A FURIOUS row has broken out in the Westminster bubble over whether or not Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition in the UK, called Prime Minister Theresa May a "stupid woman" during an exchange across the floor of the House of Commons.
Corbyn says his words were "stupid people", but lip-readers have been called in to analyse the video recording, and they say he definitely said "stupid woman".
It seems the offence is not in the word "stupid" but in its combination with the word "woman", making it practically a hanging offence in the lexicon of the gender activists. In today's climate it totally eclipses in importance the matter that had been at issue – Brexit, whether there should be another referendum or whether the Brits should simply crash out of the EU and to hell with the consequences.
Lip readers come into play. Did Britain's Leader of the Opposition insult women? Will Corbyn be marched out of the Commons at swordpoint by the Sergeant-at-arms? We enter uncharted waters.
HO, HO, HO! A child writes to Santa Claus:
"I'm writing to tell you I've been naughty and it was worth it.
"You fat, judgmental bastard."
Ho, ho, ho!
INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener turns his attention, in his latest grumpy newsletter, to the effects of digital technology on the legal profession as well as on the future of cash as an instrument of exchange.
"When just one man, albeit an ex-president with a litigious streak and shocking advice, can ring up a legal bill of R16 million and probably more, it explains those gilded lawyer-infested towers that are forever springing up in the smarter parts of town.
"At a recent presentation of what the future might hold it was explained to the audience that the legal profession was very nervous about the arrival of artificial intelligence and what it would do to their income stream The argument is that since the law deals with facts and is pretty much black and white (the old-fashioned use of the term) it is ripe for replacement by a robot that has been loaded not only with the laws of the land but also has unparalleled instant access to every judgment ever made.
"However, it is not obvious that this potential impact has yet worried our own brand of legal eagles.
"A similar forecast about the disappearance of cash in favour of purely electronic money and value transfer leaves local observers wondering if the futurists responsible for this have ever ventured out of the New York coffee bar where they thought this one up.
"Exciting as it may seem to do away with cash and have every transaction pass through a record- keeping system, the champions of this idea are perhaps naive about the scale of the informal and illegal economies where records are neither required nor indeed wanted.
"Even if the formal banking institutions agree to penalise cash handling further than they currently do, the demand for undetectable money flows will persist for as long as governments collect tax.
"And then what about the tooth fairy's coin?"
A CIVIL servant goes to his doctor with sleep problems.
"I get to sleep at night," he says. "And the mornings are OK. But I'm having trouble dropping off in the afternoons."
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. - Stephen King