304 thoughts on “Open Thread For June”

  1. I am sitting in a gastropub and the live music is doing “Always look at the bright side of life”.
    Reading “Finder” by a pretty decent new SF author, Suzanne Palmer.
    .
    BTW, we had some patches of new asphalt done at home this week. I have noticed the asphalt has been “sweating ” black goo around the edges in the heat. Presumably residual moisture mixed with shorter-chain hydrocarbons.
    .
    I wish you all a good weekend.
    Correction; this is 2022. Make it “endurable/surviveable”.

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    1. The black goo is correctly called bitumen, which is actually a very viscous liquid, but at most temperatures it behaves as a semi-solid, especially when mixed as a binder with stone chips to form asphalt aka asphalt concrete aka asphaltic concrete. At higher temperatures, unsurprisingly, bitumen becomes less viscous.

      That should answer Charles’ unanswered question about how hot it has been in Umeå – hot enough in the sun to ‘melt’ some of the bitumen in the asphalt so that it has leaked out of the edges. That means it has been pretty hot, even by my standards.

      When I was a kid crossing a road in bare feet, if bitumen from the road stuck to the soles of my feet, that told me that the shade temperature was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The higher the temperature, the more bitumen I got to peel off my feet when I got to the other side of the road.

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      1. Actually the internet has the answer. The “extreme heat” in Umea has reached a sweltering 25C. I guess the sun was out all day and the roads got up to the extreme temperature of 50C required to melt asphalt. At least I assume that’s possible.

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      2. No, 25C won’t do it – not according to my feet. It needs to be north of 35C.

        I think it must have been hotter. Research has shown that the human body is most comfortable when the layer of air next to the skin in at 26C, so I can’t believe anyone would regard a maximum temperature of 25C as anything like extreme heat. I’m assuming Birger doesn’t dress permanently in an overcoat. Of course, that assumption could be wrong.

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      3. No I checked and Umea had a high of 24C on Friday. That temperature is higher than normal up there, they usually about 16C. It depends on what you’re used to I guess. I remember my uncle, who lives in Seattle, was visiting in may and said “how do you stand it.” I guess it was about 27C, at most.

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      4. OK. I believe you.

        Then something weird has happened with that asphalt, because it shouldn’t be bleeding like that at that temperature – nowhere close. I’m wondering if they do something strange with the bitumen in Sweden for some reason, like mix it with some lighter hydrocarbon fraction or something. It repels water, obviously.

        At 24C I’m feeling uncomfortably cool. While this typhoon has been hanging around it has been hovering around 26-27C, and I’m a bit too cool for comfort in a cotton T-shirt and gym shorts (but can’t be bothered to put any more clothes on, so I’ll just suffer until it warms up to a decent temperature again).

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      5. I looked up asphalt online and it does say asphalt that is more heat resistant tends to be more brittle in the cold. I assume northern Swedish asphalt would be designed to take the cold. Around here I believe it was a local company that developed polymerized asphalt which is more heat resistant, I think.

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  2. The countries who sent aid workers to Afghanistan and had some of them murdered on the street (this includes non-belligerent Sweden) may not be in a hurry to send more there. The assurances by the new regime are greeted with distrust.

    And the Swedish Foreign Office has been, shall we say, busy the last two months. Something about T-72s driving around in the neighbourhood and Erdogan being an asshole.

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  3. BTW China captured a T-62 during the border skirmishes 1970 and set out to copy it. Various political meddling led to the design getting obsolete and the project was dropped. For comparison, see the very protracted and expensive attempt by India to design a modern domestic tank.
    .
    The failed American-German tank project 50 years ago is also a demonstration of how politics can sabotage engineering.
    .
    Recently, the excellent but rather dated Leopard 2 may be replaced by another big cat- Panther 2 !

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  4. Sorry to anyone who already knows this.

    Sweden has the most silent and vibration-free submarines in the world – dinky little 60m long things that can remain submerged for a whole two weeks. They use 19th Century engine technology (two diesel engines and two Stirling engines).

    In 2005, under contract to the US Navy, who wanted to know how vulnerable their most precious naval assets were to small conventional submarines, Executive Officer Paula Wallenburg managed to sneak the HSwMS Gotland past all of the screening vessels and close enough to the USS Ronald Reagan to fire enough torpedoes into it to sink it, if she had wanted to. As it was, she was happy enough just to take multiple photos of the Reagan’s hull to prove that she had evaded its protective screen and got *really* close to it.

    That is too funny for words. Of course, if she had really sunk the Reagan, it would have been a suicide mission, because firing the torpedoes would have revealed the Gotland’s presence and it would have been attacked in turn by the cruiser, three destroyers, helicopters and attack submarine that were supposed to be protecting the Reagan.

    Of course, Paula Wallenburg will not reveal exactly how she did it, she just looks kind of mildly pleased with herself that she pulled it off, and deservedly so. But if she could do it, she thereby proved that it could be done. And Sweden’s marvellous little submarines would presumably be easy enough to copy.

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    1. Yeah, aircraft carriers are very expensive assets so the US is very worried about them getting sunk by submarines. In the Gulf War the navy was afraid of Iranian diesel submarines and wouldn’t send carriers into the Persian Gulf. What is use of spending incredible billions on ships if there use is limited?

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  5. I just learned Studio Ghibli did a made-for-TV version of an Astrid Lindgren book, “Ronja Rövardotter”.
    .
    From Sunday onwards, we have the traditional summer week of Politician’s speeches at Almedalen, Gotland.
    It will be prohibited to fly aircraft near the island during the week, as both the war and the koran-burning Dane have increased the security alert level.

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    1. I can’t imagine such a thing in the U.S. sounds like sort of a political Woodstock. The two parties in this country are only willing to get together for debates and even that may be going away. A two party system is a terrible idea. It has allowed a minority of right wing Christians to use the Republican Party to enforce their social views through the subpream court.

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      1. Apparently the two party system is an unintended consequence of the first past the goal post election system. With another type of elections, the US would spontaneously generate a multi party system.

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      2. Proportional representation would be much better, but the two parties are dead set against it. Proportional representation was adopted in a few US cities in the 1930s, but was eventually crushed by the two major parties as it reduced their power. It also allowed representation for black people and communists, a big no no.

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  6. Big nuclear-powered aircraft carriers represent such an immense investment that even a small risk becomes unacceptable.
    .
    The Harrier aircraft was excellent because it could use much smaller carriers with a small ramp for take-off.
    They even developed a kind of crane with a grip that attached to the dorsal side of the Harrier. It could literally start and stop without a runway or even a platform.
    .
    Personally I think stealth aircraft like the F-35 are so horribly expensive that they will not afford enough units.
    Semi-stealthed aircraft like the current generation aircraft are still prohibitively expensive but you might afford double digit numbers of them.

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    1. The F-35 is not that expensive to buy, but is much more expensive to operate. The Air Force still plans to buy 1700 and the navy over 300. I wonder if anything close to that number will be built. The Israelis have 30 and plan to buy at least 50. I suppose the war in Ukraine has made the F-35 more popular in Europe.

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  7. “In Deep Geek” at Youtube has
    a lot of interesting commentary about Lord of the Rings.
    .
    If you want to check out new science fiction authors I recommend Suzanne Palmer.
    “Bear Head” by Adrian Tchaikovsky is also worth a read
    BTW I have a faint memory that the term “Bear head” features in some central European folk lore.

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  8. This is the very first American tank. Powered by two Ford Model T engines, 25 hp each, max speed 8 mph. Very thin armor, minimal space for the crew, near zero vision outside. And it looks even worse than the Brit and French WWI tanks.

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  9. Mmmm.
    My comments are going to get less frantic and grumpy.

    The summer weather just shifted into a lower gear. I can go outside without feeling like Riddick escaping from the planet Crematoria’s penal colony .
    .
    And the political donors are getting tried of T****. One day it may be possible to open a newspaper without reading his name. Life is good.

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    1. 19C as a daily high today? This morning our temperature at dawn is 23C. You’re living in a refrigerator, do you have polar bears, narwhal, and walruses?

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    2. And with 94% humidity it won’t be very comfortable on my morning walk. I hope to hear a wood thrush, which is always a treat.

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      1. Can’t get the things around our place to shut up. Hong Kong has about 540 bird species, and I swear all of them hang around our place, just so they can wake me up every morning before it starts to get light.

        There are so many birds around where we live that the accumulation of bird droppings on the building podium is a problem. Every so often the management office hire a gang of people my Daughter calls the “Poo Crew” to come around with a strong water jet and stiff brooms to wash and sweep away all of the bird shit.

        Fortunately the really big water birds in our area stay on the other side of the river, where they have their nesting sites – getting crapped on by one of those things would be traumatising.

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      2. I didn’t hear a thrush, but the mockingbirds remain quite vocal, among other species. I did see two hawks, a redtail and an accipiter. We don’t have nearly enough bird density to make poo much of an issue. We do have seagulls overwinter and where they hang out, the Walmart parking lot and the 21st century riverfront, it gets a bit gross.

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    3. Actually I felt a bit of a chill on my morning walk, at least initially a t-shirt and shorts felt like too little clothing to be wearing. It did get kind of sticky after I’d walked 10 minutes, however.

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    1. Though I don’t usually like people singing jn foreign languages in unfamiliar styles, she is obviously great. Since you shared this I assume she’s not a trans woman, given your views.

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      1. Correct, she’s definitely cis-gendered female, as is the guitarist. And Flamenco singing is definitely an acquired taste (I don’t like the male singers at all, but I like a lot of the females), but if you can acquire the taste, then she is definitely up there among the best of the current female singers. The guitarist, something I’m more knowledgeable about, I would class as good but not great (which is already saying something, because there are not that many female Flamenco guitarists, because it requires both hand size to accommodate the stretches, but also strength), but she has the unusual ability to play without looking at the fingerboard for long periods of time, which enables her to establish eye communication with the singer; so they go very well together.

        The singer has the classic features of a Gitana (i.e. Spanish Gypsy, which is a word I’m not supposed to use, but they call themselves Gitanos (male) and Gitanas (female), and as Flamenco has become the national music of Spain, being able to claim some Gitano ancestry has become a considerable source of pride among Flamenco singers, dancers and musicians, so I have no hesitation in using those words). I find her quite beautiful, in a special kind of way. I’m confident that she is considered very beautiful in Spain.

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      2. Charles, for comparison, this clip is of La Kaíta (have never been able to find her real name), who is considered one of the all time great Flamenco singers. It’s harsh, especially when they are having a good bitch about something, which she obviously was in this (they kindly provide the lyrics in English in full below the clip). She is obviously Gitana – she would not have featured in the film Latcho Drom if she was not. It’s kind of an interesting film – it traces the migration of the Roma (Romani, Gypsies, whatever) from north-western India to where they finally stopped when they got to southern Spain, but there is no dialogue in the film, it is all just music and dancing. In India, the same people who stayed put instead of migrating are itinerant snake handlers and whatever else they do besides stealing, and they are called ‘Snake Gypsies’, and obviously Untouchables = Dalits, the lowest of the low. People say you can see similarities in the dancing of the Snake Gypsies in India and Flamenco dancing in Spain, but I can’t see much similarity. Or any, to be honest.

        I can kind of appreciate La Kaíta’s singing, but I wouldn’t say I like it. I prefer the above Cristina Regajo and another definite female named Estrella Morente.

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      3. Nope, it’s not going to work for me, but if you click on where it says “Watch it on YouTube” on the black screen of death, you should be able to get it. Whether you want it is another matter. I’d say for most people, one hearing is more than enough.

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      4. This will give you a better idea of how good the guitarist Mercedes Luján is – a hell of a lot better than me, that’s for sure. She has good big hands and long fingers, which helps. My hands are actually not that big for my size; I wish they were bigger. BTW, she doesn’t always choose such exotic footwear.

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      5. I actually rather enjoyed La Kaita’s performance, very passionate. She clearly is very unhappy with partner or ex. I can see the guitarist is quite good. Her hands are very large indeed. I also suffer the embarrassment of having small hands for such a large man. I don’t blame it for my inability to learn the guitar, I suffer from lack of discipline and tone deafness. I did enjoy playing extended solos in my own peculiar style. But as I got nothing but criticism from my mother and sister I gave up playing completely. Years later my sister did tell me that my solo style sounded like Jerry Garcia, which I guess was a complement.

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      6. Yes, she is definitely very unhappy. You would need to watch the film to know that she is unhappy that the Gitanos have been evicted by the authorities from the area they had settled in because the regular Spanish folks didn’t want them around. I will reproduce the lyrics in English so you can see what she is singing. She’s not too happy with Queen Isabella, Hitler and Franco either (all of whom made a point of persecuting the Gypsies).

        You, you’re a stork
        Who has landed on Earth.
        Me, I’m a black bird who has taken flight. [So, she’s referring here to the migration of the Gypsies from India.]

        Why does your wicked mouth spit on me?
        What harm is it to you
        That my skin is dark…
        And my hair gypsy black?

        From Isabelle the Catholic…
        From Hitler to Franco…
        We have been the victims
        of their wars.

        Some evenings, some evenings
        Like many other evenings…
        Some evenings I find myself envying…
        The respect that you give to your dog.

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      7. I saw the lyrics in the video about Franco etc, but somehow missed the main point of the song. The Roma have such a long history of persecution I am surprised they remain in Europe.

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      8. They’re also in Türkiye and all of the other countries along the migration route that they took. In Europe I think the highest concentration of them is in Romania. Queen Isabella, who was the queen who financed Columbus’ voyages, had a lot of them expelled from Spain, along with Jews, Muslims and other ‘undesirables’. La Kaíta refers to her as Isabella the Catholic. The same Isabella established the Spanish Inquisition.

        In Spain, the prisons have an unusually high proportion of female prisoners. That is because Madrid was surrounded by shanty towns built by Gitanos, and it was hit by an epidemic of heroin addiction in the late 1990s/early 2000s. It turned out that the Gitanas, the women, were running the drug trade. Well, some of them – I don’t presume that they were all doing it. But enough of them got caught to fill Spain’s women’s prisons.

        I believe those shanty towns have all been cleared out now. Maybe that was what La Kaíta was unhappy about in the movie, I couldn’t tell – just that a lot of Gitanas and their kids were being evicted and their places bricked up so they couldn’t get back in. And there is no dialogue in the film to explain any of that.

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      9. Sure is wrong to destroy a community because of the conduct of some of its residents. Reminds me of how all the housing projects in my town are being torn down. This may be partly because the skinflint government of this country will not spend money to maintain or replace them. But they are also seen as places where poor black people live and the projects have developed a reputation as loci of drugs and crime.

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  10. Projects = British “Council housing”?
    Segregating low-income housing from where the middle class lives is a certain way of creating slums because politicians will not invest in maintenance. Investments go to where people with influence live. That makes it really important to have no geographic pockets of poverty.
    Ironically in the early Mesopotamian towns the palaces and hovels were not in different parts of town.
    -In Egypt, the president for life is about to build a new capital in the desert so the rulers will be physically separated from the plebes. There will be lots of really tall buildings because the president feels insecure. Skyscrapers only make sense when there is extreme shortage of land.

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    1. Yes projects=council flats. I believe the Brits built for middle class as well as poor. Housing projects were all for poor people. I think there at least was a program to build duplexes and single houses for the poor in more moderate income areas. I don’t know the status of that. The main program for poor peoples housing now is Section 8. This subsidizes rent in private rental units. It is only funded at 25% of need. So even the waiting list isn’t usually open. I’m on Section 8; I only got on because they had a special program for disabled homeless people. Jumped the que as the Brit’s would say. I feel a bit guilty as there are a lot of poor families that could benefit who can’t get on, but I don’t want to be homeless again.

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  11. It’s getting to be pretty well through summer and the season is just weeks away so it’s time to start thinking about football.

    My hometown Chattanooga Mocs only play at the second level of NCAA football but that is my alma mater so they are sentimental favorites. The Mocs are picked to win the SoCon championship and make the playoffs. This will after five seasons of not making the playoffs, so it’s big local news.

    Our mighty Tennessee Vols are predicted to win 10 games and finish in the top 25. This is after almost 15 years of misery, so the Vol nation is getting it swagger back.

    The pessimistic prognosticators pick the Alabama Crimson Tide to win a mere 10 games this season. This would amount to an only 83% winning record, a nightmare scenario for tide loyalists like my archaeobud Loren. Like as not the Tide will probably contend for a national championship and disappoint the pessimists and haters.

    There will also be an NFL season, but who gives a flying fuck.

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  12. In case you have not heard, there has been a spree shooting in Copenhagen. 3 dead, the perpetrator is a 22year old man. The motive is as yet unknown.

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    1. Meanwhile in Ohio, cops shot an unarmed young black guy 60 times. Sixty. LX.

      I wonder how many times they would have shot him if he had actually been armed.

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  13. Genetically, people living in Rome now are nothing like people who lived there 2,000 years ago.

    Whereas modern Egyptians are genetically close to ancient Egyptians.

    If you could take Rami Malek back there 2,000 years ago, he wouldn’t look out of place.

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    1. It seems clear that the first inhabitants of the Americas weren’t all long time Siberians. Some must have come up the East Asian coast some time relatively recently before moving down the west coast of the Americas.

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  14. We just saved another seagull chick that had fallen from the flat roof of the “NHS” admistrative building into the atrium.
    Released at the far side of the building, the chick and the mom will link up again. They look very exposed but the moms make sure no cat strolls too close, or else.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I just watched the implosion of Tutwiler hall at the university of Alabama live on Facebook. It was a freshmen women’s dorm, known as “Slutwiler” by the students. A new Tutwiler hall will be ready by Fall so fresh ‘Bama coeds will be able to continue living lives if innocence, purity, and sobriety.

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    1. An Uppsala café offers a pastry with a chocolate core and a green marzipan coat. Local wags call it the “lady student”, because it looks green but has a black heart.

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      1. Gee, that’s rather sexist, isn’t black-hearted going a bit far. Maybe red-hearted would be better?

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      1. I forgot you have a lot of old stuff in Europe. There are probably similar inappropriate sentiments in old establishments here, especially in the south and Midwest.

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  16. Unintentional comedy
    .
    A bill to ban abortion introduced to the Ohio legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” in a woman’s uterus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What utter bullshit, at least Tennessee’s abortion ban only allows a doctor who removes an ectopic pregnancy to be prosecuted. They can make a defense and prove they were saving the woman’s life and so avoid prison. But at least the legislature of this state isn’t batshit crazy enough to believe you can reimplant an ectopic pregnancy.

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    1. Sad, wistful, autumnal. Reflects Tolkien’s Christian conservative view that world is polluted and getting worse. As a Tory radical he was an environmentalist.

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  17. I am interested in the genetic “ghost” population of early Americans not related to indians.
    And if a very early immigration occurred the earlier material culture -less sophisticated, for lack of a better term- would have been a handicap keeping the population density down. Thus they would have been swept away by later arrivals.

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      1. Y chromosome analysis of Native Americans from eastern North America indicates that northeastern patrilocal societies and southeastern matrilocal societies can be differentiated. Further, the data is not inconsistent with historic bottlenecking. Also, Iroquoian populations likely originated in the south, with Cherokee the most in place member of that language family. Finally Y chromosome evidence doesn’t distinguish linguistic groups in the eastern woodlands.

        https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/23/11/2161/1329708

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      2. I forgot mtDNA evidence suggests close relationships among Muskogean speaking tribes.

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  18. Comment # 300!
    .
    By now you may have heard the news from Britain already.
    .
    Two heavies of Boris Johnson’s cabinet – Richie Sunak and Sajid Ravid- have resigned, citing a lack of confidence in the PM (it is all hypocricy; they all knew he was rotten when they signed on but now things are so bad they need to distance themselves).
    Anyway, this looks like the end of the road for BoJo.
    .
    And the tories have no obvious crown prince, at least none with the competence to run an election campaign (they don’t care about competence of actually running a *government* or else they would never have elevated BoJo- his laziness was well known from his term as London mayor).

    -It will be fun if BoJo makes real his threat of calling a snap election, a threat he has held over the tory MPs to deter an open revolt, as
    the tories are trailing Labour badly. Remember, BoJo has no loyalty to anyone than himself, if he goes down he might drag down everyone else for spite.
    (spell check wants to change it to “spice” but Boris is no Harkonnen)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CCCI

      Brigel, not only that – Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have also resigned.

      But the burning question of the day is whether we will get an open thread for July before we get to August.

      Liked by 1 person

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