Contrary to what he would have us all believe, I don’t think our Donald has spent much time in any locker-room. I, on the other hand, qualify as a bit of a locker-room expert and can be found loitering with intent of using someone else’s hot water on virtually a daily basis. President Trump is, however, quite right about the fact that there’s definitely a certain tone and timbre to many of the conversations that take place in this most testosterone-fuelled of environments. Sadly, almost exactly the opposite of what he believes to be the case.
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OK, I admit I’m oft accused of doing a ‘Kermode’ (a ‘Barry Norman’ back in the day) and concede that my ultimate top-ten does include more than its fair share of art-house, black & white and world-cinema releases. It’s even been levelled at me that, due to my obvious elitist snobbery, I remain intentionally close-minded to the popular blockbuster. But I’m only human and I have to concede there are a number of films that, whilst they wouldn’t be accompanying me to Roy Plomley’s desert island, are nonetheless, beyond reproach, and non-negotiably so. These are my celluloid guilty-pleasures and if they’re on TV you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be on my TV.
Happy birthday, dear smartphone, happy birthday to you. As it is with all things that become ubiquitous and part of society’s seamless fabric it’s hard to envisage life without them. And so it is with the smartphone: can anyone remember life without it? Consequently, it may come as a surprise that it’s only ten years old. Yep, the smartphone isn’t even yet a stroppy teenager as it’s only been a decade since Steve Jobs unveiled the communications game-changer to the delight of his adoring minions.
Sunk cost bias. Even if you don’t yet know what this is, trust me, you’ve been there. Sunk cost bias refers to what economists call a situation where we persist with a decision, direction or action because we’ve invested so much that we just can’t bring ourselves to commit to the inevitable (and entirely rational) U-turn. Too much effort, too much time, too much money, or too much ‘face’ has been thrown at the issue to contemplate backing down, and admit defeat.
As we all know, various tokens of commercial exchange and stored of value have been around forever, with the East leading the paper money way in the seventh century and Europe eventually following suit about a thousand years later. Different communities, countries and economies obviously adopt different tokens & trends at different times and so it is with the cashless society.
And another year wiser. Probably. For me, new years are like birthdays in that they present an opportunity to feel one year closer to the impending hip-replacement, one year closer to enjoying elastic-waisted trousers and one year closer to eventually making the acquaintance of our maker. However, without getting too maudlin, whilst I do concede my marathon times are not going to be improved upon and I don’t feel like undertaking a second Ironman anytime soon, I do sincerely believe my best squash remains ahead of me, my swimming can only be improved upon and I do consider I’ll be a dab hand at the ol’ crown green bowls when the time comes.
I am an unabashed fan of MasterChef, and, not that many of their creations, or ingredients for that matter, ever make it to my table, follow each delightful twist & turn of the cooking series. This year’s competition was won by a short ginga from the north of the country – what’s not to love! Furthermore, for all the nonsense they talk, I hang on every word the judging chefs spout on about as they all seem to have come from humble backgrounds and appear to have started at the very bottom, as chief-pot-washer, and worked their way up.
A dear friend of mine is convinced we will witness another world-war in his lifetime. He believes this conflict will be fought between East and West, more specifically, a modern-day crusade conducted over religious dogma. I’m not sure about this but am adamant it will take something far closer to our materialistic heart, to encourage us to rise up en-masse: shopping (aka commercial globalisation). And in this the West has only one true combatant, China.
I’m not a betting man but I am tempted to put a few quid on Boris Johnson being out on his ear in Theresa’s first cabinet re-shuffle sometime next year. Having somehow managed to avoid causing a serious international incident in his first couple of month’s employ as the UK’s Foreign Minister, it’s as if Bumble (as I’m going to call him from hereon in) now feels he has to make up for lost time, with a litany of misplaced, ill-timed and downright ignorant outbursts. This week’s Saudi-aimed ‘puppeteering & proxy-warmongering’ proclamations are only the icing-on-the-gaff-cake and anyway, I’m still more than a little concerned about the impact his appointment is going to have on shores closer to home.
I once read an article by someone professing to love nothing more than a good airport. For the author, it was an oasis of calm where he could finally ‘clear out his inbox’; dealing with those emails long avoided, and reading that book that was thus far untouched. For one, I’m not sure the feeling is mutual. Airports seem to me to have a similar atmosphere to a US embassy in Moscow circa 1962 – an oasis in the sense that it acts as a bubble to the outside world. Calming? No. And representative? Certainly not.