Highlights of The Week

Good week for: Ian Smith,a council lighting engineer, who has received £91,000 pay in the past year despite spending almost all of it on sick leave. Mr Smith has been paid his £71,000 salary plus various bonuses, including £5,000 for "overtime". Birmingham City Council has admitted that some of its pay structures are " not fit for purpose". [I don’t know what a council lighting engineer does, but if it is climbing up lampposts to replace bulbs, then clearly I am in the wrong profession.]

It must be true, I read it in the tabloids 1: Romanian witches are taking English lessons in preparation for joining the EU. Ioana Sidonia, a "celebrity" white witch, says her fellow sorceresses are anticipating a stampede of British clients from January 2007. "Until now the only English I could speak were [sic] the names of different whiskies. I thought I should expand my vocabulary."

IMBTIRIITT2: Osama bin Laden’s former cave hideout is to be converted into a £5.3 million tourist resort. Hotels and restaurants are under construction in Tora Bora, the mountainous area of Afghanistan that was home to the world’s most wanted terrorist. "It’s 100 per cent safe", says local governor Gul Agha Sherazi. "It was known as a picnic spot long before anyone had heard of Osama bin Laden."

Wit&Wisdom: "What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue." Tom Paine.

"I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for those who do like country music, denigrate means "put down"." Bob Newhart.

"Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t deal with drugs." Robin Williams.

"In England we never mean entirely what we say. Do I mean that? Not entirely." Alan Bennett.

"Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain." Lily Tomlin.

Television: Big Brother comes to Baghdad.  While most of Iraq is "wracked by unrelenting sectarian violence", a hit reality TV programme has shown that the country’s ethnically diverse citizens can still live side by side in peace and harmony. In Beit Beut (or Playing House), Sunnis, Shias, Kurds and Christians live and work together under one roof……reality TV shows such as Beit Beut are proving hugely popular as viewers choose not to venture outdoors. One of the most successful new programmes is Construction Contract, which features Iraqis rebuilding their homes after the devastation of the war.

Peter Temple deal of the week

If I can stay on the Internet long enough to write this post (my connection is fluctuating today. I blame the incessant fireworks, though the MP points out that fireworks have no electromagnetic component),  fans of Peter Temple might wish to know that his latest, In The Evil Day, is one of UK Amazon’s deals of the week. You have until 2400 (GMT I presume) Sunday 5 November to buy this book at £5.49.

I haven’t read any of this author but have an omnibus of his first three novels in my Amazon basket after reading recommendations from the likes of Peter of Detectives Beyond Borders.

From Amazon, on "In the Evil Day":

"Con Niemand is a mercenary whose business is surviving. John Anselm is a struggling intelligence agent whose business is information. And Caroline Wishart is a tabloid journalist whose business, until now, has been the sex lives of politicians. Their paths collide when Neimand stumbles across a secret terrible enough to destroy lives and depose governments. Against his will, Anselm is plunged into a world of violence, betrayal, and death. He must break out of his anesthetized life and pit himself against forces that he does not understand, forces determined to rebury an atrocity that threatens reputations and lives across the globe, while Niemand is hunted across two continents by people he doesn’t know. Cleverly plotted and peppered with dark irony and lean prose, In the Evil Day conjours a world where information is more dangerous than explosives and secrets are worth more than human life."

On Temple:

Age: "Temple is as dark and as mean, as cool and as mesmerising, as any James Ellroy or Elmore Leonard."
Mark Billingham: "Discovering Peter Temple has been the highlight of my year".

Will now attempt to press "save".