Let’s hear it for the Staffie

BBC News reports that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is falling out of fashion, as it gets an – entirely unwarranted – reputation for aggression and violence.

Speaking as someone who was once very fond of my aunt’s Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sally, I can say that the Kennel Club are absolutely right when they say that Staffies are good family pets. They are, on my experience, loyal and friendly dogs, and it’s a real shame they’re being tarred by association with other more violent breeds.

Isn’t history long?

Just reading a history of the end of the Roman Empire (by Peter Heather, very good), and in a discussion of Attila’s campaigns in Greece, he says that raiding parties went as far south as

Thermopylae, where Leonidas’s troops had fought the Persians almost a thousand years before

and I was stunned by the sudden realisation of the passage of historical time – that Leonidas and the Persian wars were farther away from Attila and the last days of Western Roman Empire than the Norman Conquest is from us today.

And the Eastern Empire had a further thousand years to run. Sudden perspective. Whoa.

Tre, Pol and Pen

Sitting in a cafe in St Ives, reading this week’s The Cornishman, I was struck by a court case recently heard in Truro. A driver from St Ives was fined and banned from driving for speeding. He was called Joseph Wygleneacz, and his lawyer was Dieter Kehler.

Little MP3s

When I was in Amsterdam last, I heard a song from the new musical version of “Wat Zien Ik?”. Searching for an MP3 version of it, I came across the fantastic word MP3’tjes – surely only the Dutch language could add a diminutive to an acronym.

For cultural cross-referencing purposes, I should note that the site I found this word on described itself as “Het forum van DE Nederlandse Backstreet Boys fansite”. So if you were confused by the large number of Nederlandse Backstreet Boys fansites out there: this is the one to go to.

At prayer no longer

A piece in this morning’s Birmingham Post contains an interesting factoid. Only twelve Tory conference visitors attended morning service at Bournemouth’s parish church. You couldn’t get away with that if you were a Republican!