“A poet once said “The whole universe is in a glass of wine.” We will probably never know in what sense he meant that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imaginations adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the Earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secret of the universe’s age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are there in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that Nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all!”
The New Quantum Universe (2003) by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters; Epilogue. (Originally, from “The Feynman Lectures on Physics,” by Feynman, Leighton and Sands.)
Ah, yes, a very special day for Old London Town. Dear Ken is ousted from the position of Mayor of London by the shaggy-haired Boris Johnson.
Now, I have mixed feelings about this. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge soft spot for Boris. Firstly, it’s another poke in the eye for Brown, whatever he might say to the contrary. Secondly, he has high entertainment value and thirdly… well, let’s face it, anyone who can piss off the whole of Liverpool in one fell swoop has to have something going for him. But if I lived in London, would I really want him as my mayor? Not really. A drink down the pub with him might be fun, but when his solution to congestion is to keep the traffic lights on green longer… no. I most certainly wouldn’t want him as my mayor.
A few Boris quotes:
“It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.”
On a trip by Tony Blair to the Democratic Republic of Congo. — “No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.”
“If gay marriage was OK _ and I was uncertain on the issue _ then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog.”
On President George W. Bush — “That is the best case for Bush; that, among other things, he liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me.”
“If I was in charge I would get rid of Jamie Oliver and tell people to eat what they like.” [Gary: Okay, I take it back, I would want him as my mayor!]
“I think I was once given cocaine but I sneezed and so it did not go up my nose. In fact, I may have been doing icing sugar.”
“Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it.”
“I don’t see why people are so snooty about Channel 5. It has some respectable documentaries about the Second World War. It also devotes considerable airtime to investigations into lap dancing, and other related and vital subjects.”
“The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their MP, they have run out of better ideas.”
And my all-time favourite…
“Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.”