomed! The world is coming to the end!!!!
That’s what the scientists worryingly tell us. And what do they do to show us the imminence of the danger?
They show us a clock.
A clock!
And with midnight as the instant of doom, «we are two minutes from the end», they scream. «We have to do something now», they plead.
And the general reaction?
The reason is easy to see. The only clock we know from childhood is the one in Cinderella and that midnight gong turned out well in the end. That won’t give us any nightmares.
I am proposing a new image to wake us up.
A toilet roll.
And there are only two sheets left.
And we are just realising that we ate a huge curry yesterday.
Now, if that doesn’t cause a sense of panic within us, then we deserve to disappear as a species.

You can get up in the mornings, deal with kids, go to work, try to deliver in exchange for your salary, look to enjoy life in general, the drinks, the company, the food..; you know, living.
And when you do that, you reasonably think that all is okay within your own world, even if the shit is flying left, right and centre beyond your little sphere.
But that’s not the way it goes these days. We have social media. We have opinions. We have outrage!!!! And it flows all over us whether we like it or not.
The message comes through load and clear: fuck facts, fuck knowledge, fuck science!
I mean, who needs that stuff?
There’s the Orange Shit Gibbon, Brexit, Bolsonaro, the Catalans, the right wing Italians, the Poles and Hungarians, the Catalans… populist opinion is all the counts.
Relying on feelings used to be a sign of intellectual feebleness (it still is in my book) but we have now reached some strange point in our evolution where emotions are prioritised over logic and fact.

So let’s get this rant off to a proper start…

Controversy is the thing. Every brain-dead moron wants to get involved in order to demonstrate their moral credentials and feel important.
How does one feel important now?
Not by doing something, or being depended on to do something.
You do so by having an opinion (without any form of Aristotlean syllogistic logic that might lead to it) and getting outraged.

I couldn’t avoid the Oscars the other night, or rather the next day, when various excerpts flooded the news reports. Every speach by any actor clearly showed them to be terrified of saying the wrong thing.
The Oscars were supposed to be presented by a guy named Kevin Hart but he made a joke several years ago about gays. A joke. That was him finished.
One journalist wrote about him and said he should realise that «what you say has consequences» and he deserved all the trouble he got.
What, are we living through the Inquisition?

We are drifting into Spring and thoughts of young couples are floating (like turds in a bath) towards marriage.
A moment here please as I vomit….
Listening to these eejits (a very Irish word that can be translated by the word idiot, but is in fact much worse) and their plans on the radio recently, I was struck by the number who were going to IKEA in order to furnish their first home. IKEA!
Hang on… I feel the need to vomit again at the memory of these people…
Personally, I hate that place with all of my rational being. I vehemently and viscerally avoid the place and those who think it a great day out.
How poor is your life if a day in IKEA represents any form of pleasure?
However, after a few years of inevitably unsatisfying marriage, the same people will end up being dragged there by the other spouse, with all the enthusiasm of emptying bins, for yet another forced guided visit to the bland, sterile and boring produce. This will break even the strongest will and divorce is only a short number of visits away. The contribution to divorce stastics by these Swedes must be frighteningly impressive. They should change their publicity:
IKEA, voted number one in the world by «Places to End your Marriage» magazine.

And how is it possible to get your head around the report that a man (apparently living in the community without minders!) managed to consume half a tub of paint that he thought was…. yoghurt?
There are too many questions there that have no answers.

And in the Canary islands, what possessed the children’s clown to dress up in a mask and carry a gun to a swimming pool party?
Did he actually wonder why everybody was running away in complete panic?

And now that the Oscars have bored the whole world, the Olympics organisers are desperate to get us outraged. The IOC are seriously considering including surf boarding (where do you get the wave conditions?), surfing (same question) and, get this… breakdancing in the next Games.

Yeah, sport! Speaking of which…. it is the recommended solution to being over-stressed. At least get out for a brisk walk with a sense of purpose, say the doctors.
I tried that and it got me as far as the fridge. Three cold beers later and the stress just went away like snow in a fire.

The Orange Shit Gibbon was made a fool of by the North Korean Hair Cut again. That was to be expected, I know, and the authoroties in Hanoi suspected the same thing. In the two weeks before the summit (or trough, really) they banned all Trump and Kim impersonators from entering the entire region around Hanoi. What was the point in that? I wondered, and then it struck me… they were half hoping that they would somehow «accidentally» stop the real pair from entering too.

On an Air France flight last week, a man in his 40s or 50s decided he couldn’t get comfortable with his trousers on. So he took them off. He stood in the aisle and took off his shoes and then his trousers and resumed his seat while wearing his boxer shorts. There are images on the news sites.
Despite the shock of surrounding passengers, the air hostesses seemed entirely unconcerned. And it isn’t that he was a fine specimen of buff manhood, he was over-weight and the boxers were not exactly attractive. After about an hour he obviously felt cold. The nearby passengers assumed that their view of the world would return to fully dressed. But they were wrong. The man stood up and got his coat. He put that on and zipped it up.. And then sat down again and went back to sleep.
Did he snore too?
And I used to always complain about having every fat sweaty guy sitting beside me on the train who would fall slowly asleep on my shoulder. At least they had their trousers on.

The pro-Brexit fools in the UK are starting to get a taste (pun intended) of what is to come in any American trade deal. The Americans want no restrictions on their food exports into Britain, many of which are banned in the European Union.
They will have to welcome growth hormone fed beef and pork and chlorinated chicken. They are also fed a lot of anti-biotics which remain in «circulation» for years with undesirable consequences. But the politicos are desperate for the money and will sign anything. They are worse, far worse, than the Gurtel gang but they will get away with it.
I looked up some facts about why the US chickens are banned in Europe and it makes for a sort of schadenfreude* on my part anyway.
(* get a dictionary if you don’t know it)

The quotes from the medical journals are in italics…

US chickens have more than tripled in size since 1957.
[Was Frankenstein involved?]
The birds cost 20 per cent less than British chickens,
[Obviously they are also healthier, right?]
Major poultry producers have cross-bred and interbred birds in recent decades to create ‘mutant’ chickens which grow larger in a shorter space of time and need less feed.
[So, which of you will be temporary vegetarians next time you visit the USA?]
‘These chickens grow far too large too quickly and they cannot move around. They end up sitting in their own waste.’
[The UK politicians are knowingly pushing this trade deal.]
The animals bring more faecal matter to the slaughterhouse with them, posing the food safety risk which requires the birds to be washed in chlorine or similar chemicals.
[Be afraid! Be very afraid!!]
However, the US poultry industry maintains that its birds are healthier than ever.
Christ! What were these Franken-chickens like before?

But there are worse things to find in your belongings.
One woman returned to Scotland from a holiday in Australia to discover a snake hidden in one of her shoes.
You are tired after a 15000 km journey and all you want to do is sleep… just as soon as you have emptied the cases. Aaarrrggghhh! It even shed its skin during the flight. This was a spotted python and is non-venomous.
It is in quarantine in Scotland. I don’t think the woman will be travelling south any time soon.

This caught my eye…
«A Wisconsin school is ending cheerleading awards given annually to girls with the largest breasts or buttocks — dubbed “Big Booty” and “Big Boobie” — after officials received repeated complaints from parents and a former coach.»
Straight onto googling Wisconsin cheerleaders.
Site down!
I would have applied to be a judge.

Meanwhile, US officials say they are probing whether President Donald Trump is rushing to sell sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia to please corporate supporters who stand to profit handsomely.
Sale! Sale! Sale! Everything must go!!
To go into the surreal, the Orange Shit Gibbon’s favourite television station, Fox News, has a reputation for giving airtime to conspiracy theories that benefit the White House agenda. One of his preferred TV hosts (Pete Hegseth) said on air that he doesn’t wash his hands and hasn’t done so in ten years.
I saw an excerpt of his show where he discussed eating day-old pizza that had not been refrigerated. He did not see any problem with that and then he said: “Really, I don’t really wash my hands ever.”
“I inoculate myself. Germs are not a real thing. I can’t see them, therefore they’re not real.”
What the fuck is he breathing?
This is the same news (news? Ha!) station that deliberately discusses climate change when the weather is particularly cold, helping the idiots to doubt over accepted science regarding rising global temperatures.

You have to almost feel sorry for the ordinary English man with any sort of education.  He will have a busy day at work, go home via poor public transport, catch up with the news….»Transport minister C Greyling latest fiasco costs taxpayers another 33 million», «Ex Brexit minister Dominic Raab again demonstrates complete lack of understanding about Ireland’s history and EU negotiations that he was responsible for», «US will screw UK in trade deal», «another one of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” immigration policies has been declared incompatible with human rights law»….
And this all happened in ONE day? (I just took a sample of the headlines on only one day last week.)
Ordinary English man with any sort of education needs a drink.
And they are asking why there is a drinking problem there?

A London rapper (I refuse to use such words as music or artist), Adetokunbo Ajibola (26), otherwise known by his stage name Trapstar Toxic, who spent the last year boasting publicly about possessing drugs… has been jailed for five years after being caught by police for drug possession.

I am alone here again and I think I will go and get some coffee.
Anyone available this early?

Blessings be heaped upon you all

A bonus

Travel writers just can’t avoid getting things wrong sometimes.
However, what are the chances of one (or three!!) of them getting almost everything wrong?
Over tea this morning at 7am, I came across this article in the Guardian newspaper, a serious organ, if you will allow me the pun after recent series of non-erotic images of the human body…. (which begs the important question… when do we get «Me and my arse»?)
Several things jumped out at me as I read the travel guide to Sevilla, because that’s what it is. Seriously, you have to read it yourselves, just so that you can see what others say about your town.
But just in case you don’t have the time right now, I will list some of the most awful comments… Oh, and before you think this is the work of visiting ‘guiris’, it isn’t. This was written by a ‘guiri’ living in Sevilla along with two local Sevillanos. Hard to believe that someone isn’t taking the piss.
Calle Feria features too much so we can guess what type of people did the writing.
The first «top tip» is the Viscaino, a bar much frequented in the distant past by Felix (and me while living nearby) over the years. It starts with the description of it being a «classic Sevillano watering hole visited by fedora-wearing veterans and hipsters». I have walked down that street many times over the past 33 years and not once have I seen anyone wearing a fedora. A fedora? In what century? Is this like the article about bring fried fish into Pepe’s for all to eat? A momumental pisstake! 
The authors write about the famous vermouth served there. I think they only serve it to gays. Everyone else is drinking beer or fino. It certainly isn’t vermouth.
«Traders and punters drink vermouth (and beer) and crunch olives.»Crunch? Olives?
Take the fucking stone out, you fool! You’re not supposed to eat the stone!
«Waiters chalk up tabs on the bar top, while the odd confused guiri (tourist) looks on in bewilderment»Not the only ones bewildered by the description.

The Guadalquivir riverside is next… and the ‘jardines del Guadalguivir’… during which visit you can «Wander its mazes, lily ponds and avenues of orange trees, before moseying back to Triana for cold beer and churros
Who, on this God’s Earth, has chorros with their beer? Or beer with their churros?
That’s how it reads, folks.
Christ!!Of course, after that you can «Take your spoils across the bridge to the warm golden flagstones opposite Calle Betis to watch the sunset.»
Seriously? I mean, seriously???

I have passed by the «bici» and I have seen the clientelle. Not for me, thank you! but it it is your idea of a buzz….

I’ll skip the next terndy visits and go to the Parque Maria Luisa… if you look at the image of Plaza de Espana, you might notice the colour of the reflections in the water. It really doesn’t match the surroundings. Some terrible photoshopping there, then.
As for having picnics in the park… never seen that either.

«Los Pajaritos (“the little birds”) ……..  This family-run, ….. since 1970, etc. Don’t be put off by the stern-looking bartenders; in kindly broken English they will soon make you feel like a regular.»Yeah, like a regular… That’ll be 45€ for the three beers please!
The Bodega Santa Cruz is included in the list and look at the image of the bar. I recognise the camarero… he used to work in Dos de Mayo (or the version in Alfalfa).

As for vegan food…  and what exactly is a vegan breakfast? Tostada and coffee?
Can you imagine going to a vegan restaurant? As joyless an evening as the probable company.

Here’s the link:

Further blessings on you allf