Great(ish) week for some, healing powers, clocks and time, great chocolates

27 October 2019

In the UK, the prime minister actually won a vote in parliament at last but he also lost the important one so it seems very unlikely Brexit will happen on 31 October.  Who thinks Johnson will die in a ditch and who thinks that was just another one of his ‘promises’, like the Boris bus NHS funding?

In Syria, as expected, following Donald Trump’s withdrawal of American troops, Turkey invaded the Kurdish part of Syria so, if they’re not first killed by Turkish tanks, rocket launchers and guns, Kurdish families can live in a safe border zone in Syria.  This is a meaning of ‘safe’ I hadn’t come across before.  However, Turkey and Russia have agreed this is fair so who gives a stuff about Syria or the Kurds?

Meanwhile, American forces found and killed the leader of ISIS who apparently chose three of his children to blow up at the same time as he blew himself up.  I wonder what the Prophet will have to say about that.

This week’s business news includes:

  • A former chief executive of Thomas Cook, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, who was behind the dodgy merger with MyTravel in 2007 and an unwise series of acquisitions, said it wasn’t his fault the company recently went bust. In his eight years as chief executive, he was paid £17m.
  • WeWork racked up losses of $3bn in the last three years. Its co-founder, Adam Neumann, is expected to be given about $1.7bn to leave the company as it plans to sack 2,000 people who will not be similarly compensated.
  • Deliveroo’s sales last year increased by 72% last year. Despite operating through 60,000 delivery riders, all self-employed with no guaranteed minimum wage, sick or maternity pay or pension scheme, it made a loss of £232m.  Its chief executive, Will Shu, received a pay increase of 57%.
  • Donald Trump has withdrawn his offer to host the next G7 meeting at his Trump National Doral “luxury resort” in Florida “at no cost to the US”. The resort’s income has fallen by two thirds since 2015.  Why do I still think his reluctance to produce his tax returns is because they’ll prove he’s a useless businessman and has lost a fortune?

In another, happier story from the business world;  Woodshed Burgers, a restaurant in Edmonton, introduced a new dish with cod, coleslaw and red onions and called it the Effing Filet O’ Fish.  It sold well for six months until Macdonalds’ lawyers wrote saying they were worried that Woodshed’s weekly sales of 30 Effing Filets O’ Fish in the wilds of Canada were “likely to cause confusion among customers” of Macdonalds’ 36,000 restaurants worldwide.  The owner, Paul Shufelt, naturally complied with their request and now sells McEffing Fish Filet.

Melanie Reid broke her neck and back in a riding accident in 2010 which left her tetraplegic. She has a weekly column in the Times colour magazine and recently wrote about the sudden and wholly unexpected return of movement in her right thigh muscle.

In the early years, she said she’d fall asleep visualising an “army of tiny techies … working away inside [her] neck, trying to fix everything” but, as time passed, they faded from her thoughts.   Such visualisation has been used by many people for many decades and I would get my children to use it when they’d hurt themselves or feeling ill because, even if it didn’t work, it took their minds off the discomfort.

Actually I do believe in the power of healing and that it’s not limited to a few cranks with crystals and vaginal eggs*.  I also believe we all have this power if we’re willing to give it a try.

Until the 19th century, clocks ran differently and showed different times in different places.  For example, clocks in Venice were always ½ hour ahead of clocks in Turin.  The arrival of railways running through different ‘time zones’ encouraged standardisation but the French continued to hold out until 1911 with the clocks outside Paris stations showed Paris Mean Time (so PMT was about 9 minutes out of synch with GMT which, is I’m told, not uncommon in those who suffer from it).  However, the railways actually ran five minutes behind the time shown outside so people who were late could still catch their trains.

I think I’ve mentioned before that clocks run more slowly the higher they are (because the earth’s gravity is less) so presumably, if it were possible to run trains over Mount Everest on time, they’d always arrive early.

And finally, an unpaid commercial for chocolate-lovers.  If you like really excellent chocolates for special occasions, try Miscos – see


*   Unfortunately, I saw the Japanese film Ai No Corida / In the Realm of the Senses before I heard of these things so I’ve never been able to take them seriously.

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