Saturday, July 29, 2006

Let them Eat (Battenburg) Cake

A cake-eating friend of mine wrote to me the other day regarding his favourite cake. And I thought I was obsessed with sugary delights:

While I was drinking tea and munching on Battenburg cake on the phone to you the other day, I wondered where the name came from and if it had anything to do with the Royal House. I looked it up on google:

The History of the Battenburg Cake
The origins of the Battenburg cake begin in Germany in the latter half of the 19th Century and the cake takes its name from the Battenburg Royal Family. It is said that the four quarters of sponge honour each of the four Battenberg princes, Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis. The cake as we know it today is said to have first been made to mark the occasion of Prince Louis marriage to Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt.

There you go, some more useless info.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Billy Connolly

It is my first experience of the Edinburgh Festival and it is quite something to see the city begin to succumb to the fever of culture. Everywhere I look, banners are erected, brochures deposited and stages constructed like so many daffodils in a field of concrete grey.

What surprises me most is the type of people that seem to embrace the month's long activities. Today, I heard a woman in front of me who resembled Billy Connolly in almost every sense, including the signature ginger facial hair, if he had had a really tough upbringing, talking of her desire to "see one of them op-ra. I love the wee singin and dreeses, ach aye." Just goes to show you can't judge a book by its facial hair.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Love Work

The man from Imperial ... he says of his impending departure:

"I can't believe its only two weeks before I get to escape the hell that
is Imperial."

I love to see a man who enjoys his work.

No Apologia

As the conflict in the Middle East continues, yet again, the world stands by as a spectator, called upon to play a role, and ultimately simply taking a seat in the stalls.

I am reminded of a trip to the UN HQ in Geneva, Switzerland. The walls are lined with memorabilia, tokens and gestures from countries around the globe that have contributed to the building in some way. And in the main room, the original League of Nations conference room until the UN and a move to New York. And yet I ask myself what have the UN ever done that the much maligned League of Nations could not? When the time for action arrives, when a deus ex machina is most needed, they are always caught wanting but not willing to act.

In this instance, the US and UKs failure to demand a ceasefire in the face of the rest of the world, has resulted in the continuing slaughter of innocents from both Lebanon and Israel. And the end result? Further instability. Iran steps up it's mission towards nuclear arms, a new breed of radicalised Lebanese are born, the Israeli resentment of their Arab neighbours grows and the already tangible hatred of the US and UK propagates further.

And so it begins again for the next generation, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we are left asking when will the curtain fall on this Tragedy?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Professor's New Clothes

Kes is a good friend of mine but is one of the most unlucky people I have ever known. He is the kind of guy that, upon dropping a piece of toast, not only would it land butter side down, it would land upon his most expensive suit. His only suit. Just before his wedding. Ten minutes before his wedding.

You get the picture. One of his worst (and best from a purely sadistic point of view) anecdotes is his version of the Emperor's New Clothes, or rather, Professor's. So Kes had started a new job and early on in his new position his boss, the absent minded Professor, had came in to speak to him about obtaining money for a new camcorder. During the conversation he began calling Kes Ernshaw, Kes Blythe. However, rather than correct him (being eternally shy) he went with it and continued to respond to the name. Some time after he was asked to sign an expense form for the purchased camera. Which he signed. K Blythe. Later, another gentlemen entered the office, a Mr M Blythe to which his mad professor boss joked, you two could be brothers! Yes he chuckled how very true.

The lesson here - don't commit fraud unless it is in someone else's name. Though if your name is Kes Blythe, he's terribly sorry.