Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Idler, Thursday, July 12, 2018

Trade war latest

CHINA has slapped a 2 000% tariff on all tanning beds slated for export to the US, according to the New Yorker. This is described as the latest salvo in its escalating trade war with the US.

"By artificially hiking up the cost of its tanning beds, China succeeded in sending the price of tanning beds worldwide soaring in overnight markets.

"In what some experts regarded as a related move, China also placed a 4 000% tariff on all spray-tan products headed for the US, as well as instant-tanning lotions, make-up foundation, and several popular hues of orange paint, including butter rum and burnt sienna.

"The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, blasted China's tariffs on its full range of tanning products, calling the move an 'act of war.'"

But hold on. Aren't tariffs slapped on imports, not exports? Er, yes. But President Trump is widely believed to use a tanning bed – whiteness around the eyes suggests the wearing of goggles while tanning – and this New Yorker piece is written anyway by that rascally satirist Andy Borowitz.

So much of what happens about the White House reads like satire these days that it takes some ingenuity for a real satirist to stay ahead.


MEANWHILE, President Trump is in Brussels for the Nato summit. We hope it goes better than the G7. Soon he'll be in the UK for an "official" as opposed to a "state" visit.

But it will be a bit like visiting an overturned anthill -  lots of scurrying about by various people with their minds elsewhere in the wake of the Brexit row and resignations from the cabinet.

Who will there be to talk to? His chum Boris Johnson is no longer in place.

Huge anti-Trump protests are planned for London. But London is one place the president will not be visiting.

Yet he will have a presence of a sort. The "Stop Trump!" people have received permission to fly from Parliament Square Garden a huge blimp, 6m in height, depicting the US president as an angry-looking orange baby in a nappie. The Palace of Westminster, Big Ben and Baby Trump.

This protest itself seems rather infantile. And it will, of course, be like water off a duck's back, the US president taking it with his customary self-deprecatory good humour.


HOW amazing that rescue was of the Thai football kids and their coach from those flooded caves in Thailand. Close to miraculous. How uplifting the way cave diving experts from around the world rushed to achieve what looked to be impossible.

How sad also that a Thai diver should have lost his life in the rescue operation.

One small puzzlement. The kids and their coach are recovering in hospital. They are receiving all kinds of treatment and surveillance, according to reports, including rabies jabs.

Rabies? Were they bitten by bats down there?


AMERICAN motorcycle stuntman Travis Pastrana hero-worshipped his legendary predecessor, Evel Knievel. As a tribute to Knievel in Las Vegas last week, he attempted three of his motorcycle ramp jumps – and actually did better than Knievel did, according to Huffington post.

Wearing a red, white and blue jumpsuit similar to what Knievel wore in his heyday, Pastrana travelled 43m as he leaped over 52 crushed cars that were stacked three high. In 1973, Knievel travelled 36m when he jumped 50 crushed cars.

Next Pastrani jumped 16 Greyhound buses. Knievel had managed 14.

Pastrana's third jump was a recreation of Knievel's clearing of  the fountain at Caesar's Palace. Knievel wiped out on the landing and was hospitalised with multiple broken bones.

Pastrana soared over the fountain and landed well down the landing ramp. He celebrated by hopping into the fountain and was afterwards still full of praise for his legendary predecessor.





EVEL Knievel (real name Robert) adopted his stuntman name after sharing a police cell one night, after a motoring offence, with a man named Awful Knofel.

Over the course of his career, Knievel made more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps and in 1974 he failed in an attempted jump across  the Snake River Canyon on his Skycycle X-2, a steam-powered rocket.

Strangely enough, he died in 2007 of natural causes.




THERE was this snobbish chef with an attitude problem. He had a French fried potato on his shoulder.

Last word

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Andre Gide


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