Friday Bits

– This week’s EU hand wringing surrounds David Cameron’s decision to oppose Jean-Claude Juncker for the EC Presidency, and whether with decisions like that Cameron can be trusted not to inadvertently see the UK out of the EU with his proposed referendum in 2017.

Not to worry. If Scotland opts out of the UK on 18 September, 2014 David Cameron will have to resign by 19 September, 2014. Crisis over.

– This summer’s historic demise of the Sykes Picot adventure in map-making frames the inalienable fact that the Saudi kingdom will collapse, some say sooner than we think. How, as a nanogenarian potentate, how do you delay it?

– On the opaque-for-most and largely-avoided-by-the-American-press Thai military coup, Sean Thomas may be right when he observes, “bluntly speaking, democracy looks unappealing if you think poor people are going to vote themselves welfare that the state cannot afford — a big fear of the Thai Yellows.”

Don’t know your Yellow Shirts from your Reds? Here’s a primer.

– Literacy in pre-WWI Serbia ranged from 27% to as low as 12% in the southeast, and the rabble was roused beginning with the Rubicon moment 100 years ago tomorrow. I have high hopes for this site, which advertises that it will share a pertinent historical document every day, starting tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes.

– Three observations from The Consolations of the Forest by Sylvain Tesson:

The art of civilization: Combining the most delicate pleasures with the constant presence of danger.

The essential thing is to live one’s life with a brave hand on the tiller.

And this:

[M]y water holes have frozen over. I attack the lake with the ice ax, spending an hour and a half chopping out a handsome basin a yard wide and four feet deep. Water gushes up suddenly and I dip into it with pleasure. This feeling of having earned one’s water. My arm muscles ache. Once upon a time, in the fields and forests, living kept us in shape.

Tesson spent half a year in a cabin in Siberia. If hermitdom helps you write like he does, put me down for that.

– And finally, from : “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In many cases this will mean showing up to the interview in a pirate suit.”

Happy Friday.

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