Tuesday, 5th April, 2022

[Day 750]

Tuesday is my Pilates day so we always have a somewhat earlier routine on a Tuesday. Nonetheless, we made a fairly early start walking down to the park a little earlier. I had previously picked up our newspaper in the car as well as some milk from Waitrose so Meg and I had a leisurely walk in the sunshine but with a little cooling wind. In the park we met up with our octogenarian intrepid hiker who, according to his trekking routine, is half way up or down the Grand Canyon in his latest app which simulates his walk for him (all organised by his medic daughter-in-law) On our way back home, we were a little delayed by bumping into some of our church friends who we have not seen for about a week or so. We were delighted to chat over gardening related things but we had to take our leave fairly quickly in order to effect my quick Pilates turn around. After my Pilates session and a traditional (for us) lunchtime of haddock fish cakes, we idly wondered if there was anything remotely interesting on the TV. We noticed that there was a going to be a showing of Peter Sellars in ‘The Pink Panther‘ and although I watched the first 20 minutes or so of it, I found it strangely unfunny after all of these years. So I engaged in a little cleaning job which was a little irksome for me. This morning, I had delivered my high quality long-handled patio weeding knife. But when I took off the tightly wrapped black plastic wrapping, there were some strange black marks that spoilt the appearance of the otherwise beautiful ash handle. Whether this was a result of the manufacturing process, or the wrapping or even the transportation who can say, but it was not very pleasant to take delivery of a new item which you immediately have to clean. I used some cream cleaner and I thought the stains would be surface deep and easy to remove but that was not the case. Afterwards, I treated the shaft with some teak oil to preserve its natural sheen and then a WD-40 treatment of the cutting edge so presuming we have a fine day next Friday, I can then put it to its first use. In the late afternoon, we were due to FaceTime some of our old Waitrose friends but we got some messages to the effect that they had contracted COVID – so we sent them our good wishes and trust that as they are quite well vaccinated-up then any affliction might only be a short-lived one.

The news from Bucha, the town in the Ukraine now abandoned by the Russians, is truly horrifying. It now looks as though victims were tortured whilst some had limbs hacked off. Several corpses with bound hands and feet and then signs of fatal bullet wounds to the head and chest have been discovered. The Russians, for their part, have been showing the images of the bodies lying in the streets of Bucha but with the caption ‘Fake News‘ in bold red type all over the images. The Russians are claiming that the ‘bodies’ were just actors who were ‘playing dead’ and had simulated wounds cosmetically applied to them as part of a Ukrainian propaganda push. However, this claim is easily shown to be the nonsense that it is because the West had access to satellite photos showing bodies lying around in the streets for days, and perhaps even weeks, well before the Russians departed. All wars exhibit some elements of depravity but these must rank high in the annals of atrocities once the final story is told.

We were having an interesting discussion in the park the other day whether Putin suffers from the ‘little man’ or ‘Napoleon’ complex i.e. the theory that leaders of less than average stature are unduly aggressive in their behaviour patterns. There are several problems with this popular analysis. Whilst it is true that most political leaders tend to be of more than average height, the likes of Putin may be relatively smaller than the average leader but not necessarily markedly different from the rest of the population. Putin, for example, is 5’7″ which does not make him of incredibly short stature. It could be argued that the relative absence of height has marked psychological correlates (including the need to achieve, for example) but all of these explanations are a little too simplistic. There used to be a parallel argument about the effects of an extra ‘Y’ chromosome and criminality but all of these types of arguments suffer from the same fundamental logical flaw. That is there may be an equal proportion of leaders of less than average stature/men with an extra ‘Y’ chromosome that do not exhibit any particular behaviour patterns. In fact, multiple regression analysis tends to show that many of the attributed effects of an extra ‘Y’ chromosome can be attributed to a lowered intelligence level. So perhaps that puts all of those types of argument to bed for the time being.