DAILY      DRONE

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 THE WORLD’S GREATEST ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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MONDAY 4 MARCH 2024

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Caine’sCorner. American boxing great George Foreman has four sons. They’re all called (you’ve guessed it) George. NMPKT

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¡Que jodida! Back in the sixties the Venezuelan bolivar was as solid as the Swiss franc; now it’s literally worth less than the paper it is printed on. If you had converted $1 million into the currency in 2013 it would be worth just three cents today. Stephen Gibbs says in The Times that people are so fed up with the financial situation they can’t be bothered to keep PIN codes secret: they shout their four digits to staff in bars etc who punch them into card readers themselves. Says Gibbs: ‘When I gave my code at a Caracas deli, the sales assistant said: “That’s the same as mine.”’

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Remember when our favourite Hibernian’s pot pourri of assorted tidbits claimed pride of place on the Mail? End column, right hand page, front of book? Now it’s to be seen languishing away on Page 34 for fuck’s sake. Anyone know what’s going on?

More on the tsunami of toxic shit being written about ‘genocide’ in Gaza. Not just now but over the last 19 years since Israel withdrew from the Strip. In 2005 the population was 1.3 million; now it’s more than two million. The Palestinian population of the West Bank has grown by a million: male life expectancy there is higher than parts of Scotland. If the Israelis are committing genocide, they’re not doing it well.

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Like most of Europe, Sweden allowed its civil defence capability to wither when the Cold War ended. The military reserve force, or home guard,  contained the middle-aged who didn’t take their duties terribly seriously, reports Politico. No now, though. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago 30,000 Swedes have joined up — a 619% increase on an average year. Potential recruits are being turned away.

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WordOfTheWeek. A new series that’s inspirational to the aspirational. Succinct: Expressing what needs to be said without unnecessary words. 

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Aren’t people spiteful and silly? The leader of the western world pauses to give an update on the prospect for a Gaza ceasefire and the gainsayers accuse him of licking a Mr Whippy. Of course not! Biden was, in fact, using the latest state-of-the-art piezoelectric mic, known as ‘a cornet condenser’ in the trade.

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Americans without degrees have ‘staggeringly shorter life spans’ than those who do, says the New York Times. In 2021 a 25-year-old who didn’t go to university could expect to live to around 75 — a decade less than someone with a degree. The gap is more than triple what it was in 1992.


HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short (eat your hearts out, so-called columnists).

China’s anticipated loan of two pandas to San Diego zoo seen as sign of better relations with US.


World’s oldest dog posthumously stripped of title after Guinness World Records could not verify it was 30 at time of death.


Two of the world’s first desktop computer, the Q1,  found during house clearance in London. It means total number of Q1s in existence soars … to three.


Alligator has emergency surgery to remove 70 coins from stomach. Omaha Zoo appeals to visitors not to throw cash into pools.

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OldJokesHome. How do New Zealanders find sheep in long grass? Irresistible.

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WankerOfTheWeek. ‘One friend, a normally sane 55-year-old man, told me he “took two days off work” to recover from One Day’, Hadley Freeman tells the Sunday Times.

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As Chris Buckland, LOTP,  memorably wrote in an intro: ‘The first casualty of war is room service.’ But truth comes a close second. Israel may stand accused of genocide but Douglas Murray argues in The Spectator that it demonstrably isn’t genocide and is ‘not even regionally remarkable’. Truth: Syria’s President Assad has murdered 600,000 Arab Muslims in the last 10 years. Truth: the UN estimates that 337,000 have been killed in Yemen. Why no shrill protests, marches, vigils over these victims?

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Heavy rain over six months has transformed Death Valley, California, usually one of the driest places on earth. A temporary lake has formed in Badwater Basin which is 282ft and, geologically, America’s lowest point. But wetbobs better hurry: Sumer is icumen in/Equinox approcheth/And natur ruleth once agen.

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Caine’sCorner. Britain’s most popular dog is the Goldendoodle. There are 995 wannabe buyers for every puppy. NMPKT.

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StatsLife(ParkingSpecial). A car spends 95% of its life just being parked. West Edmonton mall in Canada has 20,000 parking spots. New York City is currently owed $1 billion in unpaid parking and speeding tickets. 57% of UK drivers’ heart rates rocket as they attempt to parallel park, says Auto Trader. VW’s software company is testing a smart system that uses robots to guide cars to free parking spaces and automatically charge EVs. And a survey in Hersham … (Enough parking crap — Ed)

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LeaveMeghanAlone. A ‘body language expert’ reveals to an incredulous Mirror that Her Radiance’s habit of ostentatiously holding hands with her hunk is indicative of how loved-up the couple are. Their interlocking fingers with the palms pressed together apparently display the deeply intimate nature of their bond. See, I told you Harry was in good hands.

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RuralRides. On Saturday, May 4 there will be a coffee morning at Frame Hampton Church, which will include a sale of second hand jigsaws (proceeds to the Bring Back The Boys campaign). 

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We’ve all done it (actually I haven’t) and now Apple has issued new guidance on what to do if you drop your mobile into water. The time-honoured method of drying your device by putting it into uncooked rice is a now a no-no, don’t you know.  Rice particles could get into the handset and cause lasting damage. Using a hairdryer is also not recommended. Instead, the advice is to tap the phone against your hand with the charging port pointing down and wait 30 minutes. Best of luck with that.

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An American spacecraft has touched down on the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. Houston firm Intuitive Machines successfully landed its Odysseus rover near the lunar south pole and zzzzzz. Sorry— dropped off there. 

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SillyLinkOfTheWeek. Huge Fire Burns Down Sir Alf Ramsey’s Favourite Hotel — Telegraph (Alf died 25 years ago).

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HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short. Thieves in Alabama steal metal radio mast to sell for scrap. Quite a heist: it was 200ft.


Mystery as female stingray becomes pregnant despite there being no males in her North Carolina aquarium.


Apple faces a $539 million fine by the EU over allegations it thwarted music streaming rivals such as Spotify on its platforms.

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Starbucks in China is offering a new drink to mark the Lunar New Year: braised pork latte. It mixes espresso, steamed milk and pork sauce garnished with a slice of pork and (Stop! — Ed)

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My note about the BBC’s eccentric editorial judgment prompts a former back bench grunt to ponder whether the highly paid ‘journalists’ who read the news ever pipe up to protest that a bulletin’s running order is crap. Or whether DG Tim Davie ever delivers a post-match bollocking. He is also editor in chief, after all.

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Following my note about record 840mph tailwinds over the Atlantic, some smart-arse with a physics
O-level texts, cryptically: ’Speed of sound? 767mph? Sound barrier? Don’t apply: the planes were still flying at standard cruising speed relative to the air surrounding them. The clue’s in the word ‘relative’, Einstein.

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Caine’sCorner. Between 2015 and 2019 the residents of Notting Hill made more in capital gains than those in Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne combined. NMPKT.

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At the start of the Gaza war a defence expert warned, presciently: ‘It will get worse before it gets worse.’ He wasn’t wrong. Gaza, itself, seems irredeemable but what of Israel? The country’s GDP contracted 19.4% in the final quarter of 2023; companies lost 300,000 workers conscripted into the military; restrictions on Palestinians entering Israel hit the construction sector. Final stat: consumer spending dropped 27% in Q4; government spending surged 88%.

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WankerOfTheWeek. Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons. 

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Beeb editorial conferences must be strange and baffling. The Six leads on the Clapham attack suspect’s body being found 26 hours earlier.  The heir to the throne making a highly significant statement on Gaza is way down the bulletin. As Nessa might inquire: What’s occurring? 

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Don't want to worry you but in the time it takes you to read this, AI tools, such as ChatGPT, will have completed millions of complex tasks. It’s all right as long as they’re on our side.

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Those Aussies: getting very picky these days. Professional equestrian Shane Rose’s Olympic place is in jeopardy because he wore a mankini at a showjumping event. As if there is anything wrong with a bright orange G-string, made famous by Borat. After all, he was competing in the Wallaby Hill Extravaganza.  

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Huge 265mph tailwinds at cruising altitude have been pushing west-east airliners to record speeds. Three have recently been clocked at more than 800mph. A Virgin Atlantic red-eye from Washington to LHR arrived 45 minutes early and an American Airlines flight reached 840mph travelling from Philadelphia to Qatar. 

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SportsGalore. Rockard Rambleshanks reporting

US National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s basketball icon Caitlin Clark cements status as greatest player of all time by passing previous points record of 3,527. Averages 32 points a game: JuJu Watkins (no relation) second on 27.7.

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Boys R Us rugby shirts sell out at Cotton Traders…and at pop-up shop in Too-Too Taboo nightclub, Little Frame, Wilts.


Saudis, keen to sign anyone with 50,000 Instagram followers, are ready to throw sacks full of Riyals at PSG women’s star Aminata Diallo. Eh? She’s currently awaiting trial in France accused of paying hitman to attack team mate with metal bars. Police say she Googled ‘how to break a kneecap’.

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The Mail reports that Phillip Schofield ‘whiles away his days in the West London enclave of Chiswick’. Enclave eh? Sounds tough: never know who you might bump into.

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O tempora, o mores. National Highways has spent nearly £300 million and 15 years filling out just one planning application, says Hugo Gye in the i. The Lower Thames Crossing, first proposed in 2009, is a 14-mile link between Kent and Essex. The application contains 2,383 documents with 359,866 pages. Laid end to end, they would extend for 66 miles.

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I see Snowflakes R Us have burst through the pain barrier to protest about Israel. A group of Harvard twats staged a hunger strike. It lasted all of 12 hours. As Michael Deacon says in the Telegraph it must be ‘the most pathetic student protest of all time.’

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The Slicker. Business and finance with Fred Needleshanks

Problems with the 737 Max 9 have sent Boeing’s stock freefalling 20%. Airbus, world’s largest commercial plane manufacturer, is up 5%. 


Japan falls behind Germany and is now fourth biggest economy following unexpected slip into recession.


Mexico overtakes China as top exporter to US.


Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon had 24% pay rise in 2023 boosting income to $31 million pa. Ironically, GS profits fell, symmetrically, 24%.

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Record freaks are constantly orgasming over vinyl. But cassettes? Not so much. Yet in Japan the demand for the old tech gear is blossoming. Tower Records, in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district, has expanded its cassette selection sixfold to keep up with demand  while another shop nearby is selling 10 times as many cassette players as in 2017.

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Caine’sCorner. Sideburns were originally called Burnsides after US general and politician Ambrose Burnside. NMPKT.

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WankerOfTheWeek. Amanda Houston. Dim ITV weather presenter who often prefaces her forecasts with the fatuous greeting: ‘I hope you’re all well’. Not sure how that’s received by the 3.5 million people with some form of cancer in the UK.

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As Russia loses more heavy equipment to Ukraine attacks, how long can Putin take it? At least three years, says the International Institute for Strategic Studies, maybe even more. But the long term prospect is distinctly dodgy: the Russian stockpile is increasingly being topped up by refurbished older models rather than factory-fresh new ones.

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What will granny say? John Lewis is selling sex toys — and they’re flying off the shelves. A spike in website searches prompted the retailer to stock vibrators, massage oil and lubricants. A company spokeswoman said the ‘outdated stigma’ around sex toys had been broken. But John Lewis being John Lewis, the toys carry the stern warning: ‘Sexual wellness products can only be returned if unopened and have the original cellophane wrapping intact’.

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A new hotline for aviophobes (that’s anxious fliers to you and me) has been set up by a team of US pilots. Callers to Dial A Pilot get a 15-minute chat with a professional aviator who can answer questions such as the causes of turbulence and why jets are safe to fly even in bad weather. Cost? Sky-high $50.

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The Drone’s so-called columnists’ river of words having again burst its banks, forgive me if I have to resort to a Goss mini-dote (TM) for space’s sake. So … No. 45 (Oh yes, I like that one — Ed) 

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Society news from oe’er  the border, courtesy of the Master of Ballantrae, my resident riever with the chapped thighs and the mock-badger sporran. Swish dinner party hostesses in Glasgow’s poshest postcodes no longer welcome flowers, chocs or wine from their guests. Now it’s de rigueur to bring an upscale haggis as an homage to Scotland’s culinary heritage. Who’d have thought?

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WordOfTheWeek. Decrease. (Verb) To make smaller in size, amount.

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The lads down at the Job Centre in Weybridge, tickled by my cosy euphemisms for being fired, say the new trend on TikTok (where else?) is to film yourself getting the bullet. There have been more than 400 million views of awkward terminal conversations in some Haitch Arr dungeon. One nine-minute defenestration video went viral.  It’s just what companies are desperate to avoid when they’re ‘task-based income displacing’ an employee.

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Just when you thought that nothing — and I mean nothing— could make you exclaim: ‘Fuck a duck!’ news breaks that the latest craze in Japan is the ‘pig cafe’. Eh? Simps, really. For 12 oncers you can spend 30 minutes in a room full of adorable micro-pigs, gushes AP. The tiny trotters at Tokyo’s MiPig Cafe are clean, friendly and quiet although ‘they do snort now and then’. And if you become really attached, you can buy one. How much? £1,050 to you, tanaka-san.

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Concerns about Biden’s fitness for office prompts the usual smart arses to trawl the net for examples of his verbal gaffes. We’ll ignore his introducing his running mate as ‘the next president of the United States, Barack America’. Instead, consider this statement in 2008 on the White House response to the 1929 stock market crash: ‘Franklin Roosevelt got on the television’ and explained what was going on. Ahem. TV didn’t exist; Roosevelt wasn’t president.

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StatsLife. One per cent of the population of China — that’s 15 million people — are spies or informants to the Communist Party. 

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What’s Haitch Arr’s favourite book? Got to be a thesaurus as bosses seek synonyms for ‘You’re fired!’  Sugar’s not-so-sweet valedictory instruction is being replaced by euphemisms such as ‘involuntary career event’ and ‘rightsizing’. Citi in the States has come up with ‘simplified operating model’; UPS said 12,000 layoffs were a corporate attempt ‘to fit our organisation to our strategy’. It’s been called jargon monoxide. 

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I pass on, without comment, the Daily Star’s reaction to news that attacks in the Red Sea could lead to a tea shortage. ‘It’s spoutrageous,’ storms the Lah-di.

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RomancingTheDrone.  

🩷Following my note about a US zoo’s Valentine wheeze where, for a fee, you can name a cockroach or rat after an ex and watch it being fed to a larger animal, Romeo Rambleshanks offers other examples: British metal scrap firm paints offending name on car before crushing it; Philadelphia hotel puts ex’s photo on punchbag; Manhattan pop-up ‘heartbreak bar’ has shredder for ‘mementos from former flames’.

🩷Love-struck Lidl purveys heart-shaped pizzas, ice creams and … chicken nuggets.

🩷Stern-looking US president Warren G. Harding didn’t appear to be a love god but he, too, had his moments. He once penned the poem: I love your poise /Of perfect thighs/When they hold me/In paradise. Ooh-er, missus.

🩷As Eros and St Valentine come together, as it were, let’s recall Alan Coren’s description of the carnal act: A mere sneeze in the loins

🩷Among Country Living’s 51 Romantic Things To Do On Valentine’s Day You’ll Never Forget: Tackle a  jigsaw puzzle together; have a heartfelt conversation; send your partner on a treasure hunt littered with loving gifts; gaze into each other’s eyes and wonder: Is Country Living taking the piss?

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Happy birthday to Edie Ceccarelli, at 116, the oldest person in the States. Locals in Willits, California, put on a parade featuring the fire brigade, the dumpster (sic) lads and, it says here, a trio of moustachioed musicians. Edie’s secret?  ‘A couple of fingers of red wine of an evening and mind your own business.’

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PleaseSayIt’sBollocks. When Paris snapper Augustin Lignier trained two rats to take selfies ‘they didn’t want to stop’, according to The New York Times. He built a box that rewarded the rodents with sugar any time they triggered the camera. Lignier phased out the rewards but even when sugar did appear the rats took no notice and ‘just kept pressing the button’.

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LetterOfTheWeek. Sarah Hurley, of Essex, to The Times.  My son was allowed to keep a badger at Eton. It was a privilege of the Captain of Oppidans so I gave him a cuddly one. 

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StatsLifeAtTheSuperBowl. Some 68 million people bet a record $23.1 billion on the big match. That’s 35% more gamblers than last year wagering an extra $7 billion. TV ads cost $7million for 30 seconds. An estimated 1.5 billion chicken wings were eaten during the game, four for every person in the country. And it was a no-score draw between bone-in and boneless aficionados, says my 49er with the greasy fingers shouting Rah, Rah, Rah.

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Workers have won the legal right to ignore messages from their employers outside official working hours. Australia, which has just passed the legislation, joins countries such as Italy, Portugal and Kenya in enacting ‘right to disconnect’ laws. Unsurprisingly, the French, masters of work-life balance, led the way with similar legislation in 2017.

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Weather alerts really expose the metric maze in which we’re lost.  The Beeb desperately tries to promote cms and metres but, somehow, the latter usually morph into miles. And when did anyone announce a baby’s birth weight in anything but pounds and ounces? Or pop out for a pie and an 0.568 of a litre? But there‘s laziness, too. The Independent (increasingly off the pace these days) allows the following through: ‘Up to 10 inches of snow could fall on higher ground above 300 metres.’ Bollocks, says LP Brevmin.

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JustFancyThat. The Guardian’s Saturday offering includes a mag called … Joints.

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An Aussie model, who boasts she ‘slept with’  300 men last year, says she aims to top 365 in 2024, ignoring the fact it’s leap year. Presumably, she’ll have a nice lie-down on Feb 29.

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LetterOfTheWeek. Lesley Edmunds, of Perth and Kinross, in The Times: I am  5ft 3ins but have no trouble finding clothes: I just buy off the teenage rail — no VAT and great modern choices. Today I am wearing the cast-off jeans of my 14-year-old great-grandson.  I cant wait for him to have another clear-out.

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Four years after Brexit, leaving the EU has made British politics more European, says The Wall Street Journal’s Dominic Green. Recalcitrant pro-EU civil servants have an ‘almost French level of contempt for voters’. And while Continental farmers block roads, our pen-pushers erect legal obstacles and simply say: No, minister. Most withering of all? Tory PMs ‘come and go with almost Italian rapidity.’ He’s right, you know.

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I’ve heard it all now: 80% of Americans aged between 18 and 41 are turning to social media platforms such as TikTok for finance advice, avers The Guardian. And, typically, Gen Z is adopting ‘cute viral terms’ for its new world. ‘Loud budgeting’ is openly sharing money goals and ‘money dysmorphia’ means having a distorted view of your finances. ‘Doom spending’? When the only cure for your big sads is new shoes or an extravagant candle, apparently.

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LeaveMeghanAlone. Presenting the Duchess of Sussex in a more favourable light: My Hollywood snout says Her Radiance is attempting to raise her profile in Tinsel Town … by doing something about her eyebrows. She’s going for a fuller, thicker (sic) look achieved through a technique known as powdering, a form of microblading. Make-up artist Yana Gushchina tells me: ‘Ombre brows with their gradual colour transition and soft powder finish offer a natural and well-defined appearance.’ Move on up, Meghan!

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HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short

McDonald’s sales in Middle East hit by boycott over perceived pro-Israel bias 

Americans waste $397 million in unused gym memberships a year, says survey.

Make Room For The Boys lobbyists besiege Daily Drone HQ in Walton-on-Thames.

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Bit nippy around the nether regions? The UK has got nothing on Russia which is experiencing an unusually cold winter, says Business Insider. And the trouble with -56C in Siberia, say, is that the old Soviet era infrastructure can’t cope. Heating systems are breaking down, pipes are bursting and there have been power cuts. What to do? Well, because of the Ukraine war, public utilities made up just 2.2% of total spending last year compared with 21% for the military. So, don’t hold your (foggy) breath.

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StrangePeopleTheYanks. Nebraska is ditching its controversial, but brutally accurate, slogan after five years. Officials feel that Nebraska, Honestly It’s Not For Everyone actually wasn’t for anyone at all really.

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Drone literary wannabes will be excited to learn that Iceland has one of the largest per capita publishing industries in the world. Ten per cent of Icelanders publish a book in their lifetime. In the US, it’s one in 5,000. The average Icelander reads at least two books a month and a blockbuster can sell 14,000 copies equivalent to 4% of the 375,000 population. Apparently, it’s all because of an ancient storytelling tradition and what else is there to do on those 21-hour winter nights? (Stop sniggering at the back!)

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Climate boffins are gearing up to reclassify hurricanes, says Iris our weather girl (Girl? — Ed). A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists argues that hurricanes are growing so powerful that the top limit Category 5 wind scale is out of date. Instead, a new Category 6, where sustained winds are of at least 192 mph, is proposed. Five storms have already exceeded the hypothetical Cat 6. Ominously, all in the past 10 years.

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So the self-proclaimed ‘world’s coolest dictator’ has won a landslide election to sweep back to power. El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, 42, isn’t cool on crime though. He has conducted a brutal and draconian crackdown on violent gangs. At least 70,000 people (about 1% of the population) have been locked up under a state of emergency that doesn’t bother with trivia such as due process. Result: homicides dropped almost 70% last year. The economy ain’t doing so well but, hey, who’s counting?

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Caine’sCorner. An obit of Ian Lavender, aka Private ‘Stupid Boy’ Pike, who has just died, reveals that Arthur Lowe (Captain Mainwaring) had a clause in his contract that he wouldn’t be asked to remove his trousers during filming. NMPKT.

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To Condé Nast headquarters in Mayfair where Vogue and GQ were holding the ultimate leaving ‘do’: they were literally vacating the building. A Claridge’s trolley turned up laden with burgers and champagne and on the second floor an ‘old school’ bash took place: tables were danced upon, bums were photo copied. One reveller’s review: ‘Like a Bridget Jones party. But cooler.’

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Dai Watkins, JPR, Barry: rugby (not just Welsh rugby) has lost three genuine legends in less than six months. Time to reflect. Well done, then, to former front row grunt Boris Johnson for championing the sport in his Mail column and warning against the dewy-eyed effetes’ cringeworthy crusade to reduce body contact and to water down the genuinely ‘beautiful game’.

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A dried-out lemon thought to be 285 years old has been sold at auction for £1,400. It was found at the back of a drawer in a 19th century Chinese chest and bore an inscription saying it was ‘given by Mr P. Lu Franchini Nov 4 1739 to Miss E. Baxter’. And how did the Chinese chest fare in the Shropshire sale? To you, guv: 32 nicker.

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The tallest building in America (fifth in the world) is being planned for, of all places, Oklahoma City, says Drone architecture expert Rotunda Rambleshanks. The tower will be 1,907ft (a nod to the year Oklahoma was admitted to the Union). It will have 1,776 residential units, two hotels plus a restaurant and bar. Sales clincher, as the realtors say, is that it will be just 15 minutes from America’s only skeleton museum.

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A reader writes: Isn’t it irritating when some telly babe prefaces breaking news with the deathless phrase ‘in the past few minutes’? Especially when they’re telling you something you read on your mobile half an hour before. Granted, it’s their equivalent of our ‘late last night’ but I wish they’d stop it. In the next few minutes. 

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LeaveMeghanAlone (A new thread) The Goss, alone among the world’s media, does not dump all over the Duchess of Sussex. She’s a beautiful, talented and accomplished wife and mother who’s just made a bad marriage, that’s all.  Perspective: the most watched telly show in the US last year (57.7 billion total minutes viewed) was law drama Suits starring Meghan. All those people can’t be wrong.

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TheSlickerExtra with Fred Needleshanks. That little ‘ol website Mark Zuckerberg started at uni is 20 years old. And what a birthday present: Meta stock has just soared 20% to a record $474.99, adding $197 billion to the company’s valuation. That’s now $1.22 trillion, by the way. It’s the most market value any US company has ever gained in a single day, according to Bloomberg. For Zuckerberg it added $28.1 billion to his net worth.

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SportSpot. Rockard Rambleshanks, our man on the ball

BBC’s Dan Roan describes Jurgen Klopps’s decision to leave Liverpool as ‘seismic’. Typical of Beeb to underplay good story.


Nearly half of players featured in new Netflix series, Six Nations, missed first round because of injury or retirement.


Amateur golfer, 77, hits two holes-in-one in single round in Arizona. Odds of doing so: 67 million to one.


Make Room For The Boys adopted as new anthem by England rugby supporters, replacing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

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WaDiddums then. Italy’s star winger Ange Capuozzo had to miss the defeat against England because he had ‘a poorly tummy’, says ITV Six Nations rugby commentator Nick Mullins. Wonder what the Viet Gwent would have made of that.

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PleaseSayIt’sBollocks. A pigeon detained by Indian police on suspicion of being a Chinese spy has been freed. The bird was captured in Mumbai in May carrying a message in Chinese. It transpires, though, that it was just a racing pigeon from Taiwan.

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Never say we don’t keep you in the know. Syphilis rates in the US are up almost 80% since 2018, continuing a long-running trend across every age group. Cases of congenital syphilis, when mothers pass an infection to the foetus, have soared an astonishing 937% in the past decade. Decrease in condom use and fewer clinics are blamed. Now for the better news: gonorrhoea cases fell 9% in 2022.

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Warnings of the imminence of spring ‘migratory crossings’, when common toads recklessly risk busy thoroughfares to return to ancestral breeding grounds, prompts Drone Chief Sub LP Brevmin to wake up and reminisce. He recalls Les Diver, LOTP, handing out a short containing this info to new subs as a sort of test. They were definitely marked down if they didn’t put up the line: Major Toad Ahead. (I think Denis Edensor claimed the credit for that — Ed)

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Our old pals (Eh? — Ed) at Reach have a huge picture archive which all titles can access. Snaps are tagged with appropriate keywords. According to Popbitch, among the millions of images there’s one of Fred West bollock naked lying on a sun lounger, todger prominent. Keywords for this photo: Criminal? Murderer? Serial killer? No. Try Relaxing, Sun lounger, Smiling. 

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As two geriatrics prepare to fight the presidential election, it’s worth noting that Bill Clinton, inaugurated 31 years ago, is, at 77, still more youthful than Trump (a slightly older 77) and Biden (81)..

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Caine’sCorner. Laid end to end, Britain’s hedges would go around the world 10 times, the BBC reckons. NMPKT.

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The Slicker. Business&Finance. Fred Needleshanks reports: Hong Kong court orders liquidation of Evergrande, once China’s largest real estate firms,  because it accumulated $300 billion debt.


Meta spent $6.6 million on personal flights for Mark Zuckerberg and former COO Sheryl Sandberg in ‘22 - up 55% from before epidemic.


Spurs’ billionaire owner Joe Lewis used to reverse charges when he phoned brokers to place a trade.


Paramount for sale latest: media mogul Byron Allen makes $14 billion bid.


DroneMart shares hit as Country Boys ‘lebensraum’ controversy grows.

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StrangePeopleTheYanks. Every year in Minnesota people vote on what to call the state’s snowploughs. Winners this year, says AP, include Beyonsleigh, Taylor Drift, Dolly Plowton and Fast and Flurrious. Previous victors? Blizzard of Oz, Scoop Dogg, Hans Snolo and F. Salt Fitzgerald. As I said, Strange People etc.

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Shell companies? Fantastical dodgy outfits, don’t you think, cautions Fred Needleshanks, Drone finance guru.  There are 22,000 corporate entities with a registered address at the Pyramids. Thousands have directors aged under five and 2,200 who are over 123. One listed director is said to be 942. And there’s one Chinese manufacturer which reported $2 billion in revenue despite having only one employee. See what we mean?


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Say it ain’t so, Joe. Biden’s said to be languishing on a low approval rating of just 37%. Dead in the water, eh? Hang on, though. The leaders of Britain, Germany, France and Japan all have ratings below 30%. Just one developed country, Italy, has a premier who has gained popularity in the 2020s (and she’s a rather tasty blonde, confides our ever so sexist political corr). Contrast with the developing world: leaders in the 10 largest countries enjoy ratings of 50% plus.

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InTheCourts. A sperm donor who worked as a police-themed stripper called Sergeant Eros has been convicted at Aberdeen Sheriff Court of committing various sexual offences during his show. Stuart Kennedy, 40, had previously been accused of  fitting a flashing light to his car.

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Caine’sCorner. The first luxury item selected  by actress Sally Ann Howes on Desert Island Discs in 1951 was garlic. NPKT.

*****

Why is South Africa, of all places, so active in pursuing its genocide case against Israel, asks Drone Galactic International Global Editor Rover Rambleshanks. Could it be that Iran has been bunging the country’s ruling ANC large wedges of spondoolicks? Certainly SA’s financial probs seem to have eased since ministers went arse licking (Surely, you mean ‘fostering diplomatic relations’ — Ed) to the Islamic Republic.

*****

OffStone. Media matters that matter (subbed short, natch)

Country stars Eric Church and Morgan Wallen buy Field and Stream in States. Plan to relaunch print version of 129-year-old mag taken online in 2021.


NCTJ asking hacks  to complete 25-minute Journalists at Work survey on its website. 


More than 400 Conde Nast staff stage walkout to protest against media giant’s plan to cut 5% of workforce.

*****

Newspapers report surge in readers’ letters demanding Drone columnists give space for recall of Country Boys.Stunned drinkers have been barred from a bar to make way for a Mafia-style family booze-up. The Royal George in Hersham,  Surrey, is closing on February 1 for the birthday bash. An insider said: ‘It’s all a bit hush hush. All we know is that an extended clan or family has hired the pub. We don’t know if it’s pikeys or Mafiosi types. They’re pushing the boat out, though. They’ve ordered Mediterranean tarts, extra dirty fries and halloumi sticks plus unlimited rich and fruity Marcel Hubert.’ A pub regular said: ‘Fuck it. We’ll go to the Bricklayers instead.’ (Flood the bar! — Ed)

*****

Ian Park, who has just died at 88, was a legend in regional newspapers. When he was hired to transform Northcliffe he wasn’t averse to spending Rothermere’s cash. A local editor, nervous about laying out a few thousand on a survey to back a campaign about the noisy surface of a new road (some of it was eventually relaid) sought counsel. ‘Don’t worry, old boy,’ said Park, ‘it’s little more than the cost of a good lunch in London.’

*****

The new year has hardly started and it looks like we already have ‘2024’s biggest game’, the Guardian announces breathlessly. Palworld, called ‘Pokemon with guns’, sold five million copies in its first three days. Players must survive by farming, cooking, building shelters and fighting various enemy factions. Groan.

*****

Curious revelation by The Traitors champ Harry Clark. The Army engineer was excited to fly in a helicopter during the ‘final mission’. He said that despite servicing choppers in the forces, he’d never actually been up in one.

*****

Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen: it all feels a bit pre-war, say those who remember. Sabres are being rattled, armchair warriors are on manoeuvres. Boris in his Mail column discusses the call by General Sir Peter Sanders, Chief of the Defence Staff, for a Citizen Army and ponders whether Gen Z would volunteer for the colours. Squad, S-l-o-w march! Perhaps take a cautious warning from  Einstein: ‘I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.’

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short

Woman arrested in Pattaya, Thailand, for taking pet lion for a ride through resort’s busy streets in open-top Bentley.

Ukraine-born Caroline Shiino crowned Miss Japan, sparking debate over what it means to be Japanese.

Inaugural Bring Back The Boys action group meeting held in Frame Hampton Village Hall, Wilts.

*****

Goss groupies query why we refer to the Leader of the Opposition as Sir Sir Keir Starmer. Simple really. It emphasises the enoblement we suspect he rather regrets accepting the year before he became an MP.  Doesn’t really fit the horny-handed, class warrior image he affects, you see. Thanks to the Mail’s Quentin Letts for mentioning that not only does the Speaker, a Labour MP remember, refrain from acknowledging the KCB but it has been excised from Hansard as well. Aren’t they a bunch? 

*****

It’s not April 1 (I checked, plus this is in The Times) but a team of engineers is said to be combating shrinking sea ice by trying to refreeze the Arctic. By pouring water over the existing ice. To make it ‘thicker and long-lasting’. This Fantasy Island scenario is being enacted in Cambridge Bay in far north Canada. The boffins will also test other protection techniques including sprinkling ice with glass powder to reflect the sun. (Bollocks! Could you pop in when the edition’s gone? — Ed)

*****

Trust fucking TikTok. Apparently, the latest fashion trend on the social media platform is Mob Wife Aesthetic, says Cosmo. Twenty-five years after The Sopranos first aired, fur coats, red lippy, ‘gold’ jewellery and gigantic sunglasses are back. As are designer bags and bible black clothes (leather preferred). Still not sure? If you look as if you’re going to a funeral, you’ve got it right.

*****

All this talk about a (probably reluctant) Citizen Army prompts The Goss’s resident Stupid Boy to contrast the current mood with 1940. Within 24 hours of War Secretary Anthony Eden calling for recruits in May of that year, 250,000 men had enlisted. Two months later that had soared to 1,400,000. Eat your heart out, Shapps.*****
So, farewell, Ron DeSantis. The Goss has always been sceptical about his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination. Potential voters soon realised that he is a ‘black hole of charisma’, says my tame psephologist on Capitol Hill. Main reason for his spectacular plunge? Electile dysfunction, says my man.

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short.

Saudi Arabia, which banned booze in 1952, opens first liquor store. Only non-Muslim diplomats over 21 may shop there. 


St Bride’s, Fleet Street, celebrates 1,500 anniversary of patron saint, St Brigid of Kildare with a service on February 4. Choir, orchestra, Haydn’s Great Organ Mass, fizz and nibbles promised.


AI and journalism, re-setting police and media relations and engaging new audiences in politics are key subjects to be discussed at Society of Editors’ 25th conference in London on April 30.

*****

My note about Nathaniel Fiennes being one of the first to enter Belsen, prompts a reminiscence which has a vivid, poignant resonance today. When Brinnlitz labour camp, in what was then Czechoslovakia, was liberated German guards had fled. Bizarrely, a lone Russian officer rode through the gates on a horse. ‘It’s over,’ he announced. ‘You’re free! You can go now.’ The leader of the prisoners, mostly Jewish, turned to him and said: ‘Go? Where do we go?’ 

*****

The Goss is very partial to clairvoyants (qf Bernard Shrimsley and the lady astrologer) so much excitement over a story about newspapers’ predictions in 1924 of what the world would be like 100 years later. Amazingly, many of the prognostications were uncannily accurate. One, sadly, was not: ‘In 2024 the most important single thing which the cinema will have helped to accomplish will be eliminating from the face of the civilised world all armed conflict.’

*****

PseudOfTheWeek. Stephen Dunk, of Dorchester, in a letter to the Telegraph: I disagree that Cinzano is the best Rosso vermouth. I drink a small negroni each night and it’s the vermouth that makes the difference. My every day vermouth is Martini Rosso but at weekends I upgrade to either Cocchi or, for special occasions, Punt e Mes, which is just too delicious — hence being limited to weekends.

*****

Ah, brave new world. A Chinese company has invented an airbag which can be worn by humans (especially elderly ones). The garment, which looks a bit like a bulletproof vest, has sensors to predict whether a sudden movement is going to end in a fall. The airbags are deplored before you hit the deck. 

*****

To PMQs. Another sycophantic nodfest on the Opposition front bench. After Pixie’s bravura performance last week, Rachel Reeves returned from Davos to reclaim her crown. I can’t pretend to have caught every gesture of assent but I reckon the doe-eyed Shadow Chancellor topped 70 nods during Sir Sir Keir’s questions. What a sense of humour, too: she laughed gaily at practically everything her leader said. (But don’t we all? — Ed)

*****

Nice work etc: Jose Mourinho, just relieved of his post as gaffer of Roma, leaves with a £3 million payoff. Chickenfeed by his standards. But it does bring to £80 million the total amount he has received for being sacked in his ‘career’.

*****

A single 24 cent stamp has just sold for more than $2 million, my New York Times tells me. The ‘Inverted Jenny’, which depicts a biplane called the CurtissJN, was issued by the US Post Office in 1918. A hawk-eyed clerk spotted that one batch was accidentally printed with the picture upside down and bought the only 100 released publicly for $24. He later sold them for $15,000. Since then single stamps have been attracting crazy prices.

*****

LetterOfTheWeek. Patricia Banton, of Staffs, to the Telegraph. When a much-loved auntie passed away, my cousins asked what I would like from her estate. I requested something personal to remind me of her. They sent me two sets of false teeth. 

*****

The latest blurb for one of the Drone’s so-called columnists promises ‘another long rant’. Surely not, protest those who still bemoan the axing of Country Boys to make room for this incontinence.

*****

Like many who had an ‘interesting war’, Nathaniel Fiennes aka Lord Saye and Sele, who has just died at 103, was reluctant to talk about his experiences. Except one incident right at the end of the conflict when, as an infantry captain, he was one of the first to enter Bergen-Belsen: ‘All I have to say is that if anyone denies the Holocaust, I’m very glad to stand up and tell them that I saw Belsen.’

*****

It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. Salute the Government Wine Committee tasked with maintaining Britain’s ‘strategic wine reserves’, superior plonk served to high-profile guests. The 32,310-bottle cellar beneath Lancaster House was enhanced in the war when the German Embassy stock was ‘requisitioned’ but now current buyers, a retired diplomat and four masters of wine, have helped build up a stock worth £3.66 million from a spend of just £804,312. It includes a 1964 Krug Vintage Brut at £9,038 and a ‘61 Chateau Latour at £2,947.

*****

StatsLife. The Army has shrunk by 40% since 2010. The 70,000 soldiers left could all get into Old Trafford with room to spare.

*****

WankerOfTheWeek. The pink-trousered H&M ad genius who thought it would be a good idea to portray two little girls in pinafore dresses accompanied by the line: ‘Make those heads turn’.

*****

TellyTalk. Rapscallion Rambleshanks tunes in. Grateful to the Telegraph’s Tim Stanley for updating me on the new Love Island. A lady contestant explained how she had ‘evolved’ since the last show and was wiser and more confident. ‘I was a completely different person then,’ she said, ‘and now I’ve even got new tits.’

*****

Attempts to control the Great Pacific Garbage Patch may be misguided, says New Scientist. What? Never heard of it (the patch not the mag)? It’s a 79,000-tonne clump of plastic twice the size of Texas floating in the North Pacific. But moves to clean it up have been poo-pooed because only an estimated 1% of plastic rubbish dumped in the sea ends in patches and the GPGP is actually teeming with aquatic life so is best left alone. By the way, another name for this phenomenon is the Pacific Trash Vortex (takes you back eh, Dick).

*****

Not for the faint-hearted, the 87th annual Hahnenkamm ski fest in Austria is about  captivate and cripple. It includes the most dangerous downhill course in the world: in 2016 the event had to be cancelled after 30 competitors crashed there. Then there’s a section with an 85% gradient (75mph!) and a jump which sends skiers 260ft through the air. Some 45,000 will gather to watch the final stretch, a jump at 90mph. Yikes!

*****

Don’t want to worry you but mental health problems have rocketed in many rich countries, particularly during the pandemic, says The Economist. Britain? The numbers are ‘startling’. No European country has seen a larger rise in antidepressant use over the last decade. The number of Britons using mental health services in 2021-22 was 4.5 million, an increase of almost a million in five years. People out of work because of mental health issues rose by a third between 2019 and 2023.

*****

Henry Kissinger’s death created ‘the world’s most exclusive job vacancy’, says Adrian Wooldridge in Bloomberg. Who shall replace him as global wise man and all-purpose political consultant? Not Clinton or Obama, he says. Merkel? No way. OK, what about the man who said: ‘There’s no one like Henry Kissinger’? Maybe there is. Step forward, Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair. (Surely, you’re having a giraffe — Ed).

*****

Forget dry January, Brits’ reputation for enjoying the odd noggin is being soberly reappraised. Back in 1770 at the height of the gin craze immortalised  by Hogarth’s illustrations, the English each averaged 20 bottles of gin…a year, says The Spectator’s Henry Jeffrys. Now we seem to be losing our taste for alcohol. A third of pub visits are now booze-free and a quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds are teetotal.

*****

Electric vehicles? Mmm. Not going all that well is it? Ford is cutting production of its F-150 Lightning truck while Hertz is selling 20,000 of its 50,000 EVs … and will use some of the cash to buy old fashioned fuel-powered cars. The rental company says demand for electric vehicles has declined and that they are more costly to fettle. In addition, recent polar temps in the US have revealed that actually charging them in cold weather can be difficult.

*****

LetterOfTheWeek. David Nelson, of West Sussex, to the Telegraph: A recent edition of Radio 4’s Clare in the Community used the Macarena as a tried and tested song to sing while attempting CPR. I’m told the best song is Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust.

*****

SportsDay. Rockard Rambleshanks, our man with the pregnancy testing kit.

Following my report that Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill had fathered three children by different mothers, that’s child’s play. Teammate Xavier Howard currently has four women pregnant.


It’s not a race, lads! SportsDay’s São Paulo corr writes: Brazil legend Roberto Carlos has 11 children by seven mums.


Troy Deeney, sacked after 29 chaotic days as manager of Forest Green Rovers, spectacularly ‘lost the dressing room’. After one defeat he told his players he’d rather watch Antiques Roadshow.

*****

OffStone. Press stuff subbed short

Telegraph Ed Chris Evans is new head of press watchdog’s Editor’s Code Committee. Succeeds Neil Benson, former Trinity Mirror boss.


Deputy Ed sought for Harrogate digital news platform The Stray Ferret


Reach journo Hannah Hiles quits regional daily, The Sentinel at Stoke-on-Trent, for PR because she’s fed up with WFH. Misses ‘sheer fun’ of newsroom.

*****

Dry January zealots have been spluttering on their low alcohol tinctures. And who shall blame them? For heartless supermarkets have been cashing in on their post Christmas sacrifice. The Grocer mag says the average cost of nine popular alcohol free brands, including Birra Moretti Zero and Guinness 0.0, is up 22.3% since the start of December. There’s a surprise.

*****

Whatever happens in Gaza, you get the feeling that it won’t have been helped by Netanyahu. Biden is becoming ‘increasingly frustrated’ by him, says Axios. The two consulted regularly after the October 7 outrage but haven’t spoken since a tense phone call on December 23. POTUS is irritated by Israel’s refusal to release Palestinian tax revenues it holds and its ‘unwillingness to seriously discuss plans for the day after the war.’ A West Winger sighs: ‘The situation sucks: the president’s patience is running out.’

*****

More news from the mad world of telly: Props used in Succession have raised $627,00 at auction. The 236 lots included a dog costume worn by ‘Cousin Greg’ ($7,812), Shiv’s Burberry bag, mocked as ‘ludicrously capacious’ by Tom Wambsgans ($18,750) and four pink cue cards Roman Roy used for his ill-fated eulogy at his dad’s funeral ($25,000).

*****

Caine’sCorner. Britain’s gas network relies on aircraft engines stripped from Cold War fighter jets, reveals the Telegraph. The switch to North Sea gas in the 60s and 70s coincided with decommissioning of the RAF Lightning fleet. Engineers repurposed their Rolls Royce engines to pump gas. NMPKT

*****

Nigel Farage refers in his GBN show to the King’s ‘prostrate’. Are we expected to take this lying down?

*****

The list of ‘Asia’s most eligible bachelors’ has just got shorter after Brunei’s dishy Prince Abdul Mateen married Yang Mulia Anisha Rosnah, 29, in a ceremony which lasted 10 days, says BBC News. The Prince, 32, is the 10th child of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, whose $30 billion net worth makes him one of the world’s richest monarchs. The nuptials have not garnered universal acclaim. Many of Abdul’s 2.5 million Instagram followers are a bit down, to be honest. As one wrote: ‘2024 starts with heartbreak.’

*****

Justice delayed, justice denied? If you think we’ve a problem here, spare a thought for India. The country's ‘staggeringly overburdened’ judiciary has 50 million criminal and civil cases pending, says The New York Times. ‘At the current rate, it will take 300 years to clear the backlog.’

*****

As the world reels at the ‘diagnosis’ that Strictly’s Amanda Abbington has PTSD caused by rehearsing with a taskmaster pro dancer, former bomber pilot Flight Lt Rusty Waughman, DFC, AFC, dies. To his last days memories of his wartime raids still haunted him: ‘It does affect me a little bit,’ he admitted. ‘When I go to bed and turn the lights off I can still see the flak bursting.’ Rusty was 100.

*****

Do you want the good news or the bad news? OK. If the world’s tycoons continue to grow richer the world will see its first trillionaire in the next 10 years, says Oxfam. Meanwhile, five billion people will become poorer over the same period.

*****

LetterOfTheWeek. From Allan Green, of Gerrards Cross, to The Times. To many, JPR Williams was a great rugby player but to me he was a life saver. I saw him at St Mary’s Hospital in 1986 when I’d been written off by other doctors. I had been given eight months to live when he found bone cancer in my foot. I had an amputation and am still here to tell the tale. Thanks, JPR. Rest in peace.

*****

The Slicker. Finance&Business with Fred Needleshanks 

Greenland start-up is shipping Arctic ice to the United Arab Emirates to go in high-price cocktails in exclusive bars.

Bet365 boss Denise Coates, who earned £300 million last year, now one of world’s best-paid execs. She, father Peter and brother John coughed up £460 million in tax.

Half way through the first month of the year and 46 US tech companies have already laid off 7,500 workers.


JP Morgan Chase had its most profitable year ever in 2023. Its $49.6 billion was a 32% jump on 2022 which topped its previous record in ‘21

*****

Last year’s fashion whizz was ‘grandmacore’ (nope, etc) which highlighted ‘cardigan-and-tweed-centric’ clobber, my Times informs me. Now, inevitably, there is to be an homage to older men featuring braces, ancient-looking brogues and cardigans. Apparently, the secret is to ‘eschew anything that looks to be watermarked post 1953’. It’s all bollocks, isn’t it?

*****

WFH chancers are starting to feel a backlash, my Haitch Arr snout informs me. Bosses are rewarding staff who turn up for work and penalising those who demur. One analysis reveals that fully remote workers were promoted 31% less frequently than their ‘in person’ peers. A survey by KPMG of 400 CEOs said they’d be more likely to give the latter salary increases, promotions or better assignments.

*****

The furore over US defence Secretary Lloyd Austin being stuck in hospital for a week without telling Joe Biden highlights the close links which should exist between presidential underlings and the boss, says Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal. LBJ, for instance, ‘did not believe in the concept of personal time.’  When an aide, Billy Lee Brammer, published a novel, Johnson furiously demanded: ‘When did you write it?’ ‘At nights, Mr President.’ ‘You should have  been answering my mail.’ The two never spoke again.

*****

The Current Bun has backed the winner of every UK election in half a century. So why does it appear so negative about Sir Sir Keir and Co? Is it just partisan allegiance to the Tories? No, says Stephen Daisley in The Spectator. But, considering the Conservatives haven’t led a poll in two years, the Sun’s ‘relentless hostility’ to Labour makes no sense. Unless Murdoch, who has an undeniable feel for the public’s true mood, doesn’t believe Sir Sir Keir is a winner.

*****

Caine’sCorner. Dorothy Parker’s big break on Vanity Fair came when she stood in for someone called P.G. Wodehouse who was on hols. NMPKT.

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short.

Reprobate robs store in Lincoln, Nebraska, dressed only in a shower curtain. Police say he needs to pull himself together.


Lost cities, buried for thousands of years, discovered in Amazon. Evidence of complicated urban societies, network of roads and canals.


Boffins at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens discovered 74 new plants and 15 new fungi throughout the world last year.

*****

Last year’s fashion whizz was ‘grandmacore’ (nope, etc) which highlighted ‘cardigan-and-tweed-centric’ clobber, my Times informs me. Now, inevitably, there is to be an homage to older men featuring braces, ancient-looking brogues and cardigans. Apparently, the secret is to ‘eschew anything that looks to be watermarked post 1953’. It’s all bollocks, isn’t it?

*****

WFH chancers are starting to feel a backlash, my Haitch Arr snout informs me. Bosses are rewarding staff who turn up for work and penalising those who demur. One analysis reveals that fully remote workers were promoted 31% less frequently than their ‘in person’ peers. A survey by KPMG of 400 CEOs said they’d be more likely to give the latter salary increases, promotions or better assignments.

*****

The furore over US defence Secretary Lloyd Austin being stuck in hospital for a week without telling Joe Biden highlights the close links which should exist between presidential underlings and the boss, says Tevi Troy in The Wall Street Journal. LBJ, for instance, ‘did not believe in the concept of personal time.’  When an aide, Billy Lee Brammer, published a novel, Johnson furiously demanded: ‘When did you write it?’ ‘At nights, Mr President.’ ‘You should have  been answering my mail.’ The two never spoke again.

*****

The Current Bun has backed the winner of every UK election in half a century. So why does it appear so negative about Sir Sir Keir and Co? Is it just partisan allegiance to the Tories? No, says Stephen Daisley in The Spectator. But, considering the Conservatives haven’t led a poll in two years, the Sun’s ‘relentless hostility’ to Labour makes no sense. Unless Murdoch, who has an undeniable feel for the public’s true mood, doesn’t believe Sir Sir Keir is a winner.

*****

Caine’sCorner. Dorothy Parker’s big break on Vanity Fair came when she stood in for someone called P.G. Wodehouse who was on hols. NMPKT.

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short.

Reprobate robs store in Lincoln, Nebraska, dressed only in a shower curtain. Police say he needs to pull himself together.


Lost cities, buried for thousands of years, discovered in Amazon. Evidence of complicated urban societies, network of roads and canals.


Boffins at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens discovered 74 new plants and 15 new fungi throughout the world last year.

*****

Tracey, 58, a clairvoyant, is surprised when she is ‘murdered’ on BBC 1’s The Traitors. Why does that remind me of a distinguished journalist, LOTP, and a short-sighted lady astrologer? 

*****

Far be it from me to cast nasturtiums in the direction of the matriarch of the Democratic Party. But isn’t it amazing that Nancy Pelosi’s investment portfolio gained 65% last year? That’s more than double Standard and Poor’s 500 rise of 24% and better than most hedge funds. Could she, perhaps, have knowledge that other investors don’t? As the New York Post comments, efforts to limit congressional trading have been repeatedly voted down by the very lawmakers who stand to gain.

*****

Post Office enforcer (sorry, Security Manager) Stephen Bradshaw gives evidence at the Horizon inquiry, clad in a black shirt (sic). Of course, he denies ‘Mafia gangster-style threats’ and hounding hapless sub postmasters and mistresses. Isn’t it reassuring that he was giving evidence under oath?

*****

SportToday with Rockard (ahem) Rambleshanks

Well-hung goalkeeper Pegguy Arphexad (crazy name, crazy guy etc), who won six medals for Liverpool over three seasons as an unused sub, denies he’s now a porn star. 


Tiger Woods ends 27-year partnership with Nike which has earned him a total of $500 million. 


American sport expensive? You betcha. Average price for college National Championship game: $2,845; cheapest seat: $1,302.

*****

Big breakthrough for electric vehicles: they could soon be charged on the move. Detroit is opening America’s first electrified road, a quarter-mile section that can transfer power through a magnetic field while remaining safe for people to walk on. Tests are also slated for several cities in Europe, China and Israel.

*****

More on John Mortimer whose most famous character, Rumpole of the Bailey, was sometimes reduced to drinking a dubious red called Chateau Fleet Street. Mortimer was once subject to one of those tedious inquisitions designed to finding out how much you drink —and stopping it. He famously replied: ‘I can’t think what I would want to give up which would enable me to spend an extra six months in a wipedown chair in a care home.’

*****

The US is experiencing something of a ‘peace wave’. Last year saw one of the lowest rates of violent crime in 50 years. The murder rate fell at an ‘astonishing rate’, says The Atlantic: plummeting  by 13% across 175 cities. That follows a 6% drop in 2022. In fact, all crime is down — except car thefts. And that’s due to some TikTok smart arses showing how easy it is to break into Kias and Hyundais.

*****

Caine’sCorner. Ian Fleming originally intended to call James Bond James Secretan, says The Times Literary Supplement. NMPKT.

*****

Mention of the irascible lawyer and Express opera critic David Fingleton reminds a correspondent that he shared chambers with John Mortimer, QC, barrister/writer/father of luscious actress. Fingleton was notorious for smoking noxious cheroots and became, in part at least, the inspiration for Mortimer’s finest creation, Rumpole of the Bailey.

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short

Pope demands global halt to ‘despicable’ gestational surrogacy.

‘Loose glitter’ will be outlawed in EU under European Zero Pollution action plan drive against shiny microplastics.

Centuries-old dog meat trade to be ended in South Korea. Boshintang, or dog stew, once considered delicacy, now off menu.

*****
To PMQs. Another pathetic performance by class warrior, fearless prosecutor, man who rose without trace Sir Sir Keir Starmer. There really is less to him than meets the eye you know.  It’s toe-curling to watch him vainly attempt to appear a nimble, light-on-the feet statesman as he basks in the simpering adoration of his shadow chancellor. Perhaps he should try to emulate the SNP’s Stephen Flynn, already a more incisive and impressive figure.

*****

We’ve heard a lot about computer fuck-ups just lately and every site seems to be ‘fixing bugs’ round the clock. But why bugs? Apparently, it goes back to Harvard University in 1947. Programming pioneer Grace Hopper and her team found an actual moth inside the Harvard Mark II computer which was causing havoc. It was removed and stuck in a logbook labelled ‘first actual case of bug being found’.

*****

I keep reading that Germany’s in the scheisse and that Emmanuel Macron is the coming boy in Europe. May I demur? For the first time, the majority of French people don’t think Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally party is a danger to democracy. In 2002 70% thought it was. More believe it’s capable of governing (43%) than don’t (39%) and 51% see it as the main opposition to Macron. That’s Trouble with a capital T for him.

*****

Caine’sCorner. Amazingly, 15% of daily searches on Google have never been googled before, says The Atlantic. NMPKT.

*****

Amusing anecdotes in The Times about people falling asleep during theatricals prompts my Secret Snout (She Who Must Not Be Named) to recall Express opera critic David Fingleton napping through a performance at the Colly. His rival scribes were outraged and the theatre management even complained to the paper. Barrister Fingleton’s defence, that snores were actually a valid critical response, got him off the hook.

*****

To the Golden Globes (sorry for tardy report but if you’d been there you’d understand).

Winners and presenters once again received ridiculous goody bags worth up to $500,000 (yes, $500,000!). The gifts included a five-day luxury yacht charter in Indonesia, emerald earrings worth $69,000 and six bottles of Liber Pater Bordeaux, the most expensive wine in the world at $193,500. Luvvies? Don’t you just love ‘em?

*****

LetterOfTheWeek. Vivian Kelly of Llantwit Major,  Glamorgan, to The Times: A few years ago Mr Bates vs the Post Office would have been on the BBC.

*****

WankerOfTheWeek. Strictly snowflake Amanda Abbington, said to have been diagnosed with PTSD because of the stress of dancing with Giovanni Pernice. In other news: more children die in Gaza.

*****

As Japan’s birth rate declines for the seventh successive year, it is revealed that a record 34.1% of adults between 20 and 49 have never been in a romantic relationship and 25% never intend to marry. Now the government, fearing chronic labour shortages, is trying to incentivise childbirth and rearing through grants and subsidies.

*****

Must confess I’m a little surprised to learn that the UK is one of the least racist countries in the world. Research in 24 countries by King’s College, London, revealed that just 2% of Brits feel uncomfortable living next door to someone of a different race. Only Brazil and Sweden were lower.

*****

HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short.

Woman’s entire drive stolen in bizarre Florida scam. Pavement artists sought.


Germany had lowest emissions in 70 years in 2023 after reducing reliance on coal.


Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, installs suicide net for first time in 87-year history

*****

Hibernian quiz question: What’s ryanair spelled backwards? 

*****

Drones are becoming increasingly vital to the future of the civilised world (and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). Unmanned aerial vehicles are ‘finally going mainstream’, says Axios. The US has removed the need for them to be monitored by humans so retailers, medical centres and logistics companies can increase deliveries: Amazon aims for 500 million a year across America and Europe by the end of the decade. Zipline already delivers medical supplies in Rwanda and Ghana.

*****

When Queen Margarethe of Denmark steps down in favour of her son, Frederick, there won’t be a reigning queen in the world. 

*****

The Slicker. Business&Finance with Fred Needleshanks

Saudi state-owned oil company Aramco posts $161 billion profit for 2023, highest ever by publicly listed company. That’s $5,000 a second.

The value of X (né Twitter) has plunged 71.5% since Elon Musk bought it, says Fidelity. Purchase price: $44 billion; today’s estimate: $12.5 billion.

Chinese conglomerate BYD usurps Tesla as world’s biggest seller of EVs. Q4 sales: BYD: 526,000; Tesla: 484,500.

*****

These pesky Atlantic storms are bad enough but where do they get their obscure titles? The Met Office has been naming storms since 2015 but Dutch weather agency KNMI started weighing in four years later. Babet and Henk were called after people who popped into the Utrecht HQ and put their names forward. Gerrit was named after a veteran Dutch forecaster who has just retired.

*****

LetterOfTheWeek. From Sarah Smyth, of Market Harborough, to The Times: When challenged about taking money from questionable sources, Williams Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, replied: ‘The trouble with tainted money is t’aint enough of it.’

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New year, new fashion bollocks. The trend in 2024 will be a ‘severely underdressed lower half — ideally nothing but your knickers,’ Drone style guru Reynard Rambleshanks, reports breathlessly, quoting The Guardian. Sheer tights are OK but undies must be worn on top.  The debut of bejewelled briefs at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week led to designers twinning knickers with comfy knits. Emma Corrin matched panties with a woolly cardigan and brogues at the Venice film festival. Think librarian up top, Freudian bad dream down below. But you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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WebsiteOfTheWeek. Roger.com Bingo. Check it out: hours and hours of fun.

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WankerOfTheWeek. Self-regarding upholsterer tells telly news interviewer that refurbishing a delapidated white sofa featured on the cover of the George Michael album Patience was ‘an emotional rollercoaster’. In other news: more children die in Gaza.

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Veganuary? That’s sooo last year. It’s a waning, melancholic fad, says Josh Barrie in the i. The move to adopt a vegan diet for the first month of the year was greeted eagerly by the usual suspects in 2015 but the number of online searches has declined in the past four years. Last year a million fewer households bought meat-free products compared with 2022.

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HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short

China now has the most branded coffee shops of any country, bumping the US into second place.

The Pope calls for global treaty to regulate AI. It’s a risk to our survival, he says.

More than 1,300 tons of fish washed ashore in Japan. No one knows why.

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StrangePeopleTheYanks: The famously insular Americans have started the new year by looking around and exclaiming: ‘Wow! There’s a whole world out there.’ In 1990 only 5% of them had passports; now it’s 48% (although probably only 5% know where they’ve put it). That means there are more than 160 million US passports in circulation, almost double the number in 2007. And guess what? The more Americans travel, the more they feel in touch with the rest of the world.

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With elections seemingly taking place everywhere in 2024 the political process will come under scrutiny as never before. Perhaps the ancient Persians had it right. According to my Christmas book on Herodotus, they would form policy while they were drunk and then reconsider the following day. Only if they came to the same conclusion would the decision stand.

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Everyone’s moaning about the decline of the Great British Pub and the fact that many are closing. It’s true that 6,600 — around 14% of the total — have shut down in the last decade but many have re-opened after replacing their sticky carpets etc. And those still trading are doing OK with revenues 5.5% higher than before the pandem

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SportSpecial with Rockard Rambleshanks, our biggest handicap in the long grass 

Tiger Woods and son, Charlie,14, shoot 8-under 64 in PNC team event for champions and family. Daughter Sam is caddie.


WFH boosts mid-week golf: the number of players on Wednesdays rise 150% between 2019 and 2022. Demand for 4pm tee-off on that day soars 275%.


NFL star Tyreek Hill (allegedly) fathers three children with different women in four months.

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Much comment lately about poor audience behaviour at live performances: dancing and singing along at musicals, talking and texting, the seemingly obligatory standing ovation at the end. A Telegraph reader tells of an aunt who booked front row seats in the centre of the stalls for a musical. The conductor had hardly raised his baton when she tapped him on the shoulder and demanded: ‘Will you sit down, please? You’re blocking my view.’

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Most pathetic clickbait headline of the year (so far) from the Sun online: Clever 90p Hack To Remove Tree Sap And How To Get Rid Of Glitter —Car Experts Reveal Six Post-Christmas Cleaning Tips


LetterOfTheWeek. Julian Lloyd, of Chester, to the Sunday Times: An advertisement for a jeweller’s in last week’s paper showed a pair of decorative ear rings said to be an ‘Hommage a Vincent Van Gogh’. My wife said: ’Surely there should be only one ear ring.’

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Prince William (and the lovely Kate) enter the new year in pretty good form, no? In the States the Prince of Wales had a favourability rating of +37% in a Gallup poll, easily eclipsing his father on +9%. Mind you, Putin notched -85%. What have people got against the man?

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Now it’s time to name The Goss Woman of 2023. Not one of our longest-serving Home Secretaries, who confounded all dire predictions from knee-jerk seers and soothsayers, but 103-year-old Virginia Oliver, aka the Lobster Lady. Three mornings a week during peak season she rises at 3.30am, slaps on some red lippy and chugs out to sea off the Maine coast with her 80-year-old son, Max, to haul lobster traps. It’s a job she’s been doing for 95 years since she started catching the crustaceans with her dad and older brother.

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Caine’sCorner. One of the first things our routine-fixated king does each morning is a headstand in his boxers to help his spine. This follows a cuppa in bed and precedes a light breakfast of fruit and yoghurt. NMPKT

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As 2023 grinds to an end, The Goss acknowledges its debt to many sources including The Knowledge, several sites in the States and, especially, our super secret snout, She Who Must Not Be Named.

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The phenomenon that is Taylor Swift conquered the world last year. Apart from all her other attributes she’s a sharp cookie when it comes to due diligence. Negotiating a $100 million sponsorship deal with the now-collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX she pinned down its bosses. ‘Can you assure me that these are not unregistered securities,’ she demanded. Unhappy with the reply, she shrugged … and walked.

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Nostradamus, a sort of role model for GR Petulengro-Frame, is history’s most famous astrologer. He predicted, among others, the Great Fire of London and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So what of his thoughts for 2024?  Drought, floods, famine, possible war with China, royal shenanigans and a new Pope, apparently. By the way, have I ever told you the one about Bernard Shrimsley and the lady astrologer? (Yes, repeatedly — Ed)

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The army is considering whether to allow soldiers to grow beards. They  used to be fashionable in and out of uniform, of course. Indeed, the first photos, which featured squaddies allowed to have facial hair in the Crimean War (because it was a but nippy out there), made it de rigeur in civvy life, too. Until 1916 soldiers were required to have moustaches. Some regiments kept a stockpile of artificial ones for the Bumfluff Battalion unable to grow their own.

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StatsLife. No surprises for guessing which film topped the English language box office this year. Barbie grossed $1.44 billion worldwide. Surprisingly, something called The Super Mario Bros Movie ran it close with $1.36 billion and Oppenheimer ($954 million) was third. The rest of the top 10 comprised the usual superhero crap.

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Following a shrill, insistent clamour (Come off it: I only asked if you could fill a hole — Ed), more from Tom Whitwell’s list of things he learned in 2023: Washing board sales soared 57% during the pandemic amid ‘fears of societal collapse and limited laundry service’. Scotland’s forest cover has nearly returned to what it was 1,000 years ago. England’s has risen to 1350 levels. Corrupt traffic cops in Mexico use card terminals to make collecting fines (aka bribes) easier.

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Overheard in Waitrose. Cashier: Ooh, you’ve bought Gruyère: are you making croque monsieur? Customer: No, frittata.

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QuizAnswer: We asked: How many times has the snappers’ dream, Kate, featured on the front of Hello! (not necessarily as the bull pic) since January, 2021?  Believe it or not, it’s 110! 

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Risqué Ruskies have been going slightly over the top at Christmas. Celebs have issued grovelling apologies after photos, leaked from a Moscow party where the dress code was Almost Naked, caused outrage. One rapper, who wore only a carefully positioned sock, has even been jailed for 15 days.

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GossQuiz. Poor old Rosalie! At the fag end of the year we often send trainees to the archives to dream up a snippetette to pad out enhance The Goss or, in this case, to set a seasonal quiz question:  For instance, how many times has the snappers’ dream, Kate, featured on the cover of Hello! (not necessarily as the bull pic) since January, 2021? Answer tomorrow.

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Splendid piece in The Economist about Churchill launching his political career on the back of some amazing military derring-do in South Africa. Main interest to journos, though, is the pay he negotiated to cover the second Boer War for the Morning Post: the modern equivalent of £26,500…a month.

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Sorry but it’s the time of the year for endless lists. Popular Science weighs in with 50 Greatest Innovations of 2023. They include the first effective treatment for early stages of Alzheimer’s, a new kind of shock-absorbing hammer, carbon-negative cement, super-light body armour, America’s latest stealth bomber, which can evade radar and drop nukes, and a new AI program called Fitztightly which can reduce the length of contributions to online newspapers (Yes please — Ed).

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An old friend of The Goss surfaces to report: ‘I realise I spent most of Christmas Day sitting in a corner with a cloth turkey on my head. Am I now just a figure of fun?’ (Ridicule bordering on pity, I guess - Ed)

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An attempt will be made next year to recover treasure from the so-called ‘holy grail of shipwrecks’. The galleon San Jose was sunk off Columbia by British ships in 1708. It contains coins and jewels worth an estimated £16billion.

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The Slicker. Even at Christmas greed never sleeps, says Fred Needleshanks

AI start-ups attracted 26% of venture capital in 2023, compared with 11% in ‘22.

Moderna stock soars after it reveals its experimental skin cancer vaccine helps cut risk of death in half.

Spotify sheds 17,000 jobs, about 17% of staff; online marketplace Etsy lays off 11%. 

Costco sold $100 million worth of one ounce gold bars to customers last quarter. Current price: $2,069.99 each.

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WankersOfTheWeek. The three busybodies in Weymouth who complained about the ‘smell of bacon’ and the noise of spoons and teacups from a cafe. Guess what? The cafe, employing eight people, was forced to close.

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Driverless cars. How’s that going? Surprisingly well really. Indeed, they already seem safer than those handled by humans. Analysis by Waymo of its fleet of automated vehicles in Phoenix, LA and San Francisco found they were 6.7 times less likely to have a crash causing injury and 2.3 times less likely to be in an accident reported to police. The cars were involved in only three minor injury accidents over seven million miles of motoring.

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We’ve always suspected that chimps are brighter than they look. Now research has found they recognise photos of apes they used to live with. Says New Scientist: ‘A bonobo called Louise seemed to recognise her sister Loretta and nephew Erin after more than 26 years of separation.’

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Nice Christmas card from my niece and the kids who live on the South coast. Pleasant girl but a bit jumped up if you know what I mean. I remember when she moved remarking on her living in Brighton. Hove, actually, she replied, huffily.

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It’s still not too late to record that Telegraph readers have shared novel ideas for Christmas wreaths. One used ‘the previous year’s wine corks’. Another, more sinisterly, spent shotgun cartridges.

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There are many moving stories about Christmas truces along the Western Front in 1914: there were even impromptu footie games. ‘Peace’ didn’t last long, though. Top brass on both sides, far behind the lines, disapproved and by Boxing Day it was hell as usual. At 8.30am Captain JC Dunn, of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, fired three shots in the air and waved a flag with Merry Christmas on it at the enemy trenches. He recalled: ‘The German captain put up own sign saying Thank You. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our trenches. He fired two shots in the air: the war was on again.’

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ChristmasQuizAnswer: Entries have been pouring in for our festive competition (you do know there’s no prize?). The question was: What have the Daily Drone and the wartime Windmill Theatre in common? The most popular answer was: They’re both full of tits. This is incorrect. Instead, anyone who said: We Never Clothed (sorry I mean Closed) is a winner. The quiz celebrates the Drone’s dedication to its readers by publishing 365 days a year.

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Our girl Rosalie (still a trainee; still on national minimum wage) is crowing about the super new Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses she found in her stocking. They look like normal Ray-Bans but have small cameras which take snaps, can record conversations and respond to voice commands. Maybe she should have waited: the specs will soon use AI which can translate languages in real time, help pick out clothes and write funny photo captions (that’s one for you, boss!).

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It’sACracker! The Drone’s resident English language pedant’s Christmas message: Santa’s little helpers are really just subordinate Clauses.

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AQuestionOfChristmas: What have the Daily Drone and the wartime Windmill Theatre in common? Answer tomorrow.

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LetterOfChristmas. Dawn Phillips, of Bucks, to The Times: I always understood that opening a champagne bottle should be carried out in a controlled way such as to evoke the sound of a dowager duchess breaking wind.

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Oliver, late of the Country Boys, drops an 

e-card (that’s very Ollie). He continues to live with Mummy opposite the Masonic Hall in Corby, missing Teddy. Here on The Goss (awards pending) we’re still spitting that their column was axed to accommodate the endless, turgid tide of words from other so-called columnists. Nevertheless, a merry Christmas to them and to all our readers.

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HeadsUp. Stuff subbed short.

World’s largest wind farm to be built in sea off Norfolk by 2027: 231 turbines will power three million homes.


Cult hangout Soho House is so over-subscribed that it won’t accept new members in London, New York and LA.


A $820 ring thought stolen in the Ritz Hotel, Paris, is found in a vacuum cleaner bag.


EU launches formal investigation into whether X (né Twitter) is breaking laws on disinformation and hate speech.

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There are many moving stories about Christmas truces along the Western Front in 1914: there were even impromptu footie games. ‘Peace’ didn’t last long, though. Top brass on both sides, far behind the lines, disapproved and by Boxing Day it was hell as usual. At 8.30am Captain JC Dunn, of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, fired three shots in the air and waved a flag with Merry Christmas on it at the enemy trenches. He recalled: ‘The German captain put up own sign saying Thank You. We both bowed and saluted and got down into our trenches. He fired two shots in the air: the war was on again.’

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The Ed has chided me for having Sir Sir Keir Starmer as my latest Wanker of the Week. It’s like naming Owen Jones or Alastair Campbell, he says: shooting ducks in a barrel.

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WankerOfTheWeek: Sir Sir Keir Starmer, of whom there is less than meets the eye, for forgetting he was Leader of the Opposition and dressing up as a soldier on a visit to the military in Germany. And for his other, previously derided, many contributions to wankerdom.

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Christmas bling ain’t what it used to be: sales of real diamonds in London have plummeted as customers switch to lab-created alternatives. They account for 18.4% of the market, compared with 0.3% in 2015, and, because they need a fraction of the energy to extract, are considerably cheaper. One carat natural at £4,400 v lab equivalent, £1,360.

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HealthWatch. Oddball Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest fad: Rectal Ozone Therapy, alleges Popbitch.  That’s getting 03, a pale blue gas with a distinctive smell, blown up your, er, arse. 

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We’ll all have to beware of guests who outstay their welcome this Christmas. Pity we can’t follow London’s Stratford Club in 1824. When the unclubbable antics of Maj Gen Thomas Charretie became too much, the committee dissolved the club and formed a new one, the Portland, with the same membership … except one. 

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It gives a warm glow that among the Guardian’s top 25 Christmas films are Carol, ‘a critically acclaimed drama about divorce, intolerance and how hard it was to be a lesbian in the 1950s’ and Tangerine ‘an obscure, low-budget film about a meth-smoking transgender prostitute’ shot on three iPhones. 

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LettersOfTheWeek. From John Corbett, of Kent, to The Times: As someone born and bred in Bristol, I was interested to read about the rhotic R and the stolen L (in Bristolians’ speech). I recall a Bristol band leader announcing a Latin ‘Americal’ set saying the first dance would be a sambal, followed by a rumble and a tangle. And from Andrew Pearson, of Oxfordshire: My work at Bristol Wireless record shop was greatly improved by being asked for a recording of ‘Handel’s Missile’.

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PleaseSayIt’sBollocks. A video of a man riding a stack of six inflatable rafts down river rapids has had nearly 800,000 views on X. One user described it as: ‘When you want to go white water rafting but don’t want to get wet.’

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A correspondent texts: Your piece about Rhodri, King of the Kitmen, reminds me of his acclaimed memoir, From Valley to Veldt, which always had pride of place on my grancher’s bookshelf in Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern. One anecdote: Wales were trouncing England 50-0 at the Arms Park when the team decided to go for a pint of Brains, leaving just Gareth Edwards and Barry John to finish the match. Full time 70-3, it was. John Dawes said to Gareth: ‘What’s with the three points, butty?’ ‘Sorry, skip. I got sent off with 10 minutes to go and Barry couldn’t cope.’

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Breaking up is hard to do especially if, like software giant Adobe, you have to cough up to do so, muses The Slicker, Fred Needleshanks. The company’s planned $20 billion acquisition of design tool Figma has officially fallen apart following mounting pressure from competition regulators. The two companies may have mutually agreed to cancel their deal but it’s still going to cost Adobe a whopping $1billion cash termination fee.

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The world sometimes dangerously underestimates the growing power and might of the US: its supremacy has never been greater. In 1990, per capita income was 17% higher than Japan and 24% higher than Western Europe; today it’s 54% and 32%. In 2008, the economy was roughly the same as the Eurozone; today it’s nearly twice the size. The US is by far biggest producer of oil and gas and hosts nine of the world’s 10 most valuable companies.

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GOSS ARCHIVE