Splendid Isolation

Yeah, Whatever

It appears that the brand-new Brit Foreign Secretary doesn’t have too high an opinion of our next President:

Britain’s newly installed top diplomat [David Lammy] has refused to back down from his past comments branding Donald Trump as a “neo-Nazi-sympathising sociopath”.

Considering that he’s part of the Labour (a.k.a. Socialist) Party, that’s unsurprising.

What will be surprising (to him) is how Trump responds to this kind of non-diplomatic speech.

Because Trump is an Anglophile, he’s unlikely to expel the Brit Ambassador and freeze out the Labour Government — which is what I would do in similar circumstances — and to be frank, he’s heard worse from our own local Socialists.

Anyway, the real power in Britishland is not in the Labour government, but amongst the financiers in the City.

Kinda like the bond traders in Manhattan, really.

But understanding reality has never been a strong suit on the Left.  Just wait and see, for example, what happens when they re-nationalize Britain’s railways.
(Can you spell “C-A-T-A-S-T-R-O-P-H-I-C  F-A-I-L-U-R-E”, children?)

And the Izzies, of course, know exactly what side their bread is buttered on:

“Israelis and the prime minister remember very, very well the incredible support which President Trump, while he was in office, gave to this country,” said Israeli government spokesman David Mencer.

After the foreign policy failures of FJBiden’s administration, I suspect that more than a few countries feel the same way as Israel, and not like Britain.

Oh How Charming

From Dubai-on-Thames:

The tallest skyscraper in London that will rival the Shard is set to begin construction next week. 

Planning for 1 Undershaft began eight years ago but today City Corporation planning officers have finally recommended it for approval ahead of a committee meeting next Tuesday.

Towering at 74 floors, the architectural masterpiece would be built between other east London landmarks, the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin.

Apparently it’s not quite a done deal:

It will still need final sign off from Mayor Sadiq Khan and the next Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary.

“Levelling Up”?  What kind of fucking title is that?

Never a radical Muslim asshole with a stolen airliner when you actually need one, is there?

Old Times There Are Quite Forgotten

“How are we going to keep the boys on the farm, after they’ve seen Paris?”

That was the plaintive question after WWI when a great many of the doughboys came home having done just that.  Actually, the really big shift came not after WWI, but after WWII as the U.S. had changed from an agricultural society to an industrial one, and the G.I. Bill almost guaranteed that the boys wouldn’t go back to the farm, but on to college (back when that was a worthwhile step) and into the great commercial-industrial complex.

And the commercial-industrial complex meant that for most men, the jobs were “white-collar” and therefore required a uniform of a suit and tie, worn each day into an office of some sort.

Now I’ve ranted about the clothing thing ad nauseam, and I’m not going to add yet another one.

But I remember talking to Mr. Free Market (whose company had had a dress code which pleased me greatly) and in those Covid Times of Working From Home, he made the comment:

“After all this is over, there is just no way any of these kids are going to wear a tie to the office ever again.”

He was right, as he usually is, but in fact that was not the really wrenching societal change which ensued.  In fact, the truly pivotal moment came about as a paraphrase of the first sentence of this post:

“How are we going to get them back into the office, once they’ve worked from home?”

Simple answer:  mostly, we’re not.  Here’s an example:

Big tech companies are still trying to rally workers back into physical offices, and many workers are still not having it. Based on a recent report, computer-maker Dell has stumbled even more than most.

Dell announced a new return-to-office initiative earlier this year. In the new plan, workers had to classify themselves as remote or hybrid.

Those who classified themselves as hybrid are subject to a tracking system that ensures they are in a physical office 39 days a quarter, which works out to close to three days per work week.

Alternatively, by classifying themselves as remote, workers agree they can no longer be promoted or hired into new roles within the company. 

Okay, let’s leave aside the utter bastardy of Dell’s coercive diktat — as an aside, why is it that the notionally laissez-faire tech companies often prove themselves to be worse than any of the Gilded Age’s robber barons? — and see what the employees’ response was:

Business Insider claims it has seen internal Dell tracking data that reveals nearly 50 percent of the workforce opted to accept the consequences of staying remote, undermining Dell’s plan to restore its in-office culture.

The publication spoke with a dozen Dell employees to hear their stories as to why they chose to stay remote, and a variety of reasons came up. Some said they enjoyed more free time and less strain on their finances after going remote, and nothing could convince them to give that up now. Others said their local offices had closed since the pandemic or that they weren’t interested in promotions.

“Take your promotion and stick it up your ass” — not quite the expected response, eh?

Looks as though that toothpaste has left the tube.  So companies are going to be saddled with these giant, expensive glass-and-steel vanity edifices, full of empty space and echoing corridors.

And I for one, having worked in such environs for many decades, have very little sympathy.


From Reader Mike L. comes this little tale from (where else?) Floriduh:

Police responded to a home in reference to a shooting Thursday morning.  When officers arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators determined that the suspect, Patricia Whitehead, and the victim shared a residence.  She became angry with the man, saying he “did not clean up after himself,” police said.

Authorities said the victim was leaving the home when Whitehead heard him slam the door. She then went and grabbed her gun from her bedroom, left out of the door, and shot the man multiple times, according to police.

I guess that was just one slam too many.

I’m not taking this loony old tart’s side, but I bet there’s more to this story than is being reported.

Or she’s just a loony old tart.

The Glass Tube As Architecture

Here’s one from London that gets me chuckling:

Mansour Namaki wants to link his Grade I-listed Regency villa – which was designed by James Burton in 1828 – to the mews house that also sits on the land.

Fair enough.  He owns both properties and the land between them, and it makes good sense to link them rather than have to walk through the garden (in British Weather) just to get from one to the other.  But then it all went pear-shaped:

He has hired Gherkin tower designer Ken Shuttleworth to design a ‘striking’ glass walkway that will join the two properties in the Regent’s Park Conservation Area.

Ah yes… the Gherkin:

…a.k.a. the Glass Suppository, which all by itself made London look… uglier.

What did he expect would happen?

Well, this is what would happen:

…so needless to say, the Usual Suspects and Busybodies got involved:

According to the council, the walkway’s ‘sculptural form would be a deliberately striking intervention which would over-compete with the architectural forms of the historic building and would demand attention.’

Richard Simpson, chair of Regent’s Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee said: ‘We asked the council to reject it and they did. Now we are waiting for the appeal decision.

‘It’s a very interesting house historically. 

‘This walkway would be a completely inappropriate addition both in terms of its scale, as it is two storeys, and its design. Its exotic curvy glazing which is really quite inappropriate.

‘It’s possible that an application for a walkway could be accepted. We are not saying he can’t as several others have but they should be much more modest. The buildings need to be respected.’

And another:

‘The rules are there for a reason. These houses are Listed and the rest of us have to abide by the restrictions. If Historic England has refused to approve it then they will have valid reasons for doing so.

‘The plans aren’t in keeping with the architecture. If he wants to build something modern he shouldn’t have bought a Listed home – they are very strict in the conservation area about what can and can’t be changed.’

And I agree. This bullshit is all about “Well I bought something so I can do anything I want with it” is typical rich-man’s solipsim and arrogance.

Anyway, that glass tunnel looks like something a pervert would use to insert a rat up someone’s anus.

The only good thing I can say about this silly man is that his wife would look really good in a Regency-era ballgown.

No permit needed for those.

As If I Needed Another

…reason not to install the latest “upgrade” from Windoze:  here it is.

Microsoft will soon begin pushing adverts into the Start Menu of Windows 11 with the inclusion of ‘recommended’ apps.

And why not?  It’s where users are at their most vulnerable, so to speak:  right at the beginning of the process.  It’s like starting your car, but before the engine fires, you first have to listen to a 15-second advert for “recommended” tires, Bud Lite or windshield washer fluid.  But of course, it’s being pushed as a helpful benefit:

Microsoft says the ads are aimed to enable users to find ‘some of the great apps that are available’.

That’s Microsoft all over:  just trying to be helpful, as is someone who will pass you a bucket of lighter fluid instead of water when you’re trying to put out a house fire.

Although the update [KB5036980] is currently optional, it will soon roll out to all Windows devices within the coming weeks.

Of course it will — coercion is one of Microsoft’s major strengths.  But:

Luckily, there is an easy way to turn off the pesky adverts with a simple change to your device settings.

Luckily.  Until that feature too is disabled in future “updates”, depending on how much blast-back Microsoft gets from customers — not that they’ve ever paid much heed to that in the past, unless the storm of protest was overwhelming.

I have generally made it my personal policy to skip generations of Windows OS — I never used Win 9, for example, going from 8 to 10, and then only because someone I trusted not only chided me but actually forced me to make that change, having to do it himself because I flatly refused to do so.  (Thanks, Dan.)  And I was only able to have him do that because I was a house guest at the time.  Unfortunately, he lives about two states away from me so I won’t be able to do that again this time.

And in any event, I’m going to get this fucking “feature” when I get my replacement PC* later in the year.  Let’s hope there really is an “easy way” to turn the thing off, or else the laptop’s durability will be sorely tested as it slams into the opposite wall.  (My new apartment doesn’t overlook the pool this time, so the laptop’s waterproofing will not be called upon.)

*In response to my earlier woes, several Readers sent me their older laptops to try to help me out — and thank you, every one — but I was never able to make them work for me, even with considerable input from Daughter, who is a pro at this kind of thing.  Sadly, it’s a new one I’ll be getting, or else I’ll just go back to using my older Dell which, although slower than a carthorse on downers, is at least still capable of closing without needing engineering manipulation of the Rubik Cube degree.