Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Idler, Thursday, January 3, 2019

A tweet

to cause


CLUNKTWEET of the Year must surely be awarded to US Strategic Command – the military formation that controls America's nuclear arsenal – for a tweet it put out on New Year's Eve as people gathered in Times Square, New York, to watch the traditional drop of an illuminated ball down a flagpole to announce arrival of the New Year.

"#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball...if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger," the tweet read.

The message was accompanied by a video of a B-2 bomber in action, according to the BBC.

It caused online outrage and Strategic Command hurriedly deleted the tweet, replacing it with an apology for "poor taste".

Next day President Donald Trump put out an extraordinary tweet, all in capitals (it's not clear whether the caps lock on his computer was stuck): "HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME."

Make of that what you will. It was unrelated to the Strategic Command tweet. The only possible connection is that, if something bigger than the Times Square ball were to be dropped, it would be Trump pressing the button ordering it.

Spare us these tweets!


OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "My girlfriend told me I should be more affectionate. So now I've got two girlfriends."


A CRIME wave seems to be overtaking the frozen north. On the Norwegian island of Svalbard – halfway between the mainland and the North Pole, and where polar bears outnumber humans - a robber walked into the local bank and told them to stick-'em-up!

He was caught and taken to Tromso, on the mainland, but Sky News don't tell us if the culprit was a human or a polar bear.

Meanwhile, in Anchorage, Alaska, police have arrested a burglar who was using a front-end loader as a getaway vehicle, according to Huffington Post.

He is accused of stealing the front-end loader and using it to smash down the door of a business; stealing goods inside then making his escape on the loader.

Polar bears appear not to feature in the case. They don't drive front-end loaders.



The Dead Sea – bordered by Israel, the West Bank and Jordan - is shrinking at such a rate that by mid-century it could be not much more than a pool.

This is the bleak forecast of scientists who say its level is falling by 1.5m a year, according to Sky News. The "environmental disaster in slow motion" is caused by drought, population expansion, unco-ordinated water conservation measures in the region and industrial use of the Dead Sea's high-salt waters for mineral extraction.

The River Jordan, of such biblical significance, is supposed to replenish the Dead Sea but is today a trickle compared with its flow in the past.

Contrast this with TV footage we've had in recent days of vast swathes of natural forest, untouched by development and with no human imprint whatever, truly beautiful.

Where is this paradise? Why, the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, established 65 years ago. No human activity whatever.

Makes ya think!



ALWAYS guard your rear if you're in hospital. Remember, this is enema territory.

Last word

The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence. - HL Mencken


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