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Chocolate and Big Bertha

The people at this blog, I think it’s fair to say, have respect for and a sense of history.

The lessons of history are important and it IS possible to present a reasonably unbiased take on things. One I read many years ago was a take on the American Presidents [up to Bush] and though I think the author was a Democrat, he could hardly have been accused of bias. Wish I could remember it – somewhere in this blog it’s quoted.

Sometimes, history can be quirky, as in this from Chuckles, on chocolate and when it was regarded as a medicine, even a drug.


Chocolate was the first of the three to enter the pharmaceutical annals in Europe via a medical essay published in Madrid in 1631: Curioso Tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate by Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma. Colmenero’s short treatise dates from the era when Spain was the main importer of chocolate.


murder of the archduke

My Russian contacts are split on things Russian but on Nemtsev, they’ve just fallen silent on both sides.

The truth? There is certainly far less room to move in many ways but the release of Khordokovsky and Pussy Riot seems to negate the Big Brother pall to an extent. Not being there any more, I just don’t know – there is definitely grumbling internally.

And yet the popularity of the stand against the Ukrainian aggression by the thugs of Kiev seems to be genuinely supported. One mate says that this is no different to Papa Joe being believed in, even today, due to the huge propaganda machine and apparent benefits of the welfare state.

That’s from over there. From over here, I see the utterly unprincipled western Them at work here – from the creation and funding of ISIS to Darfur to Rwanda to the Balkans, the common denominator is western Them – UN, NATO, CIA.…

The destruction of heritage by the yahoos

The brief at OoL was that posts, in some way, were connected to the concept of freedom and a natural corollary of that – its limits.

Should burquas be banned? Should smoking in public places? Should there be any bans at all, e.g. people decapitating others in the name of a cause?

And the stance of the blog, namely that there is no real stance beyond live and let live, really comes under severe pressure when it’s clear that some are operating under the rules of comment is free, not to put an alternative point of view but to proselytize and coerce, as one person falsely claimed OoL was trying to do, when in fact they were the ones doing it by curtailing discussion.

There is so much faux claim and counterclaim on this issue and one section of society which has severely pressurized the libertarian is Islam. Below are excerpts from a PJM article on the destruction of thousands of years history by ISIS.…

The vital importance of the Black Sea

Interesting at Reuters, given their pro-EU bias, that they mention the new Russian idea for gas to Europe:

new pipeline option

A closer look at the Black Sea area shows Russia would need to essentially control the Black Sea and key to this is first controlling Mariupol, with friendly regimes in Donetsk and Lugansk, then Crimea, thereafter maintaining friendly relations with Turkey and former satellites.…

Road songs

There’ve been songs written about roads but they’re not what I’d call real road songs in their rhythm, they don’t have that highway feel to them. For some reason, the Americans seem to come out with the best road songs – maybe it’s the long expanses, the wheels, the laid back manner, don’t know what it is:

The natural order of things

skatergirlThis  post seems, to me, to be on a hiding to nothing.  Men couldn’t care less and women of an increasingly virulent type will resent it.

And it’s not sour grapes that no one at all remembered my birthday yesterday [except the two I reminded] and anyway, that was cross-gender and I’m one of the world’s worst for remembering ‘em.

And it’s not that I particularly care in this woman’s case, me being a man ‘n all over here and not a woman ‘n all across the pond but there were two things which tipped the balance in favour of posting:

1.  The principle is a key principle which really must be stated and restated;

2.  I was sent this post today and do earnestly disagree, not with her right to post it, nor with her unrealistic obsession but with the people who put these ideas into her head in the first place, ideas which could only make her unhappy and even start hating, as sure as night follows day.…

The power of the conjunction “and”

You can go the Communist Party way of explaining the world if you like, or my mate’s way when he rails against people discussing whether it’s incompetence or evil intent:

“Why the “or”?” he asks, “surely it’s “and”?”

Or perhaps you prefer the Sa’udi way [H/T haiku].  It seems people are always misreading how the world works.  Or are they?  Is it perhaps some giant theatre, quite easy to understand and yet chilling all the same.  I’ll go into that further down.

Meanwhile, from Chuckles, this little gem from Jordan:…


hogarth the denunciation small

Chuckles points to Ken Frost who points to Nanny:

Our old friends from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are so worried about the over prescription of antibiotics, that they have instructed doctors to snoop on their colleagues in order to ensure they are not prescribing too many antibiotics.

Call me naive, but aside from this being an utterly disgraceful instruction, aren’t doctors meant to be competent, professional and qualified?

Perugia – state of play [2]

Part 1 was about the murder trials and ancillary action.  This part is about the extradition.  This is from various sources, [see last line of post]:

Sollecito proposed to Knox in March 2013, hoping she would marry him and help him flee the retrial and potential reconviction for Kercher’s murder. When Knox refused, he turned to his online pen pal, Idaho woman Kelsey Kay, to air his anger.

Screenshot from the Radar interview:

kelsey kay radar


Perugia – state of play [1]

We’re coming up to the denouement of this play which has been going on since November 2007. My stance has been, in 2014/15, that I’d not write on the case again unless:

1.  It was coming up to time, which it now is;
2.  There’ve been developments, which there have.

I’m going to avoid commenting myself on guilt or innocence as that’s now been dealt with officially.


Wednesday, March 25th is the scheduled hearing by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation on Amanda Knox and Rafaelo Sollecito.  However, before that, on Friday, March 20th, is the preliminary hearing on continuous aggravated calumny charges.


Andrea Vogt writes:…

Antibiotics and the NHS

One of those conversations again.


Whatever happened to ‘take two aspirins and call me in the morning?


Not quite. One faces a couple of problems:

1. If patients are not given tablets (or similar) by their doctor they tend to switch doctors.
2. Antibiotics are in fact only suitable for a relatively narrow range of illnesses.
3. Antibiotics, when taken incorrectly – e.g. an incomplete course – can actually do more damage than good.
4. And, of course, the kicker: patients always know more than the medical staff; sometimes true, but definitely not in the case of chavs.

Your typical patient, when suffering from a case of sniffles, will normally rush into the surgery demanding antibiotics.…