THE Insider’s colleague notes with interest that a newly discovered species of extinct lizard has been named for US President Barack Obama. According to a study published in the journal PNAS, Obamadon gracilis was made extinct at the same time as the great extinction event that wiped out all the rest of the dinosaurs.

The study’s authors deny any political motive, telling the BBC they were merely "having fun with taxonomy" (goodness but those scientists are such cards!) But the Insider is not so sure. The grave unanswered question, of course, is that if Obamadon gracilis was wiped out with the dinosaurs, how will the Republicans take the news? Being themselves largely old, white-boned, dessicated and long-dead fossil types, the Insider, in a pre-festive season generous mood, thinks they might actually feel a modicum of empathy for the Obamadon. Just kidding!

They’ll somehow spin it to make it look as if Obamadon gracilis was responsible for the "event" that killed all the other dinosaurs. Chasing them off a fiscal cliff, for instance.

Not for nonbelievers

COSTING £125,000 for four people, or £31,250 per person, the menu for what will be the world’s most expensive Christmas dinner has been devised by London chef Ben Spalding, who has completed residencies at restaurants including The Fat Duck in Bray, Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road and Per Se in New York, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Among the ingredients used are a Yubari King melon costing £2,500; 150-year-old balsamic vinegar costing £1,030; whole white Alba truffle costing £3,500; and gold leaf coming in at £6,000. To drink, a £37,000 bottle of Piper Heidsieck 1907 Champagne will be served in diamond-studded flutes; diners who prefer spirits can sip from a £2,000 stock of DIVA vodka, described as a "diamond-sand-filtered vodka" and served in a bottle that is filled with Swarovski crystals.

The focal point of the meal will be the traditional Christmas turkey, served this time with Dodine turkey and with Wagyu beef fillet and heart. It will be wrapped in gold leaf and sprinkled with Akbari pistachios. For dessert, the quartet will conclude their £125,000 meal with whipped Kopi Luwak, a coffee bean, and Densuke watermelon. The Insider has indigestion, both alimentary and financial, just thinking about it.

Carols by floodlight

A COLLEAGUE of the Insider thought it appropriate to dust off a Christmas carol he wrote years ago, so here it is:

Silent night, holy plight,Naught is calm, costs ain’t right, Round yon Cashier, Mother and Child, Holy infant demanding and wild, Spend in heavenly peace,Spend in heavenly peace.

The cockles of the Insider’s heart are not warmed.

Wise words

"From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it."

Katharine Whitehorn, British columnist

E-mail gossip to insider@bdfm.co.za