Friday, 17 November 2017

"One regular black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous puddle-water to go, please."

Wake up and smell the coffee? No thanks, mine's a beer...
Certainly our Countrymens pallates are become as Fantastical as their Brains; how ellse is't possible they should Apostatize from the good old primitve way of Ale-drinking, to run a whoring after such variety of distructive Foreign Liquors, to trifle away their time, scald their Chops, and spend their Money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking, nauseous Puddle-water: Yet (as all Witches have their Charms) so this ugly Turskish Enchantress by certain Invisible Wyres attracts both Rich and Poor; so that those that have scarece Twopence to buy their Children Bread, must spend a penny each evening in this Insipid Stuff: Nor can we send one of our Husbands to Call a Midwife, or borrow a Glister-pipe, but he must stay an hour by the way drinking his two Dishes, and two Pipes. 
From The Womens Petition Against Coffee (1674)

A "glister pipe" was apparently a tube used for administering enemas.* If you think that millennials oversharing on the Internet is a problem, just consider that sharing photos of your smashed avacado on Instagram, although seemingly pointless, is at least a more hygienic form of networking than swapping enema pipes with your besties.

Talking of oversharing, The Womens Petition wasn't just a complaint about spouses frittering away the family money at the coffee shop, then coming back wired and super late. The anonymous pamphleteer was also worried that this suspicious foreign beverage was sapping husbandly libidos and wasn't shy about describing the supposed effects of:
...the Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE, which Riffling Nature of her Choicest Treasures, and Drying up the Radical Moisture, has so Eunucht our Husbands, and Cripple our more kind Gallants, that they are become as Impotent as Age, and as unfruitful as those Desarts whence that unhappy Berry is said to be brought.

For the continual flipping of this pitiful drink is enough to bewitch Men of two and twenty, and tie up the Codpiece-points without a Charm. It renders them that use it as Lean as Famine, as Rivvel'd as Envy, or an old meager Hagg over-ridden by an Incubus. They come from it with nothing moist but their snotty Noses, nothing stiffe but their Joints, nor standing but their Ears: They pretend 'twill keep them Waking, but we find by scurvy Experience, they sleep quietly enough after it. A Betrothed Queen might trust her self a bed with one of them, without the nice Caution of a sword between them: nor can call all the Art we use revive them from this Lethargy, so unfit they are for Action, that like young Train-band-men when called upon Duty, their Ammunition is wanting; peradventure they Present, but cannot give Fire, or at least do but flash in the Pan, instead of doing executions.
Whether this Seventeenth Century tweetstorm actually  persuaded any of London's coffee shop hipsters to kick their caffeine habit, I don’t know, but someone was eventually bound to question the dubious assertion that potency was best achieved by abstaining from coffee and having a few jars of ale, instead.

Nobody knows the true identity of the Restoration Twitter egg behind The Womens Petition. The author presented as female, but some people think it was written by an angrily anonymous male troll. Me, I think it was probably written by a hacked-off brewer, (most likely a bloke, as this was well after the medieval heyday of the alewife).

There's some interesting background on The Womens Petition, along with the full text of the pamphlet, here.

*and also for the Seventeenth Century wellness fad of blowing tobacco smoke up a patient's bottom.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Inspirational spiritual quote of the day #3

*goes to mass and eats Jesus, who the church has replaced with a small piece of bread*

As far as I know, Greggs' Advent calendars will still be going on sale in selected Greggs’ shops across the UK from Monday November 20. Available, while stocks last, at a price of £24 (RRP).



Whataboutery for dummies




the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counter-accusation or raising a different issue.
This is how a real expert does it:
"Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at [indiscernible] – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?

... What about this? What about the fact that they came charging – they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do...

...As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute, I'm not finished. I'm not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day...

...I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had, you had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent."
A masterclass in mendacious obfuscation from one of the most practised bullshitters in the business. Often imitated, seldom equalled.

To show how it shouldn't be done, here's a bumbling amateur trying the same trick:
Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox ... accused the 53-year-old MEP [Nigel Farage] of stoking tensions over a terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market. Mr Farage had appeared to blame the attack on Angela Merkel, leading Mr Cox to claim he was "blaming politicians for the actions of extremists".

In response, Mr Farage said: "Yes, well of course he would know more about extremists than me, Mr Cox. He backs organisations like Hope Not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”
These two things look the same, but there's an important difference. Donald Trump was able to get away with muddying the waters with a libellous smear, by libelling something vague and nebulous called the "alt-left", which can't sue him because it doesn't exist.

Donald Trump's #1 superfan made the elementary mistake of libelling the anti-fascists at HOPE Not Hate who, unfortunately for Farage, do exist and, thanks to 16,000 supporters who crowdfunded their legal costs, could sue him for the slur. Farage has now been forced to withdraw his claim that the group employed "violent and undemocratic means", while still trying to weasel his way out of admitting his climb-down.

Poor Nigel. He really hasn't got the hang of this libel business, has he? Sad.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Weirdly, not a Daily Mash headline

" Estate agent says London's millennials should stop buying sandwiches, holidays and splashing cash on nights out in order to afford a house"
Top trolling from some gleefully callous sociopath at estate agents Strutt and Parker. Bonus points for mocking the victims of the Great British Housing Rip-Off with a virtuoso display of finger-wagging condescension.

I'm sure that millennials will just love being on the receiving end of an improving sermon from the bloodsucking  cheerleaders of the UK's dismally unproductive rentier economy:
According to the Resolution Foundation, homeowners born in the 1940s and 1950s gained an unearned windfall of £80,000 between 1993 and 2014 alone. In the early 2000s, house price growth was so great that 17% of working-age adults earned more from their house than from their job...

...As house prices have continued to increase and the gap between house prices and earnings has grown larger, the cost of homeownership has become increasingly prohibitive. Whereas in the mid-1990s low and middle income households could afford a first time buyer deposit after saving for around 3 years, today it takes the same households 20 years to save for a deposit. Many have increasingly found themselves with little choice but to rent privately. For those stuck in the private rental market, the proportion of income spent on housing costs has risen from around 10% in 1980 to 36% today. Unlike homeowners, there is no asset wealth to draw on to fund new cars or holidays.
Laurie Macfarlane

Monday, 13 November 2017

You won't believe what he looks like now!

Prince Philip looks far more cheerful now he's retired.

John Redwood sells out - tells investors "Don't invest in UK."

This is what Brexiteer John Redwood says in public:
'We'll be fine!' John Redwood issues fiery riposte to Brexit 'no-deal' doom-mongers
This is his private advice to anybody thinking of investing in the UK:
Redwood’s advice to investors is to flee the UK before the credit crunch bites:
I sold out of the general share ETFs in the UK after their great performance for the year from early July 2016 when I saw the last Budget and heard the BoE’s credit warnings. The money could be better put to work in places where the authorities are allowing credit to expand a bit, to permit faster growth.
Sounds sensible, doesn’t it?

No. It is an absolute disgrace for this man to give such advice.

You see, the Rt. Hon. John Redwood MP – to give him his full title – is a lawmaker. He is an elected member of the House of Commons. And not just any lawmaker. He is a senior member of the Conservative Party, which is currently in government and making a total hash of the Brexit negotiations. He is also a former Cabinet Minister and a member of the Privy Council.

This senior lawmaker is advising investors to stop investing in his country.
Frances Coppola

Words fail me.

Update - although words apparently don't fail John Redwood. He actually said this:
"'All they ever do is run the UK down' Tory SLAMS Labour attempts to release Brexit pappers [sic]"
What a piece of work.

Blue planet in crisis

Doubts around Theresa May’s leadership trigger sharp falls in Sterling: sea turtles "concerned."

Probably just another headline/image pairing mismatch by Google News's algorithm, although I wouldn't be entirely surprised to hear that even marine reptiles in the far-off Pacific are shaking their scaly heads in disbelief at the sheer magnitude of the British government's omnishambolic implosion.