fawlty towers

Planning to go on holiday?  Dirtiest hotels in the world:

Heritage Marina Hotel, San Francisco, California

Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort, Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Arkona Motel, Niagara Falls, Canada

Grosvenor Hotel, Blackpool, United Kingdom


The Amsterdam “Hans Brinker” hotel is so bad, it advertises itself around Amsterdam with posters such as “a door in every room”.  However, hotels with language problems take the biscuit, methinks:

Economics – it’s all Greek to me


Please bear with me here, as the thing will become clear:

  • An investment trust owns a £1 million corporation bond, issued by a private housing firm.
  • If there is a risk the private housing firm may default on repayments, the investment trust may buy a Credit Default Swap from a hedge fund. The CDS is worth £1 million.
  • The investment trust will pay an interest on this credit default swap of say 3%. This could involve payments of £30,000 a year for the duration of the contract.
  • If the private housing firm doesn’t default, the hedge fund gains the interest from the investment bank and pays nothing out. It is simple profit.
  • If the private housing firm does default, then the hedge fund has to pay compensation to the investment bank of £1 million – the value of the credit default swap.
  • Therefore the hedge fund takes on a larger risk and could end up paying £1million.
  • The higher the perceived risk of the bond, the higher the interest rate the hedge fund will require.

Seems like a perfectly straightforward transaction, except for a number of things:

Should prisoners have the vote?

polling-station-2-233x300Anna Racoon says, at Jailhouse Lawyer:

Prisoners incontrovertibly have an interest in who precisely is making the legislation that governs their stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and I see no merit in the argument that part of their punishment should be further removing them from engagement in civic society.

No legislation without representation may well be their motto. That prisoners might not be best disposed towards the government responsible for the laws which currently see them incarcerated may account for the strange reluctance of this ‘Equality for all’ Government to implement the ECtHR recommendations.

I’m putting up a poll in the sidebar about it. This blog doesn’t have a huge success rate with polls but we’ll give it a go.

There is whisky … and then there is whisky

Can it be said that no two people will agree on whisky?

Appealing to women is an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, the overt masculinity of the advertising and culture of whisky can alienate female drinkers, but creating brands specifically for women is not generally seen as the answer.

Paul Godfrey is the group marketing manager, malt whisky portfolio global at William Grant & Sons. He says:

“Ironically, women like whisky because it’s masculine. Some of the brands failing have tried to appeal to women with a different product. For a lot of women the product is acceptable and the masculinity is an area of appeal; it is part of the approbation of male rituals. A year ago we were working toward a feminine whisky, but after research we decided it was a terrible idea. Women don’t want girls’ versions of the drink.”

To soothe the savage breast


Writing to his father from Paris (1778), Mozart described his fruitless attempts to teach composition to the Duc de Guines’ daughter (intriguingly, Mozart considered teaching music a “science”). His father suggested he persist patiently, adding, “. . . should Monsieur le Duc hear some little thing composed by his daughter, he will be beside himself with pleasure”.