Monday, 30 March 2015

Top Sneer

Snarkson and Hamster

Jeremiah Snarkson has finally been sacked from the popular television series, 'Top Sneer'. Mr Snarkson joined the Tipton Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) on that fateful day in 1956 and quickly advanced to become the querulous but quirky presenter of the ever popular, local weekly current affairs programme, aptly named: 'The local Tipton weekly current affairs programme'. In this regard, he was ably assisted by his co-presenter, Richard, 'The Ferret' Hamster.

In 1985, Snarkson became the lead presenter of the innovative series, 'Top Sneer'. As you will no doubt recall, the whole thrust of the programme revolves around Snarkson leering and shouting abuse at a never ending stream of poor benighted folk empowered with a litany of lamentable deformities. The viewing public loved it. But Snarkson was always a controversial, polarising and flamboyant character. The TBC issued endless warnings about his reprehensible and increasingly bizarre behaviour. It all came to a festering head when Snarkson was filmed eating a baby during a live broadcast. The viewing public loved it. However, for the executives at the TBC this was the straw that finally broke the ferret's back. In an announcement today, the Director General of the TBC, Mr Farleft Mugumbo had this to say: "In view of Mr Snarkson's questionable behaviour during peak time viewing the TBC executive committee has decided, with deep regret, not to renew Mr Snarkson's contract". The future of the programme remains in the balance. Without Snarkson, many feel that the show will lose its cannibalistic edge and lustre/lucre.

Mr Snarkson, on hearing the TBC's shock decision had this to say: "It wasn't as if I  ate a white baby". Mr Snarkson is likely to be offered a part in the prime time television soap opera: 'The Young and the Feckless'. Mr Snarkson will portray a dashing, debonair and wickedly violent cannibal who, recklessly, fecklessly, relentlessly and without favour porks his way through the entire cast.   


Mr Mugumbo contemplating plastic surgery

Sunday, 29 March 2015

On Miracles

I was trawling through 'Arsebook' the other day when I came across an article about Christianity. Specifically, it addressed several hypothetical questions which atheists could conceivably ask Christians. One particular section made me chortle out loud. It concerned the plausibility of miracles as related in the bible. As you are no doubt aware, the bible is replete with miraculous events performed by the Son of God et al. Anyway, I will quote the response in full:

"That’s what’s so special about miracles: they don’t make sense! Frankly, miracles wouldn’t be miracles if they were physically possible. Whenever Jesus performs a miracle in the gospels, the crowds or disciples are in awe precisely because of how unbelievable these actions were".

So there we have it. A well thought out and cogent response to the doubters. In essence then, miracles are possible because of their inherent implausibility. There is a strain in Christianity, and other religions, which is anti-reason and takes pride in inverting sound rationality. Tis a Christian virtue and true believers revel in this nonsense. We become 'wise through ignorance', is a constant refrain.  

Before considering arguments concerning the implausibility of  miracles it is a good idea to have a valid definition. Some theologians define 'a miracle' as divine intervention in the natural course of events. As this definition  presupposes the existence of god it is not likely to appeal to the thorough going rationalist or atheist. Personally, I prefer the following definition: Miracle- An event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws. According to this definition, defying the odds would not be a miracle. The sole survivor of a plane crash should consider himself lucky, but this not a miracle. The other passengers who didn't survive would surely agree, if they could.

To my mind the following scenarios would be considered miraculous: Bringing the dead back to life. In this regard, I'm not thinking about the heart attack patient who is revived by medical skill. I'm considering medical death. If your heart had stopped beating for three days and you suddenly became animated, then this would be a miracle. Similarly, if you walked on water without  physical means of support, again this would be miraculous. Hallelujah!   

Therefore, a miracle is a temporary suspension of 'natural law'. It is wise to consider the implications of this deceptively simple statement. Everything we know about the world is subject to causality. The laws of science enable us to make sense of the visible world. They also encompass predictability. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, pain will inevitably ensue. But what if the 'laws' which define reality become arbitrarily suspended on the whim of a deity; what are the consequences. Surely if a dead man can be raised once then it could happen again. If natural law does not always apply then we enter a chaotic world where every inconceivable action becomes possible. Everything which can be scribbled on paper becomes the new reality. I contest this possibility with a vehemence born of madness (Arse). It is easy to state a miracle, but the proof lies with the evidence. 'Show me the evidence, show me the evidence'....... As none is forthcoming, the notion should be expunged from the realm of the rational.

Miracles cannot occur. Natural law is never suspended (perhaps the infinitesimal quantum world remains an exception). I contend that if one miracle could be shown to occur in the real, macro world, then everything we know about the natural order of things collapses into an incoherent morass.  

So, I will leave the last word to the great British Empirical Philosopher of the 18th century: David Hume. What he says is still valid today. His principles are timeless and echo down the centuries. In his wisdom, all rational folk can find refuge in a world gone mad. He was also a fat bastard.     

"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish."

No, they fucking don't

Saturday, 28 March 2015

There's gold in that shit....

There can be no doubt that there is money in shit. Although few would rummage in their own faeces to get it; pity.

The shit flowing to the sewerage plant contains precious metals, various in nature and worthy of commercial exploitation. Precious metals in nanoparticle form are added to all manner of products ranging from shampoo to jam. Furthermore, lost and discarded jewellery add to the milieu, forming a rich seam of readily accessible gold. Tis a prospector's dream.    

It has been estimated that 1 million citizens flush 13 million dollars of precious metals down the loo every year. A study involving sewage samples found that 1kg of shit contained 0.4mg of gold, 28mg of silver, 638mg of copper and 49mg of vanadium.

Panning your poo doesn't sound attractive, but you will be amply rewarded if you follow my simple and much loved methodology. Be warned, you are likely to see a few unwelcome 'guests', as well as the few glistening specks of gold. This route is not for the faint hearted and those burdened with a keen sense of smell.

First you need to collect an appreciable amount of the families' shit. Initially, I  recommend a months worth for the novice shit ferreter. Next, you need to dry out the generally, very moist faeces. I suggest layering in a standard baking tray and cooking on gas mark 7 for at least 4 hours. If you adhere to my instructions you will be rewarded with a dry friable cake. Crumble mercilessly until a fine powder is exultant. You are now ready for the next stage. It is important to degrade the organic matter present in order that the precious metals can be released. Place the powder in an appropriate receptacle. It is probably not a good idea to use the saucepan dedicated to boiling sprouts and assorted brassica. Cover with water, add borax and sodium chloride crystals. Boil vigorously for 4 hours- don't be put off by the smell.

Stage two of the process

 We now enter the critical stage of the whole enterprise. The resultant fine sludge should be sieved through the finest mesh you can find. Use copious amounts of water and agitate liberally. If you have followed my recipe assiduously you will find a few specks of glistening material. You are well on your way to becoming a precious metal magnate.

As an aside........
I understand that this protocol is not for everyone and those of a squeamish disposition may balk at the very idea. Luckily I have been examining my shit for years as a means to monitor my internal parasite load. Inevitably/invariably we are all infested with an assortment of parasitic worms. Ideally you should examine your first proffering of the day. Examine your waste with a high powered hand lens. Take note of any pale ovoid eggs. If you are very lucky you may actually come across a live wriggley- deep joy. Use a standard Parasitology textbook for the identification of species. As a general rule, you should not have more than one egg per gram and no more than three parasitic species in one offering. Happy faecal hunting!

Say hello to a few 'freinds/fiends'


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

PC or not PC? What is the answer?

"The social disease of political correctness has entered daily life, inverting good to bad and attempting to rewrite proud histories as an imposition of white supremacy for which we all should make contrition"

Robert Agostinelli

It will come as no surprise to those who bother to read my mixture that I am not a fan of so-called, ‘Political Correctness’. It is an invidious concept designed to force the majority to fit the agenda of the vocal and strident minority. It strives to produce a homogeneous mass of like minds without a contrary view within its collective head. It stifles discourse and desires to turn us all into bland wishy-washy, leftist, liberals. We should never express a view counter to, or ‘offensive’ to, any group that is considered as 'different'.

Tis a matter of perspective, surely?  
The crass PC mob would enforce their narrow definitions on the rest of us by legislative force if they can- and sometimes they do. And if denied this opportunity they brow beat with shouts of ‘racism', ‘sexism’ or any other ism which happens to be in vogue with a few university professors and their 'right on'  lackeys.

PC is an imposition of thought tyranny and aims to prevent anyone expressing an individual idea if it is deemed as causing offense, by the few. It is against the free expression of choice and speech and smothers critical debate at all levels of society. It attempts to crush humour and satire: vehicles which have always been societies’ safety valves and avenues for free thought.

If we are not allowed to upset anyone, how can we please anyone, especially ourselves? With the loss of our basic freedoms, we lose our individual identity and ultimately our dignity. The PC mob is not interested in fostering frank debate or allowing a dissenting view. All must be subsumed to their thought control. And what does it actually achieve? Do we become more thoughtful citizens bent on the expression of all things none-offensive?  It fosters/festers resentment and fear for the expression of our true feelings and beliefs. Many become adept at clipping their speech, but their thoughts remain the same. 

Stupid, but with a nice arse

My contribution to the Great Debate

Pejorative term- perhaps you should be the judge?              Recommended PC term

Filthy gypo bastard                                                                          Itinerant travellers who never steal

Dark folk                                                                                        Melanin enhanced individuals                                                                                                                                                             who enrich society with their                                                                                                                                                             white smiles and simple exuberance                                                                                            
Pakis                                                                                              Shopkeepers or cranium removers                                                                                                                                                        (not mutually exclusive)        

Fat bastards                                                                                   Adipose engorged           

Dumbarse                                                                                       Intellectually unencumbered     

Spakkers                                                                                        Handicapable

White trash                                                                                    White trash

Natural disaster                                                                             Global warming occurrence 

Arse, big fat, arse                                                                          Big fat arse



Monday, 23 March 2015

Ferret in the hen house

Spotted in the local library- couldn't resist the share

Only my British readership will get the reference

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A Tale of Mirth, Woe and Pain, but mostly Pain

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) affect and blight the lives of up to 10% of our youth today. The social stigma and shame should not be underestimated. Also, knob rot hurts like fuck.

Here is my cautionary tale…….

Dat ain't me
Imagine a young Flaxen Saxon, brash, wickedly handsome, with long blond hair a flow, out with his mates on a Saturday night at the Brum Locarno Night Club and Abbatoir, circa 1974. All dressed in wide lapelled crushed velvet jackets and flairs.

Sometimes I’d leave at 3 o’clock in the morning covered in blood and snot. Sometimes I’d leave at 3 o’clock in the morning with a vaguely feminine form clamped to my arm. Once in the alley, at the back of the nightclub, I would distract my ‘date’ with a humorous impression of Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin. An impression I was particularly adept, whilst pissed.  In those days, I always kept a small squeezee bottle full of Domestos discretely inserted down my trousers. Whilst distracted, I would give my intended a quick squirt around the ‘bowl and rim’. I’ve always believed that prophylaxis is better than cure. Often I would add a couple of crushed Palma Violets just to show that I cared about feminine freshness.

As I’m sure you will remember, Domestos used to proudly announce that it killed 99.9% of all known germs. Alas, on one occasion I became a statistical anomaly. I had inkling that something was amiss, when two weeks later I expressed a small amount of bland, serous fluid. I thought the best course was to ‘wait and see’. Three months later my fireman’s helmet had the look of a busted pomegranate and issued forth a foul smelling odour. As I lapsed in and out consciousness a moment of serene lucidity descended. My tumescent and weeping member popped up, winked and wiped a thick, yellow tear from its eye: ‘you dozy, fat, blond twat, catch the number 127 bus from Dudley Castle to Birmingham General Hospital.’ And then it kissed me. I decided to take a premed of seven pints of Bank’s bitter before alighting in Corporation Street. Although late at night, my swollen member gave off a faint ethereal glow and I was mysteriously guided to Ward 19.

Dr Mugumbo took a long drag on his cigarette, squinted and softly exclaimed: ‘Mr 74/3879, that’s not clap, that’s applause.’  After a vigorous course of antibiotics and scouring, the end of my cock sloughed off. Thereafter I was as good as new. Chastened, I never performed Keith Chegwin impersonations again.     

Take home message: Substitute the Parma Violets with 2 parts battery acid and 1 part Vim. Oh yes, and always listen to your cock.

Friday, 20 March 2015


A virus that infects bacteria and the common flu virus 

Lay folk often consider evolution as a progressive process: a determinative mechanism forever forging more complex systems culminating in highly evolved and intelligent organisms. This is not how evolution works. Evolution is not deterministic in any meaningful, progressive sense. It is essentially a blind, indifferent process which does not necessarily result in more complex organisms, just those more successful, and those best able to cope with the current environmental challenge. This process is illustrated well by contemplating the 'Virus'. There is little doubt that viruses are successful from an evolutionary perspective. However, they are relatively simple entities even when compared to bacteria. Notice, I called viruses entities and not life. Most biologists don't consider viruses as constituting life at all, as defined by biological criteria. Their activities occupy a border area between chemistry and life. Humans like to categorise and place things into neat and orderly arranged boxes. Classification systems are a useful way to order knowledge and enable our brains to cope and explain complex phenomena. However, classification, although not necessarily arbitrary, is an artificial but useful, human construct. Things which defy natural classification make us feel intellectually uncomfortable. Viruses defy neat and discrete classification. They seem to oscillate somewhere between chemical reactions and basic existence; our minds balk at the irregular and unclassified. I find it fascinating that something not considered alive is subject to evolutionary forces, nonetheless. Perhaps our current definition of what constitutes life requires a rethink.   

Although not live in any conventional sense, they are capable of having a major biological impact. A virus consists of strands of DNA or RNA encapsulated in a protein matrix, or coat. That is about as complex as they get. They require a host cell to begin to manufacture and replicate. Once inside the host, the few genes they carry hijack the cellular apparatus and persuade the cell to manufacture viral genetic material and a new shiny, protein coat. This process continues until the host cell bursts to release the new assembled viral particles which disperse to infect cells of their own. And so the process continues...... This is what happens when a virus causes disease. Viruses are truly parasitic if they cause harm to the host. Most viruses don't act this way. They simply hitch a ride. The DNA links into the host cells’ DNA, and there the viral DNA stays, integrated in a form of suspended animation. They don't cause disease and go unnoticed by the host organism.

The ability of viral particles to exchange pieces of genetic material is thought to be an important process in evolution itself. Not only can they drop off bits of their own DNA, they can transfer host DNA between species. It is thought that about 10% of the human genome consists of DNA inserted by viruses. Some of this foreign genetic material has been with us for many millions of years and over eons has mutated and evolved into active genes.  

Alive, or no, viruses are, from an evolutionary point of view, very successful. A recent estimate suggests that there are about 320,000 different 'types' of viruses which are capable of infecting mammals. When you consider that virtually every organism on earth, including plant life and bacteria, contain viruses then the total number of diverse types is staggering to ponder. At best we can only estimate, but even a conservative guess would place the final number in the many millions and this could rise to the billions. Now, that is an evolutionary success story, especially as they have been around for at least 3 billion years. This is not bad for something that doesn't fulfil the biological criteria for life. All this achieved by simplicity, non-intelligence and non-sentient incomprehension. You can be assured that viruses will continue not to be alive long after the last human has relinquished his/her hold on real life.     

But please don't tell the religious fundamentalists. They won’t believe you anyway as they still think the earth is only 6,000 years and that man has a special and exalted position on God’s earth. Don't tell it to the virus either, they won't listen, they don't have to.

Hey, hang on guys, where are your mates? I've got a list 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Paean to DDT

A young Rachel Carson, in repose

Tis 53 years since Rachel Carson’s influential book, Silent Spring, burst like ecological napalm upon the public consciousness of doom. Rachel’s bleak ecological scenario galvanised the environmental lobby which culminated in the banning of organo-chlorine pesticides such as the much maligned DDT, in the 1970's.

I think Rachel was right to alert the public to the dangers of indiscriminate pesticide use. Unfortunately, her peculiarly grim environmental prognosis was not supported, at the time, or subsequently, by hard scientific evidence. Her strident and articulate advocacy drove the anti agenda and elicited a highly charged emotional response from the public. Politicians, who are prone to this sort of thing, recognised an easy bandwagon to board and travelled it all the way to ‘Irrationalville by the Sea’.

It has transpired, that DDT is not as harmful to birds and humans, in moderate doses, as originally thought by Carson. In fact, any negative effects are more than outweighed by its extremely toxic action against mosquitoes that act as vectors for deadly diseases such as malaria. It has been estimated that the banning of DDT has been responsible for more deaths than occurred during the First World War. Indirectly, and sadly, Rachel Carson must shoulder the responsibility for these deaths. Surely not a legacy she would like to be remembered for.     

Carson managed to change the world because of her energy, her passion. She was also successful because her ideology came at the right time. The 1960's had an obsession and an insistence on all things natural, good and wholesome. And, conversely and perversely, there followed the counter doctrine that all things man made were inherently inferior and downright harmful. It is wise to recall that the most poisonous chemical ever discovered, ricin, is plant derived. 

What lurks within 

Please note, what my prose lacks in rhyming couplets and iambic meter it more than makes up for in sage veracity.


O' Typhus where is thy sting,
As mediated through the lice vector, Pediculis humanus.
You can no longer stalk humanity as you did,
Except in certain parts of the Southern United States and Asia.
Was it not DDT that saved the Eyeties from certain doom in 1943,
Was not the minions of death laid low and beaten unto dust.
All insects smited and crushed under foot,
And spread as a chitinous carpet of impotent, crunchy, pestilence.

Although it cannot be denied that DDT is a bit indiscriminate,
It still has charms to still the beating wings of death.
Bloody shame about the honey bees,
But what ya gonna do?

O' fickle man, O' capricious man,
Although I did good work, how do you repay my toil,
You placed a ban on my dust and pandered mightily to hippy twats.
I can only spread my pall of death in lands covered in shit,
No longer can my mist envelop the vale of civilisation.

Except the Flaxen haired one did manage to smuggle a 56lb drum into Nuzzyland,
Where it stands proud and garaged ready to be used as a sword upon the crawly foes.
There it can be seen striking the humble aphid and the mighty cockroach alike,
Arse, big fat arse.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The unkindest cut of all

Humble Guru in action. Fuck, you could lose a badger in that beard. Arse.

You really can't make this shit up. India's 'Guru in Bling', Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, is under investigation over allegations that he coerced 400 of his followers to undergo the finality and indignity of castration. Even so, giving up 'da jewels' without a deign of protest is odd, especially amongst 400 lusty men folk. The Guru argued, with scant justification, that those lacking in 'nads' would be closer to God. Obviously the Swami doesn't have to undergo surgery to snuggle up to the Divinity close and personal. He wisely decided to keep his testicles in the love pouch, as God intended. Yea, the disciples testicles didn't come off all at once but over a decade. To contemplate mass mutilation in one sitting is sublime insanity, surely? We should take comfort that the castrations were carried out by bona fide medical doctors under the instruction of da Guru.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh (for it is he) is a controversial figure in his native India but nonetheless is revered and adored by his adherents. He is a flamboyant character/caricature given to the wearing of much gold jewellery. This humble holy man can afford it with an estimated wealth of  $50,000,000.   

Castration has always been a short cut to sanctity. Without the troublesome dangly bits which are the powerhouse of testosterone production, provoking all things sexual, a man can wholly devote his body and being to things spiritual. Without the intrusion of thoughts carnal and the consequent, and inevitable thrusting, a non-tumescent 'man' can focus on devotion incarnate. Twas Saint Origen who set the agenda. Origen gasped amongst humanity between 185AD and 254AD and was undoubtedly a devout follower of the Christ child. He became mired in ecclesiastical dispute due to his heretical teachings. One man's heresy is another man's doctrinal dogma. He pondered mightily on such germane concepts as, the pre-existence of souls and the subordination of the Son of God to God the Father. Good man that Origen.

With all the able men of the time arguing about the fine tuning of religious dogma no wonder the Empire collapsed. The Emperor would have been better served if the fine minds of the time had been harnessed to solving the real practical problems of the day, such as keeping the barbarian hordes at bay. A better stone throwing weapon would help, mayhap some bright sod could have invented gunpowder. I've digressed.

Back to the good Guru. Gurmeet is no stranger to accusation. Apparently, he previously faced accusations of sexually abusing his female followers- dat where the dangly bits come in handy. Also, conspiracy charges were forthcoming concerning the murder of a journalist in 2002 who had the temerity to wag and point his finger and suggest that the self appointed, but immensely popular 'Guru', was a complete fraud. Tis enough to make you cynical, innit.  

To my mind, any man who allows anyone to touch their bollocks with a knife deserve all they get, genuine medical vasectomy-ites  inclusive.  Although, in the latter category, when the ligature slips off, I  share their pain, I really do.

Watch and weep. Oh, by the way he is a movie super hero. These days, aren't we all.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Election fever cometh......

Mr Vole-Strangler canvassing for votes
The forthcoming General Election has forced the main political parties to publically state and defend their respective manifestos; lay bare their constitutional aims and to display their political wares on the stall of public scrutiny for all the electorate to view and digest. Fuck bucket.

Electioneering starts in earnest in the picturesque Spa town of Dudley. The incumbent Conservative Mayor, Mr Enoch Vole-Strangler, is campaigning on the dual ticket of annexation of Tipton and free pizza for the electorate. In addition, he will maintain the status quo and ensure that the council's ‘expense’ budget remains unaccountable/uncountable by the auditors. He will also invoke the hereditary principle whereby all his legitimate offspring are guaranteed candidature in safe seats, for life, in nice profitable upper middle class neighbourhoods.

Vole-Wrangler faces stiff opposition from a glittering array of political parties featuring:-

The Dudley Independence Party fronted by Mr Eli Mirage: Mr Mirage is also standing on the free pizza platform (next to the 3.30pm train to Stourbridge), but in contrast to Mr Vole-Dangler, this concession will not extend to dirty, filthy gypos and those swarthily complected (not a  real word). Also, he remains committed to removing Dudley from the West Midland Economic Union. He avers that that the good citizens of Dudley have devolved too much power to the ‘fat ferrets’ of Birmingham City Municipal Council. He vows to regain Dudley’s political independence and stem the flow of funds to the coffers of Westmidlands- funds which are being squandered on free pizza for the whole metropolitan district.

Bureaucratic 'fat ferret'
Mr Youhudi  Bignose from the 'Labour party’ (aka The raving monster loony party) has declared that, if elected, his party would squander the town’s gelt on grandiose public funded schemes; cancel all debt and introduce a prohibitive tariff on anyone with a job and not disposed to demanding benefits with menaces. The feckless and workshy will profit greatly from his proposals and, in addition to free pizza, will receive a 100% increase in largesse together with a promise that they will never have to work again. Furthermore, 50% of Dudley’s GDP will be siphoned off to General Despot Mugumbo of the Democratic Republic of Mumbojumboland in West Africa. The Labour party will keep its fingers crossed and hope that the psychotic, egocentric General will filter the money down to his oppressed and poverty stricken people and not spend it on a lavish lifestyle, a gold Rolls Royce and developing nuclear weapons. 
The Green party stand on the platform above, except that free pizza will be completely made of tofu and lentils. In addition, the voting franchise will be extended to all trees, except the native ones. It will be a capital offense to speak ill of vegetable matter. All electric power will be derived from perpetual motion machines thus negating the use of fossils fuels which represent unfair exploitation of long dead plant material.   

Let me introduce your Green candidate
A life long resident of Dudley, Mrs Edna Fuckwit, said in a recent poll: “I’m voting for that nice Mr Mussolini. At least he made the trains run on time. I hope this time they don’t hang him upside from a lamp post and shoot him." 

Mussolini extolling the virtues of free pizza

The good Burghers of Dudley await the election results with trembling, intrepid, trepidation……… Arse.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ebola Tombola

Professor Ebola Mugumbo searching for the 'cure'

We haven’t heard much of the ebola scare of late. But a scant few months ago it was all over the news. Vaunted as the ‘Doomday Bug’, we were constantly regaled by swivel eyed scientists and politicians about how we were all going to die, horribly, horribly…… Then something new bumped ebola from the front pages. It might have been images of decadent Westerners getting their heads sawn off, I can’t actually remember.

There is no doubt that the ebola virus is particularly virulent with a 90% kill rate. But sober appreciation is required. Since 1976, an estimated 2,500 people worldwide have succumbed to the disease. Contrast this with the 30,000 deaths in the US alone due to influenza, per year. However, unlike influenza, there is no evidence that ebola is an airborne pathogen which can be passed on by coughs and sneezes. Indeed, direct contact with bodily fluids is required for the virus to be transmitted. Even then, the virus has to enter through a cut in the skin or by contact with mucous membranes. 

Few in the West fear the influenza virus, although the avian strains detected 10 years ago provoked a similar 'panic button' response. It is salutary to recall that the 'Spanish flu' of 1918 killed 100 million people and accounted for more than five times the deaths suffered in the First World War.

Decades of conflict, poverty and lack of modern medical facilities are the likely explanation for ebola's prevalence in West Africa. Poor hygiene and traditions of close contact with dead relatives don't help. Funeral traditions often require relatives to wash the corpse multiple times over several days. Paradoxically, the deadliness of the disease and the rapid onset of symptoms to death limit the ability of the disease to spread. Countries with a modern infrastructure, efficient medical systems and sanitary living conditions have little to fear. One positive aspect of the 'scaremongering' has been the prodigious effort placed by Western governments and health care systems into developing vaccines. Candidate vaccines are currently undergoing animal trials and it is predicted that an effective treatment for the ebola virus will be available later this year. Shame that an antidote can't be found for the epidemic of strife, ignorance and economic ruin which runs rampant through much of the Dark Continent. Alas, I fear there is no known nostrum for these ills.

Cured by Ipod Mugumbo. That'll be three chickens- thank you very much

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Vowel Town will rise again!

Dudley: "Venice of the West Midlands"
After unprecedented rain, the Dudley to Birmingham canal burst its banks yesterday spewing millions of tons of turgid water and associated detritus over the once picturesque spa town. Rusty prams and dead gypos have been deposited as far as the roof of  'Mr Patel's Emporium for Cheap and Shoddy Crap.' In a recent interview, Mr Patel had this to say: "It is an unmitigated disaster, innit. All my plastic models of Noah's Ark and pieces of 'The true Cross of Christ' have floated clean away and have been replaced with rusty bicycles and a dead tramp called, 'Filthy Eric.' It will be days before I can remove all the pieces of Eric, from the till."

A crisis team has been hastily put together and led by the incumbent Mayor, the Right Honourable, Enoch Vowel. Mr Vowel pontificated lyrically from his hilltop mansion today: "I am directing rescue operations from my comfortable and dry six-bedroom mansion. I have been sequestered in the master bedroom with my voluptuous secretary, Miss Fanny Akimbo, working on a plan for the rejuvenation of Dudley town centre. After teaching Miss Akimbo to read and write I will rapidly move on to formulate the rebuilding of Dudley, or as it will be subsequently known: 'Vowel Town'."

Vowel contemplating Fanny
A life long resident of Dudley, Mrs Teapot O'Mugumbolinski, waxed verily: "This used to be a great place to live until dead foreigners started to float onto my property. I now have a Lithuanian growing in my garden. Although I have to admit, the plastic rendition of Noah's Ark which washed up on my sideboard is a sheer delight. And the pieces of the 'True Cross' have come in very handy in relieving the burden of my ear wax build up." Mrs Teapot O'Mugumbolinsky drowned later that day.

Mrs Teapot 'I don't like darkies' O'Mugumbolinski just prior to the immersion

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Illusory Prospect of Peace

Humanity, in war?

By spring 1915, the war on the Western Front had settled down to stalemate and static warfare. None of the combatants had expected this and were largely unprepared for this new form of large scale siege warfare. The reasons for stasis have been discussed elsewhere.  

Wise politicians and even a few generals, on all sides, realised that the power to break the lines and, therefore, end the war was beyond the power of any nation. Therefore, they concluded that the war would be a long drawn out affair lasting years. Victory would go to the side with the greater resources; economic; material and ultimately, and sadly, men.  It was feared that the fabric of European civilisation would be rent asunder and the victor would be no better off than the vanquished.

Approaches for peace were  considered with various degrees of sincerity by all combatants. Between 1915-1916 the Germans directed their attention at detaching allies. Thus their policy was not designed for peace directly, but for the successful prosecution of war and therefore a peace imposed by German might. The Germans contacted the Russians in 1915 through intermediaries and proposed a separate peace. With Russia neutralised, the German army in the East could redeploy on the Western Front. However, at this time the Russian Tsar felt honour bound to uphold his alliance with his Western partners. The Western allies considered offering terms to the Austro-Hungarians. Again this was a ploy to break up and weaken the enemy alliance. This plan was always a nonstarter.  Even if the Austro-Hungarians wanted peace, they could never oblige. They had become fiercely shackled to their senior partner and the Germans were not likely to hand over the key to release the Austrians from wartime servitude.   

The Americans at the end of 1916  proposed a ‘Peace Plan’ based on the principle of ‘No indemnities and no annexation’ and invited the belligerents to formulate war aims.  The plan pleased no one and was rejected out of hand by the Germans. The Allied response was shrewd. They couched their response in idealistic terms hoping to sway American politicians and public opinion. The document was not conceived as the basis for serious negotiation.  It may have achieved its aim, but it was not instrumental in converting the Americans to war;  U- boats would make this so.

The Germans in early 1916 tried again to break up the Western alliance. This time they planned to apply military attrition in cynical earnest. They hoped to bleed the French army white during the battle of Verdun. Artillery would do the killing and German manpower would be conserved. In this way, they would knock France out of the war so they could concentrate their main effort against the British. At this stage of the war, the Germans had recognised, and I think rightly so, that the British were their most formidable and implacable foe. The gambit failed, mainly because the Germans became intoxicated by the battle. Ultimately, they suffered as many causalities as the French. The war would continue, although no one could conceive how to win, or whether victory was desirable or even possible.

All nations perceived the war as one of defence. To return to the status quo would leave them as vulnerable as before. Also, even by the early stages of the war, the belligerents had suffered horrendous sacrifice and causalities. To return to peace would have meant sacrifice in vain. No matter that the sacrifices to come would be greater.

The politicians and press had whipped their respective civilian populations into a frenzy of indignation and patriotic fervour. For most nations the war had taken on the aspect of a crusade: ‘The Beastly Hun;’ The Asiatic Hordes.’ This of course was sound policy. The war needed enthusiastic support from all sectors of society if it were to be successfully prosecuted. The propaganda didn’t need to be true, just useful. But it meant that negotiation to end hostilities would result in disillusion, anger and despair in the homeland. Politicians feared political instability and even frank insurrection. The generals had other concerns. The war could only continue with the consensus of the fighting man. Coercion helped, but was never a major factor in making men fight. Perhaps the exception lay with the Russian and Austro-Hungarian units in 1917. Otherwise, the military relied on the martial ardour of their troops. The will to fight is a complex issue and will not be dealt with here. Patriotism and the need to defend the Homeland are only part of the equation. The generals believed that the ‘will to fight’ and morale would be adversely affected in the event of public negotiations with the enemy. If a compromise peace was not achieved, would the men still fight?  In the final analysis, serious negotiation would encourage debate and engender analysis at all levels of society. This is never a good thing in time of war. 

At the practical level, the common ground for realistic compromise was lacking. The Germans wanted to keep economic control over Belgium and turn Poland into a vassal state. They wanted to keep French coastal territory and sell back the rest. When the allies heard of the German ‘peace plan’ they vowed to fight on until the bitter end, regardless of cost. The belligerents were gamblers, no doubt. But the Allied contingent noted that they held the larger purse.  

So, it would come down to a military solution. The nature of warfare dictated that this would be a war of attrition. The side with the longer line of material and men would ultimately prevail. A war of attrition, in concept and application, is surely chilling and can only occur, paradoxically, in the most civilised of societies. But the world was afflicted with ‘war fever’ in 1915 and the disease would take hold and last a further three years. Indeed, the world had gone mad.

Men of the Great War
The pundits in 1915 were right, of course, the war would result in the destruction of European civilisation, but a 100 years would pass before this became apparent.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Urophagia- ‘Drinking Pee is Good for Thee…..’

Franny B after 15 pints of bitter and a pint of piss.....

As my regular readers have noted, I'm interested in things arcane and unusual. My interest was piqued the other day when I read an article extolling the health benefits of drinking your own urine. Apparently it has an ancient pedigree, so it must be beneficial, eh? As a professional biologist I was taught that urine is a waste product. Simply stated, nitrogenous waste present in the blood is filtered by the kidneys and ends up in the bladder mixed with water. Subsequently, it is passed through the urethra and ultimately into a receptacle of choice. As a general rule urine consists of 5% nitrogenous matter and 95% water. However, the ratio can change depending on hydration status. Early morning piss is notoriously concentrated.

I have an anecdote that I share with trepidation (not really). It should come as no surprise that my past was a little chequered. Imagine the young Flaxen circa 1974, incredibly/incredulously handsome with long blond hair aflowing- the fat birds were all over me. Tis a Saturday night. I'm out with my mates: Lugless Douglas (don't ask), Big, Bad, Bill, 'The  Albino'. He wasn't an Albino, but that’s another story, Franny B and Quincey. It had been a long day that turned into a long night, and we had been drinking since Noon. Anyway, Franny B wants another pint but he's run out money.  He comes up with a plan, at 1.00am. When has a plan proposed by the young and drunk ever turned out well? He vowed that he would drink a pint of his own urine on the condition that all his mates buy him a pint of beer. Of course, we were very drunk, young and stupid, so we agreed and Franny B had his beer. I've digressed/regressed. 

So, is there any evidence that urine drinking is beneficial in any regard? Absolutely not. This comes as no surprise as urine is a waste product which the body is desireth to remove. Drinking waste just results in it being excreted again in a more concentrated form. It is not advised to continue the cycle indefinitely. Furthermore, it is a misconception to consider that urine is sterile. Piss contains bacteria which are resident and sloughed off from the urinary tract. 

Some folk have been driven to drink their own urine in extremis. There are many reports of people stranded without fresh water resorting to drinking their own piddle. Medical science advises against the practice as it is likely to result in rapid dehydration.   

There are folk, often steeped in Eastern bullshit and alternative lifestyle crap, who honestly believe a tot of piss in the morning is a tonic to cure ills ranging from scurvy to cancer. They can believe what they like despite the contrary evidence. We live in a free society after all, at least for those who can afford it. I suspect drinking small amounts of urine does little harm. As for its therapeutic effects- you’d be better off pissing in the wind.     


This video was uploaded due to the kind recommendation of Kath Lissendon. All I can say is: Dozy Brummies

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Onan was a wanker

Knock, knock, knock on heaven's door

Tis no surprise that the religiously minded are against masturbation. In the 19th century, masturbation was associated with madness, blindness and a feeble intellect. No data were produced to support the association. No matter, in those days the young tended to listen to their elders and accepted this sort of thing, uncritically.  Not so in the modern age. The psychological harm must have been prodigious. No wonder we lost the Empire. It was knocked down circa 1976: had many happy moments there, snogging in the back row. I've digressed. The religious  have thought anew and have regressed into the Dark Ages. I blame it on too much wanking in the seminary/semenary. The radical Christian right now invokes the Devil for everything. He is everywhere waiting to pounce on the unrepentant sinner. Don't touch your naughty bits! Masturbation, by either sex, equates to eternal damnation. Okay, being sent to the 'hot place' for wanking is a bit extreme, but surely tis a sin worthy of some form of punishment? Seems a bit unfair to me. God provides the ‘pleasure buttons’ then tells us not to press. To my mind, it makes god a bit of a wanker himself. 

Of course, the above illustration is a spoof but reflects the view of many religious loonies out there. The religious right are so fucking righteous that it is often difficult to sift the humour from the dogma.  

I am doomed I tell ya, DOOMED! My eyesight and hearing are failing but at least I've retained my sanity. Arse.

The Devil's Dumplings