Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Idler, Thursday, April 5, 2018

A strange unease

WHAT a thumping! By 492 runs, the series 3-1 to us. We ought to be yelling: "Whe-e-e!" Yet there's a strange sense of unease.

Was ever there such an ill-tempered and controversy-ridden series? Can anyone take pleasure in three Aussies – including the skipper and his vice-captain – being recalled in disgrace and barred from cricket? The game as a whole has taken a knock.

And what's this now? The Commonwealth Games have just opened on the Gold Coast in Australia. The BBC tell us the Aussie police are already investigating a case of indecent assault involving participants.

This is getting too much to handle. What is happening to sport? Slap and tickle is one thing – but indecent assault? At least – or so the buzz goes – it's not one of our blokes or gals involved.

The Commonwealth Games are supposed to be a showpiece of healthy competition in an atmosphere of sportsmanship and shared values. And now another dose of unpleasantness?

Hoo boy! Are the days of innocence gone forever?

Grand reunion

PRESIDENT Donald Trump has been firing staff left, right and centre – secretary of state, intelligence chief, various media spokesmen … it's a revolving door.

Some are wondering whether Trump is confusing his role with reality TV where, in The Apprentice, firing people was part of the show.

The turnaround is such that, according to the New Yorker, former White House staffers held their first reunion on Easter Sunday in Houston's Astrodome.

"The event, which drew a crowd of approximately 65 000 people, had been organised by the recently axed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

"The reunion was a veritable Who's Who of dismissed Trump staffers, with such luminaries as Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer, HR McMaster, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon spotted side by side at a make-your-own-taco station.

"Given the success of the reunion, Tillerson said that it was 'more than likely' that he would schedule a similar gathering for next year, but added: 'We're going to need a bigger stadium.'"

Yes, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again. Has he ever struck a richer vein than the Trump presidency?

Play up …


A COUPLE of days ago a reader sent in lines from Sir Henry Newbolt's Vitai Lampada to illustrate the atrociousness of the Aussie sandpaper plot.

It struck a chord with local historian and writer Peter Quantrill, who is a product of Sandhurst and was once an officer in the Gurkha Regiment.


"Vitai Lampada was a favourite of mine; religiously taught at Sandhurst."


However, missing from the lines quoted was his favourite stanza. Here goes:


The sand of the desert is sodden red, -
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; -
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game! '

Ah yes, the torch of life. Play up, play up! Leave the sandpaper out of it!

Busy cops

IF IT'S not cars it's alligators … the cops in Florida, in the US, keep getting called to unusual swimming pool emergencies, according to Sky News..

In Okaloosa County it was a car in the pool, a father and his small daughter inside. But they both got out safely.

The car had rolled in after Mum, who had been behind the wheel, ran indoors to fetch her groceries money, without putting on the handbrake.

Then, over in Sarasota County, it was a 3m alligator in the family pool. He was eager for a swim because, as the cops reported, he "bust right through" a screen door to get there.

A trapper was called and he soon had this 'gator trussed up good and proper to be returned to the swamp where he belongs.

I suppose that's a hazard of having a pool in a place like Florida. Much like St Lucia here. I never did hear of a crocodile ending up in a private pool – though hippos are commonplace and are not easy to hoist out.

But if you want to live in the wilds, that's what you get.


WHAT'S furry and catches outlaws?

A posse cat.

Last word

There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.


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