The Edmondson Blog

Economic Theory

An occasional explanation of modern Economic Theory,
Part 86 - Rome, 1st century BC.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Lifestyle Choices

This woman is 51.

She is a TV “health guru” advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and ill health, promoting exercise, a pescetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets colonic irrigation and supplements, also making statements that yeast is harmful, that the colour of food is nutritionally significant, and about the utility of lingual and faecal examination.

But ...
This woman is 50.

She is a TV cook, who eats nothing but meat, butter and deserts.

Draw your own conclusions.

Second World War - European Aftermath

While most ordinary Germans were traumatised by the crushing defeat of their country and the destruction of their lives and homes, the political and military leaders of the Third Reich refused to accept responsibility for their actions. American and British interrogators were flabbergasted by senior Wehrmacht officers expressing an injured innocence that the Western Allies should have so misunderstood them. They were prepared to acknowledge mistakes, but not crimes. Any crimes were committed by the Nazis and the SS.

In a euphemism surpassing any Stalinist circumlocution, General Blumentritt referred to the Nazis’ anti-Semitism as the mistaken developments since 1933. “Well-known scientists were thus lost,” he said, “much to the detriment of our research, which in consequence declined from 1933 on.” His train of thought appears to include the idea that if the Nazis had not persecuted the Jews, then scientists like Einstein might have helped them produce better miracle weapons, perhaps even an atomic bomb to prevent the Bolsheviks overrunning Germany. Blumentritt, through naive sophistry, often did not realize that he was contradicting his own attempts to distance the Wehrmacht from the Nazis. He maintained that the lack of mutiny in 1945, in contrast to the revolutionary turmoil of 1918, clearly demonstrated what a united society Germany had become under Hitler.

The interrogation of generals continually talking about the honour of a German officer revealed astonishing distortions of logic. SHAEF's joint intelligence committee attributed it to a perverted moral sense.

“These generals,” stated a report based on over 300 interviews, “approve of every act which succeeds. Success is right. What does not succeed is wrong. It was, for example, wrong to persecute the Jews before the war since that set the Anglo-Americans against Germany. It would have been right to postpone the anti Jewish campaign and begin it after Germany had won the war. It was wrong to bomb England in 1940. If they had refrained, Great Britain, so they believe, would have joined Hitler in the war against Russia. It was wrong to treat Russian and Polish [prisoners of war] like cattle since now they will treat Germans in the same way. It was wrong to declare war against the USA and Russia because they were together stronger than Germany. These are not isolated statements by pro-Nazi generals. They represent the prevalent thoughts among nearly all these men. That it is morally wrong to exterminate a race or massacre prisoners hardly ever occurs to them. The only horror they feel for German crimes is that they themselves may, by some monstrous injustice, be considered by the Allies to be implicated.”

Even civilians, according to another US Army report, betrayed through their automatic use of propaganda clichés how deeply their thinking had been influenced. They would, for example, instinctively refer to Allied bombing raids as Terrorangriffe (Goebbels's phrase) and not use the ordinary term of Luftangriffe, or air attacks. The report described this as residual Nazism. Many civilians would talk with self-pity of Germany’s suffering, especially from bombing. They fell resentfully silent when reminded that it was the Luftwaffe which had invented the mass destruction of cities as a shock tactic.

There was a general evasion of responsibility for what had happened. Members of the Nazi Party claimed that they had been forced to join. Only the leadership was guilty for anything that might have happened. Ordinary Germans were not. They had been belogen unt betrogendeceived and betrayed. Even German generals implied that they too had been victims of Nazism, for if Hitler had not interfered so disastrously in the way that they ran the war, then they would never have been defeated.

Not content with exculpating themselves, both civilians and generals then tried to persuade their interrogators of the rightness of Nazi Germany's view of the world. Civilians could not understand why the United States ever declared war on Germany. When told that in fact it was Germany which had declared war on the United States, they were incredulous. It contradicted their conviction that Germans were the true victims of the war.
From Berlin, The Downfall, 1945 by Anthony Beevor.

Over 60% of the Germans questioned by opinion pollsters in the American Zone of Germany in 1946 were still anti-Semitic. That was a year after Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen and the other death camps had yielded up their ghastly secrets.
From Hitler, The Germans And The Final Solution by Ian Kershaw.

Signs Of Our Times

Second World War - End In Europe

The Allies demanded unconditional surrender of the Germans.

On 26th April 1945, Soviet and American troops linked up near Torgau, on the River Elbe, cutting Germany in two.

On 27th April, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was captured by Italian Partisans as he tried to flee to Switzerland. The next day he and some others captured with him were executed and the bodies taken to Milan and unceremoniously strung up.

On 30th April, as the Battle of Berlin raged above him and realizing that all was lost, German dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker along with Eva Braun, his long-term mistress and wife. Braun had married Hitler just hours before their joint suicide. In his will Hitler appointed his successors as Karl Dönitz as the new Reichspräsident (President of Germany), and Joseph Goebbels as the new Reichskanzler (Chancellor of Germany). However, Goebbels committed suicide on 1st May, leaving Dönitz to orchestrate negotiations of surrender. Dönitz appointed Ludwig von Krosigk as Reichskanzler.

On 1st May, SS General Karl Wolff and the Commander-in-Chief of the German Tenth Army, General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, after prolonged unauthorised secret negotiations, signed a surrender document which stipulated that all German forces in Italy were to surrender unconditionally to the Allies the next day.

The Battle of Berlin ended on 2nd May when General of the Artillery, Helmuth Weidling, the commander of the Berlin Defence Area, unconditionally surrendered the city to the Soviet Army.

On 4th May, at Lüneburg Heath (an area between the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen) Field Marshal Montgomery took the unconditional military surrender from General Admiral Hans Georg von Friedburg, and General Hans Kinzel, of all German forces in Holland, in northwest Germany including the Frisian Islands and Heligoland and all other islands, in Schleswig-Holstein, and in Denmark … including all naval ships in these areas. As the operational commander of some of these forces was Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, the new Reichspräsident, this signalled that the European war was over.

Previously, the Allies had considered the possibility that Germany might try to agree a partial or conditional surrender to one or other groupings of the Allies so that they could then concentrate their forces on the other grouping. To counter this, the Allies had agreed that no separate or incomplete surrenders would be accepted. Initially, at Lüneburg Heath, von Friedburg had offered such a partial surrender to the Western Allies, the implication being that the Germans wished to continue and concentrate on fighting the Soviet Army. The Western Allies had threatened to break off all negotiations unless the Germans agreed to a complete unconditional surrender. Von Friedburg agreed to unconditional surrender, but only of those forces under his command that were not, in any case, fighting the Soviets.

On 5th May, Dönitz ordered all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases. At 2:30pm General Hermann Foertsch surrendered all forces between the Bohemian mountains and the Upper Inn. At 4:00pm General Johannes Blaskowitz, the German commander-in-chief in the Netherlands, surrendered to Canadian General Charles Foulkes in the presence of Prince Bernhard (acting as commander-in-chief of the Dutch Interior Forces).

Interestingly, also on 5th May, in Dresden, Gauleiter Martin Mutschmann let it be known that a large-scale German offensive on the Eastern Front was about to be launched. However, two days later, Mutschmann was captured by Soviet troops while trying to escape.

At 6pm on 6th May, General Hermann Niehoff, the commandant of Breslau, a fortress city surrounded and besieged for months, surrendered to the Soviets.

At 6.30pm on 6th May General Alfred Jodl arrived in Rheims and, following Dönitz's instructions, offered to surrender all forces fighting the Western Allies, specifically excluding those fighting the Soviet Army. This was exactly the same negotiating position that von Friedburg had initially made to Montgomery, and, like Montgomery, the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, threatened to break off all negotiations unless the Germans agreed to a complete unconditional surrender. Jodl sent a signal to Dönitz, who was in Flensburg, informing him of Eisenhower's position. Shortly after midnight Dönitz, accepting the inevitable, sent a signal to Jodl authorizing the complete and total surrender of all German forces.

At 2:41am on the morning of 7th May 1945, at the SHAEF headquarters in Rheims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, General Alfred Jodl, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. It included the phrase, “All forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European Time on May 8 1945.”

On 8th May, shortly before midnight, German officials in Berlin signed a similar document, explicitly surrendering to Soviet forces, in the presence of General Georgi Zhukov.

News of the surrender broke in the West on 8th May, and celebrations erupted throughout Europe. The Western Allies consider 8th May as VE Day (Victory in Europe Day). As the Soviet Union was to the east of Germany it was May 9th Moscow Time when German military surrender became effective, which is why Russia and many other European countries east of Germany commemorate Victory Day on 9th May.

Meanwhile, At The Village Doctor's Surgery ...

A man went to the local doctor's surgery having seen an advert in the village store for a Gynaecologist's Assistant. Naturally interested, he went in and asked the receptionist for details.

The receptionist pulled up the file and read, "The job entails getting the ladies ready for the gynaecologist. You have to help the women out of their underwear, lay them down and carefully wash their private regions, then apply shaving foam and gently shave off their pubic hair, then rub in soothing oils so they're ready for the gynaecologist's examination. The annual salary is £65,000, and if you're interested you'll have to go to Tunbridge Wells."

"Oh, Dear," said the man, "Is that where the job is?"

"No sir, that's where the end of the queue is."

Robbie Burns

Today is, of course, Robbie Burns birthday (he was born in 1759). At Burns Dinners all over the country (and the world) tonight, toasts will be offered to the Lassies. Her is a poetical Toast to the Lassies (based upon Burns' To a mouse):
Wee gorgeous, flow’rin, shim’rous beastie
O, whit joy’s found in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering prattie!
I wad love tae tak ye doon the shops
For needless chattels!

On a Saturday morn, the shops are attacked
Wi’ a master plan. They huv’ the knack,
Searchin’ for hours for the dress they lack
To tick off the list.
Then it’s put in the wardrobe, right I nback
And never miss’t

My the lassies can be a curious pest
At’ways chubterin’ on when you need your rest.
If you disagree, they ay’ways ken best
Then silence is lang.
Then begins the gane where we huv’ tae guess
What we did wrang.

When they’re dressing up wi’ perfect hair
After hours deciding what tae wear
Tae avoid a skelp and being sair
We a’ ken the line
Tae the immortal question, so unfair,
“Your hurdies look fine!”

When they need to answer nature’s ca’
They cannae just pee agin the wa’
They huv’ tae go alang twa by twa
Like there’s a tether.
Then stand in line for hours, and a’
Jist fur a blether.

When we’re stappit fu’wi’ cold or flu,
Or a fever that we cannae subdue,
We pray some tenderness may ensue
But where’s the fuss?
When lassies get sick one thing is true
They’re no as ill as us!

But a man needs a wife when he comes hame
Fair scunnered sittin’ there on his ain,
A batchelor’s life is such a shame,
The poor wee thing.
He needs a lassie tae tak’ his name
Mak his heart sing.

I’ve never seen a prettier sight
Than the lassies gathered here tonight
Rabbie himself would agree I’m right
This I know.
In better words he’d show his delight
And tell you so.

So here’s tae our lassies, O so fair
Whether blond, or black or brown of hair
There known as friends ‘n’ lovers ‘n’ mair
Than fantastic dancers.
It’s a’ we can dae no tae stop and stare
Like glaikit chancers!

Yes, here’s tae our lassies, May they aye be near
Gentlemen, please lift you cup of beer
And with one voice and hearty cheer
Frain your glasses,
For where would we be if they were nae here?

To the lassies!
And here is a suitable poetical reply on behalf of the Lassies:
Let’s toast our laddies here, all brave and true
All our sweethearts, both old and new.
Let’s toast the young ones and those a little older
Toast the shy ones, and those much bolder.

Let’s toast the boozers, the shmoozers, the pests
And include the wasters in their dirty string vests
Let’s toast our laddies dear, in our own special way
And forgive them their faults each and every day.

So lets raise a glass, now to all the laddies in sight,
And wish them our love true on this special Burns Night.

Cannibal Story

A cannibal was walking through the jungle and came upon a restaurant operated by a fellow cannibal. Feeling somewhat hungry, he sat down and looked over the menu:
Tourist pate: £5.00
Grilled Missionary: £7.00
Roasted Explorer: £9.00
Freshly Baked Politician: Labour / Lib-Dem / Conservative: £150
The cannibal called the headwaiter over and asked, "Why such a huge price difference for the Politicians?"

The headwaiter called the chef out of the kitchen to explain, "Have you ever tried to clean a politician? They're so full of shit, it takes all morning."

Perfect Timing

Meanwhile, In The Village School ...

The French teacher was explaining to her class that in French, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

"House for instance, is feminine: la maison."

"Pencil, however, is masculine: le crayon."

A student asked, "What gender is ordinateur, French for computer?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, boys and girls, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ordinateur should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The boys' group decided that ordinateur should definitely be of the feminine gender, because:
  • No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
  • The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
  • Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
  • As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your salary on accessories for it.
The girls' group, however, concluded that ordinateur should be masculine, because:
  • In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
  • They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
  • They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
  • As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

Further Explanations Required!

Meanwhile, Around Our House ...

I was worrying whether my wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, I rang the family doctor to discuss the problem. He told me there was a simple informal test I could carry out to get a better idea about her hearing loss.

"Here's what you do," he said, "Stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response."

So last night, as my wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner and I was in the hall, the door to the kitchen was wide open so I thought to myself, "OK, I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

No response.

So I moved closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet away.

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

Still no response.

So I moved to the kitchen door, about 20 feet away.

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

Again, no response.

So, I moved half way across the kitchen, about 10 feet away.

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

Once again, no response.

So I walked up right beside her.

"Darling, what's for dinner?"

"For goodness' sake, Rick, for the FIFTH time, it's CHICKEN!"

Partial Insight Into The Workings Of The World ...

Completely Different Books

Books that would have been completely different with one letter missing:
  • Bride Shed Revisited
  • The Da Vinci Cod
  • Lice In Wonderland
  • The Holy Bile
  • Harry Otter And The Goblet Of Fir
  • Oliver Twit
  • David Copper Fiel
  • The Lion, The Itch And The Wardrobe
  • The Big Seep
  • Widows For Dummies
  • A Brief History Of Tim
  • One With The Wind
  • Charlotte’s We
And two by Shakespeare:
  • As You Lik It
  • O Hello
All as heard on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, BBC Radio 4.

Spoilt Photographs

17 Gigapixel Photo

This is not a movie film. It is a huge photo made up of 2046 individual still photos.

Universal Laws, Reprise

  1. Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
  2. Edmondson's Law of Public Events: At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies, and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.
  3. The Coffee Law: As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
  4. Murphy's Law of Lockers: If there are only two people in a changing room, they will have adjacent lockers.
  5. Law of Physical Surfaces: The chances of an open-faced jam sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.
  6. Law of Logical Argument (also known as Edmondson's Law of Complete Bollocks): Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  7. Gordon Brown's Law of Physical Appearance: If the clothes fit, they're ugly.
  8. Julia's Law of Public Speaking: A closed mouth gathers no feet.
  9. Rick's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy: As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
  10. Doctors' Law: If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick.

Snapshots From Around The Village

The Gate Of The Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."

And he replied, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!"

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night.
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention.
Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908

Universal Laws

  1. Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.
  2. Law of Non-Vertical Gravity: Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
  3. Law of Probability: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act
  4. Law of Random Numbers: If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
  5. Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.
  6. Variation Law: If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
  7. Law of the Bath: When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
  8. Law of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.
  9. Law of the Result: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.
  10. Law of the Result (restated): When you try to prove to someone that a machine works, it won't.

Further Explanations Required (Reprise)!

Meanwhile, At The Local Cottage Hospital ...

My wife asked me, "How many women have you slept with?"

I proudly replied, "Only you, Darling. With all the others I was awake."

(Visiting hours 2pm - 4pm.)

When U Black, U Black

When I was born, I was BLACK,
When I grew up, I was BLACK,
When I went in the sun, I stayed BLACK,
When I got cold, I was BLACK,
When I was scared, I was BLACK,
When I was sick, I was BLACK,
And when I die, I'll still be BLACK.

NOW, You "white" folks......
When you're born, you're PINK,
When you grow-up, you're WHITE,
When you go in the sun, you get RED,
When you're cold, you turn BLUE,
When you're scared, you're YELLOW,
When you get sick, you're GREEN
When you bruise, you turn PURPLE,
And when you die, you look GREY.
So who y'all be callin' COLOURED Folks?

How Long Have You Owned Your Car?

Mr. Allen Swift from Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster from his father - brand new - as a graduation present in 1928.

He drove it up until his death in October 2005 at the age of 102. He was the oldest living owner of a car from new, ever.

Mr Swift donated the car to a Springfield museum after his death. It has 170,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition after 82 years.

© 2007 The Edmondson Blog