The Null Device
Unfortunately chosen brand name of the moment: Russian gas company Gazprom has recently launched a joint venture with the Nigerian gas firm NNPC. Unfortunately, the name they chose for their joint venture is Nigaz. Word.
I wonder whether the problem was caused by some Russian executive being unaware of pejorative words in English, or whether the name was deliberately chosen so that they can have a totally wicked gangsta-rap company anthem.
According to his online journal, Melbourne-based Swedish singer-songwriter Jens Lekman has contracted swine flu:
I picked home one last souvenir from South America, it's called the H1N1 virus. Wrongfully known as the Swineflue.
I was crossing the Atlantic when things started getting really bad, the fever was hallucinogenic and shaking me like a leaf and I grabbed the sleeve of the Air France steward. "I'm not feeling well, I should see a doctor" I said and the reply came as a brilliant mix of death anxiety and french rudeness: "Uh, yes... Terminal D... go there maybe... when we land". After that the stewards and stewardesses took long detours. A ring of empty seats formed around me. Peoples eyes were kind but determined, they read "Poor you, I really wish you all the best but if you come near me or my kid I will have to stab you with this plastic fork". I got up and went to the bathroom where I fainted.
Now I'm in quarantine for ten days. I can see the summer through my window and it's just perfect. Summer is always best through a window.I hope he makes it through OK.
The British government is set to renationalise the east coast rail route, which connects London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, after National Express complained that it can't afford to run it and went to the government begging for a bailout, to which the government said no. Of course, the government, desperate to avoid accusations of it reverting to the bad old days of brown-suited trade-union bolshevism ("Old Labour"), has expressed its deepest regret at the unfortunate necessity of taking such a socialistic course of action and committed itself to selling off the franchise as soon as is possible.
This is not the first time part of Britain's railway network has fallen into public ownership since privatisation; a railway operation in the south of England was taken back by the government a few years ago after the operator, Connex, was found to be rubbish. (Incidentally, the names of the operators will hold special relevance for Melburnians; both Connex and National Express have forfeited commuter rail franchises in Melbourne, in somewhat similar ways.)
I wonder what branding the new government-run rail franchise will use. I'm guessing they can't call it National Express, and will avoid calling it British Rail (or National Rail, which is the same only with less Helvetica) or anything that suggests a permanent nationalisation of the railways (because that would be socialism, and Socialism Is Always Wrong), so presumably they'll come up with some brand. I hope that they keep the web site, though; it has one of the nicer interfaces for booking tickets in the UK.