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He drinks a whiskey every night

I drink a whiskey every night.

It gives me dreams,
but keeps me regular.


In China the dials of a clock turn round instead of the hands.

The Nelson Evening Mail, September 8 1908

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Oryx magazine.

A piece of pasta (dry) weighs essentially one gram.

A man can only care about so many things.

Labels are for clothes.

In Bosnian there are no words for fiction and non-fiction.

The eating of grapes has killed several Englishmen by throwing them into fluxes and fevers.

Allah does not like hearing the word ‘Allah’.

The shooting schedules in pornography are quite brisk.

Darryl Gerrity loves people, perhaps too much.

Washing machines live longer with cows on.

It’s all kicking off in Jamestown. 

Russian composer Dmitri Kabalevsky died on this day in 1987.

Two childhood friends in Honolulu have recently found out that they are brothers.

On ranting

If there’s one thing I just can’t abide, it’s ranters.

Not the C17th religious nonconformists. Folk who can’t shut up about things.

You know the type. The workplace philosophers; the shouters at the TV; people in whose eyes you see the glint of socialist dictatorship.

They come in every walk of life. Stupid boxers (*tautology klaxon*), old men in pubs, Daily Mail columnists, every comedian who ever hosted an awards night, back-bench Labour MPs, the current president (plus phone) of the United States, Basil F***ing Fawlty.

It’s the humourlessness that really does for them. The veering crazily from ‘point’ to ‘point’. “Do you know what I mean?” they’re always asking. Alas, we always do.

Of course, a lot of ranters are successful enough to get away with it.

Doctor Johnson, one suspects, was probably a dreadful ranter. John McEnroe, obviously. Jeremy Clarkson. Will Self. Naomi Campbell. Mel Gibson. Sir Alex Ferguson was given a knighthood for services to ranting. And then there’s Geoffrey Boycott.

For every Charlie Sheen, mind, there is a Michael Richards.

Still, famous people we can usually switch off. Everyday ranters, though – real live people, whom you might find yourself stuck in a lift with – well, they’re entirely unspeakable. A quite close friend of mine goes apoplectic if he sees a button out of place in military dramas. I’ve had to institute a swear-jar system.

It’s just not really British, is it? (“I’ll rant as well at thou,” quoth Hamlet. But he was from Denmark.) Our all-time-favourite ranting stories end in tumbleweed, embarrassment, and Downfall bunker parodies on YouTube.

Another friend’s somewhat brigadierial granddad once had a long and testy conversation with (e.g.) the British Rail Customer Services Hotline, concluding, “I mean, for God’s sake, man, this is Britain, not bloody Bangalore!?’ The plaintive and predictable reply: “No sir: this is Bangalore.”

As any Oldie worth his salt will vouch, life’s too short, one mustn’t grumble, and almost nothing’s that important, really. My father – curse him – has a good line when he thinks I’m getting exercised o’er trivia: “Is this going to form a chapter in your memoirs?” That tends to do the trick.

For The Oldie

Fun run

Or; how to raise money for charity and feel bad doing it.

For The Oldie

Cannon law

Review of Kim A Wagner’s The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857.

For The Spectator


Stocks were first used in England about 1359 A.D..

The Nelson Evening Mail, January 18 1907

Women leaders are more volatile than men.

The cause of alcoholism is unknown.

They’re selling hippy wigs in Woolworths.

In Togoloese, ‘fofo’ means ‘revered big brother’.

White people, lacking community, must make do with property.

If extortionate fares are demanded, as they often are, the Ceylonese rickshaw driver should be asked to produce the fare table, which he is bound to carry; though no one is likely, if well served, to object to an advance, by way of a pourboire, on the strictly legal fare.

Elvis Presley’s last words were: “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”

Nicodemus the sleepwalker is on his way.

The Devil claims the tenth scholar as his due.

In 1928 the Tate Gallery was drenched in mud.

A destitute is someone who will have sex for money.

It is unsafe to have one foot in the world of social media.

There are no heroes without wounds.


More than nine-tenths of the railway passengers in England travel third-class.

The Nelson Evening Mail, October 20 1906

‘The is cat washing dishes’ is an 18th-century expression for the reflection of water on the walls of a room.

A skate’s vagina is anatomically similar to a woman’s.

Just because a thing is true does not mean that it need have been.

A field marshal never retires.

By the time Tennessee Williams was 15 he’d lived in 16 different houses.

The code-word for the Egyptian seizure of Suez was ‘de Lesseps’.

One of the Fratellis is called Mince.

Some paper cups are five times stronger than steel.

In 1931 the Soviet Union published an erotic alphabet book to combat literacy. 

The next stop after Canterbury, heading east, is not Chatham.

Casey Affleck’s only recent cinema trip was to take his kids to brother Ben’s Batman v Superman.

Roy William Scranton’s poll has ended.

‘Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!’ is Italian for ‘Merry Christmas’.

A hero’s welcome


For The Oldie


Band instruments in use by the Salvation Army are worth £86,000.

The Nelson Evening Mail, July 17 1908

A transgender man has had a baby five years after having one as a woman.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, is known as ‘Fazza’.

‘Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer’ is an advertisement for Hitler or something. It says this under a picture of him.

Old corned-beef’s rusty armour spreads disease.

Nice things cost money.

1.5 people is the exact wrong number to do anything efficiently.

England batsman Alastair Cook has played in his 150th test match at the WACA.

Author Boris Starling’s career began aged eight, when he plagiarised a story from a Tintin novel.

Aristotle walked a lot.

John-Boy Walton’s first spouse was Almira Gonzales. They divorced in 1993.

A female spy was the last woman to be executed in Finland.

Homeopathy is based on the false claim of the benefit of super-diluted substances and the principle of ‘like cures like’. While it has been debunked by hundreds of studies, people still want to believe in magic cures.

Don’t forget, many West Malling shops are open today.

Fair tradesmen

Review of a Norwegian book on loft conversions. (Standard.)

For The Spectator