Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Idler, Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The fight gets dirty

THE CAMPAIGN for the Republican Party candidacy to take on Barack Obama in this year's presidential election is turning nasty. A barrage of attack ads on TV is but a foretaste of the real campaign when it's Republican versus incumbent Democrat.

A campaign supporting front-runner Mitt Romney spent $12 million just in Iowa, targeting former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

And a pro-Gingrich campaign has now turned on Romney. An attack ad derides him for speaking French. Another shows him driving to Canada with the family dog in a kennel strapped to the roof of his car. Yet another quotes him saying he hunts, rabbits, rodents and "small varmints."

This is devastating stuff, really nasty! What won't they say about Obama?

As she is spoke

THEY say that if you can correctly pronounce every word in this poem by Hollander Gerard Nolst Trenite, you will be speaking English better than 90 percent of the world's native English-speakers.

After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.

It's rather a long poem but here goes with a section:

Dearest creature in creation,

Study English pronunciation.

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.

I will keep you, Suzy, busy,

Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye, your dress will tear.

So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,

Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.

(Mind the latter, how it's written.)

Now I surely will not plague you

With such words as plaque and ague.

But be careful how you speak:

Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;

Cloven, oven, how and low,

Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,

Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,

Exiles, similes, and reviles;

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,

Solar, mica, war and far;

One, anemone, Balmoral,

Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;

Gertrude, German, wind and mind,

Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,

Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.

Blood and flood are not like food,

Nor is mould like should and would.

Viscous, viscount, load and broad,

Toward, to forward, to reward ...



It carries on and on. That's what you get when you speak a combination of Saxon, Scandinavian and French. But at least one Hollander got on top of it.




Stable home

A WOMAN on the Isle of Lewis – part of the Outer Hebrides group, off Scotland – has scandalised her neighbours by setting up a stall for her horse in the living room of her home.

Irish-born Stephanie Noble says nobody in the neighbourhood would provide a barn or other accommodation for her three-year-old pony, Grey Lady Too, so she had to take her into the house.

She's nailed planks into place to make a pen, put in ceiling braces and used dining room chairs as a railing. She's also put down rubber mats, straw and cat litter, and mucks out every day with disinfectant.

Being from Ireland, where pigs and lambs often live in the kitchen, Stephanie is comfortable with the arrangement. But her neighbours are aghast and have complained to the Western Isles Council.

Not everyone is comfortable with close proximity to animals. There was once a farmer outside Pietermaritzburg who slept on an enormous bed specially made for himself, his 14 large dogs and his current wife.

Current wife because the ladies tended to move on with regularity. Romance is one thing but sharing it with the Quorn Hunt quite another.



AN EXTRACT from a dialogue at sea by aldis lamp between the Canadians and the Americans:

Canadians: "Divert course 15 degrees south to avoid collision."

Americans: "Recommend you divert course 15 degrees north to avoid collision."

Canadians: "Negative. You divert course 15 degrees south to avoid collision."

Americans: "This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again divert your course."

Canadians: "Divert your course."

Americans: "This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. I demand you change your course 15 degrees north or counter-measures will be taken to ensure the safety of this ship."

Canadians: "This is a lighthouse. Your call."


Last word

Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.

Howard Scott



The Idler, Monday, January 16, 2012

Stunning discovery

AMERICAN astronomers have determined exactly what colour our home galaxy - the Milky Way -is when looked at from the outside.

From the inside it looks the way we see it. But that's not good enough. So they  gathered data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has information on about a million galaxies.

They compared that data with what they knew about the total mass in the Milky Way, as well as the rate of star formation, looking for near-matches among other galaxies.

For those most nearly matched to our own galactic home, the team took an average and came up with a precise measure of what colour it must be. It turns out that, looked at from the outside, our galaxy – the Milky Way – is, er ... milky in colour.



March of science

THE ABOVE might seem like a waste of time and effort. But it's important we should know for sure that that, viewed from outside, our galaxy is not made up of technicolor polka-dots.

You can't stop scientific inquiry. One of these days they're going to get round to answering the question that has troubled us for centuries. How many angels can balance on the point of a needle?


Real scoops

THE LEVESON inquiry into the values and ethics of the British press continues. Last week we had the proprietor and editorial management of the Express group of tabloids trying to explain how the Express came to splash for days on end the total fabrication that the McCann couple had killed their own daughter. Also their fixation with the conspiracy theory that Princess Diana was murdered by the royal family.

It seems that in the McCann case they unfortunately relied on faulty information from "sources" in the Portuguese police and the Portuguese media. Princess Diana? Er, burble, burble.

How long before the inquiry calls in the executives of the Sunday Sport? This is a tabloid which specialises in such exclusives as the wreckage of a World War II Lancaster bomber being discovered on the moon and a double-decker London bus being found frozen into the ice of Antarctica – plus lotsa cheesecake.


Lord Leveson would probably find the Sunday Sport refreshing after all he's heard so far. It might be hogwash but it's harmless hogwash.

Kung-fu presidency

FRENCH footballer Eric Cantona wrote to mayors across France asking them to support his candidacy for President in the next election.

Cantona, who also played for Manchester United and was embroiled in controversy when he jumped into the crowd and aimed a kung-fu kick at a spectator, now says his candidacy was a hoax. It was a publicity stunt for a campaign he is involved in for better housing for the poor.

That's a great pity. Nicolas Sarkozy has shown himself to be somewhat deficient in launching kung fu-kicks while at the United Nations, the European Commission and other arenas of dispute.

Big cat alert

THEY'RE on the lookout for panthers, cougars and the like in Gloucestershire, England, after the mutilated carcass of a roe deer was found on National Trust land near Stroud.

The experts speak vaguely of "big cats" being sighted occasionally in the Cotswolds over a very long time, though it's not explained where they would have come from. Escapees from zoos?

It's only a matter of time before they start blaming Rupert Murdoch, proprietor of News International and the erstwhile News of the World.

Sea food stall

SCIENTISTS at Britain's National Oceanographic Centre and Southampton University have discovered undersea vents 5km down in the Caribbean which spew out mineral-rich water that teems with life, including a new species of shrimp, in spite of temperatures of more than 450 degrees Celsius.

"Whelks! Oysters! Boiled shrimps straight from the Caribbean!"


Delivery glitch


BECAUSE of an unfortunate glitch, I did not take delivery until a few days ago of cards and good wishes for 2012 from various readers, in particular 91-year-old Joyce Steadman who sent me a beautiful hand-painted Christmas card.


Thank you, all of you, and your good wishes are reciprocated.



Doctor: "This is a most mysterious affliction. I just can't find any reason for it. It's probably because of drinking."

Patient: "OK, Doc. I'll come back when you're sober."


Last word

Too much of a good thing is wonderful.

Mae West


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Idler, Friday, January 13, 2012


TODAY is the day we forget for a while about the Mayan calendar and what might – or might not – be going to happen next December. Instead we allow people to frighten us with words like friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia[1][2] – both of which mean fear of Friday the Thirteenth. (Frigga is the Nordic goddess after whom Friday is named). It'll happen twice more this year, by which time the Maya hysteria (December 21) ought to be in full spate. That's if rising sea levels haven't put London, the Netherlands and the Kingsmead cricket pitch permanently underwater.

Oh, what silly, superstitious nonsense it all is! We hardbitten, no-nonsense types get through the day making sure black cats don't cross our path, we don't walk under stepladders and we have no dealings with cross-eyed women. If at all possible,we shake hands with a Chinaman. The more hardbitten and no-nonsense of us stay in bed all day, preferably with a voluptuous woman who does not mind making tea.

And the really hardbitten and no-nonsense of us will be at Point Yacht Club tonight for the Friday the Thirteenth Draw (Friggatriskaideka Draw to the older traditionalists), where the December and January jackpots are combined.

Stand by to gybe!

Hunting hysteria

AND HOW'S this for another bit of irrational hysteria? This fuss over the decision by the wildlife authorities to allow the hunting of a politician at Mkuzi is astonishing.

Don't they realise that these creatures have to be culled for their own good? That the hunting of politicians has not just added hugely to the tourism product offered by KwaZulu-Natal, it has resulted in a phenomenal building-up in the numbers of politicians? That ...

Er, hold on ... it seems I've been misreading this. It's a rhino they've given somebody permission to hunt .

But the argument holds true all the same. Hunting has played an important role in the conservation of rhino, the building up of the species. It's the great paradox of conservation.

Americans especially will pay a fortune for the right to hunt a rhino or a buffalo or a lion – or whatever. The result is that private game ranches have sprung up to replace marginal beef and agriculture operations. Habitats have been restored. Zululand today is closer, in terms of wildlife and habitat, to its Victorian heyday than it has ever been.

Local traditional communities benefit from significant employment and often a share in the hunting fee. They have an interest in conserving wildlife instead of poaching it.

It is a paradox. The motivation of trophy hunters is open to question and slightly disturbing, certainly. But what is more important – the survival of rhino as a species (and the thousands of other species that share the same range) or a purer than pure approach that is certain to fail?

Let's get this straight. We're still talking about rhino, right? (But that politicians idea isn't a bad one either).

Not the Duke

THE BODY of a young woman has been found in the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Forensic tests are being done and the police are treating the case as one of murder.

However, no suspects have been identified. Nobody thinks it was the Duke wot dunnit.

Subway demo

ABOUT 700 people travelled the underground railway in Mexico City last week in their underwear – no trousers or skirts.

It was apparently part of an exercise to demonstrate that teamwork can transform society.

If the reasoning is obscure, the exercise was a little alarming judging from TV footage. Maybe what they are getting at is that is that Y-fronts are not the complete answer.


A GAME warden arrives at a woman's house in central Africa to deal with a fierce gorilla that's up a tree in her garden. He has a shotgun and a fierce Doberman.

"How this works, I go up the tree and throw the gorilla out. Then the dog pounces and clamps his jaws on his genitalia. The gorilla loses all his fight."

He hands her the shotgun.

"What's this for?"

"These gorillas are tough. Sometimes I get thrown out of the tree."

"So then I shoot the gorilla?"

"No, shoot the dog!"

Last word

The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.

Oscar Wilde


The Idler, Thursday, January 12, 2012

That's how it is

IT'S AMAZING what a dishy girl can get away with. Israeli MP Anastassia Michaeli is a former Miss St Petersburg (Russia) and a former Paris model. Israeli MP Ghaleb Majdale is a heavily built, jowly and sweaty fellow who needs a shave.

The other day in the Knesset Anastassia threw a glass of water in Ghaleb's face then stormed out of the chamber shouting: "Shame on you!"

Ghaleb looked startled then started guffawing. Every male MP in the place no doubt envied him. But imagine if Ghaleb had flung a glass of water in Anastassia's face? There'd have been outrage, uproar.


In not complaining, I'm not a masculinist. I'm just saying that's how 'tis.




ALL THIS digital techno-speak leaves me totally baffled. However, I include this message to IT Support in case readers have better luck in deciphering it.

"Eighteen months ago I upgraded to Girlfriend 1.0 from Drinking Mates 4.2, which I'd used for years without any trouble. However, there is apparently a conflict between these two products and the only solution was to try and run Girlfriend 1.0 with the sound turned off. To make matters worse, Girlfriend 1.0 is also incompatible with several other applications, such as Lads Night Out 3.1, Football 2 and Playboy 6.1.

"Successive versions of Girlfriend proved no better. A shareware beta-program, Party Girl 2.1 which I tried had many bugs and left a virus in my system, forcing me to shut down completely for several weeks.

"Eventually I tried to run Girlfriend 1.2 and Girlfriend 1.0 at the same time, only to discover that when these two systems detected each other they caused severe damage to my hardware.

"Sensing a way out, I then upgraded to Fiancee 1.0 only to discover that this product soon had to be upgraded (at great cost) to Wife 1.0, which I reluctantly agreed to because, whilst Wife 1.0 tends to use up all my available resources, it does come bundled with FreeSex Plus and Cleanhouse 2012.

"Shortly after this upgrade however, I then discovered that Wife 1.0 can be very unstable and costly to run. For example, any mistakes I made were automatically stored in Wife 1.0's memory and could not be deleted. They then resurfaced months later when I had forgotten about them. Wife 1.0 also has an automatic Diary Explorer and e-mail porn filters, and can, without warning, launch Photostop and Whingezip! These latter products have no help files and I have to try to guess what the problem is myself.

"Additional costly problems are that Wife 1.0 needs updating regularly, requiring Shoe Shop Browser for new attachments and also Hairstyle Express, which needs to be reinstalled every other week. Wife 1.0 also spawns unwelcome child processes that drain my resources.

"It also conflicted with some of the new games I wanted to try, stating that they are an illegal operation.

"When Wife 1.0 attaches itself to my Audi TT program it often crashes or runs the system dry. Wife 1.0 also has a rather annoying pop-up called Mother-in-law, which can't be turned off.

"Recently I've attempted to try Mistress 2012, but there could be problems. A friend has alerted me to the fact that if Wife 1.0 detects the presence of Mistress 2012 it tends to delete all my MS Money files before un-installing itself."

Wow! I really don't know what to suggest. We're slaves to these machines.




READER Colin Plen studies surnames. He likes to know their meanings, and from where they emanate.


"Some of the very interesting surnames involve nominative determinism where for instance a banker would have the name of Mr Cash or a plumber has the surname of Mr Bath.


"I recently found three cases of, I suppose it's nominative determinism. When I went into the chemist I noticed the staff wearing name badges. One young lady was Miss Moody. With her was another with the name Miss Smylie. Then the male pharmacist walked up to me and – Lo! - his name is Mr Harmer."


Fascinating stuff.  Can anyone assist Colin further with his researches?


Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

Last word


The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Bertrand Russell


Monday, January 9, 2012

The Idler, Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The smiling warrior

WOJTEK the Polish soldier bear was one of the boys. He used to drink beer with his mates of the Polish Second Corps during World War II and enjoyed a cigarette or two as well – though he ate them instead of smoking them.

Initially adopted as a mascot, eventually he was officially recruited into the Polish army as a private. He lived with his fellow-soldiers in their tents and during the Battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy, he carried ammunition for them.

After the war Wojtek – it means "Smiling Warrior" - was sent to Edinburgh Zoo, where he would wave excitedly to any visitors he heard speaking Polish. He died in 1963, aged 22.

Now his memory is to be honoured. The Wojtek Memorial Trust has raised money for a bronze memorial statue to him at Edinburgh Zoo, which will be unveiled this year. Then the Trust plans to send a copy of the memorial to Warsaw, then another eventually to Monte Cassino.

In the words of Aileen Orr, of the Trust: "Wojtek brought a great deal of love to those who travelled with him. He represented all that had been lost to these men and women in the darkest times in World War II. He was to them hope on legs, a trusted comrade who lived for them. He only knew soldiers, so he thought he was a soldier."

Old-world major

SPEAKING of Poles, who remembers Major George Iwanowski who used to bring the performing Lippizaner white stallions to the Royal Show year after year?

The Major, the epitome of old-world gallantry in his shiny black top hat and white riding breeches – I think he wore a monocle as well – had been in possibly the last cavalry charge in history. This was when his unit charged a column of German armour and won the day. The Poles galloped between the German tanks and armoured cars, clamping magnetic limpet mines to them and blowing them up.

Yes, we owe much to the Poles. How else would we keep the telephone wires up?

Meaningful stats

SOME telling statistics come this way. At any given moment:

·         58 million people are kissing.

·         79 million people are engaged in sex.

·         37 million people are relaxing after sex.

·         One elderly person is reading the Idler's column. You hang in there, Sunshine!

Prophetic words


SOME ringing quotes from America in 1955:


·        I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $10.


·        Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $2 000 will only buy a used one. 

·        Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter. 

·        When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon? Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage.

·        I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas .

·        Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50 000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the President. 

·        I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They're even making electric typewriters now.

·        I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business. 

·        The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on. 

·        If they think I'll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.



AN OLD FARMER hears splashing and laughter coming from the dam. When he checks up, a group of young girls are skinny-dipping. They head into the deep water when they see him.

"Go away!" they shout. "We're staying here until you go!"

"I'm not disturbing you," he says. "I'm just here to feed the crocodiles."

Age and guile always win.

Last word


An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Friedrich Engels


The Idler, Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unnerving development

CANADIAN scientists have discovered a way to breed fearsome "super soldier" ants - genetic throwback to an ancestor that lived millions of years ago. The super soldiers have huge heads and jaws and wreak havoc in combat.

The scientists have discovered that ordinary ants of the species Pheidole morrisi – found in the deserts of the United States and Mexico – have all the genetic material needed to turn them into super soldiers. When they dab the larvae with a special hormone, the super soldiers result.

According to McGill University's Dr Rajendhran Rajakumar, the super soldier they've come up with evolved 35 to 60 million years ago.

This is a fascinating development, though a little unnerving. The technology must at all costs be kept from Julius Malema and his Youth League.


CHINESE billionaire Long Liyuan sat down with two business associates in a restaurant in Guangdong to eat a nourishing cat stew. All three became violently ill and Long Liyuan died.

Police initially detained the owner of the restaurant for serving contaminated food. But now they have arrested a local official who is suspected of having deliberately poisoned the dish.

It's something they need to sort out fast. When you can't rely on the wholesomeness of cat stew, the Chinese tourism trade could be in big trouble.

Ring of truth


RECENTLY we had the story of the Swedish farmer's wife who lost her wedding ring then found it 16 years later round a carrot growing in her vegetable garden. Reader Johan Bouwer had a similar experience.

In 1965 his Uncle Harry, living in Salisbury, Rhodesia (as it then was), bought his wife a yellow diamond ring. A few years later the ring was lost, thought to have been stolen. Uncle Harry submitted a claim to his insurers and was paid out.

"We were celebrating New Year of 1973 with them. Walking in the garden, my wife spotted this ring on the stem of a flower.

"It turned out that while my aunt was gardening she'd lost the ring. After all those years it surfaced on a germinating flower. Honest guy that Harry is, he took the ring to the insurers and explained what had happened. They told him he could keep the money and the ring."

Wow! You don't what's the more remarkable – the ring turning up that way or the generosity of the insurers.


Birthday bash

IN RECENT times I've had to write the obituary of so many of my old colleagues as they fall off the perch that it's refreshing to be able to describe the 80th birthday celebrations of another who's still going like a Boeing.

Derek Taylor is known to most of you for his witty restaurant reviews in the Sunday Tribune. Actually his career in newspapers stretches back to the Crimean War or thereabouts. Derek is astonishingly fit for his age, though he tells me he's had a couple of setbacks of late. Various bits of metal that have embedded themselves in his system over the years – copper from an air crash while doing national service with the Royal Australian Air Force in the early 50s, bits of shrapnel from Vietnam – have started wandering about his person and the doctors have to cut them out when they appear. But otherwise he's fine.

You'd expect a restaurant critic to come up with the goods for a celebration, and the Hellenic Club, in Durban North, delivered the goods in fine style. Among the guests at my table were two experts in feminist literature (a subject that has always been close to my heart) and Sam Hutton, who played front rank for Ireland in days of yore.

Sam is from County Antrim, an Ulsterman like Ireland and British Lions captain Willie-John McBride. When I asked if it were true that he used to bully Willie-John and scrum him into the ground at club practice, he laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair. A very modest man is Sam.

Yes, a lot of fun. Good nosh, good wine, good chatter. I can't remember if we ended up throwing plates at the wall – but we probably did.



"GET OUT, YOU filthy pervert!" shrieked the Madam as a bouncer bundled Van der Merwe out of the brothel. He'd asked if he could pay in Euros.

Last word

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Mark Twain


The Idler, Monday, January 9, 2012

Test cricket wins again

LET NOBODY say test cricket is boring. Take last week's Third Test at Newlands. We had Jacques Kallis's sublime double ton plus a harvest of centuries and high scores from both sides. We had some superlative catching and fielding. We had Vernon Philander's breakthrough seam bowling on an unresponsive wicket. We had our mammoth first innings and Sri Lanka's brave and gritty fight-back to make us bat again.

There was also comedy. Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and sent us in to bat on a wicket that made a pancake look positively mountainous. That's a rib-tickler. We had Graeme Smith and Elviro Pietersen striding out to chase down a victory target of two runs. This is knockabout stuff.

The script called for a no-ball and a wide and, sure enough, Dhammika Prasad  provided the no-ball with his first delivery, though Pietersen drove it to the boundary for the extra run needed.

This is high comedy mixed in with great and serious cricket. What more could you provide by way of entertainment? The chorus line of the Folies Bergere? Well, maybe – but even that wouldn't steal the show.

Expert analysis

MOST of us, I'm sure, are totally baffled by the system of caucuses and primaries by which American voters decide who the Republican candidate will be in this year's presidential election. What does it actually mean, for instance, when Mitt Romney beats Rick Santorum by eight votes in the Iowa caucus?

On the spot analysis by an expert is required. I bring you (from his website) American satirist Andy Borowitz.

"Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was overjoyed today after finishing the Iowa caucuses in a virtual tie with a walking joke who wears sweater vests.

"'The eight people have spoken!' exclaimed Mr. Romney, who was joined by supporters celebrating his .0006 percent margin of victory.

"The former Massachusetts governor put the best face on his razor-thin lead, telling supporters: 'Say what you will, but eight votes is still six more than Rick Perry can count.'

"Historians noted that the last time so few people decided a presidential race they were all on the Supreme Court.

"As for the other candidates, runner-up Rick Santorum said that he had received a phone call from President Obama: 'He stopped laughing just long enough to say congratulations.'

"Representative. Michele Bachmann told supporters: 'I don't know the meaning of the word surrender. Also, the words science, math, apple and cat.'"

(It would appear that Rep Bachmann has since consulted a dictionary. She's withdrawn from the contest).

And there you have it in a nutshell.


Nature corrects

ANTELOPE, elephants, leopards and lions are grazing and reproducing again in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, according to this news report from Malawi. It follows a repopulation project "of biblical proportions" by the African Parks Network.

This is surely most welcome, another rolling back of the depredations on wildlife and the environment; another victory for the cause of conservation and sustainability.

But if the leopards and lions have taken to grazing, is there not a great risk of eventual over-population at Majete?

Unless, of course, the wildebeest and impala have turned carnivorous. Nature always corrects.

Python on diet

DID YOU EVER get that feeling over the festive season that you're like a python who's swallowed a buck and you want to stretch yourself between two trees?

That's how a huge python named Atomic Betty was beginning to feel. Atomic Betty, who lives in a wildlife park in Gosford, Australia, was chowing 10 goats a year, taking about half an hour to swallow each one then a week to digest it. But she was getting a bit plump.

The zoo-keepers decided she needed to diet and last year cut her down to three or four goats a year. Just before New Year they held a big weigh-in – it took about six keepers to lift and hold Betty – and it's been a success, her weight is down.

But Betty has a decidedly hungry look. They need to keep counting their keepers at Gosford.



TWO BLONDES are playing pool. They play for three hours without sinking a single ball.

One asks: "Do you wanna cheat?"

"Cheat what way?"

"Let's remove the triangle."


Last word

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

Sir Winston Churchill