Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Idler, Monday, april23

More Washington cabaret

IS THIS a stunt or is it for real? The Democratic National Committee, in the US, is suing the Russian government, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, accusing them of a wide-ranging conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Russian government is located in the Kremlin. Will the lawsuit be served on it there?

How do you serve a lawsuit on something as nebulous as a campaign?

Wikileaks is holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. It's been there five and a half years under political asylum and is probably impermeable to lawsuits.

On the other hand, perhaps lawsuits are the answer. In that case the Brits and the French missed a trick in 1939.

They should have just sued the pants off Adolf Hitler when he invaded Czechoslovakia. It would have saved a lot of botheration.


We had it first

'TIS gratifying to have one's predictions in the realm of international affairs so readily confirmed.

Last week this column said Brexit had reached its definitive fault line over the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Sure enough, the EU over the weekend rejected the UK's suggestions for the Irish border.

Also last week, we predicted that Prince Charles will eventually become Head of the Commonwealth, even though it's not automatic.

Sho' nuff, that's what the Commonwealth Heads of Government decided unanimously at the weekend.

President Trump and Kim Jong-un (The Young 'Un)? Long-range forecasts for the July Handicap?

Watch this space!

Meeting of …

MEANWHILE, momentum toward a summit between Trump and Kim appears to be gathering. It could mean a breakthrough for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula; for a reduction in tensions with the US that could otherwise have dire consequences.

One thing is certain: It would be a meeting of the world's two worst haircuts.


What a thrilling and inspiring game this Stormers encounter was. Thrilling in the sense of closeness of the result. Inspiring in the way the Sharks picked themselves up off the deck after last week's disaster and showed what they're made of. We're still in the hunt.

A dour game, some say. Lots of forward play, little sparkle in the threequarters. Yes, it was dour. Lots of ferocious backline tackling by both sides. But this is rugby, not ballet.

Psychologically, this is exactly the right thing for the Sharks going forward. They can do it. Ole, ole, ole!

Black, blue, purple

SHOULD our rugby administrators not turn their minds to colour contrast?

At Kings Park on Saturday night the Sharks were in black. The Stormers were in a blue that showed very dark under the lights. The jerseys (and pants) were barely distinguishable.

There was also a fellow gesticulating continually. Ah, that was the ref, wearing purple. He could have been another player.

It probably wasn't that bad down on the field. But in the stands it took a lot of guesswork. Confusion should not be added to concern.

Home fires burning

INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener notes in his latest grumpy newsletter that President Cyril came home early from the Commonwealth meeting, presumably to put out actual and figurative fires.

"Some of the most severe conflagrations are the result of dire local and provincial leadership. Instead of renaming airports, government needs seriously to curtail provincial and 'traditional' power structures.

"These are costly anachronisms unsuited to a modern state, providing cover for incompetent paper shufflers and disguise for large scale larceny.

"Halving the public service wage bill will trigger social upheavals registering at least 10 on the Richter Scale. But it will allow for massive reductions in tax rates, which in turn will encourage entrepreneurship and self-help capacity."

Greener also notes that the King of Swaziland is so sick of his country being mistaken for Switzerland that henceforth our neighbour is to be known as eSwatini.

"It's hard to see where the confusion arises though."



PADDY goes for a job interview. His friends ask him afterwards how it went.

"To be sure, it was goin' swimminly, no problems at all. I was doin' very well.

"But den dey asked to see my testimonials. And dat's when I made my big mistake."


Last word

The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Idler, Friday, April 20, 2018

That Irish border

HAS a definitive fault line revealed itself in the Brexit process? How do they square the circle of the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland?

This is a "soft" border with no controls. People live one side of the border and work on the other. Farming operations straddle the border. Hundreds of trucks carrying trade goods cross the border, to and fro, every day.

The Republic of Ireland insists that border should remain soft. But that is incompatible with Brexit. The EU suggests a border in the Irish sea. But that would detach Northern Ireland from the UK, make it part of the EU and virtually part of the Republic. The Brits throw up their hands in horror.

Now Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, says there will be no Brexit withdrawal deal and no transition until the Irish border issue is resolved.

The brexiteers say there is a solution but they don't tell us what it is.

It takes us back to Spike Milligan's Puckoon, set in 1924 when "the clock in the church tower said 4.32, as it had done for three hundred years. It was right once a day and that was better than no clock at all."

The Ulster Boundary Commission was tasked with creating the new official division between Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. Through incompetence, dereliction of duty and sheer perversity, the border ends up running through the middle of the small town of Puckoon.

Houses are divided from outhouses, husbands separated from wives, bars are cut off from their patrons, churches sundered from graveyards ….

The brexiteers should really have done their homework and read Milligan. Apart from the confusion, there is the danger of re-igniting sectarianism.


Two little men with the arse out of their trousers were holding a mass meeting. They had both known better days but not partaken in them. They were forced to admit that the glorious days of the IRA were in decline.

"Comrades," said Shamus Ford, addressing his partner from a chair, "I have good tidings. This new customs post at Puckoon is a boon and a blessing to man. I have a plan, such a plan as Brian Boru would be glad to be associated in …"

Ends ital

Is this not a foretaste? Milligan also captures the breakdown in common civility and good manners in the tensions over a border. Consider this scene at the Holy Drunkard pub.


"Hello, Hi-lee, Ho-la, Hep-la," he shouted through the letterbox.

Upstairs a window flew up like a gun port and a pig-of-a-face stuck itself out.

"What do you want, Milligan?" said the pig-of-a-face. Milligan doffed his cap.

"Ah, Missis O'Toole, you're looking more lovely dan ever. Is there any chance of a cool libation for a tirsty traveller?"

"Piss off!" said the lovely Mrs O'Toole.

Ends ital

And there you have it in a nutshell – social breakdown and hostility caused by the Irish border issue. Few credited Spike Milligan with such insight and foresight when he wrote Puckoon.


Pep talk


Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

To his full height …

Yes, Shakespeare knew how to do a rugby pep talk. Boy, do we need it tomorrow against the Stormers, wipe out memory of last week's debacle. Tomorrow is a test of the Sharks'character as much as skills.

Meanwhile, a damsel from Zinkwazi, on the North Coast, urges me – through her bridge partner -  to desist from sport in this column. My reply is that she should join the gals of the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties and supply knicker elastic for the fashioning of catapults in the event of victory, for the trasditional celebratory feu de joie in which the street lights are shot out.

She will discover that rugby is part of the fabric of our culture, a source of never-ending joy. Her life will be transformed.



A TRAFFIC cop pulls level with a car that is speeding on the motorway. He's astounded to see that the woman at the wheel is knitting.

He cranks down his window and shouts: "Pull over!"

"No," she shouts back. "Scarf!"

Last word

I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

James Thurber


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Idler, Thursday, April 19, 2018

Long-standing links

YESTERDAY'S front page photograph of Cyril Ramaphosa with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle before the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting recalls the personal links she has with South Africa.

It was in Cape Town that the Queen – then a princess – swore her oath of loyalty to the Commonwealth when she turned 21. It was during the royal tour of 1947.

One imagines she would have followed with some interest and concern the ructions that preceded Ramapohosa's elevation to the presidency.

Meanwhile, in an address to a Commonwealth Youth Forum, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the multi-nation organisation as unique.

"No other organisation can rival both our geographical and cultural diversity while giving all nations an equal role, an equal voice and equal standing.

"From small tropical islands to the vast Arctic tundra, from nations of just a few thousand people to countries that are home to hundreds of millions, the modern Commonwealth is a snapshot of the world at large."

Quite true. Also true is that South Africa is a snapshot of that snapshot – people of African, Asian and European origin; a mixture of the developed and the developing worlds.

The main Commonwealth shindig starts today. We hope nobody is indelicate enough to raise ball-tampering in cricket.


ELIZABETH is queen of 16 Commonwealth countries – head of state, the position hereditary. Elsewhere she is "Head of the Commonwealth". Does Prince Charles eventually take over that role? It's not automatic, not quite clear.

But the smart money has it that he will. There's nothing a republican likes better than the mystique of monarchy.

Angry Brock

PORTIONS of a 16th century Scottish castle had to be closed to the public last week because they have been taken over by a "very angry badger".

The tunnel at Craignethan Castle was considered especially dangerous for any human meeting up with the cheesed-off badger in that enclosed space, according to Huffington Post.

The badger had wandered in from nearby forest, said Historic Scotland, which manages the property. It dug through loose soil and stonework.

Built in 1530, Craignethan is noted for its fortifications, which were built to protect it from artillery and considered ahead of their time. But it seems it's not badger proof.

What made the badger so angry? We're not told. Perhaps he'd been watching First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on TV. Badgers are notorious male chauvinists.

We're not told if he was wearing a kilt.


OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "This fellow I know had to drop out of medical school. Really tragic. He wanted so much to be a doctor but he couldn't stand the sight of cash."


PLASTICS are choking our oceans. Plastic bags, wrappers, bottles and drinking straws are carelessly thrown away. They flow down the gutters, into the rivers and from there into the sea.

They are choking marine life. Tiny granules are entering the food chain, of which we are a part. Plastic doesn't biodegrade, it's there forever. It threatens to choke the entire planet.

Except here's hope. Scientists in Portsmouth, England, have discovered a naturally occurring enzyme that eats plastic bottles. They believe PETase (from the PET plastic used in bottles) can be fine-tuned to chomp all kinds of plastic.

And here's something absolutely intriguing. Some of the scientists believe the enzyme developed as a response to the presence of plastics.

If that is true, how marvellous are the forces of nature. Something built in to counter the excesses of humanity. Makes ya think!


RACONTEUR Spyker Koekemoer (aka Pat Smythe) turned 65 this week, a noteworthy occasion.

"The first message I received on my phone was from Clientele Life, suggesting I buy a funeral policy."

Happy Birthday!


THIS fellow is in a seafood restaurant. A sign reads: "Lobster tails R10 each." He says to the waitress: "These must be very small tails if you're selling them so cheap."

"No, she says. "They're normal size."

"Then they have to be pretty old."

"They're fresh today."

"There has to be something wrong with them."

"No, they're just regular lobster tails."

"Okay, I'll have one."

The waitress takes his money, sits him down at a table and says: "Once upon a time there was a big red lobster …"

Last word

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

John F Kennedy





Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Whirlpool in Washington

WASHINGTON is a whirlpool these days. Besides the White House gossip book Fire and Fury mentioned yesterday, former FBI director James Comey is top of the New York bestsellers list for his book, A Higher Loyalty - before it has even been launched.

Comey was fired by President Donald Trump. He's been giving pre-publication interviews and in his book he apparently describes Trump as reminding him of the Mafia bosses he used to prosecute.

Trump in turn calls him a "slimeball".

Meanwhile, General James Clapper, retired head of US Intelligence, is about to publish his own book, which is widely expected to contain dynamite on Russian interference in US affairs.

Yes, a whirlpool.

In another skirmish, President Trump has been tweeting against billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, the giant digital marketing and delivery company, accusing Amazon of having a sweetheart deal with the US Post Office.

Some note that Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper that is highly critical of Trump.

On top of all this, the New Yorker reports that Amazon has delivered 10 000 advance copies of Comey's book to the White House. (This seems like an inversion of tok-tokkie). Amazon has apologised, calling the delivery "a regrettable accident".

"Cartons kept coming throughout the day, until stacks of the book clogged virtually every hallway and office in the building.

"Donald Trump was so incensed by the book situation that he screamed at Mike Pence while the Vice-President was in the middle of praising him, one source said.

"The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called any speculation that Trump had ordered Comey's book 'absurd', adding: 'The President does not order reading material.'"

Yes, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again. The poor guy has to work hard to keep satire ahead of what is actually happening.


Modern vogue

CHOGGIM is in session in London. When Verwoerd gleefully walked out in 1961, it was called the Commonwealth Conference.

By the time Nelson Mandela walked back in again in 1994 it had followed the modern vogue, changing its name to the clumsy Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, known by the ugly contraction CHOGM.

But at least we're back and our athletes have been raking in the medals at the Games in Australia.

Choggim. I think I'll keep calling it the Commonwealth Conference, I'm very old-fashioned.


OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "How many existentialists does it take to change a light bulb? Two. One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself symbolises a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity, reaching toward the ultimate horror of a maudlin cosmos of bleak, hostile nothingness."



Lovely frogs

WHAT a lovely pair of frogs … Louisiana redhead Fabiana LeFleur grew up hunting and fishing with her dad on the local bayou near the town of Henderson in America's Deep South.

Her dad taught her to use every possible part of the fish and other creatures they hooked or speared. What couldn't be eaten should if possible be put to other use, such as pelts or bone knife handles.

Now, according to Huffington Post, she's taken it to just about the ultimate. She's fashioned herself a bikini from the cured skins of huge frogs speared on the bayou.

Two frogs account for the upper rigging. From what one can make out from the photograph, two more are used for the bottom bit.

It's, er, not terribly appealing. Not for the fashion catwalk. But Fabiana looks a nice enough gal, and topsides she's certainly got a lovely pair of frogs.




AN ATTRACTIVE woman goes up to the craps table in the casino and puts down a bet of 20 000 bucks on a single roll of the dice.

"I hope you don't mind," she says. "But I feel much luckier when I'm bottomless." And with that she strips from the waist down. She rolls the dice, yelling: "Momma needs a new pair of pants!"

Then she jumps up and down, shouting: "Yes! I win! I win!"

With that she scoops up her winnings and leaves.

First casino worker: "So what did she roll anyway?"

Second casino worker: "Dunno. I thought you were watching the dice."

Last word

I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.

e e cummings



Monday, April 16, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Furious denials – yet intriguing

FOR those who believe the Trump White House is more like reality TV than anything else, here's something uncanny. According to a book currently making waves, his campaign for the presidency never was intended to do more than establish his brand for a TV network in collaboration with his longtime friend, Roger Ailes, formerly of Fox News. Trump was not supposed to win, did not want to win.

One has some difficulty swallowing this. President Trump has furiously denied the veracity of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury (Little, Brown). All the same, these 310 pages of high octane gossip – much of it seemingly borne out in developments – make intriguing reading.

Wolff says Trump was right to be concerned about leaks to the media. They flowed on a regular basis from the people closest to him – Steve Bannon, an ultra-rightwinger with an apocalyptic vision of tearing down the existing order and leaving much of the world burning; his son-in-law the "liberal" Jared Kushner (with Ivanka); and Reince Priebus, chief of staff and representing the orthodox Republican Party.

They loathed each other, plotted against each other and regularly briefed the media against each other in their three-way vendetta, according to Wolff.

After the election Trump looked like a man who has seen a ghost when it became clear he'd won, Wolff says. He quotes Bannon on "a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a quite horrified Trump".

"But still to come was the final transformation: suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be and was wholly capable of being the president of the United States."

Is any of this true? Who can tell? But it would make a great TV soapie.


Weird, scary

SPEAkING of which, events of recent days suggest another blockbuster script.

A London-based doctor and post-graduate opthalmology student switches career path and instead starts butchering and gassing people in their hundreds of thousands.

He goes too far. An estate agent/property developer/reality TV star, a vicar's daughter and a Rothschilds investment banker launch air and seaborne missile strikes on him.

That's right, folks. Bashar al-Bassad was once at the Western Eye Hospital, in London. He went back to Syria when his elder brother died in a car crash.

Theresa May is the vicar's daughter. Trump the estate agent/property/developer/reality TV star. Emmanuel Macron was an investment banker with Rothschilds. What a cast!

But if you'd presented that script to anyone say 10 years ago, they'd have rolled around laughing.

A weird and scary world we live in.

Reverse swing

Will this cricket controversy never end? This question of the Aussies tampering with the ball at Newlands (and probably at Kingsmead also and very likely in the series against England as well)?

All kinds of stuff is still flying about the internet. Latest: The Aussies are insisting that the ball be changed from the familiar Kookaburra to the Krookaburra.

This surely has gone far enough. This persecution of our Van Diemensland cousins must cease.

Heh, heh!


A HAMBURGER intentionally topped with a tarantula is attracting customers to a restaurant in Durham, North Carolina, in the US.

Bull City Burger and Brewery is currently celebrating "Exotic Meat Month", according to Huffington Post, by featuring burgers made with everything from alligator to iguana, python, bison, turtle and insects.

But it's the tarantula challenge that has customers going buggy, according to local station WRAL. For $30 (R362) customers get a 100% North Carolina pasture-raised beef burger topped with Gruyère cheese, chili sauce and an oven-roasted tarantula.

And if they finish their plate, they get a T-shirt to immortalise the feat.

I really shouldn't be publicising this. 'Twould be horrid if local eateries were to start offering burgers with oven-roasted cockroaches on top.


A HEALTH specialist is giving a talk in the village hall.

"The best way to start the day is to do five minutes' light exercise and five minutes of deep breathing. Then I always take a short hot shower and feel rosy all over."

Voice from the back of the hall: "Tell us more about Rosie!"


Last word

In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.

Edward P Tryon


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Idler, Monday, April 16, 2018

Bad day at the Coliseum

EHEU! – as the ancient Romans used to say after an upset at the Coliseum. Kings Park on Saturday was the worst debacle since Tobruk.

The kindest thing that can be said is that it could have been a case of Jetlag versus Two-week Layoff. There was a sense of the Sharks being not quite awake during that 20-miute blitz in the first half.

Also, we unaccountably opted to kick penalties for the corner when the posts beckoned. Then Robert du Preez missed that sitter (after not missing 20 or so in previous matches). Eheu, eheu, eheu! This was not our day. Nine more points on the scoreboard at halftime could have made all the difference.

Then, as the rain teemed down, we threw caution to the winds while the Bulls sensibly adapted to wet conditions. This gifted them two more soft tries. Eheu, eheu, eheu, eheu!

Tobruk was followed by Alamein. The guys need to get it together for the Stormers in a few days. Cowboys don't cry!

Polyester pantaloons

HAVE you ever wondered why Mickey Mouse had no offspring? Could it have been those silly red pants?

It's not so much that his lack of style turned Minnie off. It could have been that the pants were made of polyester instead of cotton.

Huffington Post explores the question in the light of research by a Cairo sexologist who put 60 laboratory rats into pants – some cotton and some polyester – then observed their amorous activities. The cotton pantaloons outperformed the polyesters by a country mile.

The reason why has not been established. But Shafik's groundbreaking research has been recognised in a posthumous award by Harvard University, in the US, of an Ig Nobel Prize.

The Ig Nobels are awarded for whacky but genuine scientific research by an organisation called The Annals of Improbable Research. They're a popular feature of the Harvard academic year.

Usefulness? Nobody is likely to practise rodent control by catching rats and mice and putting them in polyester pants.

But there can be useful spin-offs, avenues for further research. How many fellows, for instance, get lucky in singles bars if they're wearing 70s-style "time to shine" polyester suits?



Games record

INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener remarks in his latest grumpy newsletter on the performance of the Cameroon contingent at the Commonwealth Games, in Australia.

"While athletes in the green and gold have been collecting a wonderful haul of medals at the Commonwealth Games, no nation can equal the record set by the chaps from Cameroon who have swept the board in the unscheduled Hide and Seek event.

"Eight of them disappeared several days ago and so far no one in Australia has found them. I doubt they'll come back for the medal ceremony though."


A cure

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "When I heard they'd discovered a cure for dyslexia, it was like music to my arse."


MORE from Rosemarie Jarski's Great British Wit. Topic: Golf.

·       Soccer is a simple-minded game for simple people; golf is merely an expensive way of leaving home. – Michael Parkinson.

·       Golf is an ineffectual attempt to direct an uncontrollable sphere into an inaccessible hole with instruments ill-adapted to the purpose. – Winston Churchill.

·       A game in which you can claim the privileges of age, and retain the playthings of childhood. – Samuel Johnson.

·       My favourite shots are the practice swing and the conceded putt. The rest cannot be mastered. – Lord Robertson.

·       When male golfers wiggle their feet to get their stance right they look exactly like cats preparing to pee. - Jilly Cooper.

·       The least thing upsets him on the links. He missed short putts because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows. - PG Wodehouse.

·       The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf. It's almost a law. – HG Wells.

·       Playing with your spouse on the golf course runs almost as great a marital risk as getting caught playing with someone else's anywhere else – Peter Andrews.

·       Golf balls are attracted to water as unerringly as the eye of a middle-aged man to a female bosom. – Michael Green.



WHY did the hippo fall out of the banana tree?

The rhino pushed him.

Last word

Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Lewis Carroll

The Idler, Friday, April 13, 2018

High road singalong

HAVE you noticed how "rumble" strips on a highway produce a distinct, high-pitched note in the sound of the tyres on the tarmac? That's deliberate. It's to warn you to slow down and be on the look-out.

In the Netherlands they've taken it further – very much further. In the province of Friesland they've so arranged the strips on the road between the towns of Leeuwaarden and Stiens that if you drive over them at the correct speed they produce a medley of notes. In fact they sing the Friesland provincial anthem, according to the BBC.

Is this not brilliant? Er, no, say the Frieslanders. They're sick and tired of hearing the provincial anthem day and night as cars travel between the towns. They can't sleep.

It gets worse at night when taxis and other vehicles illegally speed up, thus speeding up the Friesland provincial anthem. It must sound like the chipmunk jabber you get if you play an LP record at fast speed.

The Friesland provincial government has now agreed to remove the strips. The experiment has cost €80 000 (R1.1m), including the removal.

No, Mshini wami on the North Coast road is not a good idea either.


Humdinger in store

TOMORROW could be the day for the gumboot dance in the Duikers' Club.

Two equally matched sides – the Sharks and the Bulls – that have clicked somewhat late in the season, both playing expansive, attacking rugby and both with something to prove. Both also with an eye on the play-offs. The season is getting interesting.

Kings Park is set for another humdinger. Ole, ole, ole! See you in the Duikers'!

Hot chilli

A FELLOW who swallowed a Carolina Reaper chilli in New York state, in the US, experienced "dry heaves" and ended up in hospital with intense neck and head pains and "thunderclap headaches", according to Sky News.

He was a participant in an "eating contest". The unnamed man's experience was described in a medical journal.

One thing's for sure. If he should ever visit Durban, he must avoid the "Mother-in-law's Revenge" curry powder at the Victoria Street Market. The dry heaves start when you so much as look at it.

Eiighteen a day

THERE'S nothing so loyal as a satisfied beer drinker. A Californian with the catchy name of Randy Colpek is so enamoured of his local brew, Kirkland Light, that he produced his own commercial on it and got it on You Tube, where it has gone viral.

He dances a bit of a jig and recites slogans:

  • "Kirkland Light: It's 11 am somewhere."
  • "Kirkland Light: Available in 48-packs where you buy your pants!"
  • "Kirkland Light: Give me a Kirkland, a coozy and a floozy!"
  • "Kirkland Light: Got a drinking problem? Now you got a drinking solution!"
  • "Kirkland Light: Life is like beer. Drink it in and pee it out!"

He told Huffington Post he drinks about 18 cans a day of Kirkland Light. Judging by the commercial, he was about halfway through his day when he made it.


Girlie mag

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "There's this new girlie mag that caters for the married market. It's just like Playboy or Penthouse, but it's all the same model, month after month after month …"



SPCA workers in Scotland were astonished to be brought a spiny beach ball. It turned out to be a hedgehog suffering from "balloon syndrome", having swelled to a circumference of 76cm.

Apparently it's a freak thing with hedgehogs, according to Sky News. This one had probably been clipped by a car on a country road, which had punctured a lung. The air from the lung then found its way to just beneath the skin – making him into a balloon.

The hedgehog – they named him Zeppelin – was taken to a care centre at Fishcross, Clackmannanshire (nice name that), where he has been under deflation treatment for more than eight months.

Now Zeppelin is right as rain and has been released into the wild in Perthshire. All's well that ends well. (We hope Zeppelin is not homesick for Clackmannanshire).



SHE'S a busty gal in a tight, low-cut dress. It's a crowded party.

"A bit crowded," she says to this fellow.

"Yes, but it suits you."


Last word

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

Oscar Wilde