Two young businessmen in Florida were sitting down for a break in their soon-to-be new store in the shopping mall.
As yet, the store wasn’t ready, with only a few shelves and display racks set up.
One said to the other, “I’ll bet that any minute now some senior citizen is going to walk by, put his face to the window, and ask what we’re selling.”
Sure enough, just a moment later, a curious Senior Gentleman walked up to the window, looked around intensely and rapped on the glass, then in a loud voice asked, “What are you sellin’ here?”
One of the men replied sarcastically, “We’re selling ass-holes.”
Without skipping a beat, the old timer said, “You must be doing well . . . Only two left.”
Seniors — don’t mess with them, they didn’t get old by being stupid!
Luckily for George Osborne, not many people have noticed the heckler that he has created to pass comment on his budgets. Traditionally, chancellors give a speech which says one thing (help the workers!) and release small print that says another (tax the pensioners!). But there is also a new voice, that of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, whose verdict on the Budget is published alongside the document itself. Deliciously, the OBR applies the “blind bit of difference” test, asking if anything the Chancellor has announced will have a meaningful impact on growth, jobs or investment.
This can save everyone a lot of time. This time last year, for example, David Cameron hailed the “most pro-growth Budget for a generation” and many might have wondered if this were true. The OBR helpfully concluded that it was not, and so it was to prove. This year, we have heard some radical and even revolutionary Budget proposals: to cut the top rate of tax, cut tax for the low-paid, and introduce regional pay bargaining for public sector workers (thereby smashing the centralised power of the trade unions). But will this do much for jobs? The OBR ruled there is “insufficient evidence” to say so.
As speculation grows regarding an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations, Israel’s audacious, deeply controversial raid of June 7 1981 on Iraq’s nuclear reactor is often cited as a precedent. The diplomatic files on Britain’s reaction to the raid have recently been released and some of the revelations in these documents are startlingly pertinent.
The bombing raid on the Osirak reactor, later known as Operation Babylon, was regarded in Israel as a great success. The then prime minister, Menachem Begin, described it as a “supreme act of self-defence” and claimed that Iraq would have acquired up to five nuclear bombs within four years, had they not attacked.
The reaction in Washington was mixed. The Reagan administration initially condemned the operation. Britain’s ambassador to the US, Sir Nicholas Henderson, was with the US defence secretary, Caspar Weinberger, when news of the raid broke and Weinberger remarked that Begin “had taken leave of his senses”. President Reagan, though, showed more understanding. Saddam Hussein, according to the Israelis, had claimed that Iraq’s nuclear plant was designed to produce weapons for use against the Jewish state; Reagan had received a letter from Begin justifying the raid on those grounds, and accepted this explanation.
Cures for male pattern baldness are always said to be “just round the corner”. They’re like the philosopher’s stone, the alchemists’ substance that could turn base metals into gold. Now scientists in America are working on a new treatment that promises to “bring hope” to baldies.
The drug in development suppresses the protein that causes hair loss. But it doesn’t sound ideal, since the active ingredient will have to be applied to the scalp via a cream or ointment, and not everyone can be bothered to spend five minutes a day plastering unguents on to his scalp.
I write as someone who has known what it is to be thinning on top since my last year at school. I’m 42, so I suppose I have come to terms with it. But then, it doesn’t matter so much now, because I’m middle-aged. Men don’t like going bald because they associate it with getting old and decrepit and losing potency. This is why some politicians employ highly skilled hairdressers to maintain the illusion of a thick head of hair. David Cameron, as sketchwriters have noted, has a comb-back, in which hair is brushed back and carefully positioned to cover a bald patch. The trouble is, when he gets agitated and shakes his head, everyth
The 48-year-old singer was found submerged in a tub in her room at the Beverly Hilton on Feb 12, the night before the Grammy Awards. The release of autopsy findings ends weeks of speculation about what killed her.
Los Angeles County Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said the cause of death was accidental drowning due to the effects of heart disease and cocaine use.
Cocaine and its byproducts were found in her system, and it was listed as a contributing factor in her death. He said the results indicated Houston was a chronic cocaine user.
He said toxicology tests also showed cannabis, the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, a muscle relaxant Flexeril, and the anti-histamine Benadryl in Houston’s system, but found that they did not contribute to her death.
No trauma or foul play were suspected in the entertainer’s death, he said.