Sunday 30 August 2015

Flaxen's mug shots of doom....Arse

Frankly I'm bored and couldn't be bothered to come up with an erudite post. So you will have to put up with my sad musings and stuff garnered from today's trawl of the Internet for casual amusement. Today's offering is a collection of mug shots. I did a similar post some time ago and for the same reason. Strange that folk who manage to get arrested often have problems in other areas of life and are prone to poor life choices in general. When the Lord taketh away, he does so, with a spade.......   

This is pure supposition on my part, but I reckon this fella was arrested on drug charges- Crystal meth, anyone?
Who you looking at?

I'm guessing that this man does not have gainful employment. Put it down to my psychic abilities. I'm channelling a life spent mostly in gaol for this gentleman.   
Face that launched a thousand arrest

A woman of colour. Are we allowed to say that? Is negro the new black? Anyway, this negro lady is also an albino. Thus, she is white and therefore, a living oxymoron.  

Albinism: an autosomal recessive disorder

This man has a medical condition called a 'goitre'. The thyroid gland has become enlarged and the cause can be due to a number of reasons. Usually it is  treatable, given a good prison physician.  
That man has a fat neck

This is an interesting case of self-mutilation or self-expression, depending on perspective. Initially, I thought the gentleman had used a rubber band to achieve a moronic aspect. But I was wrong. The bands are the remains of his 'modified' ear lobes.

If I had tits like this I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. Admittedly this is not a mug shot, but funny all the same. Is it wrong to laugh at this man's lamentable deformity? Yes.
This man is feeling a right tit. Okay, it's a left tit. Although he could be looking at himself in the mirror. Still wouldn't work, Arse.

That's all folks......

Saturday 29 August 2015

North and South Dudley hold marathon piss up to avert carnage

The North Dudley negotiator contemplating the next beer

Today, it can be announced that tensions between  north and south Dudley have relaxed after a concord was hammered out in the Bilston pub, 'The Chain Makers Arms'. After 30 hours of continuous drinking, the negotiators from both sides emerged completely pissed and had this to say:

Mr Ping 'Ay up our lad'- Dudley South: "Yawm my bessie mate, I reeallly love ya". Who's that cunt looking at? Arse".

Mr Ding 'Faggots and mushy peas'- Dudley North: "I love ya too, ya daft bastid. Who's that cunt in the mirror....let's twat him". 

A digression is necessary to throw some historical light on the conflict between North and South Dudley.

In the dark recesses of 1950 a festering dispute became apparent between these similar but divergent nations. After a bitter conflict involving rhetoric, pigs pudding and tawdry words an uneasy peace ensued. However, no peace treaty was signed and the inhabitants of both principalities remain in animated limbo and suppressed tension.

Feelings were running high after a series of border incidents. Mr Eli Mugumbo of South Dudley was hit in the eye by a stale pork pie allegedly dispatched from North Dudley. The South immediately retaliated by broadcasting  Max Bygrave records on an endless loop into North Dudley. After 20 continuous hours the verve of the North Dudley leader snapped. Little is known about North Dudley's leader, Enoch El Twato, except that he is lard arse who rules the land with a weak limp wrist. In response he threatened to infiltrate South Dudley with teams of roving stag party revellers- the carnage this would cause can hardly be imagined. The situation could have escalated out of control resulting in the intervention of other West Midland states. However, at the 11th hour sanity prevailed and at opening time the respective representatives from North and South Dudley agreed to meet for a momentous piss up.  

Thus, it seems that no rock hard pastries will be lobbed northward and in return South Dudley will destroy its complete stock of  'Sing along a Max' vinyl albums. Thus a wider conflict was deflected, adeptly, adroitly and with aplomb.

Although conflict has been avoided, for now, the fundamental issues underlying the dispute still remain and linger like a fart on an airless, moonless, night.........

To be continued. 

Casus Belli?
                                                           And just to be cruel ARSE!

Friday 28 August 2015


What is a paradox? Simply stated a paradox is a statement or a situation that is self contradictory. Some apparent paradoxes are just a clever play with words and I would argue that they are not paradoxes at all but represent mere semantic baubles or playthings. In this category I would place the following statement: All Cretans are liars. I am a Cretan. The first sentence is fine however, the second sentence introduces a logical inconsistency which forces the argument into a never ending loop of doom.

Other paradoxes are more perplexing and can be very profound. Some are not paradoxes at all and are the consequence of faulty reasoning. In logic, a conclusion is valid if each premise in the argument is true. If in a chain of reasoning an error is introduced then the conclusion must be false. However, if every link in the reasoning is correct then the conclusion, no matter how implausible it may seem, must be true. Sherlock Holmes based his whole career upon this self evident truth.

Consider this situation: Three friends dine out in a restaurant. The total bill comes to $30. Each of the friends chip in $10 a piece. The waiter, Mr Mugumbo (who else), collects the bill but is informed by the cashier that the diners have been overcharged by $5 and this amount should be returned with aplomb and alacrity. However, the waiter is dishonest and decides to return only a $1 to each of the customers, thus pocketing the residual $2. As each diner receives a $1 rebate, they each pay $9 each for the meal. This equals 3 x $9, or $27. Now we know the waiter, Mr Mugumbo, has pocketed the $2 and that the customers have paid $27 for the meal: $2 + $27 = $29- but what has happened to the other $1? Remember the diners originally handed over $30!

Logic dictates that the single $ cannot magically disappear, but where has it gone? Therefore, we conclude that the reasoning must be faulty. But it is not a problem that can be readily solved, superficially at least. It can be solved with a little simple, but elegant mathematics. I won’t provide a solution- try and work it out for yourselves without going mad.

How would you classify this puzzle, also known as Theseus’s ship? Imagine a ship constructed entirely of wood. Every day a plank is removed and replaced with a new plank. This continues every day for three years until the whole of the ship is replaced with new planks. I forgot to mention that all the old planks are used as fuel for Mr Mugumbo’s furnace in his new restaurant which he managed to buy with money he defrauded from customers. My question is this: Is the ship the same ship which left the shipyard, admittedly on brief day trips, three years ago? To help you along, think about this: The human body replaces all its cells over a period of seven years. Even so, you still remain ‘you’, whatever that means. Just to be cruel, I would like to change the scenario. In this second instance, the old wood from the ship is used to construct a second ship (in your face Mugumbo!). After three years, there are therefore, two ships. Which of these ships is the original ship?

My final contribution is called the grandfather paradox. This is a problem well loved by science fiction writers. I will conclude with an answer which I think addresses the problem in a satisfactory manner. I attempt this because I really can’t help myself as it appeals to my mischievous nature. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether I have been successful, or not.

The Grandfather Paradox
What if you could build a time machine and return to a time when your grandfather was but a little boy. You then kill your grandfather. Therefore, you are never born. But if you are never born how  can you return to kill your grandfather? Therefore, you are born, which means etc…….

Many physicists would argue that this really isn’t a paradox at all because time travel is impossible. Mathematicians disagree and state that time travel can be modelled with equations. Of course, everything is possible on a piece of paper. There are some physicists who contend that a massive black hole could bend space-time into a loop and therefore travelling back in time is theoretically plausible, but practically impossible (why?).

I would argue thusly: There is a fundamental law of nature: Energy and matter cannot be destroyed or created although they can be interchanged (Conservation of Matter/Energy). Therefore, the total energy and matter, at any one time, in the universe is a constant. If you suddenly disappeared from the present, you would be removing matter and energy from now ie there would be less mass/energy in the universe, at that instant. When you arrive in the past you would add extra mass and energy at that instant. And assuming you still exist in the future, you would be adding mass and energy into the universe which is clearly impossible and absurd. Before I go too deep, ponder this: My argument would not apply to an infinite universe, or would it?       

But what if our decisions in the present cause the proliferation of alternative outcomes in the universe? If today I decide to stay in bed rather than go to work would two divergent realities spring into existence? One dependent on staying in bed, the other generated because I went to work. This line of reasoning opens up the possibility of contemplating an infinite number of scenarios (universes?). I don’t like this possibility, although some philosophers are drawn to it.   

The great English physicist, Stephen Hawking, thinks he has proved that time travel is impossible. Some time ago he planned and advertised a party for ‘Time Travellers only’. At the appointed date and time he was the only person to turn up. You may well ask why did Professor Hawking go to the party in the first place- another paradox, mayhap?

Finally, just a few words about the importance of paradox and knowledge formulation. Clearly, many so-called paradoxes are simple mind games which provide pleasure and stimulation of thought. There are some paradoxes, so deep, so intellectually intense that they provide a mental goad for further intellectual discovery. A good example is ‘Russell’s Paradox ‘and the Russell-Myhill Paradox. The initial and simple and easy to state Russell paradox was formulated in 1902. The Russell-Myhill version was a logical outgrowth of the original paradox.  Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and made significant inroads in mathematics, formal logic and philosophy. I recommend his book: ‘A History of Western Philosophy’; a masterful exposition of the subject, written in beautiful, crystal clear, prose. I can honestly say it is one of the few books I have read that have changed the way I view the world. I won’t get mired in these paradoxes however, for those who would like to drink deep into the wells of knowledge, I’ve provided a link. Be warned, it is not for everyone’s taste and a facility with formal logic notation is required. Arse.

This is not a paradox, this is science

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Testicular freshness matters

Are you concerned with ‘manly’ freshness? Then you need: New Improved DDT. New Improved DDT has been proven to infiltrate into those hard to reach crevasses and folds resplendent within the inner sanctum of your nether regions. No infestation too rampant; no moistness too damp. Simply apply New Improved DDT using attached applicator and probe (patent/patient pending) and watch those stubborn critters curl up and spin uncontrollably as the neurotoxin wreaks havoc. Perfect for those hard to reach scrotal wrinkles and deep dank, ravines.

Never infect your love one again!

Mr Invert Mugumbo (Rampant Homosexual)
"I use New Improved DDT to keep my fellas smelling and tasting fresh. After a hard evening of active 'bum fun'  I can't wait to immerse my hot sticky bollocks in New Improved DDT.  Keeps my nuts squeaky clean and free of tics and crabs". Arse, big sore arse. 

Fat poof

Use as directed. May cause impotence.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Onward and upward

I've been invited to become a feature writer at an online science magazine, called 'Relatively Interesting'. The site is a show case for articles on, not unsurprisingly, science. It is dedicated to debunking the irrational and woolly minded thinking which passes for 'truth and profundity', these days. My first article will appear next week. This means I will have to write sensibly. The editors will not allow the occasional, gratuitous, 'Arse'. Tis a pity, as the occasional interposed 'arse ' can add weight and gravitas to an otherwise mundane article. Also they are not too keen for me to write/rant about a certain one legged, long dead and vertically challenged, British comedian whose name escapes me. The only thing which will be allowed to pass through the filter of the eagle eyed editorial team is sensible stuff and shit. There will be no mention of Mr Mugumbo, at all, unless my medication runs out. Anyway, when my article is published I'll post the link. Arse.

Saturday 22 August 2015

The Wolf within our midst....

Meet canis lupus

It is hard to contemplate that the small, fluffy, white dog lying content and gently farting on my lap is essentially a wolf. The wolf and the domestic dog are virtually genetically identical. A diminutive Chihuahua is fully able to produce viable offspring with the wild Grey Wolf. Although the mechanics of the mating might be tad contrived and the yapping offspring may well have the disconcerting habit of ripping your leg, clean orf...... Let's digress.

However, genetics can be deceptive and it would be ill-advised to consider the domestic dog a variant of the wild wolf. Although it is highly apparent that man has selected for external appearance in the dog, most of the changes relate to behaviour and temperament. The modern dog exhibits infantile, puppy wolf, behavioural traits throughout life. This makes them devoted and dependant on their human masters. In turn we love them for their tractable and loving natures. For those of us who have kept a wolf, divergence in behaviour becomes noticeable when the animal matures at about two years. Now you know you are dealing with a wild animal. Mature wolves, even those raised by humans, do not like to be confined. They are independent creatures who do not react well to physical strictures. This is where you realise how smart a wolf is. Wolves are smarter than domestic dogs because they have to be. As top predator wolves need to be smart to hunt their fleet of foot prey. With a few exceptions, dogs have not been cultivated for their smarts. Herding dogs like the Border Collie and German Sheppard are the smartest dog breeds. And one word of advice: never try to take a bone off a mature wolf, even if you raised it from a pup. If you do, you will get badly mauled- trust me, I have the scars.

Scientific consensus reckons that the wolf became domesticated between 34,000 to 10,000 years ago. At this time, mankind practised a hunter-gather existence and had yet to exploit the land in a systematic and organised way. Farming would have to await a later epoch. The advantage accrued to wolves (lone wolves?) attaching themselves to human bands is rather obvious. A carcass left after the kill and once butchered would present an attractive meal to following wolves. Less aggressive and less inhibited individuals may have entered human camps and humans may have nurtured wolf cubs, fortuitously found. For man, wolves would greatly assist with the hunt. In the early man-wolf association, a symbiotic  relationship  would soon evolve. Two intelligent species coming together because it benefitted them to do so. Man would start, almost unconsciously, to select individuals with desired traits. Wolves do not bark, although this trait innately exists. This trait was easily unearthed and the sentinel dog-wolf was born. The advantage to man is manifestly obvious, although, as the owner of three dogs, I can attest that this ability can become tiresome.  

Over time, the dog was selected to become the bewildering shapes and forms we see today. When man became a farmer and became settled, subsets of the community acquired wealth. With wealth, came leisure. Now the elite could focus on a dog's aesthetic qualities. The true companion dog was born and the epitome of this madness is the 'toy breed'. These dogs are of no practical utility and are bred solely to evoke pleasure in their owner. In turn, these dogs have been selected to be adorable and loving.  

Howling because they can
Dogs have retained an interesting mix of vestige from their Wolf ancestry. I have three Maltese Terriers, who on  an ill considered prompt from their master, will lift their heads in unison and howl. Imagine what it is like to have the three of them on your lap howling and not so gently, farting. Now you know why I'm barking mad, howwwwwwl!

The hounds of doom- canis lupus familiaris: Mandy, Loki and Chloe

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Choose your Real Estate Agent with due prudence

Selling your home is never going to be easy- tis one of life’s most stressful events. Unless you market the house yourself, you will likely employ the services of your friendly neighbourhood Real Estate Agent. You place yourself wholeheartedly in their professional hands and expect, nay demand, they act entirely in your best interests and market your home accordingly. Professionally rendered photographs are essential if you are to pique the interest of potential buyers. I can’t help feel that some Estate Agents should spend more time planning their ‘shots’ in order to maximise the home’s most desirable features whilst minimising the less attractive elements. Here's a selection of Real Estate photos where both the owners and their Agents could have tried harder. Read on and weep……….

                                  I wonder what happened to my beloved pussy-cat,                      Tiddles? Perhaps he is reposing on the neighbour's overgrown lawn

Decor to die for. This is simply a true statement. As mortals, we are ultimately doomed. But do we need to be reminded every morning over our amphibious landing craft shaped wheaty, oaty flakes? This is the kitchen, isn't it?

“Dr Watson, where do you think Professor Moriarty has hidden the body?
“Indeed Holmes, a most vexed conundrum worthy of your higher investigative capacities”   

Desirable condo comes with very own floating dead body

Conveniently located next to the slaughterhouse

Suit the keen gardener

Check out the fella having a poo. Clearly both the owner and the estate agent
were in a hurry 

Er, not sure I'd trust the showers in this house 

And finally........
Arse, Big Fat, Arse

Saturday 15 August 2015

Chemical infiltration, akimbo

Forget global warming, today's greatest threat to the environment is a ubiquitous chemical contaminant called by the innocuous sounding name, dihydrogen  oxide. This chemical is everywhere and adulterates our rivers, lakes and sadly our seas. In fact, everyone has become infested with this insidious chemical. No wonder we are worried, harried and nonplussed.

There is only one cure or anodyne if you wish. Stop ingesting this insipid chemical. Rail against the gods and let fly. Write rants to your elected representatives and demand restitution. Only then can we be really free from chemical servitude.    

One day you will die replete with dihydrogen oxide running through your veins and every corpuscle of your wretched, oxidised and chemical ridden corpse. Arse. 

Thursday 13 August 2015


I confess I’m a fan of mathematics. There is an inherent beauty in a well put together mathematical formulae. Maths has absolute precision and reveals the hidden world of logic and form, but only if our reasoning and equations are sound (get a grip, Flaxen). Yet most folk are oblivious and see mathematics as simply a tool to count their money or enumerate their woes; pity. That said, mathematics has its mavericks, ideas and concepts which defy formal logical and mathematic analysis- they cannot be proved or refuted; infinity is such a concept.

What is infinity? Let's start with a formal definition and follow up with a deceptively simple exposition. First off, infinity is not a number, it is an abstract notion and usually, but not exclusively, represented by the symbol, (lemniscate). The following sequence represents an infinite number sequence in both directions:


Clearly the numbers can be extended forever. Even if you think of a very large number you can always think of a larger number just by adding 1. Similarly, there exists an infinite series of numbers between the integers, 1 and 2.  Pi is another example and represents the ratio of the circumference of any circle divided by its diameter. Pi (π) can be written as 22/7, or more usually: 3.14159265359. In this instance, Pi is calculated to 11 decimal places. Recently, mathematicians, with the help of a computer, have calculated Pi to 10 trillion digits! Pi goes on forever without ever lapsing into a discernable repeating pattern of numbers. Clearly some folk have way too much time on their hands. Although to be fair, mathematicians tend toward the obsessive (barking mad).

There are no numbers larger than infinity although the infinite set of whole numbers is twice as large as the infinite set of even whole numbers- confused? If not, you haven't understood the concept.

Moving swiftly on to cosmology. Many theoretical physicists are of the opinion that the universe is infinitely large. This is so counterintuitive that it defies contemplation by the human mind. While we may be comfortable with a series of infinite numbers, the realm of the real physical world, as it is experienced at least, is circumscribed by finite limits. How can infinity apply to our universe of material existence? The contrary possibility that the universe is finite and has bounds is equally disturbing. Although we can conceive of a closed but extremely large universe, we run into problems when we ask the question: what lies outside the encapsulated universe? The glib answer is: nothing. Nothing can exist outside the universe, or can it? To be honest, I don’t have satisfactory answers to questions, paradoxes and conundrums which have troubled brilliant minds for over two and half millennia. Perhaps there are certain areas of thought where questions should not be asked (an anathema to the scientist). For to do so is to embrace folly and thereby become mired and entangled in a web of inconsistencies and contradictions. "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent".

If things ain't weird enough, contemplate this. If the universe is truly infinite then it logically follows that there must be an infinite number of 'earths' and on some of these alternate worlds an identical copy of you exists mirroring your entire life. It also means that an alternative ‘you’ exists where the only difference is one of eye colour. Every conceivable possibility and every inconceivable possibility exists. The only limits would be the limits imposed by the natural laws of our universe. But what if there exists an infinite number of universes each with its own peculiar set of physical laws and constants? I'll leave you to ponder on these dark possibilities for as long as your sanity will allow........

In these circumstances, the finite enclosed universe seems like a sane alternative.    


Tuesday 11 August 2015

King Flaxen in a strange, strange land

King Flaxen taking a stroll

Due to an inexplicable rent in the space-time continuum, King Flaxen of the 10th century Tipton Saxons has been propelled forward in time to the Tipton of 2015. Equally unbelievable, Flaxen’s companion gray wolf, Loki, has also been transported, but in the process has implausibly transmogrified into a fluffy, white, diminutive, Maltese Terrier, called Bubbles……..

Scene 1: 12A Tipton High Street
Flaxen and Bubbles find refuge in a bedsit which they share with a flamboyant homosexual by the name of Roger.   

Flaxen sits resplendent and brooding over a steaming pot noodle (Chili chicken with veggies: gluten free) in a dilapidated kitchenette.

Roger enters stage left.

Roger, the fat poof: "Flaxen, dear heart, please take your elbows off the table, your chainmail chaffs the veneer something awful".

Flaxen’s hand flexes on the handle of his double-headed Danish war axe, 'Twat Cruncher' and his irritable bowel rumbles and lets fly a spray of gaseous waste. Bubbles topples and remains supine, twitching pathetically and gasping for dear life. Flaxen briefly considers relinquishing Roger of his turbulent, histrionic bonce but thinks better of it. Roger, after all, pays the landlord were-geld and provides Bubbles with small kibble and the occasional sweetmeat.

Flaxen, king of the Tipton Saxons: "Vex me no more Hrogar, afore I set my trusty wolf, Loki, upon your wretched be-rouged carcass. Go tear and rend, Loki"!

Bubbles twitches anew and then lies still, his tongue lolls and red flecks of foam be speckle his snow white fur.

Roger, the fat poof: "Oh, you are a card Flaxen, but don't forget you have an appointment with the Employment Agency at noon. Here, I've filled in your application form".

Flaxen, king of the Tipton Saxons: "Mincing knave go fetch my war-board, helm and my sword, 'Arse, Big Fat Arse Biter' (arse)".

Roger, the fat poof: "There you go Flaxen, but take care not to scrape against the wall. The scuffs can only removed with the most diligent of buffing".

Flaxen, king of the Tipton Saxons: "Come Loki, there is reaving to be done".

Bubbles slowly regains posture/composure and staggers toward Flaxen as if in an opium induced reverie........

Scene 2: Ensconced in Tipton Mall 
Flaxen flings aside the great double doors and regards the interior with a wary eye. He spies the queue and draws his mighty sword, 'Arse, Big Fat Arse Biter' (arse) and sets about the thegns, smiting mightily, until at strenuous last he draws close to the man he seeks. He hands in his application with blood-soaked hands and gasps, "Ye Gods and by Thunnor's breath, this place smells worse than a piss soaked midden pit on the cleaners day off."

Thegn one: "Sir, that's because this is a Post Office and you have just smited a line of pensioners waiting to pick up their largesse". Methinks you want the 'Employment Agency', next door".

Flaxen, king of the Tipton Saxons: "Thank you thegn one. Loki, let us tarry no more- to the Employment Agency"!

Scene 3: Inside Tipton's premier Employment Agency 
Thegn two regards Flaxen's resume with a critical eye: "I see you are king of the West Mercian kingdom of Tipton and are looking for a position which entails pillage, slaying, carrying off comely wenches and quaffing vast quantities of a honey fermented concoction, called mead. Let us have a look at your relevant experience and skills: Able to split a man from pate to breast bone with a swipe of your mighty Dane axe, 'Twat Cruncher'; can stack up the skulls of your fallen enemy to form a neat pyramid; capable of holding a blood feud and slaying transgressors even unto the little ones of the third generation. Also, I see you have finely honed interpersonal skills; can readily adapt to a fast paced, vibrant, work environment; work equally effectively as part of a team or alone and get on well with wolves. Well king Flaxen, I think I have the perfect job which will fully utilise your particular multifaceted and people focussed abilities. Have you considered becoming a real estate agent"?   

Flaxen gasps and briefly loses control of his once taut sphincter. A loud 'parp' ensues and a plume of noxious, noisome fumes rapidly rise and assail the olfaction glands of all present. Legs akimbo, Bubbles whimpers and collapses once more. A wheezing rasp escapes reluctantly from the Maltese terrier's slack jaw.....

Bubbles prior to being gassed

To be continued.




Sunday 9 August 2015

Who ya gonna call: Dam Busters!

Dam of Doom
I don't normally write posts about the Second World War: nothing sinister, just a personal preference. I am particularly beguiled by the Great War; have you noticed? I've always considered the second war to be a continuation of the first, with an armistice of 19 years, interposed. Therefore, from a historical context, to understand the first war is to understand the second. But on this occasion I have decided to comment about a man and an incident which occurred during the later conflict. May the Gods of War forgive me.  

On the 4th of August, John Leslie Munro died in an Auckland, New Zealand hospital. Nothing much to say you might ask. The man was 96 and had enjoyed a long and eventful life. The difference on this occasion is that 'Les', as he was known, was a pilot during the famous Dam buster raid of May 1943. In fact, Les was 'one of the few' and last surviving member of this hazardous mission.

The Ruhr Dams had been identified by the British as a strategic target before the war. If the Eder, Mohne and Sorpe dams could be destroyed the Ruhr valley would flood causing immense damage to the heavily industrialised region.
The Dam buster mission was the inspiration of Barnes Wallace, a gifted aero-engineer. Destroying enemy dams is a difficult task. They present a relatively small profile and are protected by a buffer of water. From a practical and logical perspective, a torpedo strike appears to offer the best means of attack. The Germans had anticipated this approach and had installed anti-torpedo netting on their important dams. However, the Germans had failed to take into account Wallace's insight and genius.

Every school kid is familiar with 'Ducks and Drakes'. In essence, it involves skimming a suitably shaped stone (usually flat) across a relatively calm body of water. Usually the stone (for it is it) can be induced to skip several times before slipping unconcerned into the watery depths. Tis all a matter of height, angle and skill. Wallace designed a bomb which would act in this way. A drum filled with high explosive dropped at a specific height and at a specific speed and imparted with backspin would skip across the water bouncing over obstacles before finally planting itself against the wall of the dam. The backspin enabled the bomb to hug the dam wall and a hydrostatic fuse would ensure that  3 tonnes of high explosive would detonate at the optimum depth designed to cause a breach. The concept was a wonderful application of minimum force to cause maximum damage. By destroying the dam, the pent up energy inherent in the released water would cause mayhem. Well, that is the theory, what about the reality?

In reality it is a good idea to consider the enemy response. The Germans were well aware of the vulnerability of their dams and consequently planned accordingly. The dams were protected by batteries of anti-aircraft weaponry. These weapons were particularly effective against large, low-flying planes and therefore, the mission was always going to be costly in lives.

The British modified their Lancaster bombers to accommodate the unconventional bomb. Most of the armour was removed together with the upper gun turret in order to reduce the weight of the plane. The bomb itself was positioned to protrude from the belly of the bomber.  

The mission was planned for the 16th May to coincide with the highest water levels confined by the dams. The British formed a special squadron to undertake this mission and 30 modified Lancasters became available to the 150 aircrew. The bombs would be dropped at night, from 60 feet, at 240 mph. Nineteen planes took part in the attack and were organised into three formations. Initially, the planes flew at 100 ft to avoid radar detection.  It demanded the highest flying skills to pilot the heavy Lancaster bombers as they flew at night and low through enemy territory. During the approach, three Lancasters were lost due to accidents and enemy fire. While two planes had to return to base due to damage.

The first formation arrived at the Mohne and successfully breached the dam at the cost of a downed aircraft. The Eder dam was undefended as the Germans surmised that the difficult terrain mitigated against enemy attack; they were wrong. The Eder dam was also breached although one of the Lancasters was severely damaged by the blast of its own bomb. The attack on the earthen Sorpe dam caused damage to the crest but did not cause a breach. The return flight was not without event and a further two Lancasters were lost. Nine planes survived the mission out of the nineteen which took part in the raid. of the 133 men who took part, 53 were killed and two taken prisoner.  

The Aftermath
The greatest damage accrued due to the loss of hydroelectric power which had a negative affect on arms production, but only in the short term. In addition, 11 factories were destroyed and a further 114 were damaged. Roads and bridges were swept away and at least 1,650 folk lost their lives, many of them foreign workers drafted to work in German industry. Furthermore, many thousands of workers were diverted from the construction of the channel defence works to work on the reconstruction of the dams and devastated region. However, the raid did not have the hoped-for impact on German industrial output. By June 27th, full electric power had been restored and in the final analysis, the raid amounted to a minor inconvenience for the Germans. Its main influence was on the morale of the British public. It occurred at a time just as the war was tipping in favour of the allies and the propaganda engendered was a welcome lift for the British spirit.  

In the popular British film of the raid, Dam Busters (1955), there is a memorable scene where Wing Commander, Guy Gibson plays with his dog, 'Nigger'. In later screenings the dog inexplicably becomes Digger (Trigger in the American version). Sadly, not only does this represent an assault on the truth and an affront to all decent folk who abhor censorship, but in real life, 'Nigger' became the first casualty of the mission as he was run down and killed on the day before the raid.  

Nigger and his master

For an overview of the raid, consider this: 

Bugger! I'm not very adept at this sort of thing. Where is Dioclese when I need him? Another bloody holiday, lazy sod. Anyway, copy the link and put it into Google images. The second image is the 'infographic' I'm thinking of- a good summary of the operation. Arse.

Thursday 6 August 2015


Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam....
As a school kid in the 1960s, I used to look forward to lunchtime with a relish born of extreme hunger. I'd wonder what delights dwelt within my grubby, ink besmirched sandwich box. Perhaps it was deli ham topped with tangy relish on thick wholemeal bread? Or could it be a French baguette filled with beef and salad; lightly seasoned and festooned with a thin slice of Edam? I would be full of anticipation and joy and could hardly wait until the noon lunch bell clamoured. Then, I'd rush into the dining hall and quickly release the catch on my lunch box with gleeful, eager abandon. With eyes squeezed shut, I would wait until I could bear it no more........

Spam! Spam on limp, budget, sliced bread with a hint of cheap margarine. Fuck, it was always Spam. Every fucking day my lunch consisted of spam sandwiches. Don't get me wrong, I quite liked spam, but not every day. Luckily, Billy Wilson used to have a lunch box replete with a cornucopia of sweetmeats- the bastard even had a Mars bar. And as Billy Wilson was a lot smaller than my good self, Billy Wilson tended to eat a lot of spam. Life ain't fair, is it?

Why spam is called spam is shrouded in mystery. Apparently only a few key executives were initiated during its conception/inception. Some have concluded that SPAM is an acronym for 'Spiced Ham' or 'Specially Processed American Meat’. In truth, only a few former high-level executives of the American manufacturing company, 'Hormel Foods' are/were cognisant of the real meaning of the name.

Spam was first introduced in 1937 and became immensely popular during the Second World War with the troops. During the conflict over 150 million pounds of spam were consumed. After the war, Spam in bulk was distributed to the populations of war devastated Europe and quickly became a staple for many.

Today, in the West, Spam has become associated with the 'economically impaired'. However, there are parts of the world where the pink meat is considered a luxurious delicacy. The Japanese (who else) add Spam to their traditional dish chanpuru and Spam burgers can be consumed at ‘Burger King’.

As an emergency food, Spam has no peer, although canned corned beef comes a close second. It is cheap, readily accessible and lasts forever. The composition of Spam can vary and a plethora of speciality Spam has come into being. However, ‘Spam Classic’ comprises of the following: pork shoulder, ham, salt, water, potato starch and sodium nitrite. Anyway, I’m off to enjoy a few slices fried to a crisp, smothered in ketchup and lovingly placed betwixt two pieces of processed, white bread.

Apparently, the term 'Spam' has a new, modern connotation.      

                                                                    Bloody Vikings!

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Land of Milk and Blow Flies

Guess who?

Mr Teacosy Mugumbo, Zimbabwean Minister of Immigration and Latrines announced his concern amid the growing immigration crisis. Thousands of young Zimbabwean men are flocking to distant shores in order to escape generations of prosperity and political stability. They can be seen boarding ramshackle and leaking boats in a bid to escape the liberal and beneficent government of the presiding democratically elected despot, Mr Banana Mugumbo-Mugumbo (no relation). Often they sail for neighbouring countries mired in desperate poverty and political corruption, such as Mumbojumboland. They see their destination as a land of 'flies and shit' and flock ashore in order to take a piece of the non-existent social security system. Here they hope to build a better mud hut and live off the abundant fat, black, blow flies which prosper in the feculent, excrement befouled waterways and fetid land.

Likewise, the recipients of the indolent horde (for it is they) are also in tumult. Mr Bone Through-Nose, Minister for Border Control and Summarily Mass Executions of the neighbouring country of Mumbojumboland had this to say at today's hastily convened emergency meeting: “This is a liberty innit. As if we need any more filthy Kaffirs populating this cess pit of a nation. We have enough feckless, lazy, violent young blacks of our own and want nothing to do with an influx of the same”.

The problem facing this emerging, but work shy nation, is that once the illegal immigrants land, they quickly blend in with the equally shiftless, indolent, torpid and dull indigenous population.

A recent Zimbabwean immigrant had this to say: "In Zimbabwe, I was permanently unemployed and infested with canker sores and Ebola, while here in Mumbojumboland, not only am I unemployed but I've contracted AIDS and a particularly virulent form of Dengue fever. This is a condition I could only have dreamed about in my native country of Rhodesia" (surely some mistake). Arse.

Location, Location, Shit

Sunday 2 August 2015

Back to reality.....

The infamous Bangla Road, Phuket

I've just returned home from Thailand, tired and physically drained. Twenty-five hours of travelling, most of it spent in three hectic and debilitating terminals. The longest flight was an overnight leg from Bangkok to Sydney. Sleeping in economy is never easy, but when you have the under-two squad screeching throughout the whole trip.......

I'd like to conclude my series (a trilogy in four parts) on Phuket, with a few personal observations.

Phuket is an astonishingly beautiful place. Rich verdant hills cascade to azure waters befringed by golden beaches (stop waxing lyrical, Flaxen- you big ponce!). The temperature is a constant 30 degrees and the sea is warm and clear. Paradise it is. Normal it ain't. The region is an aberration; a beautiful whore. Phuket exists as it is because of tourism and many of the tourists tramping the streets are looking for sex. There are few places in the world where a man of my age can walk into a bar and pick up an attractive young woman within 20 minutes. Beautiful women from all over Thailand, but especially from the north, flock to Phuket to take a piece of the tourist gelt. They come from regions mired in desperate poverty and they see Phuket as their financial salvation.

Others come also. Older and the 'not so pretty' women can work in the massage parlours or sell trinkets on the streets. Men become stall owners, tailors or taxi drivers. The competition for your attention is fierce. By the way, not all massage parlours are thinly disguised fronts for prostitution. Many provide simple, traditional, Thai massage. Stalls selling 'designer' branded goods are everywhere. Where else in the world could you buy a 'genuine Prada' bag for $20? Well, perhaps Hong Kong. And what is Phuket's obsession with selling suits? To thrive in this environment, or just to survive, the Thais have to be as cunning as a fox and as quick as a ferret as they fight for your attention and eye contact.

It was my observation that most of the Thais in Phuket make very little money. One day I had a relaxing one-hour foot massage. The treatment cost me 350 baht or the equivalent of $NZ14. I chatted with the delightful Thai girl as she expertly worked my feet and what she told me was revealing. Of the 350 baht, the girl kept 100 baht. The rest went to the shop owner. She said, on average, she had four customers a day. For 13 hour days, she was making 400 baht a day, the equivalent $NZ16.

The girls working the bar earn a lot more, but we are talking about relative economics. Most are willing to become your 'girlfriend' for the length of the holiday. In return, the man will buy the girl items as required throughout the duration of the contract. For the gentleman (for it is he) it is no more expensive than pandering to his wife's financial excess. The 'Holy Grail' for the girls is finding a Western husband. In an instant, the hard life melts away and they become financially content. As for real happiness- there can be no happiness with an empty belly.

If there is real money to be made, then it is to be made by the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers. Considering the price of other services in Phuket, the taxi tariff is relatively expensive. A short ride from the hotel to the main area is a consistent 200 baht ($8). For a five minute drive, the drivers are earning half the day wage for the average massage girl. I suspect the drivers are organised and managed as a cartel. They don't appear to compete between themselves. Also, I don't think you would be allowed to turn up one day and set up your own taxi service. I wager, that in this circumstance, you would quickly incur great wrath. The famous Thai smile would disappear with celerity or alacrity depending on lexicon. Everything is strictly regulated. The number of taxis is kept within bounds, they are protected and of course, regulated. Which begs the question: Who is doing the regulating? I'm speculating that someone, and someone close, is pulling the strings and making loads of money as a consequence. Isn't this just the way the world works for us all if we are lucky?

In the final analysis, would I go back? And the answer is yes. Phuket has so much more to offer than the sleazy, sex thing. Although, I do confess, on the next trip I will go alone and leave my wife fully immersed in day time tele and 'Hello Magazine'. Arse.

Mayhap I won't come back......... 

Tuk-tuk: The only way to travel, at a price