11 NOVEMBER 2000

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To gain further support, truck drivers revert to traditional costume M ore rain raised floodwaters through- out England for the third week in a row. More than 3,000 people had...

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THE OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 TONY THE LONELY I t seems likely that Tony and Cherie went to bed on...

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VICKI WOODS T hatched cottages stand up pretty well to the exigencies of global warming, even after 300 years. Mine was built (as most were) long, low and narrow, and at a prop-...

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Al Gore fought a good campaign but George Bush deserved to win BRUCE ANDERSON I f you spend $3 billion on electioneering, you are entitled to some entertainment but what a...

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What a load of old rubbish tells us about ourselves MATTHEW PARRIS H ow much is a bar of soap? 30p? 40p? 60p? It depends on the quality, but I think we can say with assurance...

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For most Jews here, anti-Semitism is no more than a minor irritation, says Anthony Julius, but the spirit of mediaeval persecution has entered English culture through...

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Second opinion

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THE value of human life is, of course, incalculable, and no mere monetary fig- ure can be placed upon it. Certain parts of the human anatomy are not quite so sacrosanct,...


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Mark Steyn explains why the US presidential election was not exactly a Republican landslide New Hampshire WHAT a night. The low point came at 10 p.m., when I was pushing my...

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The bleak loneliness of the East Anglian prairie leads to divorce and suicide, says David Lavibond SOON it will be winter, and the iron will enter the ground. Out on the Fens...

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Why is our mail late? Because the post office is a workers' paradise, says Ross Clark IN the brave new Britain of wall-to-wall gizmos it is reassuring to know that there Is one...

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Michael Heath

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willing every now and then to throw the West into confusion `IT is a grave responsibility,' said President de Gaulle, 'to realise that for the people of the entire world one...

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If we want to reduce the size of the state, says Robert Skidelsky, we must encourage more people to pay for education and healthcare BY the time this article goes to press,...

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Mind your language

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MY husband claims to be learning Spanish, which will come in handy for all his jaunts to the peninsula paid for by drug companies. 'Do you know the Spanish for ferret?' he asked...

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Michael Hanlon explains why Prince Charles and others are wrong in believing that the bad weather is the result of global warming OUR future king is wrong. This week Prince...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit IN the language of modern government there are few words as menacing as `care'. It is invariably a euphemism for...

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Bad weather? Nothing to the time when England was the land of fogs PAUL JOHNSON P eople grumble about the wind and the wet but forget that, until quite recently, the English...

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Send for Peter

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SUCH commands are not always welcome. Around the City, suitable candidates must now be hiding under their desks and having their calls intercepted. That said, I pick up an...


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Time to do good by stealth to the Stock Exchange don't call us, we'll call you CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he City has its own equivalent of a royal command. This is a telephone call...

Hard luck, sir

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IT may not be too soon to commiserate with the new President of the United States on his election. A long cold winter with plenty of ice is the forecast from Bar- ton Biggs, the...

A shock for Auntie

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JEFF Randall is an experienced City edi- tor who has made a great success of Sun- day Business, so he must come as a terrible shock to the British Broadcasting Corpo- ration. He...

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From Alistair B. Cook, OBE Sir: Middle-class parents in other

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Western European countries may well be pleased that the state provides a successful educa- tion for their children for which they pay out of their taxes, as Rachel Johnson...

Reluctantly to war

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From Mr John Fraser Sir: Defending Ireland against the charge of declining `to take its place in civilisa- tion's vanguard against Hitlerism', Mr Barry Cusack (Letters, 28...

From Mr Henry Algeo Sir: Rachel Johnson seems to be

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unaware that in one part of the United Kingdom there is no independent sector in educa- tion. Here in Northern Ireland, where we still retain a selective system of education,...

LETTERS A French education

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From Mr Richard Tracey Sir: I read Rachel Johnson's article ('What we can learn from Europe', 28 October) with interest as my wife and I are educating our two boys, aged seven...

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Poetic wannabes

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From David and Solomon Ben Israel Sir: We are two Jewish kids — well, father and son, actually — who write poetry in our spare time. We would like to submit some stuff to your...

Giftless Greeks

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From Mr T. Hughes-Davies Sir: Maybe Taki could give us all a good laugh by trying to reconcile his theories of `race, intelligence and cultural achievement' (High life, 4...

Chere Chelsea

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From Mr Nigel Wilkinson Sir: Having damned a Chelsea restaurant with faint praise, Robert Hardman (Restaurants, 28 October) tells us that his dinner bill 'of £101 . . . was not...

Bombs over Moscow

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From Mr Nick Djivanovic Sir: Oleg Gordievsky is right (Letters, 4 November); the silence over Chechnya is deafening. But no longer! Let's go and bomb Moscow! I am sure Mr...

In praise of Sonia Orwell

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From Mrs Deirdre Levi Sir: As the widow of Cyril Connolly, who knew Orwell from the time they met at boarding-school aged eight, I was glad of Paul Foot's decent and spirited...

Pay up or I publish!

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From Mr Nicky Samengo-liner Sir: Having had to wait over three months to get my contents insurers to pay up after a severe house fire, I have a word of advice for those...

Baring the Curzon girls

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From Mr Nicholas Mosley Sir: David Gilmour (Books, 28 October) asks why I let my aunt Irene Ravensdale's diaries be seen by Anne de Courcy for her book on the three Curzon...

From Mr David Metcalfe Sir: David Gilmour accuses me of

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wishing to destroy the reputation of my mother (Alexandra Curzon) and describes this as 'a particularly grimy form of filial betrayal'. Mr Gilmour has invited me to reply to his...

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Memo to the MoD (and New Labour): we don't live in a police state STEPHEN GLOVER I first wrote about Tony Geraghty and Nigel Wylde on 6 March 1999, and have written about them...

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Memories of a beer hunter W.F. Deedes on one of England's most civilised pleasures MY love affair with beer began in Fleet Street during the early 1930s. We didn't know about...

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The wines of the Marche

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Move over, Tuscany Jonathan Ray I'VE been on cooking courses in Amalfi and on art courses in Venice, I've eaten in most of the restaurants of Bologna, I've ogled the models in...

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Farm cider

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The naked truth Jeremy Clarke AT a hostel for the homeless in Plymouth I once stayed at, there was a sign in the gents' that said, 'Please do not throw cigarette ends into the...

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Cocktails Easy mixers Petronella Wyatt THE first time I saw a cocktail was in a grainy version of the film The Thin Man with the fiber-urbane William Powell. Pow- ell, as...

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Whisky galore

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Mists and malts Bruce Anderson ON a perfect, early spring day, I once vis- ited the Labrot & Graham distillery, near Louisville in Kentucky. The well-weath- ered buildings —...

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City wine bars

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Sawdust and olde bagges Lloyd Evans IT'S a tough one. I'm lying in my garret in Hackney pondering a knotty question. For ten years I've worked and thrived in the East End's...

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Christmas drinking

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Just say whoa Tim Dowling CHRISTMAS and drinking are bound together in a pre-Christian sort of way, an alliance dating from a period when people understood that, in the middle...

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Much else to declare Jonathan Keates I ye already owned up in these pages to being a sceptic, or perhaps just an out-and- out heretic, where the cult of Saint Oscar is...

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Rites of the North-West Passage

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Tom Pocock WAR, ICE AND PIRACY: THE REMARKABLE CAREER OF A VICTORIAN SAILOR edited by Dominick Harrod Chatham, £16.99, pp. 192 A mong the peripheral skills useful to young...

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All's well that ends well

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Kate Hubbard THE CLOUD OF DUST by Charlie Boxer Cape, £10, pp. 153 T his, Charlie Boxer's first book, is a refreshingly old-fashioned and unfashion- able novella about love....

A ticklish subject

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Patrick Skene Catling LAUGHTER: A SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION by Robert R. Provine Faber, £12.99, pp. 258 T he smile broadens, the mouth opens and strange sounds come out, more...

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Definitely not a fool

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Douglas Johnson THE RISE AND FALL OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE VOLUME I: THE RISE by Robert Asprey Little, Brown and Co, £25, pp. 580 N apoleon Bonaparte has too often been the victim...

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Vivid blooms with European roots

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Francis King DEREK WALCOTT: A CARIBBEAN LIFE by Bruce King OUP, £30, pp. 688 W hen Derek Walcott, the subject of this doorstep of a biography, won the 1992 Nobel Prize for...

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Secrets and secretaries

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Philip Ziegler harles Douglas-Home, during the last years of his tragically truncated life, com- bined being editor of the Times with work on a book which would analyse what he...


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As safe as the banks of England

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Kit McMahon THE DEATH OF GENTLEMANLY CAPITALISM by Philip Augar Penguin, £20, pp. 1139 P hilip Augar's title is misleading. In his account of developments in the City over the...

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The first great Englishman

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David Nokes CHAUCER 1340-1400 A ccording to a recent ICM survey, there are sadly only 20 per cent of the pop- ulation who know that Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales. So the...

The last game left

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Andrew Gimson A MAD WORLD, MY MASTERS by John Simpson Macmillan, £20, pp. 421 T his random collection of anecdotes is drawn from John Simpson's far-flung trav- els as a...

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The morality of the omelette

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Digby Anderson D erek Cooper is a ruminator who pon- ders potato varieties, the decline of water- cress consumption, snail feasts, starved smoked eels and flavours of walnut...

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Commando leader in politics

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John Grigg THE ASHDOWN DIARIES, VOLUME I, 1988-1997 by Paddy Ashdown Allen Lane, £20, pp. 638 N aive, they call him. Well, if Sir Paddy Ashdown is naive, naivety is clearly no...

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More than a handful of dust

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Claudia FitzHerbert THE AMBER SPYGLASS by Philip Pullman Scholastic Children's Books, £14.99, pp. 548 N orthem Lights (1995) and The Subtle Knife (1997), the two volumes which...

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Rome's glories revealed Selina Mills didn't believe that the city would clean itself up in time for 2000. She was wrong O n the seventh level of Dante's Infer- no, not so far...

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Impressionism: Painting Quickly in France: 1860-1890 (National Gallery, till 28 January 2001) Sense of euphoria Martin Gayford N ow, I grant you, many people's reac- tion to...

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Disregard for convention

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Alan Powers on the Library and Media Centre at Peckham, winner of the Stirling Prize I f the bookies' favourite, the Walsall New Art Gallery, had won the RIBA Stir- ling Prize...

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La boheme (Coliseum) Jane Eyre (Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House) Ceaseless activity Michael Tanner T he first obstacle to enjoying Leoncav- allo's La boheme is naturally...

Christopher Cook (born 1959), recently appointed artist-in-residence to the remarkable

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Eden Project in Cornwall, is currently showing 11 of his graphites (including 'Influx', above) at the newly opened Hirschl Contemporary Art in Cork Street, London W1 (until 18...

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A Doll's House (New Ambassadors) Light (Almeida) The Tempest (Barbican Pit) Insight into Ibsen Sheridan Morley I bsen doesn't come much more powerful than this: A Doll's...

Now and then

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H.V. MORTON'S collection of essays The Heart of London was published in 1925. In a new column, Morton's Lon- don is compared with that of today: I look up at the Cenotaph. A...

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Web venom Peter Phillips A friend of mine, suffering one night recently from insomnia, found himself wan- dering around the Internet chat sites. In course of time he stumbled...

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Where's the fizz? Giannandrea Poesio S erious balletomanes, dance academics and all those who do not accept that ballet can be pure entertainment are not likely to enjoy Don...

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On the edge of self-parody Simon Hoggart I know quite a few actors, and the great majority are amiable, thoughtful, often modest folk, though some have the slightly...


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Bedazzled (12, selected cinemas) Careless talk Mark Steyn A tother crass, obvious, expensive, effects-driven, determinedly routine open- ing sequence gets under way, and...

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Remarkable friendship Michael Vestey T he prolific writer and columnist A.N. Wilson has forged a deep friendship with the boxer Mike Tyson. They spend hours, days even in each...

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The turf

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The Barbour brigade Robin Oakley A fortnight dousing oneself in the windy rhetoric of a US presidential election campaign brings on a severe bout of reporters' dyspepsia. I...

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High life

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Out and about Taki ne more week in the Bagel, despite how dangerous to one's health the Bagel can be at this time of year. (There is noth- ing quite like autumn in New York,...

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No life

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Terrier terror Jeremy Clarke 0 ur late chairman's favourite terrier was an all-white Jack Russell he used for badger digging. He always spoke fondly of Nelson, describing him...

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Country life

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Capital myths Leanda de Lisle W e had a rector blessing the hounds at the opening meet last week. He said a prayer he'd got from a priest from Tipper- ary. It asked God that...

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Singular life

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Driven to distraction Petronella Wyatt W hen I see the queues at petrol sta- tions, those poor automatons, prisoners of the car, hunched over in miserable servi- tude to the...


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Expert analysis Susanna Gross JUST WHEN I think I might be getting good at this game, I meet a true expert who plays on an altogether higher plain. The other day at my club, I...

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Deborah Ross GOLLY, I love this time of year, don't you? First, Hallowe'en, the marvellous pagan festi- val of Turning Off All The Lights And Pre- tending You Are Not In, then...

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4 G Rdbelq •

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The Ultimate !slay Malt. CHESS Rdbeg www.ardbeg.com Number 14 Raymond Keene VLADIMIR Kramnik has won the Brain Games World Chess Championship in London and has been...


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Dog and God Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2161 you were invited to write a poetic dialogue with the above title. Thank you, brother, for a fruitful idea, which brought a very...

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No. 2164: The Doctor scores

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You are invited to supply an exchange between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in which the latter emerges as the more observant and intelligent. Maximum 150 words. Entries to...

CROSSWORD 1489: Glorious voice by Dumpynose

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 27 November, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

Solution to 1486: Hidden characters

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a. I s s 61111E1,11 O EnrriTao El A amimatiaanamagia EdEdIOR 1 El T C ihio N N AijEaCIU , uunmennemarem LICIEraorINCIDCID ECM' A oillEaDitiN I u 13 L L E E...

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Caught out Simon Barnes THERE are two questions that come to mind when considering the ever-widening ripples of the cricket bribery scandal. The first is: where is it all...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. A friend of mine gets flu every year at about this time, yet persistently refuses to have a flu jab, saying he is too busy to go to the doctor. Since the flu...