Dracula, 366-day years, “buy a new house, donate £66,000 to the developer”, ABdePJ still climbing, coronavirus, Finnish football and more kindness

1 March 2020

I had a routine blood test this week which apparently showed slightly raised levels of iron in my blood.  My doctor assured me this isn’t serious but, not being a medic, I started thinking that there’s a lot of oxygen in my body and the inside of my body is quite damp (over half my body weight is water and blood can be about 80% water) so there must be risk that I’m going to rust away from the inside out.

I then started to imagine my crumbling and blowing away in a convenient breeze, like Dracula at the end of the eponymous 1958 film.  The film is well worth a watch just to see how film-making and acting styles have changed.  In one scene, our heroes have searched the whole house for Dracula until somebody says “We’ve searched everywhere except the cellar.”  Van Helsing dramatically claps his hand to his forehead and says “The cellar.  My God!  We forgot the cellar.”  Brilliant!  I’d have started with the cellar but I suppose the film would have been a lot shorter.

Anyway, raised levels of iron can indicate haemochromatosis and the best way of getting rid of the excess iron is to lose a lot of blood.  Come back Dracula, all is forgiven.

Also this week, I had what appeared to be a Boris Johnson-inspired offer to extend the warranty on my computer.  Part of it said “if your factory warranty expires on 31/12/2019 and you purchase a one year Post Warranty Care Pack on 31/4/2020, your new HP Care Pack extension will be valid from 31/4/2020 through 31/4/2021.”  That is so groovy:  366 day years so people have to work one extra day every year for the same money – sheer genius.

On which subject, I was impressed to learn that Persimmon, the housebuilders who chucked out their previous chief executive last year even though he voluntarily reduced his bonus from over £100m to a paltry £75m, have just chucked out his successor (with a bonus of £45m).

I was even more impressed that their profits exceeded £1bn for the second time and that, despite critical problems with the quality of the houses they build, their average house sold for more than £215,000 and each one made them a profit of almost £66,000.

That’s one of the reasons we should all be capitalists, so nobody would need be on benefits.  I mean, if people can’t afford to make a donation of £66,000 to the property developer when they’re buying a £149,000 house, then they don’t deserve a house anyway.  It’s why Iain Duncan-Smith introduced the universal credit scheme and left so many people with no money at all for 6 weeks to encourage them to get jobs, or die of starvation.  It’s a funny old world (“funny” in the sense of ‘aaarrrggghhh’).

Then the head of the Home Office resigned and will be claiming constructive dismissal from the government after his boss, Priti Patel, was even more unpleasant than she usually is.  When Boris Johnson was asked if he retained full confidence in his home secretary, a Downing Street official said: “The prime minister has complete confidence in all of his cabinet.”  I’d give her a week.

And the Pentagon carried out a military exercise simulating a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia to prove that it’s possible to use nuclear weapons in a battle without causing a world-ending conflict.  Next week they simulate an exercise in which fairies cure cancer.

After claiming the coronavirus (possibly to be known as the Nehivirus in America?) / Covid 19 outbreak was a democrat hoax designed to prevent the best president ever being re-elected, Donald Trump, a self-confessed germophobe, handed responsibility for dealing with the epidemic to Mike Pence, the Vice-President.  Pence is a devout Christian who has said he believes that “someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe” (so, logically, the epidemic is God’s doing and trying to contain or cure it would be opposing the mysterious ways in which God works).

According to the World Health Organisation ‘sitrep’ yesterday, there were 85,403 confirmed cases worldwide and it would seem that the average death rate is about 2%.  I originally guessed there might be 250,000-500,000 cases worldwide but am now wondering if there be could be ten times that number.

Trump has assured Americans that they are “very very safe” so it’s obviously Pence’s fault if they’re not.

The Finnish Football Association (Suomen Palloliitto in Finnish, as I’m sure you knew) is one of the few football organisations that has equal pay for their men’s and women’s national teams. Now they’re going a step further and the country’s top division of women’s football will be called the National League instead of the Women’s League in a push for “full equality”.  Finland leads the way yet again!

After the suicide of TV presenter Caroline Flack, one of her Instagram posts in December was shared widely and has since gone viral.  In it, she said “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Also as a result of her death, someone who just called themselves Emma contacted Simon Key, who runs the Big Green Bookshop (http://www.biggreenbookshop.com/), offering to pay for a couple of copies of Matt Haig’s memoir about depression ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ so they could be given to other people.  Key, who already runs a “Buy a Stranger a Book” scheme online, tweeted about this and was overwhelmed by requests for the book and by donations, some small, some large, from people who wanted to give the book to those who’d been brave enough to ask for a copy.

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