Document Why are penknives called penknives?

by Paul on 8 Jun, 2008

It has never occurred to me that penknives are so called for a reason but I just chanced upon an article which explains that

Penknives were originally used to sharpen quill pens. In 1810, the Bank of England bought a year's supply of 1.5 million quill pens - five pens per clerk per day.
This also suggest that in 1810 the Bank of England had 822 clerks probably doing the job of one computer.

The reason I was thinking about penknives is that a few days ago Benedict Brogan blogged, Not pen-knives, surely in which he comments on Ken Jones of the Association of Chief Police Officers apparently saying, "what good reason would young people have to carry even a penknife?" What's it all coming to?

Document Cut taxes, get popular

by Paul on 28 May, 2008

Refreshing common sense article in the Telegraph from Dennis McShane - "The answer's obvious: cut taxes and spending". He advocates reduced taxes and to fund it he proposes reduced spending!

A Labour government that got serious about weaning its bureaucracy and clients off dependency on the citizen's money would find itself popular again.

In Moray public administration, education & health account for the employment of 1 in 3 [PDF] of all economically active people. What on earth are they doing all day?

Document Threadless T-shirts

by Paul on 25 May, 2008

Threadless: Nude no moreAn interesting background article at about Threadless, the t-shirt company, whose business model revolves around a social network; users submit and rate t-shirt designs, the well regarded get printed and the users lap them up. I have a few and the quality is pretty good too.

Document Number One Restaurant

by Paul on 25 May, 2008

On my most recent visit to Edinburgh I had the pleasure to again visit the Number One restaurant at the Balmoral Hotel :-) This place is far and away my favourite restaurant anywhere in the world with amazing food, good atmosphere and friendly unpretencious staff.

I ate

· Sautéed Foie Gras with Buttered Poached Guinea Fowl, Celeriac Mousse, Apple and Tarragon Salad

· Fillet of Halibut with Lemon Pomme Mousseline, Brown Shrimps and Asparagus

· Apple Tart Tatin with Spiced Apple Jelly and Vanilla Ice Cream

and my dining companions and I shared a cheese plate.

It was really a lovely evening; nice ambience, great cuisine and the best company. It makes me smile to think of it. I love that place! The Palm Court bar upstairs does a wicked 'Mojito Royale' as well.

Document David Miliband

by Paul on 24 May, 2008

I've just watched a couple of videos of David Miliband on his recent trip to the US which he mentioned on his blog. It is refreshing to hear a politician not talk in soundbites and seem willing, even eager, to answer questions. This ties in, in my head at least, with a couple of posts on Lords of the Blog which address sincerity in politics; from Lord Tyler in Don't know?

what would happen if a Minister, faced with the demand for an immediate comment on the Today programme, replied “I don’t know, I’ll think about that”. Would John Humphrys explode ?
and Baroness Murphy in When Ministers don’t know
We applaud government show-offs who can demonstrate their rapid and witty responses whereas in real life I want Ministers with sound judgement, personal integrity and sense of good purpose.

I find myself often disengaged from politics because it is impossible to understand what reasoning lies beneath a menacing line, e.g. "the threat of seperation".

Anyway, the Miliband vids follow. Watch them.

Continue reading "David Miliband"
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