I have an answer to one of the questions I posed the other day, viz. where has all the money gone that the ECB lent on very soft terms to European banks in late 2011 and early 2012?:- A German temper tantrum has made almost it impossible for Mario Draghi to deliver any more magic at the European Central Bank. His €1 trillion (£837bn) blast of liquidity for banks under the 'LTRO' scheme - actually just €530bn in fresh money - has averted a collapse of the Latin banking systems and bought another lease of life for monetary union. However, banks parked €827bn back at the ECB for safe-keeping last week. They are still slashing their balance sheets to meet the EU’s ill-timed demand for 9% core Tier I capital ratios by June. What the Draghi Bazooka has done is to slow the pace of deleveraging, not stop it. This comes at a cost of big distortions to the credit system and structural subordination of private creditors.
And here's a comment which probably originated thousands of years ago - If you put all the economists in the world in a line, they still wouldn't reach a conclusion.
You couldn't make it up . . . "One of the world’s most powerful wine dealers has been arrested and charged with creating a counterfeit cellar of fake vintage wines that he tried to sell for tens of thousands of pounds per bottle at auctions in New York and Los Angeles." This guy had been operating for years - despite suspicions - and so must have offloaded a lot of crap wine. Which can only mean either the bottles were just commodities and never opened or these very affluent buyers couldn't tell a premier cru from a bottle of piss. Or both.
I was musing the other day about the (northern) 'short a' and the southern 'long a' in words such as grass and pass. Well, I was re-musing on this theme today and realised there are some words which southerners don't pronounce with a 'long a'. For example, thanks, hand, bank, sand, hat, prat, twat, band and land. In contradistintion to last, past, mast, grass and laugh (larf). In fact, I suspect there are quite a few words which aren't given this southern treatment. So, I will now compile a list and try to figure out whether there's a rule. Or whether this is just another example of the bewildering arbitrariness of British pronunication.
But talking of words, here's a guide to British slang for Americans.
Finally . . . I learned today that Prat was the name of one of the most famous French rugby players of all time. Indeed, my sister attended his funeral only a few months ago. So Camping Prat is named after him. Which allows me to tell you that England beat France today in Paris. And that nothing is as quiet as a French stadium when their team is getting beaten. Especially by their enemies of 900 years. Collectively, they do a great impression of a graveyard.