Saturday, June 28, 2008

Windows XP SP3 Address Bar fix

I'm one of those people who likes to maintain my computer, and have had the same PC for 5 and a half years now. For the last few years I haven't really had the time to find new methods to make my machine run more smoothly (see my posted note on the computer maintenance article for more info). So I've blindly trusted Microsoft hoping that they would streamline things a bit. Then I downloaded "Service Pack 3" for Windows XP. Apparently, the solution some lawsuits presented for the Microsoft search monopoly (now more accurately referred to as, "help, Google is stealing all our thunder; we need to cut them out of the market") included getting rid of the very useful "address bar" at the bottom of the screen.

If you own a Windows XP machine, you can go down to the blue "taskbar" area and right-click, go to "toolbars", and select "address bar". This allows you to launch a website from the taskbar instead of having to open an IE7 window, but it also allows you to launch programs, files, and use the address bar to open Windows Explorer by keying in a drive letter or frequently accessed locations, opening up your entire machine with one or two keystrokes - again, right from the address bar.

Why Microsoft agreed to get rid of this in Windows XP Service Pack 3, but keep it in Windows Vista, is a mystery to me. I use the address bar at every chance and was pissed when I found XP3 got rid of the option to add it. So of course, I googled about it until I found a Microsoft tech bulletin board on the issue. A few minutes later, I had added the address bar back to Windows XP SP3. The steps are listed below. One must have a PS/2 type keyboard in order to get into safe mode, nine times out of ten, so make sure your keyboard is not USB or that you're using your laptop's keyboard for this fix. If you don't know how to get into safe mode you may want to just message me so I can help you out.

Thanks to the members of Microsoft Forums who posted the following steps in this thread:

You can get the dll here:

This worked for me.

1) download the dll and unzip it to your desktop or where you can find it.

2) boot into safe mode

3) use windows explorer to find the file browseui.dll (in C:\WINDOWS\system32)

4) drag it out of the folder to an empty folder on your desktop where you can find it if you need to put it back.

5) drag the one you downloaded into the folder to replace it.

6) restart and right click the taskbar and it should be back

Friday, June 27, 2008

Catalytic Converter issue

I've become a bit of a car nut in the last few years, but anyone who owns a high-mileage car will appreciate this story.

When one hears a very defined rattle under one's car, and in the middle of the car, not by the engine bay, it's a pretty safe bet that the catalytic converter is failing. The "cat", for short, is an emissions regulator, which filters out junk from what would otherwise be unfiltered exhaust. The filter inside the cat is of a honeycomb-type structure, and when it begins to break down, large pieces of the filter rattle around inside the "cat", an oval piece connected by pieces of exhaust piping on either side, going from the engine bay all the way out to the muffler. Note that all cats are warrantied by federal law for 8 years or 80,000 miles; if your car has less than 80,000 miles and is less than 8 years old, you should not have to pay a dime to get your cats replaced by your dealer.

I heard this dreaded "cat rattle" under my car the other day. Knowing that a dealer charges $3500 or more for this job, for both cats (my car has two), I went right to my favorite auto forum and searched for better solutions. Some of the house experts, who have helped me save money maintaining ze German tank in the past, had some great recommendations. I took the car to a custom exhaust shop where the employees confirmed the rattle as the dreaded cat rattle. Armed with my forum information, I asked them if they could cut out the old cats and weld in new cats (on many cars the "cat" is part of a much larger piece of piping that one doesn't really need to replace - and a custom exhaust shop will do the dirty work of welding in a new cat without having to buy a $1,000 part from the dealership). Turns out a bunch of companies make "universal cats", which perform just as well as the manufacturer cats and are much cheaper.

I ordered my cats and have an appointment to get both replaced next week. Total cost will be $300 vs. a worst case scenario of $3500, and a better-case scenario of $2000 or so if I had taken it to a regular indie mechanic not willing to do cutting and welding underneath the car. That's a best-case savings of about $3200 and a medium-case savings of about $1,700.

Know that this procedure is done very often by custom exhaust shops and is not in any way dangerous, nor will it put at risk your chances of passing state emissions testing (unless you live in California).

Consider this your car tip for the day - happy driving!

Monday, June 23, 2008

F1 check-in - French Grand Prix, 6/22/2008

We're a little less than halfway through the F1 season, and Ferrari's 1-2 punch of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa is paying off. Massa leads the driver's standings and Ferrari leads the constructor's standings after the Massa/Raikkonen combo took 1st and 2nd place yesterday at the French Grand Prix. Raikkonen is in 3rd place. Raikkonen was on his way to an easy 1st place finish when the exhaust on his Ferrari came loose and slowed him down, allowing Massa to pass him.

Italy loses to Spain on PK's, ending their Euro 2008 bid

Really a shame, because they could have easily taken Russia to get to the final match had they made it past Spain. Their defense was typically excellent, but they couldn't get it together on offense despite some late runs. they need to focus on World Cup 2010. I like Donadoni so I hope they don't blame this loss on the coach. They need to get younger during the qualification rounds (starting in August 2008) and develop some of their better, younger talent in order to become a force again two summers from now.

George Carlin dead at 71


Great man, great philosopher. Nothing much to say about this other than the world lost a guy who pointed out all our bullshit pretenses and there's no one quite like him. Sucks.

Friday, June 20, 2008

High gas prices = the end of plastic?

In days of high gas prices, we don't feel bad for proprietors of gas stations. While this article demonstrates that proprietors don't make a lot of money in certain areas (I don't see this happening in, say, Massachusetts), it also shows that our plastic-based economy has a long way to go before the "convenience" of racking up debt via credit card for gas, food, and other commodities shows any benefit whatsoever.

"The more they buy, the more we lose," said Randolph, who manages Mr. Ed's Chevron in St. Albans. "Gas prices go up, and our profits go down."

His complaints target the so-called interchange fee — a percentage of the sale price paid to credit card companies on every transaction. The percentage is fixed — usually at just under 2 percent — but the dollar amount of the fee rises with the price of the goods or services.


The dollar value of the fee goes up, but so does the dollar value of his sales, and therefore his profit. It's a percentage-based profit, so it doesn't really make sense that he's banning credit cards at his station. Then again, maybe we could all benefit from more businesses banning plastic. Our economy would slow down, but an economy based on debt (like ours) is headed for disaster anyway. Do we really want to trade away our future for a couple of extra dollars now - dollars that are worth nothing on the international exchange markets?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Italy advances to Round of 16 with win over France

Soccer is tough for most Americans to watch because we grew up with baseball. Hmm, wait...isn't baseball also a game of anticipation? Regardless, soccer never quite caught on here as a professional sport, which is a shame considering there are many quality players worldwide. Soccer was really invented in England; baseball and basketball (and American football) are sports that were created right here, so it's no surprise that we favor our own pasttimes.

In any case, even many Americans would be surprised at the quality of play in a tournament such as Euro 2008, and it may even make a fan or two out of them. The MLS is okay, but it's not nearly the quality of play one sees every day in the Premier League, Serie A, even La Liga. Maybe it'll get there, but it would take a 500% or so increase in fan involvement and sheer number of fans. Americans as soccer fans would also never give the atmosphere required for a truly great soccer experience. I think the grunge era destroyed any possibility that we'd ever see Americans jumping up and down in unison and chanting fight songs while any team in any sport was playing a regular season game, short of something special happening like a 100-point game in basketball or a 20-strikeout game in baseball. That's part of the fun with soccer, of course; you see fans go absolutely batshit during even meaningless games, so you can imagine the euphoria of seeing an important tournament with national pride on the line. See Celtics Game 6 at the Garden the other night for what was probably the best American sports crowd I've ever witnessed - chanting songs with 5 minutes left to play; willing their team's reserves to fast breaks and dunks; tasting a championship and becoming as involved as fans can be in that experience. Short of that, go to a rock concert here and then go to one in Europe - the fans in American stadiums don't even get up to clap; in England, their favorite rock bands are showered with applause from the beginning of the set.

But I digress. Euro 2008 is a great tournament even for the most casual soccer fans. Italy, fielding the oldest team in the tournament's history (1960-present, every four years), lost to a motivated and young Netherlands team to begin the group stage, tied with Romania, and then beat old rival France 2-0 in regular time to advance to the quarter-finals. They face Spain, another young, well-coached, motivated team, and that may be their toughest test of the tournament. Italy usually loses the "head" game - meaning, they lose to a France or Brazil in a major tournament because of the mentality behind facing the opponent, regardless of the talent of that particular opponent in that year. For example, no matter how great Italy's team is in a World Cup, Italia fans will always, always be deathly afraid of Brazil because Brazil has one more world cup title and always seem to get the better of Italy. They've already played those trap games in this tournament, and should be prepared to take the tournament if they can get past Spain, a team no one expects them to handle very well with Gattuso and De Rossi sitting out due to yellow cards in the last game.

Regardless, it should be a fun tournament, and we could all learn a bit as American sports fans by watching it - forza Italia!

For more on the Euro 2008 tournament, check out Tony's Azzurri blog.

Civil rights for all while society ignores the larger issues


Fourteen years ago, Henry K. Boateng was sentenced to life in prison without parole after a Worcester jury convicted him of beating his 5-week-old son to death and viciously attacking the baby's mother.

Now, Boateng, who has changed his name to Daniel Yeboah-Sefah and identifies himself as a Buddhist, has won a significant legal victory: A federal judge found that the state prison system violated his civil rights by denying him a vegan diet.

We're too busy worrying about what the most reprehensible among us are eating in prison to realize that morons who kill babies should be expelled from society, never to return. If you want to murder a child, why not leave society and live the way you want, taking your insane ideas with you? A better, more healthy society would cage these animals up to rot, use them as entertainment fodder to fight to the death, or put them on an island somewhere. Want a vegan diet, Henry? Try surviving, Lost-style, with no Dharma hatches or food drops to save you - with other alpha-male criminals. Stop robbing taxpayer dollars by bringing insanity like this into our court system.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celtics win 17th NBA Championship

While sports have degenerated into modern-day Gladiator matches (think idiot crowd chanting for either the Gladiators or the tigers; fixed matches; lots of money changing hands - sound familiar?), the local teams still pull on the ol' heartstrings when something special happens. Watching the Celtics win their 17th NBA championship at home, by an astounding score of 131-92, once again kept me from rejecting professional team sports altogether.

The Celtics won with defense and a great team identity. From the perspective of a younger Celtic fan who hasn't really experienced the glory days, it was special. I just remember flashes of Bird, McHale, and Parish together on the floor while they celebrated the championship in 1986, as well as a surprisingly vivid memory of attending a Celts/Lakers regular season game in 1988. I also remember McHale's last game as a Celtic when he threw in an alley-oop from out of bounds with 0.3 seconds on the clock against Charlotte in Game 4 of a first-round playoff game, and Dee Brown getting mugged on that play with no foul abomination, knowing it was McHale's last game. I remember Sherman Douglas being our main guard for way too long during the mid-90's, culminating in an ill-advised fall-away three in the closing seconds of the final game at the old Garden - which I attended; a Game 4 loss to the Magic in the 1995 playoffs. I remember the last Lakers/Celtics match up in the old Garden and Dino Radja tying the game with almost no time left, but just enough time for Van Exel to win the game with a last-second three-point heave. I remember being in Italy and calling my friend Kevin from abroad in the summer of 1993 just to talk to him, and finding out that Reggie Lewis had died, after falling down during a game just a month or so earlier - a double-blow (er, no pun intended) considering that Len Bias had died years earlier and the two could have carried the torch from Bird, McHale, and Parish well into the 90's, and maybe even challenged some of those Bulls teams. The most recent great memory I have of the Celtics, prior to this season, is attending the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals Game 3, last row of the "new" Garden, but feeling happy just to be there, when the Celtics came back from 20 down in the 4th quarter to take Game 3 from New Jersey. That was followed, of course, by the disappointment in Game 4 when they had a chance to take a 3-1 stranglehold and couldn't quite get it done in the closing stages. These are the things that happen when Tony Battie is your big man on the court and a Celtic misses a crucial free throw (he nearly tapped it in but it didn't quite go).

There were a lot of disappointments, and the NBA went through drastic changes during the 1990s. Somehow GM Chris Wallace just didn't know how to handle those changes (and a few lottery ping-pong balls didn't fall our way). I mean, Eric Montross? Pierce was on bad team after bad team, until finally Ainge came to town, made the team even worse with some very questionable moves (getting Antoine Walker BACK...?), and finally decided to try and tank the season toward the end of the 2006-2007 campaign. Even after securing a great lottery pick, the Celtics came out of it with the worst possible scenario (a #5 pick), promptly traded it away along with a lot of their young talent, and managed to keep Pierce around for another year when he saw he'd be surrounded by quality veterans with a real chance to make a run. I'm not sure if he believed at that point that the Celtics could win a championship, but I'm sure Garnett's attitude and intensity gave him some hope that this could be the year - finally, a veteran that worked as hard as he did, with real star power, to help share the load.

KG being called "the counterfeit Ticket" by the very definition of a hack journalist, Peter Vescey, as recently as yesterday. Jemele Hill indicating that "rooting for the Celtics is like supporting Hitler" (I'm parapharasing; read an article here - hey Jemele - ich liebe meinen Celtics!!!!). Most of the media choosing the Lakers over the Celtics, in surprising fashion, believing that somehow the best defensive team in the league was softer than LA because it took them forever to mesh in the playoffs (as well as some questionable coaching by Rivers, but hey, he's a nice guy, so we'll let that go for now). The championship was just that much sweeter because of those words.

The Celtics, having won 78 games this season prior to the start of the Finals, didn't need any extra motivation to win, though Garnett's threats that he would rip every one's heads off if they watched LA celebrate a title was probably motivation enough. Despite that, they got all the motivation they needed from the media. They also got it knowing Red died witnessing the worst team the Celtics ever put on the floor. They got it seeing Belichick, Cousy, Havlicek, Russell, and other Boston celebrities hungry for a championship. And they probably got it from Pierce; this was the very definition of the grizzled veteran without a title, struggling through tough times (stabbings, bad moves by the GM, a few coaching changes, a couple of disappointing playoff runs), doing everything possible through two ownership groups, the patriarch of the franchise dying, less than 5,000 people in the seats at certain points - to think that even in a me-first league like the NBA, that the other guys on the team weren't 100% happy last night to allow Pierce to get his and hoist that MVP trophy along with the championship trophy would be ludicrous.

Great win, great series, great team. Credit Ainge for finally pulling the trigger at the right time after an embarrassing lottery disappointment - looks like ultimately, the ping-pong balls did fall the Celtics way for the first time in a long time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Survivalists - from marginalized laughing-stocks to future leaders?

Americans who pay attention to the news are starting to fear an imminent collapse of our civilization. Many of them are throwing in the towel before the slow decline, and heading to the countryside for a life of frugal self sufficiency. It's a lot like how ex-smokers can't stop talking about how terrible cigarettes are. That consumer lifestyle I used to lead? I had to give it up.


Interesting read. I'm not sure if Victoria likes the idea but not those who implement it? Seems there's some criticism of those who practice survivalism but still some support for the belief that we should strive for a more organic culture.

Most survivalists are probably like those depicted in the article's photo - there's a gas-guzzling Range Rover, but two people in army fatigues w/ machine guns. If that's a "survivalist", count me out. Those are called militias. I like the ideas propagated by Michael Arth and John Feeney, as well as the writers - society isn't a bad idea, modern society is; we just need better people to lead and less of a focus on the individual, as well as economic growth rates, and more of a focus on smaller, more organic communities. Imagine a society like that and tell me we'd still have any self-labeled "survivalists".

Friday, June 13, 2008

New column at

My new Computer Maintenance article at has been published.

Click here - enjoy!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Blogs: The reason the internet sucks

Andrew Keen’s new book, The Cult of the Amateur is the latest addition to the Newsnight book club. In it, the author expresses his concern for the profligacy of online amateurism, spawned by the digital revolution. This, he feels, has had a destructive impact on our culture, economy and values.

He says, “[They] can use their networked computers to publish everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays, and novels”.

He complains that blogs are “collectively corrupting and confusing popular opinion about everything from politics, to commerce, to arts and culture”.


Hmmm...that can't be ME they're talking about...can it?

Re: XXL Customer Service post

See my edits below on the Customer Service/Immigration post from early May, or just click here.

I went to a baseball game and a hockey game broke out...

Bad blood had been boiling from Wednesday night's confrontations between Crisp and Joe Maddon, Crisp and Jason Bartlett, Crisp and Akinori Iwamura. Sure enough, the second pitch to Crisp from Rays starter James Shields in the second inning last night struck the batter's upper right thigh. For a second, Crisp hesitated. He dropped his bat.

Then he dropped his helmet and rushed the mound. Crisp's head snapped back, Matrix-style, as Shields swung and missed with a right. Crisp landed a punch. The benches then cleared, and in the center of it all, Crisp was at the bottom of a pig pile. Dioner Navarro wrestled him to the ground, and Jonny Gomes and Carl Crawford started firing punches, Gomes pounding away from atop Crisp.

Crisp stood by his locker after the game, smiling, with the remnants of the brawl on his face. He had scratches on his forehead and a red abrasion under his left eye. His nose looked slightly swollen.

"The scratches on my face are from people trying to scratch like we're playing football or something," he said. "Like little girls, trying to scratch out my eyes."


Who needs NBA Finals basketball when you can take your kid to see millionaire athletes duking it out in a non-contact sport? Still, I have to say the entertainment value here is very high, and goes to show just what type of people are paid crazy salaries for the sole purpose of our entertainment every day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two choices in November: Coke vs. Pepsi; Vanilla vs. Chocolate; McDonalds vs. Burger King

...aaaaaaaand Obama vs. McCain.

Obama wants entitlements for all, because, hey, why not - that'll force people to accept how terribly our country is being run and further dig us into a hole of entertainment and self-gratification so we don't ask any tough questions of our leaders. By the way, um, how does this constitute "change"?

McCain doesn't really care much about immigration (remember, he's the guy that supported the most recent amnesty bill), so he also wants entitlements, indirectly, for most. He also considers the war in Iraq a success because his party leaders will insist on invading Iran to continue the world's colonization once Bush is out of office. And with all that money going to our defense budget, will it be any wonder when he wins in November, seeing as how he has a military background?

Money buys elections, people; your own votes don't even count when the Democrats openly debate what percentage of a delegate goes to each candidate, not even considering the popular vote for a second anymore. Democracy is already over.

Neither of these morons care that our country is being reverse-colonized by Mexico, and yet America is out there colonizing the rest of the planet (Iraq, Iran, Indonesia). What's that - did I just hear someone say Rome's final days? McCain definitely fits the bill for fiddle-player as the city burns due to decay from within and a population which doesn't care to protect the city, so why not vote for him?

Imagine what the Mexico reverse-colonialism would be like if they had a strong culture - like, I don't know, the Muslims who are invading Europe via illegal immigration and subsequent over-breeding to simply out-number the European natives? It's become so bad in Europe that Berlusconi was voted back into power recently in Italy to help stop the immigration crisis they're facing. Italy has reverse population growth; that is, Italian citizens are not breeding at replacement levels. As is the case in America (except we're even more growth-hungry when it comes to politics and the economy), Italy began accepting illegal Romanian and Albanian immigrants to do all those "jobs" (oh wait, Italy has none available even for their own citizens) that Italians don't want to do (sound familiar?). Finally, their citizens wisened up and are now fighting back a bit. That won't happen here with the consumer culture and power structure we have in place now. At least Italy still retains some hope.

As advocates - End Democracy '08! I think McCain will push our society to hell faster than Obama. Obama only wants to tow the line, to keep diabetes prevalent in our society; to give entitlements to illegals to keep our economy growing so that he looks good when people continue to spend money on things they don't need and build up huge piles of debt; to keep people 'secure' in their jobs even as corporations move those jobs to India and China (who's going to stop them...and in the name of what; democracy, freedom?).

A vote for McCain is a vote to End Democracy - let's do it, people!

Large nuclear waste dumps - the government's solution to the oil problem

The US government is already preparing for peak oil crises globally. What great long-term thinking; let's build more nuclear power plants to feed the ever-hungry central air compressors and, who knows, maybe all those electric cars one day? Instead of waiting 50 years for oil to deplete, we can now stave off crises for thousands of years by burying nuclear waste deep underground and inside of mountains - no one lives there anyway.

Didn't we have this debate back in the 1980s? All we need is Mr. Burns to make guest appearances in Nevada and we're off oil from those damn Arabs forever!

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said yesterday that he's confident the government's license application to build a nuclear waste dump in Nevada will "stand up to any challenge anywhere."

Of course it will, Secretary - who is going to stop you?

[full article]

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Celtics-Lakers rivalry to begin anew Thursday night

While the NBA is a shadow of its former, 1980s self, it's nice to see two old-time rivals play in the NBA Finals. The NBA had become a bit of a thug sport throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, but with new rules in place, the league finally embraced a running game and athleticism over hockey-style defensive trapping and plain old jump shots. That mentality resulted in poor quality play and low scores.

During that time, and even during the Bulls dynasty of the early nineties, the Celtics epitomized mediocrity in the NBA. Twenty years removed from its last championship appearance, many in the stands recently had only attended for the corporate hand-shaking and cool factor of being at an entertainment event, instead of being there to watch the Celtics play. I write from the perspective of someone who grew up going to see Bird, McHale, et al play the game the way it was supposed to be played, along with attending the final Celtics games at the Boston Garden - the last Celts/Lakers match up in the Garden during the 1994-1995 season, which ended with Nick Van Exel's last-minute 3-pointer, heartbreaking after a Dino Radja tip-in layup to take the lead; the last regular season Garden game, and last playoff Garden game with the Celts losing to Shaq and the Magic in 1995 - all great experiences. And I'm not even thirty years old - the standard for basketball in this city for those a few years older than me is just that much higher.

So of course, it's nice to see the Celtics go 66-16 during the regular season, and struggle through the playoffs a bit before finding their groove when it matters. The 2007-2008 Celtics have won with good defense as well as timely offense, and a decent running game, particularly against older teams or teams with injuries. They won Game 6 vs. the Pistons with defense, but it was also the steals and the running down the floor at times that helped wear the Pistons out - so much so, in fact, that with 15 seconds remaining (an eternity in the NBA) and the series on the line, the Pistons gave up and didn't bother fouling to go for missed free throw rebounds and last-second desperation threes.

This Boston-LA rivalry, which will be rekindled Thursday night in Boston, has been on hiatus for twenty years now. In anticipation of what should be a great Finals series, here are some links and facts:

Boston - number of championships: 16 (leads NBA all-time)
LA - number of championships: 14 (including 4 in Minneapolis before the team moved)

Red Auerbach, Boston: most coaching titles - 9
Phil Jackson, LA: most coaching titles - 9 (tied)

Celtics championships vs. Lakers: 8
Lakers championships vs. Celtics: 2
(note - the Celtics avoided what probably would have been an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Lakers in 2002 by choking against the Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals, 4-2, after being up 2-1 due to an improbable 4th-quarter comeback in game 3).

By the way, it's pretty amazing that two teams are about to meet for the 11th time in an NBA Finals series. The league has only been around in its current form since about 1947 - this isn't like two baseball teams going at it for the 11th time in a hundred years; this is effectively twice as much.

[Celts/Lakers - Wiki]

I barely remember this, but as McHale was my favorite player in the 80s, this little bit of 1984 NBA Finals history is particularly memorable for me (games 4 and 5):

The game was also marked by Celtic forward Kevin McHale's takedown of Laker forward Kurt Rambis on a breakaway layup which triggered the physical aspect of the rivalry. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would go after Larry Bird later on in the third quarter, and 1981 Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell further antagonized the Lakers by following a missed James Worthy free throw by crossing the lane with his hands around his own neck, symbolizing that Worthy was "choking" under pressure. In Game 5, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead as Larry Bird scored 34 points. The game was known as the "Heat Game", as it was played under 97-degree heat, and without any air conditioning at the infamous Boston Garden

Times Online (UK) embracing population problem

Yeah, I know, this blog is beginning to sound a bit like a broken record...but here goes:

Why have I been entranced by population, of all things? I have my theories. I grew up in a religious, left-leaning American household that tyrannised my childhood with guilt. Before we ate, we had to pray for hungry Chinese peasants, and then we had to clean our plates for the starving Armenians (long dead, but no one told me). Everything nice that we had we were supposed to feel bad about; and I was required to give 10 cents of my 25c weekly allowance (that’s about 12p) to charity. So I think I resented all these poor people for whom I was supposed to feel sorry. They were a burden. Then I discovered that there were going to be more and more of them. Just because they had large families, I was going to have to feel even worse and give away more of my allowance.


The Duke of Edinburgh may not have employed the trendiest vocabulary but he’s not suffering from undiagnosed dementia. Whatever you call it, the threat of overpopulation is back and here to stay – because it never really went away. This could be a good time to start learning Arabic.