Thursday, 30 January 2014

Today, My Dad died.

If you were with us in August, you'll know that my Father suffered from inoperable and aggressive bowel cancer, which, after stealing a look at his notes this morning, had metastasised, or spread, to other parts of his body.  He was given between three and twelve months to live, and he lasted for five.

He'd had a couple of falls recently that had taken it out of him a bit, one particularly nasty one earlier this week that had grazed his arms quite badly.  But as was his style, and the style of many ex-servicemen, he refused to go to the Doctor and get them checked out - on the basis that he "had had worse".  My wife and I took it in turns to go and see him, her one day and I the next, after I finished work.

Last night I let myself into his house to find that he had fallen after answering the door to someone and had lain in an unheated room, with his front door ajar for a number of hours.  The paramedic, who arrived within minutes of me calling 999 declared him Hypothermic, with a temperature so low that it didn't even show as a number on his electronic thermometer.

You know what I did between calling the emergency services and their arrival? Remembering all the time that I'm a qualified first aider?

I did nothing, I froze, I could not think what I should be doing... Luckily the guy on the end of the phone kept reminding me to breathe, otherwise I would have probably forgotten to do even that simple task.

The ambulance crew asked me all sorts of questions as we drove to the hospital, and every one of my answers were suffixed with 'I think' or 'But I'm not sure'

I sat in the waiting room for about three hours whilst they tried to bring his body temperature up to something approaching normal, going no faster than one degree per hour, so that they didn't introduce any extra strain onto his heart.  When they finally let me in to see him, we didn't recognise each other, there was just a frail old man swaddled in blankets, staring into the distance.  I sat with him for a while longer, watching tears forming in the corners of his unblinking, unmoving eyes.

When the nurses came, they asked me if I could leave the cubicle so that they could put him on a 'comfier bed' ready to take him up to the ward later, when his tests had come back.

I left the Cubicle,
then I left Resus,
then I left Accident & Emergency
then I left the Hospital and got a taxi home.

I felt so completely useless, almost in the way.

When the phone rang this morning at 05:30, I already knew why, the Ward Sister said that his status had declined, or some-such bland phrase and that I should probably come in as soon as I could.

He was in a side-room when I got there, which dissolved any last real threads of hope I had.  The Sister led me in and explained that all they were doing was making sure that he was comfortable, she asked how I took my coffee and left us alone.  I looked down at the shell of the man who had single-handedly raised me since I was eleven years old.  I asked him if he could hear me, I asked him if he knew how much I loved him.

Then I got angry and asked him if he knew what he was doing to everyone that he was leaving behind.

Then I watched as the shallow up and down movement of his chest slowed and stopped.

I thanked the Doctor, who explained that he hadn't suffered - That's the done thing I guess.

I thanked the Sister, who had given me the coffee and the 'Dealing with bereavement' booklet.

I walked the length of the ward, towards the exit with what I imagined to be the stoic, dignified stride of a gunslinger walking away from his last fight, determined to make it outside before I broke into a million pieces, I almost made it too.

Monday, 27 January 2014

But that would mean...

If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that I quite like using words that are rare and beautiful.  Words that don't get used in normal conversations very often.  Words that may have been more popular an age ago 'When the Map was Pink.'

Why do I prefer these words?  Well, I think that it's a real shame that we let these real words die when new ones come along.  I mean, I appreciate that the language moves with the times and the younger generation makes alterations to it based on fashion and emergent technology... For every 'Forsooth! or Egad!' there's a 'Chillax!' and for every 'Stout Yeoman' there's a 'Fam'

I don't mean to say that modern language is worse (Although it obviously is, in my not so humble opinion) And I truly look forward to the time, several hundred years in the future, where my brain is safely ensconced within a bulletproof plastic tank atop a fifty foot high, death dealing android body, where the rank and file plebeian populace will say things like:

'Subject number 236512, do you notice how Overseer 152 occasionally communicates using 21st Century terms?'
'Yes Subject number 623621, I do not understand why the identifying photograph on my survival suit is termed a "Selfie" or his exhortation for us to work faster is often preceded by him asking us to "Get our twerk on".'
'No Subject number 236512, I was not even aware that I had a "twerk" nor that it had accidentally fallen off.'

Also, I won't deny that I occasionally slip in a few snippets of modern youth argot for comedic effect - One likes to think that one is 'Down with the kids' doesn't one?

So, for your enjoyment and edification, I should like to present you with a few archaic or scientific terms, that may have fallen out of favour nowadays, but I think are due for a bit of a renaissance.

  • Abraxas - A jewel or amulet, engraved with writing or imagery
  • Bestiocracy - To be ruled by beasts
  • Crepuscular - Of the twilight (as opposed to nocturnal - night or diurnal - day)
  • Digitigrade - To walk only on the toes, like a cat or dog
  • Euphonism - The use of pleasing sounding words (not to be confused with Euphemism)
  • Factotum - A lackey or general assistant
  • Gawdelpus - Someone who is completely helpless (Gawd-Elp-Us)
  • Hystricine - Of, or pertaining to porcupines
  • Impecunious - Having no money
  • Jawhole - The entrance to a sewer
  • Kobold - A spirit, specifically one attached to mineworkings
  • Lexer - A Student of the law
  • Mammiform - Shaped like a breast
  • Numen - The presiding Deity of an area or group
  • Ornithopter - A machine that flies like a bird (by flapping its wings etc.)
  • Paneity - The state of actually being bread
  • Quicksilver - Archaic name for Mercury (the liquid metal, not the planet)
  • Rigidulous - Semi-stiff... *cough*
  • Scholion - A note, written in the margin
  • Trin - One of a set of triplets
  • Uxorious - Being excessively fond of your own wife
  • Visibilia - Things that can be seen
  • Whiskerine - A beard-growing competition
  • Xylomancy - Telling the future by examining pieces of wood, found on the path in front of you
  • Yonderlay - Being mentally distant (not what Speedy Gonzales shouts)
  • Zaftig - Having a full, round figure

I thought that twenty-six examples might be apposite.

As before when I've given you some new words to play with, try slamming them lewdly into any conversation that you may, or may not, have today.

Drop me a line, let me know how you got on - I'm genuinely interested,

Monday, 20 January 2014

There's one born every minute

You know what I hate?

Well, yes, stupid people, drivers of black MR2s that sit right up my trumpet going down the A45 this morning, haggis, gardening, chavs, pikies, people with whiny voices, people who eat noisily, shellfish, fruit in curries, drawn-on eyebrows, carrying so many plastic shopping bags that your finger-ends go white, other people's children and the French.

OK, no-one could have expected any of you guys to know that entire list, or the fact that what I'm about to waffle on about isn't actually on it.

At this precise moment in time, the thing that I hate more than anything in the Western World are things like this:

I've blanked out the poor kid's face for a couple of reasons...

1) No-one except possibly a facio-maxillary surgeon really wants to look at a picture of a child that's allegedly been shot in the face.
2) The privacy of the portrayed individual.
3) I have no idea whether this picture is actually of the person described in the text.
4) I have no idea whether the incident described in the text actually happened.

You'll notice that I haven't blanked out the person who posted this originally, as he knowingly posted this update (but without the face obscured, obvs.) and is therefore happy to have his face spattered all over the Internet.

Please note, I, at no point suggest that Mr Gunzmore, who I assume, from his Facebook page, is some kind of up-and-coming rap star, is using this image as some kind of sordid and heartless advertising tool.

So, what do I particularly hate about it?

Well, apart from the things that I enumerated above, and the fact that it's entirely posted in CAPITAL LETTERS and that the grammar is, quite simply, appalling... Let me post the entire text below, for those trying to read it on mobile devices:



NB; My post ain't about likes or shares its all about "humanity and charity service"

‪#‎join‬ US ( only if you cool) ;

Stay blessed world - make peace not WAR !


I have removed the gentleman's link to his Facebook page that Gunzmore put in after the 'Join US (only if you [sic] cool)' message, as leaving that in was just a little too sordid even for me.

So, let's see what is actually says (I'm not going to bother putting the word 'allegedly' in after every statement, you just go ahead and imagine I have, OK?)  So, a fourteen year old boy, trying to stop his Stepfather raping his little sister, gets shot six times.  Let's all take a look at the picture... The fact that you can't see any wounds would say to me that all of the damage in in the bit you can't see, i.e. the face.  Now, I have seen what's in the blanked out area - Don't get me wrong, it's not pretty, and a lot of his head is bandaged but it's more the sort of thing you'd expect to see if the child in question had been beaten with a bat.

The picture itself seems to have been taken in an Emergency Room, where even my rudimentary knowledge of the American Health System, backed up with a good five minutes research on Google, says that treatment for immediate life threatening trauma is free, certainly to a child.  Even the most heartless, jobsworth, doctors will not let a child die as a result of a crime because his parents cannot afford to pay for treatment.

And even if they would...

Facebook WILL NOT donate money to causes that are advertised by individuals in this way.  Mark Zuckerberg (who I really shouldn't have to introduce to you if you're reading this... And if you're not, I'm not going to introduce him out of spite.) regularly makes massive donations of his own money and Facebook shares to Charity.

Unless he means all of the fifteen million or so companies that have a Facebook presence? - The Chimping Dandy was never asked to take part, and neither was the company that currently pays my wages, despite having a number of Facebook pages.

So, We'll tot it up shall we?

There's a crime that may not have happened (+1) perpetrated by and on people who may well not exist (+1) and a boy that was certainly injured, but probably wasn't injured in the way described (+1), who definitely would not be allowed to die for financial reasons (+1) who could not be saved by such a plea, because Facebook doesn't operate like that (+1)

If I've added that up correctly, there are five instances of things you can happily call B*llsh*t on in one badly laid out paragraph without even thinking about it too hard.

So, can someone tell me why it has 358,591 likes, 53,573 comments and has been shared 628,657 times? (at the time of writing at least) - Which if it were true would mean that the un-named child would already have received $161,365.95 - If the 'Facebook Companies' just means Facebook itself, or $2,420,489,250,000.00 (Two and a half Trillion Dollars) if every company on Facebook donates 45c for every Like...

And that's only by Mr Gunzmore's share alone... If every one of the 628,657 people that shared it got a couple of likes, not only would we have saved the boy's life, he would now own the entirety of the known universe.

Does any of this seem a little bit unlikely to you yet?

I mean, it's all a lie, but some lies are at least believable aren't they? 

People can say things like 'No, it's perfectly fine that you used my toothbrush to clean the dog's rectum and took two weeks to tell me, I'll just buy a new one, no biggie.' - You might be able to believe the person who said that, if you were very simple, or if the person whose brush you used was a Buddhist Monk, legally and religiously obliged not to kill you with a rusty spoon.

I don't mean to single out Mr Gunzmore, I'm sure that he's a wonderful person who loves his mother very dearly - We've all seen the pictures of babies with lesions from some terrible illness, and young, dehydrated African children covered in flies that they are too weak to wave away.

They're terrible, and it shouldn't happen... But really, liking the image will not help their plight in the slightest, no-one will donate money to some unspecified cause because of you clicking a mouse and then scrolling down to see a picture of a cat asleep in a shoe.

Share them if you must, to raise awareness of the issue, but do me a favour if you will.

Take the time to see if the story that you're promoting is true, check Snopes Which is a great Urban Legend resource and can let you know with a quick search whether you're going to look an idiot when you press 'Post', and think what it is that you're promoting if it says 'For every like we get, 45c will be donated to the cause.'

Promoting a lie makes you a liar, and I know that no-one who reads The Chimping Dandy would admit to being one of those.

So, as a certain training shoe manufacturer may once have almost said, 'Just Don't Do It.'


Thursday, 16 January 2014

There was this one time, at Chelsea FC

Now, before you panic, this post has little or nothing to do with football - In fact, it's about IT.

As it happens, the only even remotely football related part of it is that it took place at Stamford Bridge in Fulham, London, the home ground of Chelsea FC

(Here's one for factoid fans, did you know that Chelsea FC started originally, in 1905, as the pub team from the Rising Sun across the road?)

Anywho, I was working for a Nottingham based company who specialised in Educational IT Services and 'Building Schools for the Future' at the time, and we'd got a contract for 'upgrading' and documenting the IT systems of a primary school just around the corner from the ground.  As I was going to be there for a week or so, the company put me up in a hotel, which happened to be a very posh one based at 'The Bridge' as I'm assured the faithful call it.

Each glorious late spring morning, I would trundle from the hotel, buy myself a cardboard mug of scalding hot, soapy dishwater that was doing its best, but missing the point by a fairly massive amount, to masquerade as coffee.  Smile and wave cheerily at my fellow commuters as they happily skipped along the Fulham Road, With a song in their eyes and a determined thrill in their hearts, then arrive at the school some fifteen or so minutes later.

(On a lighter note, my spellchecker just tried to change 'Fulham' to 'Shameful' - And maybe I should have let it)

I'd spend the day tracing, then replacing network cables, trying to explain to the School's on-site IT guy what I was trying to achieve, although this took a while, because I could only talk to him between breaths, as he couldn't concentrate and breathe at the same time. And asking ridiculous question like 'Do you know where this bunch of cables goes?' or 'Would you mind not dribbling on my new shoes?'

The week featured many instances of me replacing little boxes with green flashing lights on with newer boxes with green flashing lights on and trying to trace cables through Victorian-built service risers, originally designed to be scaled by a five year old boy.  In fact, I did find myself looking at the occasional skinny, tousle-haired young chap and thinking, 'If he'd just grip my lengthy cable in his teeth and shin up this drippingly moist chimney, it would make my job go a lot faster.' But I stopped thinking this once I'd made the first few cry.

On the evening before the last day, I convinced myself that I'd done a good job and that I deserved a decent meal 'dans la Bistro' so I put on a tie, and wandered into the dining area.  I was greeted by Miguel, (That may or not have been his name, but he looked a little bit like the opera singer from the Go Compare advert, but without the lengthy moustache and he seemed to be happy to answer to it) who I'd been swapping funny stories with for the entire week, and he showed me to a table.

'Meal anna Drink Mr Dandy? Like-a yesserday?' He asked. (I should probably explain that my company was quite happy to pay for an evening meal and a single alcoholic drink, per person, per night)
'Yes, I suppose so Miguel, Although, seeing as it's my last night here, I'll let you decide what to bring.'
'Lass night here? Oh! Real pity, I bring you something nice, I havva juss tha thing!'

So, off he trotted to the kitchen, only to come back minutes later with a larger than average starter, to my eternal shame, I can't actually remember what it was, but it was definitely very nice, and not strictly from the 'Table d'hote' menu.  Once I'd finished that, he cleared the plate and gave me a huge lamb shank, which is one of my favourite ways to spend a formal dinner date.  Once my mouth was full of meat, he went to the bar and came back with a bottle of red wine.

'There-a you go Mr Dandy, your dreenk.'
I checked the label, it certainly wasn't the house red, so I looked at him quizzically and said, 'Ah, well, that's very nice and everything,' dabbing at the thick, warm, delicately seasoned, home-made gravy that was escaping from the side of my lips, 'But I'm afraid my expenses won't run to that.'
He tutted at me, 'Is OK, we order too much of this, too expensive, it not sell so well, we reduce the price next week anyway.'
'But still, I'm only allowed to charge one drink to my expense account.'
He pantomimed searching my table, lifting the cruet and looking under the napkins, 'I no bring you a glass. Is technically only one serving of wine.' He looked both ways conspiratorially and stage whispered, 'But I might have accidentally put an extra glass onna next table.'

So I had a splendid bottle of wine, a splendid meal (The desert was Eton Mess if I remember correctly) and wandered to my bed.

In fact, the meal was so good that I almost didn't mind having to pay the £75 bill for parking my car at the hotel when I checked out the following morning.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

We should find the person responsible immediately!

What's wrong with you?

At this particular moment in time - Is there anything wrong? - Anything playing on your mind that you've done? - Are you heavier than you should be after eating two whole packets of chocolate biscuits? - Do you feel guilty for throwing away masses of food that you bought for Christmas that's just past its sell-by date because you put it in a 'hamper' and forgot about it? - Do you have massive debts due to credit card repayments or payday loans?

And whose fault is that?

Because I know my audience, I know that every single one of you just looked at your feet, which were busy shuffling uncomfortably, and thought 'It's my fault.'

Not My Fault... Not The Chimping Dandy's fault, Don't blame me! I mean, 'my' as in 'your' fault... Oh Gods, this is going all kinds of wrong.  What I mean to say is that you all have a passing acquaintance at least, with the notion of responsibility.

Here are a couple of bad things that I know and freely admit about myself:

I am heavy - about 260lbs - This is because I eat things that are bad for me a lot of the time and don't exercise enough, because I am lazy. (Although I am a little over 6', so that offsets it a little, but not much.) And  occasionally, I get out of breath just by thinking too hard about kittens.

I am lazy - This is because I lack motivation, a huge number of the things I like to do can be done sitting down, or lying down, or asleep.

I am broke, pretty much all of the time - This is because I'm an idiot, with the financial good sense of a one-legged gecko wearing a threadbare top-hat and a tarnished monocle and have, in the past, maxed out many a credit card trying to keep up with the latest technology and / or just entertaining myself (whilst sitting down, obviously).

And who do I blame?

Well, I blame me of course, these are all things that I knowingly did to myself over an extended period of time.  I'm an idiot, but I'm not stupid... Contrary to what many of you might secretly think.

But, did you know there are people out there, you might know some of them, that are perfect?  People who never make a mistake? People for who life is one febreze-scented tiptoe through the tulips after another?

We should feel sorry for these people, deeply, deeply sorry, because they are targets.  Every time one of these poor, Perfect People eats anything, or goes in the shower, or buys something, or goes to the shops they are targeted by cartels of mean-spirited corporate shills whose only passion in life is to force terrible things to happen to them over and over again.

I mean, if we go back to my example above, where one (or more *cough*) of us bought way too much food for Christmas and then threw it away because it 'went bad', we might think, because we are thoroughly normal people, that we should probably have bought less, and will try to remember that there are not 200 people in our immediate family next year.

But if you were a Perfect Person, you could think something like 'Look how [Insert vast Supermarket Conglomerate of your choice] have conspired to make me buy too much food by having all this tasty looking stuff for sale just before Christmas, forcing me to spend money I haven't got on things I don't really need or even particularly like. I shall report this to the local News service and see if I can get some guilt-fueled recompense.'

Staying with Christmas, you and I, the normal types with 2.4 children, may well have said, in mid-Deceember, after looking at their childrens' Christmas lists 'Damn, they want the brand-new game of Invasion of the Star-Killerons 7 for their XBox 360, but it costs £60. I can only really afford Invasion of the Star-Killerons 6, which was released six months ago and is now only £40... So they'll have to make do with that.'

But not the Perfect People, they would read that note, and a message would automatically be sent by a special App that had been downloaded onto the Brand New Apple iPhone 5S that they had recently been forced to buy by a man in the street, to the controllers of the daytime TV channel that they were watching.  This triggered an advert for a pay-day loan company to appear during the next break which would show an insanely happy child opening a brand new XBox One, complete with the Invasion of the Star-Killerons 7 Special XBox One Edition, with a limited edition T-Shirt and limited edition hat and limited edition soundtrack CD in a limited edition case that just won't fit on the shelf with all of their other games.  They ring the number, apply for the £600 pound loan and are accepted immediately, then stick their fingers in their ears and go 'La-La-La' whilst the terms and conditions (including the 4,267% APR interest rate) are explained to them, because, despite being Perfect, they think it all sounds a bit scary.

Then when the first repayment is due, they scream and cry and wail at the payday loan company for making it too easy for them to borrow money. 'You should have said no to me!' They will cry, 'I didn't know that it was going to be so expensive.' they will shout through gritted teeth (Which is very difficult, you should give it a try, although only Perfect People can really manage it) and have a picture taken for the local paper showing them with their very sad, very pudgy faces and reddened tear-stained eyes pointing at the four year old child that they borrowed the money to appease playing happily on their new games console, the digitised gore from the 18 rated game splattering the screen of the 60" HD 3D Smart TV that they bought him for his birthday in October.

Do you feel sorry for these people yet?


Imagine the feeling they must have knowing that nothing they do is their own fault, everything that happens to them happens because of evil corporations who have nothing better to do than constantly force them into making decisions that, despite making perfect sense at the time, end up biting them in the rear end?

Poor Perfect People... Why will someone not start a charity to help them, the poor lambs?

Please send your donations to The Chimping Dandy at the usual address, quoting reference 'Wake up and smell the Pangolin, you meat-headed, responsibility-free sacks of offal, what the hells are you teaching your kids?'

First three responders will get a voucher for a free muffin from Greggs and a part-completed application form for a pay-day loan.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Здравствуйте замечательные русские люди

Я было интересно, в течение длительного времени, почему я так много хитов из России. Мои статистика показывает, что я получаю много направлений от YANDEX.RU но я задавался вопросом, было ли что-то, в частности, что вы, ребята искали, когда вы пришли сюда?

Я не жалуюсь, пожалуйста, не думаю, что я - я думаю, это здорово. Я просто не понимаю.

Я имею в виду, я не говорю о водке очень часто, или икра или Храм Василия Блаженного или ... Я не знаю ... Иван Грозный, но многие из вас пришли сюда каждый день. И тащить меня в ГУЛАГ, если вы не верите мне, но я понятия не имею, почему?
Мой единственный ключ в том, что существует три обыски, которые были популярны в прошлом:

1: Интернет говоря
2: Я сижу здесь на грани
3: Двери запираются

Означают ли они что-то другое на русском языке? Являются ли они тексты песен или названия организаций? Они появляются в игре или головоломки?  Мне бы очень хотелось знать.

Если бы вы могли оставить меня комментарий в нижней части страницы, предпочтительно на английском языке, если это нормально, я получил все вышеперечисленное России из бутылки - Но я предполагаю, что вы можете понять по-английски, потому что вы не будет читать блог иначе.

Кроме того, можно отправить по электронной почте: если бы вы хотели.

Я очень ценю это, спасибо заранее.

(Конечно, если вы английский человек, может быть, представитель сил Ее Величества безопасности, застряв в скрытом базы на Урале, просто опубликовать что-то вроде 'Сова ест шоколад в ночное время "в комментариях, так что я знать, чтобы не беспокоить вас снова - К сожалению за нарушение вашего крышку.)


OK, for those of you who don't speak Russian as well as I do,  The title and contents of today's Blog is as follows:

Hello wonderful Russian people.

I've been wondering for a long time why I get so many hits from Russia. My statistics show that I get a lot of referrals from YANDEX.RU but I wondered if there was something in particular that you guys were looking for when you came here?

I'm not complaining, please don't think I am - I think it's great. I just don't understand.

I mean, I don't talk about Vodka very often, or caviar or Saint Basil's Cathedral or... I don't know... Ivan The Terrible, but a lot of you come here every day. And drag me to the Gulag if you don't believe me, but I've no idea why?

My only clue is that there have been three searches, that have been popular in the past:

1: The Internet Saying
2: I sit here on the verge
3: The doors lock

Do they mean something different in Russian? Are they song lyrics or names of organisations?  Do they appear in a game or puzzle?  I would really like to know.

If you could leave me a comment at the bottom of the page, preferably in English if that's OK, I got all of the Russian above out of a bottle - But I'm guessing that you can understand English, because you wouldn't be reading the Blog otherwise.

You could also send an email to: if you wanted to.

I would really appreciate it, thanks in advance.

(Of course, if you're an English person, maybe a representative of Her Majesty's Security Forces, Stuck in a hidden base in the Urals, just post something like 'The Owl eats Chocolate in the Night time' in the comments, so that I know not to bother you again - Sorry for breaking your cover.)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

But, why would Saint Petey say that?

A conversation on Facebook caught my eye this morning.  An ex-workmate of mine asked an open question along the lines of 'Do you think that it's OK for my partner to go out to bars and party, but to go completely honey-badger stranglingly mental when I try to do it?'

The answer was a resounding 'No!' and that's where it all finished.

Well... Not exactly, most of the people who replied said no, one chap played (hopefully) Devil's advocate and said that maybe he was trying to protect her from sexually predatorial men.

I should probably explain that the young lady in question lives in The Colonies, and once talked me through a list of the firearms that she owns, including her special gun that she uses for hunting ducks whilst she is mounted... I presume she meant on horseback, but you never know with her.

She also told me about the time where she left a 'Store' and found someone trying to steal her truck, I can't remember whether she discharged the firearm that she keeps in her purse on this particular occasion, or just waved it at him, but he ran away, fearing for his life.

So, she can probably look after herself under most conditions, and it wasn't as if she was talking about putting on a leather mini-skirt and boob-tube and twerking her way across the Southern United States, just a few drinks with the girls from work after their shift ended (Or maybe before it started - I know how soul destroying working for that particular company can be - it made me quit to write a book).

Like I said, I was reading through it, nodding away to myself, and then someone had to go and quote the Bible.  Specifically 1 Peter 3:1, which states:

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.

Now, I may have mentioned before that whilst I freely admit to believing in a supreme being, I think the Bible, as translated, is a bit of a mixed bag of things that various people thought might be a good idea at the time.  Which is why an awful lot of it doesn't make any sense and people really shouldn't put much stock in it.

But what it is good for is quoting out of context to prove a point -  

Things like convincing your wife not to force you to have a vasectomy: Deuteronomy 23:1 says:

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.

(apologies to all the surviviors of testicular cancer, or any of our brave servicemen who have had their 'stones' blown off by an IED, but you're not welcome at Church anymore)

Or stopping your kids having 'potty mouths' at home, because Leviticus 20:9 tells us that:

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

And, whilst I'm the first person to shake my head at the 'You mustn't smack your kids' brigade, I'm not as pro-Child abuse as Psalms 137:9 seems to be.

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Actually, thinking about that one, I hope that it means real, rocky stones, not figurative 'stones' like in the quote from Deuteronomy above, that would put a bit of a darker cast on it wouldn't it?

And, that if your Brother, like, dies and stuff 'without issue', that you should totally get his widow pregnant to honour him, or something.. But it's definitely not adultery or anything. Like it says in Mark 12:19

Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

I mean, I love my Sister-in-law, but... Well, I'm afraid that I fell at the first hurdle above...

So, that's prejudice against the disabled, a little light filicide / child abuse / possible peadophilia, and sexual relationships with members your own family given a big thumbs up by the 'Good Book' if you cherry-pick which bits you choose to believe in - Which most people do.

There are literally thousands of these kinds of things that can be twisted and flipped around to serve almost any purpose, and I could go on and on (and usually do) about them.


But I'll leave you with a little project of your own, brought to my attention by the very wonderful author Mr Neil Gaiman.

If you've got a few minutes spare today, and have a bible to hand, or have access to the Internet in your lunch-hour - Go and read Judges 19:20-30 

The Bible really does have a quote you can use in every situation, right?

Decide what to do, and speak out... Indeed.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Are you more a Ben or a Socrates?

I was listening to BBC Local Radio on the way into work this morning, as I so often do - It stops me staring dejectedly out of the side window of the car into the bleak rain, like someone in a black and white Jimmy Somerville video that's just discovered his true sexuality and is running away from his closed-minded parents to the teeming Metropolis of Manchester, to live a brand-new life that involves many fabulous cushions, ostrich feathers and quite a lot of bumming.

Anywho, there was a 'Pest Control Executive' on there this morning, warning us all about the danger of a new breed of Super-Rat that was resistant to all of the commonly used poisons.  But he said that we should not worry, we should not all start looking on the Internet for contractors who will charge us our life-savings and then some, to rat-proof our homes because there is a miracle spray that we can use which discourages them.

Have you ever seen a discouraged rat? Me neither, but I assume that it looks a bit like this:

Note the drooping whiskers, the general hang-dog expression and the look of rodenty resignation.  He's either just had a good, hard, discouragement, or he's about to get killed to death with a shovel.  My money's on the latter.

Now, I think I may have missed the bit where it described whether you actually had to spray the stuff on the rat itself, like fly-spray, or whether it was a prophylactic (And no, I don't mean that it magically caused a little rat condom to appear out of thin air - And even it if did, I would suggest that you use tweezers to put it on the rat, at arms length - They're bitey little buggers,  I mean that you sprayed your worldly goods and it made them less attractive to rats.)

At one point, the interviewer asked his guest, 'So, am I right in saying that if you have decking, you've probably got rats?' to which his reply was, and I can only imagine that he did that thing we all do at Halloween, where you use a torch under your chin to uplight your face 'No, actually, if you have a shed, you've probably got rats.' - I mean, he didn't actually go 'MuhahahahahHAHAhahHha!' but you could tell by his voice that he really wanted to.

He did try to console the general populace by saying that rats don't often come in through your catflap though.

Let's just take a minute there... If you'd asked me yesterday whether having a rat coming in my catflap was a real worry, I'd have laughed like... Erm... I don't know... Like Christiano Ronaldo looking at my payslip, with the general absurdity of the question.

Now I'm having trouble thinking about anything else, and I haven't even got a catflap!

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not totally anti-rat.  I mean, they have a bit of a bad name, what with the whole Leptospirosis / Weil's Disease thing. Not to mention the small matter of that whole outbreak of Bubonic Plague in the 17th Century killing somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 people in England depending on who you believe (Yes, I know that technically that was down to the fleas on the rats rather than the actual rats, but that's like saying that you actually get shot by a bullet rather than a gun. Saying things like this within earshot of me will normally result in you getting a thorough 'Belming', or a half-hearted 'Chinny Reckon' behind your back if you're bigger than me).

I mean, I remember many happy nights in the 1970's sitting outside my parents house and watching some fairly large rats run across the rooftops from house to house, it was the highlight of our Saturday nights.  There are even people who keep them as pets you know? And they will tell you that they're amazing, clean, intelligent creatures (That's the rats, not the people who keep them, obviously. They're just weirdos.) who can be taught to do complex tasks and do not just urinate everywhere, chew through your electrical wiring and get caught in your hair... Hang on, thinking about it, that might be bats though, not rats - They're pretty much the same animal when you get down to it aren't they?

They're as tough as old boots too, they're radiation resistant to the point where, after the big button gets pressed and we all disappear in a bright, nuclear (or New-cue-lar, for our Colonial readers) flash it'll be pretty much just rats and cockroaches as far as the eye can see.  They are also quite easy to muck about with on a genetic level, scientists have bred whole species of rats that are predisposed to obesity and / or diabetes so that they can be used in researching treatments.

I suppose that, when you think about it, it's a tough old life being a rat - Very few sane people like you, you're hunted to almost extinction, chased, trapped and exterminated wherever you may be, experimented upon, if you manage to live past your first few weeks after being born (which 95% don't, believe it or not.) Your average life span in the wild is about two years. You're even thought of as a delicacy in parts of Africa, China and South-East Asia - But don't tell the tourists OK?

And... there's the ever present danger of Toxoplasmotic Zombification.  We've all heard of Toxoplasmosis right? That thing that pregnant women use as an excuse for getting someone else to empty their cat's litter-tray (And let's face it, it's usually the women who decide to get a cat, right? If the choice of house-pet was left up to the men, we'd all have eagles and crocodiles and badgers running around the house wouldn't we?) - The disease is caused by a little parasite, made of a single cell, called Toxoplasma Gondii (Pron. Gone-dee-eye) which only really grows and reproduces in cats.  However, the way it gets into the cat is pretty odd.  It's a well known fact that rats eat pretty much anything up to and including steel - One of those things is cat poop (ewww, right?) If the poop is infected with the parasite, it rages through the rat, to it's little rodent brain and flips a switch, the one that normally says 'You really, really, don't like cats, avoid places that smell like cats, specifically places that smell like cat urine' so that it now says 'You know what you feel like right about now? some cat urine, find things that smell like cat urine and hang about in their general vicinity.'

So, what do you often find near cat urine? That's right, a cat's backside, which is often connected to a cat's frontside, which, ninety nine times out of a hundred, comes complete with a head, mouth, teeth and the sunny disposition of a wet ninja with hemorrhoids.

The rat's lifespan is then measured in femtoseconds, there's a squeak, a bit of a scuffle and it dies, but not without infecting the cat (which I suppose is a bit of a cold comfort for it, all things considered) and the magical circle of life continues on.

Poor, poor Ratty

But on the other hand, and who, other than some of my teenage girlfriends, knew I had so many hands? A rat did kill one of Mrs Dandy's cats once.  Not through any heroic beastial fight for its life, not by giving it some nasty parasite, not by causing a grand piano to fall on it in a Tom & Jerry stylee.  But by choking it to death.  I opened the back door one morning and saw one of the most pathetic, but at the same time blindingly funny things that I have seen before or since.  There was the cat, quite dead and stiff, lying on its side on the patio, with this huge rat's back end sticking out of her mouth.

She was old and didn't have any teeth you see, so she couldn't chew...

She'd attempted to swallow it whole...

She failed...

We gave her a viking funeral, it's what she would have wanted.