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About BurntBread

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  1. I agree - Kate is a good lass, and looks set to save the royal family if they can get through the next few years. Your question though was about why there was jealousy over the royals being benefit scroungers? With regards to that question, Prince Andrew and all the others are not an irrelevance, since they are recipients of public money. They are welcome to live their lives as they see fit, with no comment from me, as long as they do it at their own expense; in that case it's none of my business. I'm not a big commenter on the many and various "benefits" threads on here, but I can appreciate that people who pay into the system have some right to comment about how, and on whom, their hard-earned is spent. I think the same principle applies in this thread.
  2. Maybe because other royal families, like those of Norway and the Netherlands, manage to be rather more low-key and less of a clusterfuck, while still acting as a tourist attraction and fulfilling the function of a kill-switch if parliament keels over. If the royal family consisted only of the Queen, there would be no possibility of an existential crisis (there may still be some criticism that she's not great value for money - as there are of the Dutch royal family - but only amongst a small minority). The Queen, I an happy to maintain, has been the epitome of what a modern monarch should be. Beyond her majesty however, we have an (apparently) bewilderingly out-of-touch heir to the throne, who precipitated a spectacularly bad series of events around his divorce; his brother, who even without the associations to paedophilia, managed to make money with some highly unsavoury characters, as well as being unable to hold a marriage together or show any restraint in philandering. Prince Philip is, at least, I think, much loved for occasionally putting his foot in it, but less so for for his eccentric take on driving and piloting. Then we have Duke Harry, who, after many dry-runs and some amusing choice of party-wear, finally speared something he liked at the bottom of the pond, and now that it's broken water, we are finally seeing what manner of creature it is. Apologies (also to GCHQ) for the less than reverent language. I am fairly confident that all the royals are intelligent people - at least they are blessed with the modes of intelligence and inter-personal awareness that you need to navigate and control a complex hierarchy, even if they are not notably gifted academically. For that reason, I don't think they deserve a defence of stupidity or being led astray. All their problems have arisen from placing self above duty - and that is only underlined by the one exception, who has constantly subjugated herself to duty, and is a credit to the institution of the monarchy.
  3. She sounds good, but a bit screwed up (maybe like most of us). It also sounds like you're finding it hard work having her bouncing between emotional states ... but that doesn't mean it's not worth sticking by her. I guess, in your position, if I had enough detachment from the immediate feeling of being binned, I'd try to let her know that I enjoy her company, and if she feels differently in a while, I'm still there for her. Then I'd let it drift for a while (the only part I'm really talented at) before getting in touch again. 40 versus 60 isn't a huge age gap, by the way: her family must know other couples similarly spaced out (I've even known 2 couples with a similar age gap and the woman older, which I think is a lot rarer).
  4. @Turned Out Nice Again, what's up? You said something depressing on the "Is it me ...?" thread, and I guess I'm not the only one to be worried. DOSBODS can hardly claim to be a fount of wisdom, but it's treasury of radically different perspectives and experiences which can be used to triangulate problems. Disclaimer: I'll admit I'm nosey as well as concerned... Disclaimer 2: I'm getting hunted from a couple of different directions and so contemplating ending a longish period of being single and happy. I'd like to avoid both ending at the same time.
  5. This reminds me of my conversation with a local imam, a retired vicar, and a few other interested people, before Christmas last year. After the conversation, the vicar (who puts a lot of effort into getting to know the local Mirpuris), was saying that the current generation of young people in that community is taking very little interest in their religion per se; instead hiring fast cars (a comment made by the imam himself, in fact), and not spending much, or any, time listening to preachers at the mosque. Whether that extends to indulging in other aspects of western life, like drinking and smoking, I don't know, but I felt there was a slight suggestion of this. Despite this, they they are clearly still a very distinct and closely-knit - or rather inward-looking - community, but not necessarily a strongly religious one. There is even one youngish chap who has rediscovered his muslim faith, and is trying to reconvert - or at least re-engage - the local Pakistani youth in religious matters. By that I don't mean "radicalise" them (or at least, I don't think that is the intention - there may be many other strands I'm unaware of going on beneath the surface), but simply to instruct the uninterested generation in the teachings of the Koran. He is, by all accounts, a very verbose and somewhat incoherent speaker, so who knows what the result will be. Anyway, the main thing I am trying to say is that the local muslim community has gone through a lot of changes over the past few generations, and is still changing rapidly. Again (partly from the words of the imam himself), the first wave - let us say those who turned up in the 60s and 70s - were simply a transplant of Pakistani village life, and they all went home in the end ... but only after they died (you are supposed to be buried near your home, and for all these people, their home was still Pakistan). The next generation, who are middle-aged now, have bought burial plots in the UK, and are the ones complaining about the younger generation falling away from the faith. Many of this middle-aged generation don't speak English, but this was the generation that made the UK their homes, and built the big local mosque (there is also a smaller, salafist mosque, which I have also visited, which is basically a conversion and massive extension of someone's home (and I'm not sure about the planning status of that sort of thing, but it certainly exists)). Roll on to the current youth, and the impression I have (admittedly after only very superficial interaction with the community), is of something remarkably like the Roma: a group of people who enjoy and exploit the indulgences of the western world, who mostly do not work, and who are aggressively closed against any serious engagement with western values. They also undertake analogous extravagant displays at weddings (£40k on car-hire was a figure quoted), are bilingual, and essentially have no religion - although are very tied to the cultural trappings of their nominal religion. A big difference though is the extreme nature of the in-breeding, to the point where every family will have one or two members who are seriously disabled, or die, because of this. Apologies that this has turned into a rather stream-of consciousness post: I'm still processing this quite eye-opening visit, and thought some would be interested to hear my impressions after a very brief peep behind the curtains. With that in mind, I'll add a couple of other observations: Buried within that community, as I alluded to above, is some more radical faith: there was a schism a number of years ago, which led to the establishment of the salafist mosque, the imam for which is a rather unassuming chap, who declared himself as the recipient of some sort of revelation, went and studied in Saudi Arabia, and then came back and set up the new mosque. He doesn't speak English, so I had no chance to talk to him, even though I met him. The main mosque is very impressive as a building, but despite being run by the current middle-aged generation, is not at all welcoming. We were meant to be there on a "visit the local faith's" community engagement thing, but we still had to talk our way past what were essentially bouncers/guards around the building. That was only possible because one of our number was a retired doctor who had looked after the health needs of the entire community since all of them were children, and was eventually recognised. There was one positive thing about the big mosque though, which is that they had an interesting take on food-banks. Right next to the entrance, there is a little alcove full of bread and vegetables and whatnot, and anybody can come an take what they want. I thought this was a genuinely interesting way to do it. Obviously, not many people are going to walk up to an unwelcoming building run by a rather aggressive community, so this is probably mostly limited to in-community charity. However, I do know one old Irish chap, who regularly turns up and does his "shopping" there!
  6. I thought the queen mother was supposed to have been besotted with Edward VIII, and it took her a while to get used to the idea of accepting his brother ... or am I just spreading vaguely treasonable rumours?
  7. I have to say I'm disappointed: I saw Mr Pin had added a post and was expecting it to be an admission that his great uncle was a cabin boy in the pre-younger-dryas navy.
  8. Was that the idea that it's always a good safety measure to carry a bomb with you on a plane? The idea being that the chance of being on a plane with a bomb is very small, so the chance of being on a plane with two bombs is completely negligible.
  9. My recollection from discussions on TOS years ago (when everyone was keeping a weather-eye open for the apocalypse) is that although the Baltic Dry Index is clearly related to amount of stuff being shipped, and it is therefore tempting to use its decline as an indicator for falling raw material usage (and therefore an economic downturn) it is, in fact, not a simple measure of that. The problem is that it's just telling you the cost of shipping bulk dry materials, and that cost is related both to demand (how much iron ore, or whatever, is being shipped), and to supply (the capacity of the shipping fleet to move this stuff around). Demand for shipping does indeed reflect economic activity that uses bulk raw materials; however the capacity of shipping is more subtle and interesting, and is determined by two things: Firstly, how many ships are in service, which doesn't stay constant. In particular, if transport costs (BDI) are high, there is a tendency for companies to invest in new ships, and these take a longish time to be completed. The number of ships in service at any time therefore reflects economic conditions several months or years previously, when the investment decisions were taken. More interestingly, the shipping business is hyper-optimised. That means that if the price of oil falls, then shipping capacity immediately goes up, because it makes economic sense to sail the present ships slightly faster when you look at the optimum way to make money from your fleet. I don't think anyone has tried to model or factor out those two effects on shipping capacity in order to measure actual amount of stuff moving around the world, but it seems difficult to do reliably. If you don't know the different terms involved, then BDI is great "doom porn", however, as it frequently plunges wildly, giving the impression the world economy is about to implode. Apologies if that's a bit naive, but it was a long time ago I read the thread on TOS. Question for the knowledgeable: is there a published statistic of dry shipped volumes out there - in other words the thing that people hope BDI to be measuring?
  10. OK, this going to sound a little bit odd, but in the interests of considering all possibilities, there is a plausible legal explanation for this. I was talking to one of the two local imams before Christmas (not something I have ever done before, I might add), and he was complaining that some of the local young male muslims will, when there is a wedding, each spend several £k to hire very expensive cars for the weekend - very much the sort of thing in your photograph. You sometimes see a procession of these vehicles near the station, which was why the subject came up. He though that a much better use of the £40k (or so) spent on a weekend car hire binge would be to donate this to the couple, who could then put down a deposit on a house. Such wanton expenditure on vanity is also, he was at pains to point out, not (or shouldn't be) a part of islam. It therefore seems possible that the car in your photo could be someone taking out some time to visit a friend at the barber shop to show off his hired car before returning it. I should also point out though, that the origin of the money used for these wedding extravagances is a bit opaque to: some of the people at the mosque drive taxis, but I don't think a large proportion have jobs of any kind.
  11. Probably the first time this phrase has been used in the history of the English language.
  12. The recruitment strategy is very entertaining and all, but I think the previous posts are missing the more important part of this job advert. Overall, this does not read like a re-wiring of UK domestic policy, in the manner of a @spygirl programme of linking up various government databases to smoke out illegal HMOs, sacking overweight diabetes nurses, introducing the public sector to computers, requiring all teachers to be able to do percentages, or merging the DSS and DEFRA... etc. etc.. If it were, then I genuinely think Spy would be an excellent choice, as he has the technical skills, a willingness to cut to the chase, and a complete disregard for anyone's feelings (sorry, Spy) -- so could make one element of a very effective team. Instead, the bit that jumped out at me were the titles of the papers "you will be considering": Cummings appears to be recruiting a team that can understand and predict such things as systemic collapse, war, contagion (whether biological or financial), uncontrolled migration, propaganda and failed security. Whether that is expected to relate to regional conflict elsewhere, or things going wrong closer to home, I don't know, but if that reading is correct, and this is a serious initiative from the new government, I'd be pretty concerned about what they think is coming down the pipes. Being slightly less dramatic, that literature list seems to be about discontinuous changes in networked systems. You typically don't make policies with the intention of tipping things over a precipitous edge, because you then don't have a bloody clue what will happen next (and I don't think all this "network science" helps you there, either). Instead, you try to nudge things in good directions in such a way that the system stays predictable and (hopefully) under control. The only reasons you would have to seriously consider discontinuous changes, is if you think there are some coming anyway (war, financial crisis...), or you are contemplating large changes, and want to know how close to actual rioting and societal breakdown you wish to go. If this government is investing and recruiting skills in the field of phase transitions in networks, then I think we have interesting times ahead.
  13. Would this also be a good subject for a complaint? It feels like it could be framed in a very positive way ... that this is a great opportunity to represent the success of diversity in the East End on television. The current cast seems to be so out of touch it almost appears to be making an unsavoury political point that our cities should be almost exclusively white. I imagine that you, Frank, as a Jamaican-British woman, find it quite alienating, to the point you feel excluded by this insensitivity despite having been a loyal licence-payer all your adult life. Perhaps some of the ALbanian DOSBODDERs feel similarly excluded and might want to suggest a more representative cast? Surely, it would take hearts of stone in the complaints department not to wish to right this injustice and portray the gritty, but ultimately rewarding reality of inter-cultural understanding?
  14. Put in a complaint, perhaps? I only listen to R4, and if the comment comes up there, I'll be tempted to write in.
  15. Yes, I had heard that Laurens van der Post and Prince Charles were close friends (and also, allegedly, that not all his affairs were with adults). I haven't seen "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence", nor read the book. However, I have read "Heart of the hunter", which I must have found in a second-hand shop, and is interesting, but veers strongly towards fantasy. I'm prepared to believe he did remarkable things, and also that he related them in a way that made them sound more remarkable still. He seems to have been someone who could elicit, or tap into, spiritual feelings: a weaver of myths and a man who could inspire rational people in a semi-religious way. However, I get the feeling that his own morality was not strong enough to contain the gift: a criticism which couldn't have been levelled at, say, Mohandas Gandhi. Laurens vd Post wasn't quite a Rasputin character, but I think there was some admixture of that in him.