Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler, Monday, February 6, 2017

Pomp and circumstance for Trump?

WILL Donald Trump be invited to Britain on a state visit? It means all kinds of pomp and circumstance, riding in a carriage with Queen Elizabeth, that kind of thing. It's what a man of his narcissistic bent would relish.

But it's ticklish. In a matter of weeks Trump has alienated all kinds of people, he's in a contretemps with the courts and there's all kinds of street protest in the US. It would not look good if that were to transfer itself to a state visit to the UK.

And there's another potential problem. Would Trump come into contact with Prince Charles? Trump debunks the scientific community and its warnings of climate change. Charles is a passionate advocate of green causes. He has been trying for years to alert the international community to the dangers of global warning. He was a star turn at the Paris climate change talks.

What would Trump and the prince have to talk about?

Charles has now co-written a book, Climate Change, with environmentalist Tony Juniper and climate scientist Dr Emily Shuckburgh. It's published by Ladybird, the first in a series on science and the environment, and is new ground for the publishers. Ladybird has until now concentrated on children's books. Apparently Climate Change shows the Houses of Parliament half-submerged in water as a result of the melting of the Greenland ice cap.

Trump is said to not read any kind of book – not even Ladybird children's books – so Charles will find it difficult to put across his ideas. Perhaps he should try publishing them as a supplement to the Superman comic.

Flying fish

MEANWHILE, last week we noted the experience of Anne Bolton, who encountered in the shallows at Vetch's beach what appeared to be a flying fish. The little fellow kept beaching himself until Anne bent down and told him to head for the open sea, at which he saw sense and followed her advice.


Anne later encountered scepticism when she told her husband of the incident. He thought she'd been hallucinating.


I must say I digested all this with some foreboding. Flying fish are quite a spectacle. You see them flying away from a ship's bows as they cleave the water. Their pinkish wings are just as Anne describes.


But this happens in tropical waters, near the Equator. I'd never heard of flying fish in our own waters. Did this mean the tropics have moved south? Another instance of global warming?


But Anne Kunz, of Oceanic Research Institute, tells us different. She consulted her colleague Dr Sean Fennessy, assistant director at ORI. His response:


"It sounds as if Anne Bolton did indeed have an encounter with a flying fish (family Exocoetidae) at Vetch's beach. There are several species which occur in our area, it's difficult to know which one it could have been. It's a bit unusual that it was in such shallow water, but it may have been disoriented.


"They are generally more offshore, often associated with very clean water, so it may have come in with an eddy of Agulhas Current which had meandered close to the coast. These meanders often bring bluebottles and jellyfish close to the shore too, especially if there is an onshore wind."


So blow me down! We do have flying fish. And it seems the tropics haven't moved down to Durban just yet.


And back to Anne Kunz: "I hope this helps to reassure Anne (Bolton) that it's OK to talk to fish when no one is looking (I do it myself sometimes) and that she can assure her husband that he can relax, she has not started hallucinating."



Circus staffie?

GREAT little sword swallowers these staffies. A 12-weeks-old Staffordshire bull terrier puppy in Glasgow somehow managed to swallow a 20cm kitchen knife. That's almost the length of a 12-weeks-old Staffordshire bull terrier.

A vet carried out emergency surgery and the op is a success. The pup, named Macie, is recovering and healing well, according to Sky News.

But a question remains. How does a 30cm pup come to swallow a 20cm knife? Perhaps Macie will have a career with the circus.



HE DOESN'T drink anything stronger than pop. Mind you, Pop will drink anything.

Last word

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.

Henry Kissinger

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