Saturday 30 July 2022

O No, Not Another Bloody Japanese Sniper Story....

Private First Class, Origami Mitsubishi, Prior to His Execution for Being Very Naughty 

Those of you who have followed my blog from its inception, will no doubt be painfully aware, of my unhealthy obsession with Japanese snipers present in the West Midland towns of Dudley and Tipton during the Second World War.  This obsession, nay compulsion, stems from boyhood trauma after being shot at by an anachronistic Japanese sniper whilst cavorting in coal dust (that was I that was cavorting in the coal dust, not the sniper). I was but three feet from Private First Class Karate Nagasaki-Mugumbo when he unleashed death from the muzzle of his rifle. Luckily for me, coal dust from my gyrating antics had stirred up eddies and a miasma settled on the sniper's pebble thick glasses thus impeding visibility. The speeding bullet went wide eventually settling down with a group of itinerants at number 10, Ferret Street......... Ever since this rather implausible experience I have always had a baleful interest in the eldritch domain of Japanese snipers.   

The problem of Japanese snipers became so problematical and intense that the Dudley council after the war decided to convert the old lard rendering factory into a home for 'Bewildered and Short-Sighted Japanese Snipers'. By January 1946 the home was at full capacity and expectant and homeless Japanese snipers were directed to the nearby town of Tipton for succour.    

The superintendent of the home, Captain (retd) Enoch Vowel keeps a tight ship and expects his charges to perform inspiring and heart-uplifting tasks for the duration of their stay. For instance, Monday involves its denizens performing a spirited and sanguineous recreation of the 'The Rape of  Nan King'. Local school children were encouraged to take part. A health and safety notice was issued explaining that the snipers participating should take care not to cut their fingers on the sharp bayonets issued expressly for the 'Extravaganza'. Afterwards, Mr Khan, of 'Khan's bone glue processing factory' agreed to collect the children's bodies for disposal, at no cost to himself.

The week's dynamic programme reads as follows:

Bide a Wee Home For Bewildered and Extremely Short Sighted Japanese Snipers 

                This Week's Activities/Atrocities

Monday Morning Cinema: 'Rape of Nan King' Technicolour version 

Monday Afternoon Inspiration: Lecture by the living god, Emporer Hirohito. 'How to get away with wartime atrocities and thrive'  

Tuesday Lecture: 'How To overcome unnecessary rhotachisms'  A lecture by Prof. Hiroshima Myopia.

Wednesday Practical Workshop:   'Shortsightedness and how to stop colliding with various purposely placed barriers in the tortuous corridors of the facility  

Thursday:      'Korean Comfort Women Night Extravaganza' 

Friday:          'The Advantages of the Berri-Berri Diet'  Presentation by  Dr Shinto Kendo-Nagasaki

Saturday:   'Recreation of the Death March'  Inmates will be forced marched in the Dudley                                     heat and humidity receiving beatings from the home's compassionate guards meted out arbitrarily and with gentle brutality (surely an oxymoron ) 

Sunday:      'Sunday Morning Service' with the Right Rev Hypocritical Mugumbo. Followed                                     by the execution of the survivors of yesterday's jaunt

Anyone particularly interested in my previous musings upon Nippon snipers can access my intrepid pontifications, by searching my blog. To be honest, I can't be arsed (arse) to put in the necessary links.

Lest we forget........... My uncle Charlie never did

Friday 29 July 2022


Methinks tis time for a light-hearted post to cheer the spirit. And let's be honest things ain't going too well in the world. It seems the doomsday brigade is in fine fettle and predicting the end of all things. The Jehovah Witnesses believe that we are about to enter the period of 'Great Tribulation' prior to Armageddon. Afterwards the righteous will experience paradise on earth and 144,000 especially favoured folk, called the 'Anointed' will be whisked off to heaven to commune with God, Jesus and lesser supernatural minions. The problem, however, is that only JWs will saviour God's favour and the rest of humanity will be blasted unto oblivion. As there are only about 7,000,000 JWs the vast majority of humanity will cease to be. This seems a little harsh for an all-loving deity, but God moves in ways mysterious and unknown to mere mortals. 

But this post is not concerned with mankind's inevitable demise, whether caused by benevolent deities or, more likely, by our own hand; uncharacteristically I have left the beaten path and digressed. Today's topic, as described in the title, is concerned with phobias. Most of us have phobias. For instance, I have a strong aversion to my knee caps moving about a bit in a circular manner (Motopattelaphobia). This is a very common phobia, and about 10% of the population have a similar dread. Other common phobias: fear of heights; fear of snakes and the fear of spiders and others, too numerous to contemplate. This post is not concerned with these, humdrum, mundane horrors, for today's offering focuses on the rare and mostly unknown terrors afflicting humanity.

Let me start with a definition: A phobia is an irrational fear of an object or living creature (ie a ferret, Muscelidaphobia).


Peanut butter is sticky and has the mildly annoying habit of sticking/cloying to the mouth, palate and tongue. For most folk, this is just irksome, but not catastrophic. And yet there is a small proportion of humankind that experiences panic and real fear of this occurrence. This is an easy phobia to avoid and sufferers should stick (pun intended) to less 'clingy' comestibles. Perhaps tis the fear of choking that is the real issue for some and I can appreciate that peanut butter could be difficult to dislodge if you are prone to the habit of alternative nutrition. In particular, those who try to inhale their food and extract nutrition from the lungs- not to be recommended. 


I can express sympathy for those afflicted with most phobias on this list. I might not understand the problem but I can empathise with the sentiment. However, this particular phobia does not elicit any sympathy. Nomophobia is the unwarranted fear of not having their phone with them. This is more an irritation rather than a phobia. Some folk consider their phones as a natural extension of the body and continually examine their phone to check messages, and/or access information at will. My 12-year-old granddaughter seems glued to her phone and if it was up to her doting grandfather, her access would be curtailed and time-limited. I have made the suggestion to my daughter, however, as usual, my parenting wisdom is blithely ignored.     

Apparently, folk so afflicted express signs of distress, panic and even trauma once separated. A typical First World phenomenon. I can't begin to consider why individuals should act this way. Although all phobias are irrational to a lesser or greater degree, I'm more inclined to regard this 'ailment' as a behavioural addiction. 


No, this is not the fear of being eaten by a carnivorous plant- that would be 'Triffidaphobia'. Anyway, Venustraphobia is supposedly the rare irrational phobia of beautiful women. Men, thusly affected experience extreme anxiety in the presence of an attractive woman. Although it is said that the trait of 'attractiveness' is highly subjective, studies into what men find attractive in a woman are actually objective, measurable and predictable. Although this phobia is considered rare, I am of the opinion that it is more common than society would feel comfortable acknowledging. Why else would the rate of virginity in men, in the 18 to 30 range, go from 6% to 27% in the span of 30 years? Of course, I'm being flippant. The cause(s) for the rise in male virginity has a solemn itinerary/litany of reasons that are not to be addressed in this post.  Although, I will say this: there seems a strong correlation between male low self-esteem and female entitlement- enough said, for now.


This one, to me at least, is an enigma. To the strict Latin gramatician, this phobia reads as a 'fear of shit'. And let's be honest, everyone is afraid of shit. But apparently, this word construct evokes the fear of 'ugliness'. Tis interesting. Most folks are inwardly repulsed by physical ugliness in our fellow man. However, in our wonderfully accepting society, we can no longer express our natural revulsion. Everyone is beautiful and therefore, all is good in society. Sadly, it seems, that no one consulted human nature. Let us be frank. There are some aspects of our humanity that are very much hard-wired into the fabric of our very being. And one of those things is the natural and heart/head felt abhorrence to ugly folk who elicit negative aesthetic responses. These unfortunate souls are to be described as, FUGLY. There is no getting away from it. And forget what we are 'supposed to think', that ugliness, like beauty, is subjective. Go tell that to the poor benighted souls that deserve the aforementioned appellation. Society and it has always been this way, has approved and adored beauty. To be born ugly is to be relegated to the status of a lesser human. Again, don't listen to what folk say, watch what they do.......   


This is one of my personal favourites: Tis the fear of long words and to be fair, the above word is enough to strike extreme trepidation unto the most stoic, intrepid and stout-hearted individual. Again, I'm at a loss at the derivation. As many of these 'phobia words' are a fusion/intrusion of Latin, or in this instance, Greek into English's already mixed lexicon, I am at a loss to see how the Greek for 'water horse' has any legitimate reference to large words. To add to an already tortured etymology, the 'sesquippedalio' part is Latin, for long words. Now you know why I like burning stuff.    

  And finally.......


I can't but think that many so-called phobias are artificial constructs encouraged by the 'Empathetic Modern Western Society' motif. And so we come to the enforced and very artificial 'phobia', suitably called, 'Phobophobia'. We are supposed to accept that there are folk in the rarified atmosphere of  'reality' that take this shit seriously. May such folk become enfeebled and their twinkle entangled in fine twine that is subject to tightening- and yes, may their kneecaps move about, a bit, in a circular motion.  As a society, we have encouraged such enervating behaviour that deserves the contempt of our ancestors. And this was supposed to be a light-hearted post designed to lift the spirit and provide uplifting enchantment......  I have digressed.




Sunday 24 July 2022

Face of Jesus: Tis Complex

The face of Jesus?

Tis a quiet Sunday afternoon and I'm chilling in my study and, therefore and consequently, I'm in a contemplative mood. I have just finished my second beer and I'm bathing in the delight of the 'second beer'  phenomenon. If you don't understand what I'm saying then you should not be on this blog. Desist immediately, and return to a blog more in keeping with your metabolic/mediocre keeping.

Thus, after revealing these very pertinent and relevant words (double positive) I will persist in the task at hand. Don't expect an erudite and/or well-researched post. In this instance, I am just going to pour out a stream of consciousness, as it happens to my tortured and rather overstimulated brain. May Woden forgive me.

Therefore, without further ado, I will launch, full tilt at the task at hand. For today's topic, I'm going full tit at the vexed and oft misrepresented topic concerning Jesus' appearance. The Gospels are no help, nor are the epistles of Saint Paul. Neither sources were remotely interested in Jesus' physical appearance. And this is in keeping with the standard Jewish doctrine of the time. Physical renditions were not to be encouraged. God's image was not accessible to Man, and as Man was made in His image, personal art was an anathaema.  Also, Jews were indifferent/diffident portrait artists (Arse). Once the Romans began to stop burning/crucifying Christians and began the slow, and often painful process, of embracing Christianity, poor Roman art, often in mosaics, depicted a Roman Jesus, replete with toga and burnished hair. In the Renaissance, we come upon Jesus encapsulated in the Western Tradition. Here we are confronted/affronted with 'North Western European Jesus'. That is the abomination perceived in numerous cathedrals and expressed in jarring lurid/florid representation in varied stain glassed monstrosities. And thus we are confounded with 'Jesus of Tipton'. A man enshrouded in long flowing, fair locks, blue eyes and a pale complexion unburnished by an unforgiving representation of a Meditteranean sun.

A bit of reality: The denizens of Palestine, two thousand years ago, were likely to be moderately toasted by a near eastern sun; of modest stature (typical for the time); the hair of burnt coal/coconut and eyes reflecting the dull, brown Judaen mud. A far journey from Utah, Jesus. Someone needs to tell the denizens of Mid-West America. Methinks they won't listen or comprehend. Nuff said.     

The face of Jesus


                                                     And Inevitably- 'Ferret Jesus'

Friday 22 July 2022

Love and the Single Ferret

In this post, I'm going 'off script'. Tis, not a topic I would usually contemplate, but I'm in a wistful reflective mood and thus I'm happy to pontificate on stuff I would never likely put to paper. I'm a student of the human condition, otherwise known as a self-absorbed pretentious twat, and I'm curious about how humans interact with each other and what this reveals about our innate biology.

So today, I'm writing about the 'mating game' and particularly with regard to mate selection in the modern world. This is a male-centric view, for which I make no apologies, and as such encompasses my own experiences in the 'Great Game'. 

In 1972 I was 16 years of age and just left school. At this stage in my life, my dating experience was zero. Like many of my peers, I was socially awkward and immature. But things were about to change.....  Not too far from where I lived there was a youth club and every Friday night, it would host a 'Disco'. Most of the patrons came from the local High School, situated in a nice middle-class suburb. In contrast, my friends and I hailed from the local council estate and were attracted to the venue in order to meet girls. Just before our first visit, we bought booze from the local off licence and the four of us found a quiet spot where we shared and consumed a bottle of sherry and a few cans of beer. Thus suitably fortified we hit the dance floor. Now we were the interlopers and unknown to the local girls. In contrast, most of the attendees were known to each other and so we were considered a novelty and perhaps a little exotic as we came from the wrong side of the tracks. To our surprise, we proved popular with the local girls and I had a succession of girlfriends in a relatively short time. In fact, during the six months of attendance, I managed to secure five, short-lived and shallow relationships. Of course, this went to my head a tad, and after six months I became bored with dating 16-year-olds and was ready to hit the pubs and clubs. And this is exactly what I did and quickly found that girls in my age bracket (17 years) were completely disinterested and were dating 25-year-olds. This came as a shock and my ego suffered accordingly. As one 17-year-old said to me: "You are cute. Come back in 5 years". I became a tad disenchanted.  My nascent love life had been curtailed. Very quickly, my youthful exuberance, confidence and, perhaps a tad of insipid arrogance, were no more. I had become acutely aware that in the eyes of girls, my age, I was but a callow/shallow youth who lacked a highly desired 'dating trait'- maturity. It was a hard lesson and I became acutely aware that women, especially young women, can be excruciatingly cruel.

And so it came to pass that I gave up on the dating game altogether and it transpired that I would not have a romantic liaison for nearly two years. O, the humiliation of those love sterile years!

As an aside: I always had a thing for redheads. Two ex-girlfriends were of this stripe. However, I ended up marrying a blond, go figure.   

Anyway, that's enough about me wittering upon the travails of my incipient love-lorn beginnings. Let me know in the comments whether you have experienced a similar experience concerning love's youthful folly.              

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Drunk as a LORD

    Churchill Between Sips

Churchill is a man that provokes extremes. To some, he is the man that steered Britain to a successful conclusion during the Second World War. The man who refused to negotiate with Hitler in the summer of 1940 even though Britain was in a dire predicament. Even the American ambassador predicted that Britain would lose the war. To others, he represents all that was wrong with the British elite and aristocrats in general: brash, arrogant and with little regard for the common man. Of course, both viewpoints have merits and it is easy for both sides to rely on voluminous amounts of evidence to support their thesis. But when we are dealing with such a complex character, it is too easy to mould the man into any conceptual receptacle of our choosing. To my mind, he is a difficult character to analyse. For one thing, we are overwhelmed by the printed material on this man, much of it written by Churchill himself. Even Churchill's accounts of his own actions can be conflicting and contradictory- I steer my readers to his own memoirs of the Second World War, in five volumes. Personally, I have suspended judgement upon this man, although I will acknowledge that he was a 'Great Man', whatever that might mean, although it does not abrogate the man from moral censure.       

For today's fare, I'll discuss just one aspect of his life, and very briefly at that; his drinking. Churchill's drinking is the stuff of legends and from accounts, it is difficult to credit how he could walk let alone direct a wartime government.

It is said that he sipped a glass of whiskey throughout the day. However, this was not neat but rather a tincture with much water. Apparently, it was an expedient borne of his time in South Africa. The local water was tainted and unhygienic and therefore a dash of whiskey was used to sterilise the dodgy water. At lunch, which was rather rich and large, he would knock off a bottle of champers. Every meal was accompanied by alcohol. His favourite tipple was champagne and brandy. When he travelled to the US, during prohibition, he managed to cajole a doctor into prescribing brandy as a health tonic. Good man that doctor.  

It seems as though Churchill could be described as a functional heavy drinker. I refrain from the epithet, alcoholic, though some would describe him as such. Churchill himself was fond to foster the image of heavy drinking. However, in my opinion, I think he overegged the egg nog (hic). In fact, Churchill abhorred drunks and treated obvious intoxication in others with utter disdain.  

It is hard to credit that he could have operated at the high level he did if he was permanently 'blind drunk'. His intellect was prodigious, although mercurial. He was an undisciplined thinker, mayhap fueled by neurons modestly bathed in ethanol. At meetings, he would regale his fellows with a stream of ideas and he seemed a fan of fantastical schemes and endeavours. Most proposals would lead nowhere and if he did manage to see through a scheme, especially during wartime, it would oft go awry. Consider the Gallipoli campaign of the Great War. The battle was poorly conceived, planned and executed and Churchill must bear a heavy dose of responsibility for the debacle. The ANZACS never forgave him

How could a drunk have written to the extent he did? It has been stated that during Churchill's long life he penned a total of fifty books and 500 oil paintings. No mean feat.      

On objective analysis, the man drank to excess. There is no way he conformed to the government guidelines of 14 units of alcohol per week. From what I can see these so-called 'guidelines' are arbitrary limits proposed by committee and have no bearing on what actually constitutes a healthy alcohol input. Consequently, the limits are but the whim of a puritan and therefore wise souls should ignore them with a healthy unit of contempt. I am not encouraging excess consumption and we are all aware of the terrors/tremours of frank alcoholism. Most mature adults will have a horror story to relate concerning a friend, colleague or relative. Our individual capacity for the processing of alcohol varies markedly as does individual response. Genetics clearly places a great part in this- but I would say this, wouldn't I?   

I'll leave the final word and analysis to C P Snow: "Winston could not be an alcoholic- no alcoholic could drink that much"

Wednesday 13 July 2022

A Tale of Woe and Redemption

                                         The Headmaster of Tipton Secondary Modern After the Fire

 Tis time to tell a story. Once upon a time in a small West Midland town somewhere in Middle England........

It will come as no surprise to my regulars, but growing up I lived in a morass of relative poverty. Twas at the tender age of 12 did I experience the luxury of an indoor toilet and access to a bathroom. I can hear the miniature violins twanging in the background........Suffice it to say, I came from a rather gnarly background and as such, and to reflect reality, my 'High' school was an indifferent edifice of intellectual rigour and attainment. In those days, the subjects of English and mathematics were streamed, 1 to 5. Those deemed worthy of 'class 5' were the unteachable and frankly, the indescribable. Even the teachers referred to their charges as, 'window lickers'- how quaint; it was the early 70s, after all! Their fellow students called these poor lost souls: 'mongers and spakkers'. This is where you can allow your imagination to run free, unto the stratosphere. Your genial host never descended/ascended unto these dizzying heights and I was deemed worthy of stream 3 in both English and maths. At 13, I was classified as an indifferent student with no expectation of special intellectual attainment.

It was a typical Wednesday morning in English, Set 3. The teacher, Miss Mugumbo (not her real name), took the register, as usual, and everything seemed routine, as usual. But on this occasion, she was accompanied by one of the ubiquitous student teachers, of unknown provenance. Anyway, my teacher announced/pronounced that said student would supervise for a while and on that note, I was summoned, nay beckoned, unto the front of the class. I was commanded/commended to accompany my English teacher to the Head Master's Office/Orifice. Ensconced upon his majestic throne, lay prone the Head Master of 'Tipton High', the rather scatty and ancient Mr Jones. To be fair, the Head was a decent man and no way, a Martinet- unlike his successor. But that is another story....... 

For context: the week before, the class had been assigned an essay. We were allowed to complete the task over the intervening weekend, as homework, to be handed in on Monday. Now, back to the story. 

I was motioned to sit and was confronted by the stern demeanour of the form teacher and Mr Jones. In front of the Head (for it is he), resting upon his capacious and ornate desk, I espied my essay. It appeared to be covered in a sanguineous pigment of the carmine variety. From my disadvantaged viewpoint, I was unable to discern its message and content. Although the aggressive cursive of the hastily applied pigment could not be denied- it was not good. The upshot: I was accused of the heinous act of plagiarism. Either I had arranged for someone to pen the essay or it had been copied from a competent source. Thus, it seemed that my talents were not up to the task of composing this highly accomplished literary work (I had been impugned) and  I was mortified by this unfair and erroneous assessment of my lack of scholastic and erudite tendencies. Consequently, I protested vehemently and with a force characteristic of an unfairly condemned man. The raw elemental power of my protestation eventually prevailed and I was given a chance to prove my worth. Thereafter, I was allowed to compose anew whilst sequestered within the Headmaster's office. My teacher and Mr Jones conferred briefly and scribbled down a list of five topics that I was allowed to choose from. I quickly decided on a topic and began to write. I utilised the anger within and channelled my very being into the composition. Under the watchful and vigilant supervision of the Head, (please note, it was not disembodied and was firmly attached to a torso) I scribbled away as a demon-possessed by the spirit of a long-deceased savant. The power of unfair accusation is not to be dismissed or underestimated. Once harnessed it serves as a potent nostrum for unjust condemnation and censure.

After completion, I was allowed to return to the class of my peers. Next morn I was once again asked to accompany the form teacher to Mr Jone's office. This time, however, I was confronted with educators displaying a chastised and contrite disposition. To their credit, they both apologised profusely and on the strength of my two essays, I was immediately placed in the top set for English.    

In retrospect, it was the goad that awakened my latent intellectual talent and thereafter I applied myself with due diligence to all my studies. By the end of the year, I had been promoted to set 1 for mathematics. The rest is history. In no way was I resentful for the way I was initially treated. As said, it was a blessing in disguise. Furthermore, it had no bearing, whatsoever, on the conflagration that engulfed my 'Alma Mater' the day after I graduated (at 16). I append the lamentful narrative that appeared in the local paper documenting this sad and singular event. Read and weep, gentle reader.

                           A Third Rate Facility of Education But a First-Rate Conflagration