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[ With kind regards to The Right Honourable Joseph Addison, c. 1709 ]
No, I never, ever, ever, purchase any items ‘on-line’. At least, not from websites that have an ‘Add to cart’ button. Who on Earth do they think I am? Do they really think that I am the sort of person who would add something to a ‘cart’? Me, with a ‘cart’? A ‘cart’? The last time I had a ‘cart’ I was about two (and a half) and I used it to push around flagons of Malvasia, for my local malmsey supply business. I am no longer associated in any way with ‘carts’. I have grown up. I would urge you to do the same, no matter who pressurises you to the contrary. ‘Carts’ indeed.
Yes, I agree, it is regrettable that so-called ‘High Street’ shops are being closed down due to internet-based purchasing. The number of empty shops in many towns and cities is (for the last few decades at least) unprecedented. However, they will not, I believe, be empty for all that long. Market forces (as far as the landlords are concerned) will ensure that rents drop dramatically, and the shops will be rented to businesses that cannot be effectively be carried out on the WWW. That means, for example, tattooists, manicurists, and coffee houses – I can’t think of any others offhand. I further suggest that certain streets will begin to ‘specialise’ in certain areas. Therefore, all reasonably sized towns shall have a ‘Manicurist Street’, a ‘Tattoo Street’, and a ‘Coffee Street’ etc etc. That will make a welcome change from the current ‘Real Estate Agent Street’ , ‘Bank Street’ and ‘Global Retail Franchise Chain Street’ – will it not?
Capital ! I cannot thank you enough! What a joy it was when I opened my inbox today, and saw your über-ironic question! How I laughed! So much so, that I hurt my ribs and had to take a ███ ! The very idea that Central Banks put up interest rates to control inflation ! Hah !
Now, just in case other readers don’t share your highly developed sense of humour – I hope you don’t mind if I explain (for their benefit) how things really work. It’s certainly true that Central Banks put up interest rates when they see inflation is taking hold (that’s to say, above the rate that they desire). They increase interest rates so that they don’t lose out on the (inflation-devalued) cash they’ll be getting back in interest payments on the sums they’ve loaned out.
Anyway, thank you again. I need another ███ .
No, the advice which you have been given is piffle and balderdash. There is absolutely nothing wrong with talking to oneself in public. I do it all the time. However . . . if you wish to be prosocial, and minimise the inconvenience to others (some of whom will no doubt be disturbed by your conduct) then can I suggest a simple, but very effective remedy?
Purchase a pair of Bluetooth™ ear-buds (the kind that people use to connect to their dumbphone without cables). Make sure you wear them when out and about. Of course it goes without saying that you never need to turn them on. In fact, I have removed the batteries from mine.
That way, you will be able to babble away to yourself in almost any situation, and no-one will take any notice whatsoever.
Well . . . the problem with ‘Karma‘ is not that we do or don’t know about its existence – it’s the time delay.
If you put your hand on a hot stove, you will very probably remove it extremely promptly. There is only a very short delay (in human timescales at least) between your action and the realisation of the consequences. Can I put it to you that if there was a substantial (and indeterminate) delay between touching the stove and the pain it caused – you would probably be covered in burns by now.
Thus Karma – which is very evidently not instant, may or may not be in operation (despite the famous song). And, since the feedback is alleged to be years, decades, or even lifetimes late, we are very unlikely to be able to put 2 + 2 together at any stage.
Summary: I don’t know. You don’t know. No-one knows. We probably never will. Get over it.
Eiron: I hope that acerbic remark won’t come back and bite you oneday. Ed. 😉
My editor doesn’t like it when I offer financial advice. So I can’t help you I’m afraid.
What I can do, though, is let you in on what I’m currently investing in. I have discovered a new ‘catastrophe bond’ derivative that is provided by a firm which is insuring against a globally devastating asteroid strike which eradicates all humanity. They provide unmilited insurance cover in such circumstances. In other words they guarantee policy holders that they will pay out any amount required to compensate for their damages in such circumstances. And all for a very reasonable $10 per month. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Allow me to correct you on your views about scientific experiments – with an example. Imagine that you have repeatedly tried to break down a wall by banging your head against it. Your colleagues and associates have tried the same experiment too, many times – and have also failed. This does not mean that the wall is impenetrable. It just means that, up until now, repeated attempts to break it down by head-butting have failed. By the way, it also does not mean that there isn’t a door in the wall, a bit further along, which by chance no-one has found yet.
Yes, of course I have read the new research about booze in The Lancet. Wherein it states “the safest level of drinking is none”.
In fact I was having a heated debate on the subject just the other day, with colleagues, over a few cocktails. I confess that, at the time, I failed to succinctly put into words what is misleading about (the headlines about) the study.
Then, on the drive home*, I had a vivid L’esprit de l’escalier. Rather than trying to draw attention to the pitfalls of assuming that the researchers’ conclusion statement (as above) is useful knowledge, why not look look at similar situations from a reverse perspective?
Name me, please, any activity, any at all, which has no risk whatsoever associated with it.
Eating tomatoes is not 100% safe. Knitting is not 100% safe. Venturing outside the house is not 100% safe. I put it to you, and to any others who are inclined to listen, that there is one and only one zero-risk activity, and that is Being Deceased.
* Before you say anything, I didn’t say I was driving, did I?
No. No. No. Never ever, ever, eat them. You will, I assure you, live to regret it. Instead, boil them in a salty water solution for 20 mins and then ███ ██ █ ███ ███ . I can’t guarantee that will give you the effects which you’re after, but at the very least you’ll have an amusing anecdote to relate to your friends.