Thursday 24 November 2011


    It's been a bloody awful, painful week. I've had my fair share of pain in my life. Internal hemorrhages, TGA's, broken bones by the score but this took some beating. For pain, try a dose of  ****. So debilitating that a butterfly landing on your toe would induce excruciating pain to the point of not being too keen on living. I had to fech a doctor to the house, an almost unheard of occurence. And I missed a Derby County home match for the first time since March 1975. (Versus Luton Town, Derby won 5-0.)
    The annoying thing is, most people find **** funny. Say you have the dreaded Big C and everybody is profoundly sympathetic. (Having had a brush with skin cancer I know these things.) 'I'm bio polar' you announce and everyone is fascinated. (I'm not really.) 'How interesting' they say, 'Just like Stephen Fry, Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan.' Its seemingly always been with us from our earliest times. Only thenadays sufferers were called manic depressives. How bloody terrific! What I've got, **** doesn't seem to have another name. ****, short and simple but terribly amusing, ha ha ha.
    Presumably anyone with syphilis or gonorrhea may not always get the sympathy they deserve and need, some miserable sods suggesting it's in a way self inflicted. But my **** is not self inflicted unless you suggest its cause might be the beer, of which I drink too much, or the various foods I scoff. Mind you, cutting out things that cause **** is not easy. How many of the following do you eat. If any of the following, watch yourself! (Not necessarily equal in 'contributes to **** factor', but all 'dodgy' concerning **** in their own way.)

consume beans       kidney           ham                   salmon
mushrooms             brain              beef                  cod
spinach                   hot dogs - in fact all processed meats
cauliflower              pheasant        pork                   trout
                              liver               lamb                  scallops
anchovies               turkey            liver                   sardine
peas                       chicken          haddock            herring
lentils                      rabbit            mussels
legumes                  grouse           shrimp
asparagus               squirrel !        crab

    The only redeeming feature of **** is that its not for everyone. Not for the common people. Hippocrates  didn't call **** 'The disease of kings' for nothing. Its only for the rich and famous, you see. I suppose Henry VIII was the best known sufferer. George IV was also afflicted, alternating with his madness, poor chap. Plus King James I and Queen Anne, right pillars of the aristocracy. Not just royals either, both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were similarly plagued by the dreaded ****. Which would suggest that my dubious parentage, and the suggestion of coming from 'higher stock' is perhaps true after all. (See post dated 22nd September 2009 Will the Real You Please Stand Up.) And by the way, **** was featured in a health programme I watched this week so I must indeed have a topical complaint if nothing else. I learnt also that tofu is highly rated in dealing with ****. Had not heard of it, anyone know anything about tofu; any help greatfully received; just off to seek it out in my local Chinese supermarket. 
    Sorry for the bad mood and the bad language but that's Gout for you! (Just in case anyone had not realised it was the dreaded Gout that is causing me problems. in the ankle as well as the toe I might add.) Going for a lie down, as Reg Dixon used to say, 'I feel proper poorly'.
'A chronic condition caused by an uncontrolled metabolic disorder, hyperuricemia, which leads to the deposit of mono sodium urate (uric acid) crystals in tissues around the joint.'       .                  

Thursday 17 November 2011

What Goes Round Comes Round.

    I do articles on occasion for a motorhome magazine called Motorhome Monthly. Circulation around 40,000, all free, given away monthly in garages, some supermarkets, caravan sales places etc. Can't be bad, who gives you something for nothing nowadays. I recently did an article on the fact that my younger daughter and her family own an ancient VW motorhome. Following in the footsteps of her dad who also is a motorhome fan. All in the 'deja vu', 'here we are again', a 'whats new pussycat', 'what goes round comes round,' way of thinking. By the way, have you read the words of Justin Timberlakes song 'What goes Around Comes Around'.
There are several verses of the following.

That's okay baby 'cause in time you will find

What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around
What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around
What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around
What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around.

I bet that took some writing!
    But I digress.(Nothing new there, then.) So often children throughout the world grow up trying so hard to appear 'with it'. Their parents and indeed their parent's values are considered old fashioned. Surely you, dear readers tried hard to shock your parents when you were young; can you remember how. I can remember my 'motorhoming' daughter going through a phase where the wearing of socks was 'not the done thing'. I've no idea why but the 'battle went on for years. But the desire to be different, to come up with something new is surely inherent in all civilised youth. Particularly difficult for parents of strict religious faiths I would suspect. All this came to mind as I followed the Michael Jackson 'doctor' trial. And the connection, you ask.
I watched video footage footage of an incredibly talented young man. I might be seventy plus years of age but my interest in life is far from over. And as I watched his amazing 'moonwalking' I had the feeling I had seen this before. In my distant youth. And then I realised where. Watch the videos and wonder. I wonder what Michael Jackson watched in his youth.

Thursday 10 November 2011

October, Often Over the Top. Grumpy's Alternative News.

    Where to start. And surely its people, with all their odd little quirks and idiosyncrasies that make the world go round. Like the benefit claimant in Bolton who claimed he could not walk but was filmed talking part in motocross. (He was a junior champion.) And the man in the wheelchair holding the television on his lap, his mate pushing him as they left the London riots. Charged in October, alongside the man who sold the left handed guitar he stole for £20. He was right handed, true value of the guitar, £1,900. The man who drove round   Denver on a pub crawl with his dead friend in the back. He ran up a bill on his friend's bar tab, said he thought his friend was drunk, not dead! The 76 year old lady in Colchester who was 'chased' by police for seventeen miles at 10mph after she went the wrong way round an island. She says she's going to drive again when her one year ban is served! The 'belligerent' clamper who clamped two unrked police cars on duty at the Queen's visit to Portsmouth.
    People never cease to amaze; sometimes it's serious, sometimes less so. The Paris chief of police has his smart phone stolen on a railway station. (France is in the middle of a campaign warning of the risk of mobile phone thefts.) A man tries to swim home from the pub across the River Arun and gets stuck in the mudflats, to be rescued by the Littlehampton lifeboat. Both men what you might call 'dozy' but not in the same league as the idiot Welsh farmer who left his tractor and farm trailer parked on the railway crossing in South Wales whilst he fed his horses in a neighbouring field. A 75mph collision resulted; fortunately no one was seriously injured. Though I reckon a nine month suspended sentence plus community service was less than he deserved. Plus some people are dangerously malicious. Mandy Fleming of Sheerness drilled three holes in her husband's yacht and turned the gas taps on. Not a happy bunny. But at least her husband survived. Leonora Sinclair wanted to watch Harry Hill's TV Burp on the television, her husband of ten months wanted to watch football. Her answer was to knife him to death with a kitchen knife. Found guilty of manslaughter, she will be sentenced in December. Dangerous people to know. As is Viktor Bout, a former Russian army officer charged with attempting to sell surface-to-air missiles to Columbian Fare guerrillas. Beats small handguns and revolvers any day. Funny if it weren't so frightening.
    Some strange or daft quickies. The Isle of Wight recorded 22mm rainfall in the first half of autumn. (As dry as Marrakesh and four times as dry as Algiers.) The Gemasolar plant is the first solar energy facility to supply power at night. (Don't ask, look it up!) Over fifty Indians have received recycled pacemakers from deceased Americans. The scheme, manged in Mumbai is a world first and has a 98% success rate. (Recycling pacemakers is not permissible in the USA.) Two competitors in a 'world's hottest chilli eating competion' in Scotland went to hospital after eating chilli made from Bhut Jolokia chilli. As one competitor stated 'I have never endured such pain in my life.' Finally for this section. A man from Ilford, who has feet size 13 and 14 and a half ordered slippers from Hong Kong. Someone read 14.5 as 1.450, the result, a slipper that is roughly 7 feet long. You couldn't make it up! (The owner is going to try to sell it on line.)
    Animal news invariably lightened the month. The elephant born at Whipsnade was quite an elephant. For a start he was two months overdue. That made it a 700 day pregnancy. Yet he was a mere 16 stone. Plus he couldn't reach to suckle. No problem, he quickly learnt to stand on his toes. Sophie the 17 year old giraffe at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling had a pedicure problem which made walking difficult. Sedated and hooves clipped with giant metal clippers and Sophie now has a spring in her step. The meltdown at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan affected animals as well as humans. But note the new look dogs in their raincoats, made to prevent nuclear contamination. A canine fashion statement, I  hope they work.
    But the picture that most caught my eye were the rare whooping cranes, the largest and rarest bird in North America. Birds are reared from incubators in Wisconsin. The birds at the chosen time are trained to follow a microlight (their surrogate mother) on a 1,285 mile journey across seven states and involving 23 stops; ten birds, destination, Florida. Winter in Florida and, as if by magic, they return to Wisconsin unaided. A nature programme in its eleventh year, an American success story. 
Nothing a wee bit risque this month. Oh, go on then!
    Round the world sailor Florence Arthaud was 'Having a tinkle over the rail without attaching myself as usual' she told rescuers off Corsica after she fell overboard.  In the water for ninety minutes, she was saved by her phone call on her waterproof mobile phone to her mother who alerted the coast guards. A beauty queen  from Horfield fled the Miss Asia Pacific World contest in South Korea after being groped and offered votes in exchange for sex. And a women teacher admitted groping a Virgin Atlantic steward at 33,000 feet. The teacher, by the way was drunk and the steward was male!
    A topless portrait of Nell Gwyn painted around 1680  has gone on show at the National Portait Gallery. Topless, having had clothes removed that were added by a restorer in the 19th century. A lot less offensive than the so called 'lady' who partially bit off her partners scrotum in Newcastle. The injury required 19 stitches, she appears in court for sentence on Friday (11th November).
    The Bhutan archery-loving herdsmen are forsaking their traditional pastime in order to concentrate on collecting a parasitic fungus found only in the high Himalayas. Cordyceps sinensis fungus is highly prized and can fetch as much as £50,000 a kilogram in Hong Kong. Evidently its not called the Himalayan Viagra for nothing. Mind you, sounds a bit expensive, hooray for the NHS!
Finally the saying 'Don't try to teach your grandmother to suck eggs' springs to mind. The Portsmouth 60+ Festival advertised a session to help participants 'get the most out of their sex life.' I could really go to town on this one but I would be banned from the Internet. Suffice to say only four turned up and the sessions were cancelled. I reckon if we 'old uns' don't know what we are doing by now, we might as well give up. I feel 'right funny' even thinking about it. I'm off for a lie down!     

Thursday 3 November 2011

You Learn Something New Everyday.

     I noticed The Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in the world has put on the internet all its scientific papers. All 60,000, dating from its origination in 1665. I wonder how much room they take up! Housed at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace overlooking St Jame's Park since 1967, The Society consists of 1314 Fellows and 44 new ones are added each year.
    The Plague, the Great Fire of London, Benjamin Franklin flying kites in a storm, the pontifications of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, its all there if you care to look. A French astronomer (Adrien Auzout) suggested building a giant telescope (1,000 feet long) to watch the animals on the moon. One scientist related how a thirteen year old girl had pockets full of salt to eat instead of sugar. She died young! A Doctor Nathan Fairfax relates how a women was persuaded to swallow two bullets to cure bowel problems. The good doctor provided 'Lady Holland's Powder' from his 'apothecary'. (What a lovely word, apothecary.) She used her chamber pot and 'twang' (his words, not mine) a bullet in the pot. (Note, no mention of a second bullet.) His conclusions, 'It should be said, that Nature, when put to shifts, finds out strange conveyances to rid the body of what is extraneous and offensive to it.'
    I've seldom been to London. (Probably less than a dozen times in my entire life.) I don't know what Carlton House Terrace looks like. But I'd love to go inside and look through that pile of papers. Nearly 350 years of history. The mind boggles. There's always been clever people about, that's for sure. An example of what the Royal Society is all about. Enjoy!   
In 1666, Robert Boyle gave a somewhat gruesome account of one of the first instances of blood transfusion between animals, in this case two dogs. The following year, Richard Lower also performed the first transfusion of blood from a sheep into a human. He was one of the foremost surgeons of his day and was involved in pioneering discoveries in blood circulation and breathing. Although Lower understood the usefulness of blood transfusions following injury or other blood loss, in humans it often caused severe and sometimes fatal reactions, and 10 years later it was banned by Parliament. It was over 200 years later that an understanding of blood groups made routine transfusions possible. Lower’s work has been brought to life in An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears.

Daniel Glaser, Wellcome Trust.
Related scientific article
TitleTryals Proposed by Mr. Boyle to Dr. Lower, to be Made by Him, for the Improvement of Transfusing Blood out of One Live Animal into Another
AuthorR Boyle
JournalPhilosophical Transactions

An early blood transfusion from lamb to man, ca 1705.
© Wellcome Library, London
Portrait of Robert Boyle, by Johann Kerseboom, oil on canvas, 17th century.
© The Royal Society