Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Our part in this

THE Royal Air Force flew in thrilling tight formation over London yesterday to mark the centenary of its founding.

Who was responsible for founding the RAF, the first air force in the world? Why, our own General Jan Smuts, prime minister of the Union of South Africa and a member of the British war cabinet.

Which is the second oldest air force in the world? Why, the South African Air Force, founded on February 1, 1920.

Who founded the South African Air Force? You've probably guessed if you didn't know – General Jan Smuts, prime minister of the Union.

Yep, them wuz the days.

Seagulls rave it up

THE seagulls of south-west England have been getting blotto drunk and are staggering about the beaches in the most debauched and disgusting manner.

So much so, according to Sky News, that vets from the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals have been called in to dry them out and put them on the straight and narrow.

It's believed the gulls have been scavenging waste matter from a brewery or distillery somewhere. RSPCA men say their vans are beginning to pong like pubs.

"The birds appear disoriented and confused and struggle to stand," said RSPCA vet David Couper. "We took some video of one of the birds who is staggering around and losing his balance just like a person would if he'd had too much to drink."

The birds have been brought in over recent weeks after being found dead drunk on beaches across Devon, and a few from Bridport and Lyme Regis in Dorset.

Oh well, birds will be birds. You should see the way our pelicans and flamingoes sometimes behave on the sandbanks at Blue Lagoon. Not to mention the mynahs at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties – but then they've been set an example by the human habitues.

Twiggy's Pie Cart?

AND now a report from the BBC of over-indulgence by other birds. Two drunken women were carried from a diner unconscious, one of them vomiting on the way to being dumped on the pavement.

This had a familiar ring. At first I thought it was about Twiggy's Pie Cart (Proprietor: John Humphrey Branch) in the Market Square in Maritzburg in days of yore.

But no. It was about the Korean BBQ diner in Sydney, Australia, that was fined for serving the gals (plus another who didn't pass out) eight shots each of Korean soju liqueur within 35 minutes, then dumping two of them in the street.

This is not done, not even in Australia. It was one of the worst breaches of the liquor laws in years, the authorities said.

Oh dear. Birds will be birds, gals will be gals.



GREGOR Woods, former editor of Magnum magazine, says this week's "grammar in a bar-room setting" piece omitted a couple of rules, "probably because few grammarians now observe them".


"One is the dangling preposition - something today's editors seemingly no longer fuss OVER. I think the death sentence for this rule came when Winston Churchill (who won a Nobel prize for literature) was accused of leaving a dangling preposition. He famously retorted: "That is an absurdity up with which I shall not put!"


Another is the split infinitive. Gregor himself has a crafty little poem he wrote for trainee sub-editors.


'To be, or not to be'

is Shakespeare, definitive.

'To be, or not be'

is a mere derivative.

But 'To be, or to not be'

is to split the infinitive.





Nicola v Nessie

IT'S good to know that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes in the Loch Ness Monster. Also that the Scots have a plan of action, should Nessie put in an appearance beyond dispute.

The plan, according to Huffington Post, is for Nessie to be briefly captured, so that a DNA sample can be taken, then released back to the loch.

One small problem surely: Are monsters amenable to capture and the taking of a DNA sample?

Here's Nicola's chance. She should herself confront and overpower the monster on the banks of the loch – Nicola versus Nessie, another glorious chapter in Scottish legend.


When in Rome – be an awkward sod and do as the Belgians do.

Last word

Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

George Bernard Shaw

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