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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Irony and Retirement

Receiving mailings from finance companies these days could be quite painful if I didn't have a robust sense of humour. Just yesterday I got an update on an endowment policy, with the now familiar warning of a 'high risk of under-performing'. Yes, indeed. If it manages to grow by 4% per year it will end up worth less than two thirds of what I was told it would make when I signed up for it in 1986. Twenty-five years seemed a long way off back then; now it's next April, and my investment needs to grow by over 50% to hit its target. Or I need to snuff it before then.

Today I got an update on a pension scheme from a company I left in 1989. It informs me as to the size of my pension pot, notes that once again I haven't added anything to it in the last 12 months, and cheerfully tells me that when I retire I can expect an income from it of a staggering £1200 a year. Just to add insult to injury, that income will be taxable.

However, that's not the funny part. That goes to the three identical enclosures:

It's these little touches that really show how much you care.

Another Fine Ale

Working my way through the Brakspear Classic English Ale collection I received in my stocking for Xmas, I get to Brakspear's Triple Ale. This is a truly lovely beer, that flows down your throat without a hint of its 7.2% alcohol content. At least, at the time.

Their web site observes that, "this is a beer that will go on to develop further complexity as it matures in its bottle". Alas, that's a development I'm unlikely to ever experience. Fortunately the branch of Threshers in Haxby currently stocks Triple Ale, so I can continue to taste it in its less mature, though still delicious, state.

It's been a good week for beer, following the news that "moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis". Excellent! The word 'moderate' tempers my joy a bit, but in the end that's such a subjective word.

Years ago we were told that every time you drank alcohol you suffered a small but irreversible loss of brain cells. That's now been shown to be untrue. All we need now is the discovery that alcohol consumption aids liver function, and the rehabilitation will be complete.

That's probably pushing it a bit far, but I suppose we might yet hear that beer helps to fight hepatitis, say, and so could be regarded as a net positive for your liver.

Truly, we live in the Golden Age of scientific discovery.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Are Amazon scrumping apples?

Just now I wanted to go to Apple's home page, but I mistyped and asked to go to instead. Imagine my surprise when I was whisked straight to and presented with the results of a search for 'apples'. This surely can't be accidental. Also, surely Apple must have heard about it by now. Maybe they figure they're more likely to get a sale through Amazon than through their own web site. Based on a highly representative sample of one product, Amazon are definitely the cheaper option.

There's a '' as well, which doesn't feature Apple products, and is harder to imagine anyone mistyping, though what the name stands for is beyond me.