Saturday, 25 April 2009

Tolling it to the Birds

I have not been a fan of that unlikely Lord, Hattersley, since he tried to get me the sack from my job on the Daily Post. So I am uneasy about agreeing with him on the subject of St George, an Arab from Lod who made a fortune selling no doubt dodgy bacon to the Roman Army. He rightly suggests we should celebrate instead the birthday of William Shakespeare, which I did with a roast beef supper followed by a Shakespeare DVD. English is the only language in which Shakespeare could have written. The famous exhortation in Hamlet, translated into Dutch, would read “ Omlet,omlet, is dein feider's spooke”, which misses the dramatic emphasis of the original., as Geoffrey Madan pointed out in his hilarious notebooks.

I suppose I should be glad to have anything to celebrate as the last crumbs of England are brushed off the table of history.

If I were a bird I would be keeping a beady eye on the RSPB. Worse than the Metropolitan Police with their shooters.

The Royal Society for the Protection (?) of Birds has its sights trained on the magpie, a handsome bird, admittedly with relaxed nesting habits, which eats smaller birds because that is what magpies do. Magpies were doing it before the arrival of the Royal Society for the Protection (of some) Birds. No matter. It is Open Day on the magpie. The RSPB has form in this matter. Readers may recall the shocking affair of the Ruddy Duck.

I recall being very disturbed by that RSPB-sponsored Massacre of the Innocents, the ruddy ducks in Britain whose only crime was breeding with their Spanish cousins,  resulting in flocks of ducks of mixed race.

 I pointed out at the time that if pulling Spanish birds was a capital offence it would not be long before we had a great gap in our male population between the ages of 16 and 30. 

I was also unhappy in these days of politically correct genetics that it was considered a bad thing to be of mixed race and an excuse for genocide. Tell that to the Afro-Caribbeans; because it does seem to me that if we encourage mixed race among humans we cannot deny it to the rest of Creation.

Speaking generally, I am opposed to the human race doing God’s job for Him. Even though I don’t think He is very good at it or we wouldn’t have tried to wipe each other out in wars. If it pleases Him to let the Ruddy Duck go at it like knives on Spanish holidays, who are we to quarrel with the Divine Wisdom?

We have also declared war on grey squirrels. If God thinks the grey squirrel has more right to live than the red, so be it. Though even if you don’t agree with Him, battering them on the head, as I am told the hunters do, is an appalling way to despatch them. Wouldn’t dare do it to a fox. 

People who took part in the cull claimed the grey squirrel behaved very badly to the red, yet I have never heard of anyone bashing a red-head with a stone.

 I am not one of God’s greatest fans. I think He was a lousy designer. Have you ever seen an armadillo, a sloth or a baboon’s backside? Nor would the human body pass the Prince of Wales’s architecture test. As I have pointed out before, you would not get planning permission for a building where the waste pipe is directly above the food inlet.


 My friend Colin Hills writes from Germany

This is a true story from Texas.

Neiman-Marcus, if you don't know already, is a very expensive boutique

shop (they sell a typical $8.00 T-shirt for $50.00).

My daughter and I had just finished lunch at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in
Dallas, USA . Because both of us are such biscuit lovers, we decided to
try the 'Neiman-Marcus cookie'. It was so excellent that I asked if they
would give me the recipe. The waitress said with a small frown, 'I'm
afraid not, but you can buy the recipe.'

I asked how much, and she responded; 'Only two fifty - it's a great

I agreed to that, and told her to add it to my bill.

Thirty days later, I got my Visa statement, and the Neiman-Marcus charge
was $285. I looked at it again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95
for two sandwiches and about $20 for a scarf. At the bottom of the
statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - $250.00'. That was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress had
said it was 'two fifty', which clearly does not mean 'two hundred and
fifty dollars' by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase.
Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because
according to them; 'What the waitress told you is not our problem. You
have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money.'

I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes
which govern fraud in the state of Texas. I threatened to report them to
the Better Business Bureau and The Texas Attorney General's office. I
was basically told: 'Do what you want.. Don't bother thinking of how you
can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back.'

I said, OK, you've got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of
fun. I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in
the world with an e-mail account gets a $250 cookie recipe from
Neiman-Marcus for free. She replied, 'I wish you wouldn't do that.' I
said, 'Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you RIPPED
ME OFF!' and slammed down the phone.

So here it is! Please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of.
I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make
another penny from this recipe!

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved as this makes heaps)

2 (500 ml) cups butter
680 g chocolate chips
4 (1000 ml) cups flour
2 (500 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp. (10 ml) Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp.. (5 ml) salt
2 (500 ml) cups sugar
500 g Grated Cadbury chocolate
5 (1250 ml) cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla
3 cups (375 ml) chopped nuts (optional)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the
butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour,
oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda. Add chocolate
chips, grated Chocolate and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches
apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (180 C).

The above quantities make 112 cookies. Enjoy!


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