51-49

With 99% of the votes counted and the totals being 51.4% for, 48.6% against, the Turks elected to become a dictatorship.

Like other recent close tallies, I've the feeling this won't end well for the average citizen's belief of what democracy is.

Four Roses review part 5

Drunk neat is best.

To be concluded…

Easter egg

The Trumps flew to Florida on Friday, in separate jets. It's looking as though they'll miss the annual Easter Egg Roll, a 138-year-old tradition, will be somewhat curtailed in scope. A shame.

From the second article:

"Since 1878, the Easter Egg Roll has always been coordinated by the first lady. Seeing as how Mrs. Trump not only lives 200 miles away from the White House, but has yet to bother putting together an official staff, this year’s event, like Trump’s numbers in the popular vote, is expected to underperform bigly."

(The writer's emphasis.)

Is anyone taking bets it'll be recorded as the most successful event ever? Forget tradition, tradition is not for those looking to the future! Forget history, history is tor those who would read books. Books, books are for…

No.

I had intended to write about the passing at 117 of the world's oldest person, Emma Morano, but my attention spa…

Yeah. It's very unlikely there's anyone else alive born in the 1800s, the nineteenth century, the end of the Victorian era. Imagine the social, the technological change she'll have seen living through the entire 20th century. I simply cannot imagine the personal losses she'll have endured; every family member…

I'm having a profound moment here, not an epiphany as there's something quite logical about the effect of extreme age on statistics. No, mine is a sense of missing something.

There's a scene in one of the Lord of the Rings movies which brought to life something I'd never really considered in depth. The specific scene, though powerful, is unimportant here; what is is something seen in old, grand churches: statues side-by-side above stone tombs, once lovers, creators of life, holders of shared dreams, together forever in stone, mourned by fewer and fewer and then none as the passage of time takes those who once knew…

Yeah, sure it's a privileged few afforded such a luxury in death. The common man gets nothing likely to last even tens of years. The despots, the landowners, the moneyed classes of our history: immortalised.

Will the Trump era be looked back on with anything approaching warmth, a sense of a shared timespan, a belief of having achieved something?

Can I place a bet?


Incidentally, I have a bragging-rights-only wager with @texrat (Twitter), that the White House Press Secretary will last only until late August 2017. Randall thought he'd be gone roughly by the end of March. Not roughly, I think I mean approximately. Perhaps; I'm still suffused by Schadenfreude.

Four Roses review part 4

This time the experiment continues with sufficient ice cubes prepared to sink an ocea, er…

Drunk this time with a single, melted, ice cube. Precisely this one, well this half:

an ice cube floating in Four Roses whiskey

Verdict: hmmm… Clean, crisp, with an odd taste just before it starts to tingle my gums, and then it's back to…

It smells underwhelming still after the Maker's Mark, but I'm happy with the trade-off; it's still a warming, drinkable drink.

My view, 'Buffalo Trace' is a more rounded experience. Once this is done I'll of course try the 'Woodford Reserve' then the 'Bulleit' but thus far the shaggy quadruped gets my vote. A shame, I paid quite a bit more for this Four Roses than I expected I would when all this began. Not a complaint, far from it.

Nevertheless, to be continued…


Links:

Washington Post

I subscribed to the online editions of The Washington Post. Yes it's a US news company! At USD$19 for an entire year it was an easy decision. I live in the UK but haven't yet done the same for any other UK news organisation, apart from giving a few pounds to The Guardian (paywall-free.) Incidentally, both 'newspapers' are running very similar headlines today, very encouraging.

Yeah, sure I pay an annual Licence Fee to the BBC and read their news, watch their telly, but the reporting is often infuriatingly bland and airs weeks past the time I've already seen it elsewhere.

Where was I? Yes, one of the reasons I subscribed to the Washington Post was reporter David Fahrenthold's tenacious examination of Donald Trump's assertions that the President-to-be gave away millions to charity. What is certain is the majority of charitable donations were falsely recorded and that the work won Mr Fahrenthold a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. And the reporting of his humanity, non-superhero ordinariness, in connection with that glitter gun.

I'm conscious of drawing from perhaps a greater breadth of sources than most other people when formulating my position on often complex ideas. And often simple ideas. Last year I asked around and gratefully received suggestions for people and media companies from which I could draw a wide range of opinions. With hindsight I bit off more than I could comfortably chew and had to step away from the process.

I can't say I'm much wiser now but the perspectives I've gained have led me to a more balanced approach than you'd know by reading some of last year's blog posts, e.g. 'Regrexit' and 'Chainsaws'.

In public at least.

The Washington Post subscription includes (from the welcome email):

  • Unlimited access to washingtonpost.com from any device.
  • Unlimited access to our entire suite of mobile apps for iOS, Android and Fire Tablet.
  • The Optimist, a weekly email newsletter highlighting positive stories.
  • Post Most, a weekday email newsletter with a rundown of popular stories.
  • Shared digital access for an additional user.

(My emphasis above.)

Do they have any idea how inappropriate 'Optimist' will be for me‽

Joking aside I remember Martyn Lewis, a national UK news anchor saying he wanted to insert one 'feel-good' story into every bulletin. His rationale being that there's too much depressing news. At the time I agreed; now though it's entirely the wrong message to send to ordinary people. Given the magnitude of the worldwide change we're living through, I believe it's important to focus on the bad stuff.

There's one big problem with my current reasoning: if you make reporting so detailed that people don't want to watch they'll go to where the grass is greener, airbrushed, astroturfed… Yeah. Fairness, balance.

And finally, here's a link to a web page with a photo of a squirrel with big nuts:


For the avoidance of doubt as to my motives here at the end, Fark.com is my all-time favourite news-related site; the comment pages there are awesome. Awesome in a mainly US-centric, rounded but occasionally very unbalanced, good way. I pay them to remove ads.

Four Roses review part 3

Aw, FFS, we don't have any ice cubes!!!2!¡

/Potters about in the kitchen for a while and tries, but ultimately fails to, resist temptation…

Drunk neat again with it and me at room temperature: oh yes. Looking forward to dropping a freshly-frozen ice cube with pre-boiled cold water from the kettle in the next glass, because I know what I like.

Smells underwhelming still, but it's a warming, drinkable drink.

Has to be said: 'Buffalo Trace' is still my favourite whiskey, but this comes 'real close'.

To be continued…


An aside; maybe I should have swilled the Maker's Mark around in my glass and before leaving it to evaporate overnight, I miss those rich, extraordinary aromas.

Four Roses review part 2

Drunk neat with it and me at room temperature: oh yes. Looking forward to dropping an ice cube in the next, because I know what I like.

Smells just ok, but it's eminently drinkable.

The bottle looks good, its contents are immediately accessible, most unlike the trials and tribulations of fighting my way into the over-designed Maker's Mark bottle. It both handles and pours well and pulling the cork seems positively luxurious in comparison.

To be continued…

Four Roses whiskey

Attempting to find a better Bourbon whiskey than 'Buffalo Trace' I've been asking around, and received what really do sound like good recommendations. For now though I'm bypassing Irish whiskeys (Bushmills Black Bush) in favour of the authentic Kentucky stuff.

Despite my long-winded, ultimately negative review of 'Maker's Mark' I really enjoyed the experience; it's not often I step outside my comfort zone and have the luxury of being able to analyse it at my leisure.

Ok, I've had one from each of the 3 groups in this Ask Men article. The old Turner palate favoured one from the 'high rye' group so what's where I'm heading again. Thanks to whoever suggested the 'Woodford Reserve' but it's unavailable here this evening on Amazon Prime Now.

Somewhere between 10pm and midnight today the doorbell will ring and my delivery of Four Roses Single Barrel whiskey, and cat food, will be handed over. After, that is, I prove that I'm an adult by scrawling my digital signature on the deliverer' phone.

Ahhh… convenience.

Ordinary Men

I know someone who's better screwed together than I and she's read, er… (thinks) yeah, I'd best get this back on track before the list of people who are better-screwed-together than I grows beyond my ego's comfort zone!

Anyway, she's been reading Christopher Browning's 'Ordinary Men'; it's an examination of the motivations of, in simplistic terms, a WWII Nazi-run extermination squad.

Not an easy read, by her account, not by any means. It got me thinking again of what minimal set of events would precipitate a decline into times in which our society could condone such events. You've had only to look casually at the TV in recent years to find programmes about 'Doomsday Preppers', disease-created zombies or worse, the shutdown of the electricity grid, aliens intent on extracting all our planet's resources before moving on to the next mining proposition…

Go on then, what, practically, could sow the seeds of our society's destruction?

Our reliance on complex but easily-interrupted food distribution chains, the effect of social media on the ability of looters to congregate on and to lay waste to city centres, the notion that terrorists could strike anywhere even with the complete absence of coherent attack strategies, the transmission of disease across international and across species boundaries, the emboldening of xenophobes as government administrations move towards embracing nativism-inspired lawmaking?

Yeah, fragile. So what can we do?

Nothing, apart from conform to normal societal rules and hope that like the winds of change, it'll all blow over us without too much damage. And that's the problem, as vested interest has the rules change, the moral compass becomes destabilised. Has anyone from any other previous era, outside of wartime, had the rules change literally overnight?

Maybe.

I've read (and watched 2 versions of) Orwell's 1984, read and listened to Orwell's Animal Farm, experienced the dread of imagining the speed of onset of a technological catastrophe during The Terminator series, read Asimov's Foundation series and felt a hope inspired by knowledge there may just be a shadowy organisation skilled in manipulating populations and then crushed as one man with abnormal skills brings it all crashing down… Then there's the similarities between 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, and Shaun of the Dead; the gulf between the dystopian Star Wars and the utopian Star Trek; the time between the first screening of 'Metropolis' through The Twilight Zone's 'To Serve Man', to the present day's fascination with superhero movies. I'd best not mention 'The Matrix'. Do you remember Bird Flu, note that colds and flu last forever these days, and at any one time, someone you know could easily be carrying an antibiotic-resistant strain of some superbug that'll mean a few days off work, or death (whichever is the least benign?) And finally, during a recent bout of flooding in the northwest of England the entire nation's production of pink sandwich and custard cream biscuits stopped. Ok, really finally: when a major UK retailer decided the post-Brexit-announcement price rises after the consequent fall in the value of the GB Pound could not be passed directly on to the customer so the supplier's profit margin must take the hit; thus iconic products temporarily disappeared from shelves as people panic-bought - no Marmite!

Having an active imagination at a time like this isn't helpful.

Sign

I'm thinking of having a sign, a notice, a warning of sorts made up; a notification to those who would disturb my evenings or weekends with unsolicited offers to do work for or sell goods to us. The doorbell rings and… Ok, ok, I wrote about this phenomenon previously and about the telephone equivalent too.

Today I simply walked out of the front room into the kitchen, and ignored the second ring too. This visit would have fit the pattern: 'Hello, we've just finished some work in the area and…' I recognise the van.

Ah, the sign.

"The man of the house isn't immediately cheerful to unsolicited callers. Could we pay nothing now, at 0%, balance due by the then-homeowner in 35 years?"

Too wordy?

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