Is Iran as democratic as the United States?

"If you are new to The Dilbert Blog, I remind you that I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to world affairs. The point is for you to set me straight in the comments."

Thanks, Scott Adams, for pointing out the similarities between the USA and Iran. For as readers of Orwell, Kafka, et al. know already, aggression is born of a conviction that "they" are somehow different from "us".  Whatever the rights and wrongs of anything, healthy if ignorant ranting in the comments beats Excocet missiles, any day. (At time of writing, Scott’s post has stimulated a significant number — but no missiles that I can see.)

Yet more book news

What is it with Waterstones? Are they manic or are they manic? I received another email from them today, after yesterday’s crime epic. These emails aren’t Amazon-style lists of books that some computer thinks you might want to buy based on your past purchases, but contain content that is actually interesting (sometimes, but sometimes is not bad for an email shot). This time:

"Welcome to our weekly update on all the news from the book world. This week has seen the announcement of the shortlists for the British Book Awards. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 28 March at a ceremony hosted by Richard & Judy. Their current bookclub choices – best reads of the year – form one of the 11 shortlists, and we have 50% off all eight titles. As part of Waterstone’s commitment to new talent, we are sponsoring the newcomer of the year award, and the four nominated titles in this category are The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield , The Observations by Jane Harris, The Island by Victoria Hislop and Michael Cox’s The Meaning of Night."

I’m kind of out of it tonight, but whatever its ups and downs as a bookseller, I’d recommend signing up to Waterstone’s email service if you are a bookaholic. The above is but one topic among half a dozen content-rich articles (including competitions)  in "this week’s" offering — "this week" presumably not counting yesterday’s crime fiction email shot, another cornucopia far too rich for the time-poor.