The Edmondson Blog

Dane Geld

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
To call upon a neighbour and to say:
“We invaded you last night
We are quite prepared to fight,
Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

And that is called asking for Dane geld,
And the people who ask it explain
That you’ve only to pay ‘em the Dane geld
And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:
“Though we know we should defeat you,
We have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say:

“We never pay any one Dane geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!”
Rudyard Kipling.

The T-Mobile Dance At Liverpool Street Station

This was done live, only the dancers know what was going to happen. They had rehearsed late the night before.

Track list:
  • Lulu - Shout.
  • Yazz - The only way is up.
  • Pussycat Dolls - Don't cha.
  • Viennese Waltz.
  • Kool & the Gang.
  • Rainbow - Since you've been gone.
  • Millie Small - My Boy Lollipop.
  • Contours - Do you love me.

Ways Of The World

The other day I was out-and-about, and was caught short, so I found a public toilet that had two cubicles.

One of the cubicles was locked. So I went into the other one, closed the door, dropped my trousers and sat down.

A voice came from the cubicle next to me: "Hello mate, how are you doing?"

Although I thought that it was a bit strange, I didn't want to be rude, so I replied, "Not too bad, thanks."

After a short pause, I heard the voice again. "So, what are you up to?"

Again I answered, somewhat reluctantly, "Just having a quick shit... How about yourself?"

The next thing I heard him say was, "Sorry, mate, I'll have to call you back. I've got some c*nt in the cubicle next to me answering everything I say."
Thanks to Claudia at

Kiss The Boss (And Snub The Old Man)

Return To The Otford English Dictionary

Otter (adj.): very pleasant weather (Yorkshire).
Participate (v.): to expect your father at any moment.
Perfect (v.): how Irish cats get pregnant (slang).
Philander (proper name): HM the Queen and her husband.
Piccaninny (n.): the British system for appointing Prime Ministers.
Pokemon (n.): a Rastafarian proctologist.
Polaroids (n.): an unpleasant medical condition that affects arctic explorers.
Problematic (n.): an unsatisfactory loft conversion.
Prosthetic (n.): a lamentably inadequate call girl.
Pubescent (n.): intimate deodorant.
Punish (adj.): a bit like a pun.
Rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified bearing adopted by a proctologist.
Sanctity (n.): a multiple breasted French lady.
Shambolic (n.): a counterfeit testicle.
Shampoo (n.): a forged turd.
Squeamish (adj.): a bit like a squeam.
Stockade (n.): fizzy Oxo.
Tadpole (adj.): ever so slightly Polish.
Testicle (n.): a humorous question on an exam.
Tissues (n.): matters of prime importance (Yorkshire).
Twofold (n.): origami project for beginners.
Willy-nilly (adj.): impotent.
Virgin Olive Oil (proper name): Popeye’s fiancée.
Walrus (excl.): final exclamation from Russell’s driving instructor.

Setting A Bad Example

Buffalo Theory

A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest animal in the herd, and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest animals that get killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. A little thought will show that it is obvious that the alcohol attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way regular consumption of alcohol eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

That’s why you feel cleverer and more able to critically comment on the world around you after a few beers.
Norm’s Buffalo Theory from Cheers.

Another Dip Into The Otford English Dictionary

Champagne (n.): a pretend hurt.
Crocus (n.): A blackbird's expletive.
Granule (proper name): Father Christmas’s mother.
Gravy (adj.): a bit like a tomb.
Hopscotch (n.): one-legged Glaswegian.
Impending (n.): the forthcoming death of a pixie.
Impolite (v.): to set a pixie on fire.
Import (n.): what posh pixies drink after dinner.
Increment (n.): stormy Chinese weather.
Intifada (n.): a flower delivery service on the West Bank.
Intoxication (n): to feel sophisticated but not be able to say it.
Ivy (n.): four (Latin).
Jacuzzi (proper name): Italian translation of the well known essay regarding Captain Dreyfus.
Jesi (proper name): plural of Jesus.
Jugular (n.): an amply bosomed vampire.
Kneepads (n.): turnip advertisements in Scotland.
Knick-knack (n.): an ability to steal.
Largesse (n.): S
Lavish (adj.): a bit like a toilet.
Leotard (n.): an African feline with learning difficulties.
Lymph (v.): to walk with a lisp.
Malady (adj.): a bit like a duck.
Measles (n.): what artists use for self-portraits.
Megawatt (excl.): PARDON??!!
Miscomprehension (proper name): winner of the English Grammar beauty contest.
Mississippi (proper name): wife of Mr. Ippi.
Missive (adj.): extraordinarily large (South African).
Mystery (adj.): a bit like a man.
Mumps (n.): heaps of unwanted mothers.
Negligent (n.): diaphanous night attire for men.

Sea Captains Not To Sail With

Captain William Bligh, HMS Bounty.

Captain Edward J. Smith, RMS Titanic.

Captain Ahab, whaler Pequod in Moby Dick.

Captain Benjamin S. Briggs, half brig Mary Celeste, found drifting and abandoned, 5 December 1872.

Captain Queeg, USN, USS Caine in Herman Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Caine Mutiny, 1951.

Captain Stanley Lord, SS Californian which, though in the vicinity, failed to go to the rescue of the stricken RMS Titanic.

Kapitanleutnant Walther Schweiger, U-20, whose U-boat torpedoed the Cunard liner RMS Lusitania off the south coast of Ireland, 7 May 1915, with the loss of more than 1,000 lives, 124 of them citizens of the then neutral United States.

Captain George Pollard, Jr, Nantucket whaler Essex, rammed and sunk by an enraged sperm whale in the Pacific, 20 November 1820. The tale inspired Melville’s Moby Dick (see above).

Must-Read Books

Voting for the 2008 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title has begun. The nominees are:
  • Baboon Metaphysics
  • Curbside Consultation of the Colon
  • The Large Sieve and its Applications
  • Strip and Knit with Style
  • Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring
  • The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais
Previous winners have included:
  • 1989 How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
  • 1992 How to Avoid Huge Ships
  • 1995 Reusing Old Graves: A Report on Popular British Attitudes
  • 1996 Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers
  • 1997 The Joy of Sex, Pocket Edition
  • 1999 Weeds in a Changing World
  • 2002 Living with Crazy Buttocks
  • 2003 The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories
  • 2004 Bombproof Your House
  • 2005 People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It
  • 2006 The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification
  • 2007 If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs

Annoyingly Happy? Then This Is For You.

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes.

“But he has nothing on at all!” said a little child at last.

“Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said.

“But he has nothing on at all,” cried at last the whole people.

That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.” And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.
From The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen.

Unusual Toilet Humour.

Flashdance (Reprise)

The Long War For Democracy, 1914 - 1990

Some historical events need to be viewed after the passage of many years to be properly understood. For example, the dispute over claims by the kings of England to the throne of France that we now call the Hundred Years War was only named such by later historians to describe the series of events and to put them in context.

The Hundred Years War was punctuated by several brief and two lengthy periods of peace before it finally ended, but repeatedly flared up all the time the fundamental dispute remained unresolved.

Future historians may bring the same connected view to the conflicts of the 20th century. For the want of an alternative name, the Long War For Democracy would include the Great War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, as well as the Bolshevik Revolution, the Chinese Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Cold War and a series of other lesser conflicts that can be considered to all have been fought over a single set of issues, to determine which form of constitution – parliamentary democracy, fascism or communism took over from the previous world order.

Throughout the 19th century most of the European states had been governed by different shades of imperial, colonial and nationalistic ideologies.

For example, before the Great War, although Germany considered itself to be a democracy, the Kaiser retained most of the power. All the appointments to the bureaucracy, the armed forces, and the diplomatic forces were made at his sole discretion. It was common knowledge that the army strongly supported him and would arrest his opponents if he so desired.

Following the Great War, apart from parliamentary democracy (that had become discredited as an unrealistic utopia) other constitutional forms, mainly based upon fascism and communism, were considered attractive and viable alternatives.

Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state and as such is opposed to democracy. Apart from Germany, Spain and Italy also had fascist governments in the 1920s and 30s.

Although communism contains elements of democracy, these are subordinated to an ideology of class struggle, common ownership of the means of production all within a permanent communist political structure, and therefore is fundamentally anti-parliamentary democracy.

We can view the Great War as the opening conflict in the dispute, with the Second World War as a flare-up that ended with the elimination of fascism. However, the parliamentary democracies had had to ally themselves with the USSR to win against Germany, and communism continued as a supposed viable alternative to parliamentary democracy.

It was only after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe that the 1990 Paris Summit, effectively the peace conference of the 35 year Cold War, adopted the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, signalling that – for the time being – parliamentary democracy was left as winner.

Did the Long War for Democracy last from 1914 to 1990?
Partly based upon ideas from The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace and the Course of History by Philip Bobbitt.

The Old "Head In The Bog" Routine.

More From The Otford English Dictionary

Dayglo (n.): a highly reflective Spaniard.
Defuse (n.): de safety device in de plug.
Dialogue (n.): a truly awful piece of wood.
Discover (n.): a particular duvet (Jamaican).
Disarray (v.): to indicate the general direction of China.
Disturbing (v.): the act of removing a Sikh's headwear.
Dog pound (n.): seventh of a human pound.
Dukedom (n.): an aristocratic contraceptive.
Ejaculate (n.): greeting to husband on his late return from t’mill (Yorkshire).
Encyclopædia (n.): sexual attraction to small bicycles.
Endorse (n.): final loser in the Derby.
Enquire (n.): a group of singing chickens from the East End.
Esplanade (v): to attempt an explanation while drunk.
Expert (adj.): droopy.
Feckless (v.): to go home alone on a Saturday night in Dublin.
Fervent (n.): an accessory required when tumble-drying cats.
Fish (adj.): a bit like an F.
Flabbergasted (adj.): appalled over how much weight you have put on.
Flatulence (n.): the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you have been run over by a steamroller.
Forty (adj.): a bit like a castle.
Fungal (n.): excellent female company.
Fungi (n.): excellent male company.
Gargoyle (n): olive-flavoured mouthwash.
Genealogy (n.): the study of supernatural beings whom appear from magic lamps.
Geriatric (n.): the next time Germany starts a World War.
Gondolier (n.): an unpleasant medical condition caught from boatmen.

More Explanations Needed

Liverpool and Manchester

Liverpool was, and is, the ocean port for Manchester, an inland city of similar size less than 40 miles away to the east. Manchester was a great manufacturing city and was especially involved with the cotton trade. In common with many of the roads in England in the late 18th and early 19th century, the roads between Liverpool and Manchester were atrocious. Indeed, English roads always had a reputation for being appalling: Julius Ceasar and William the Conqueror both complained about how poor they were.

Eventually, the Government passed legislation that allowed turnpike trusts to be set up to maintain the roads as turnpikes (that is to say, privately maintained roads) and charge a toll to users. Normally, local inhabitants could use the roads for free but people from outside the immediate district had to pay.

In time, some turnpike trusts started to abuse their position, charging unreasonably high tolls, which were then passed onto the privately owned maintenance contractors who inflated their maintenance charges – some things never change! So it was with the trusts between Liverpool and Manchester and they began to take a real strangle-hold on Manchester’s prosperity.

For example, raw cotton was shipped from India, the United States and Egypt, landed at Liverpool, transported to Manchester for processing and manufacturing into finished goods, returned to Liverpool and shipped back around the world as finished goods. Two-thirds of the final retail selling price of the finished goods was paid as turnpike tolls for the 80 miles return journey from Liverpool to Manchester and back again. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was set up as the first public railway in the world to specifically bypass the turnpikes.

What is interesting is that history then went on to repeat itself. Another 60 years went by and a similar situation arose, this time is was the Liverpool docks and the railways holding the stranglehold on Manchester. Eventually the manufacturers of Manchester promoted the Manchester Ship Canal to bypass Liverpool entirely and the canal opened in 1894. Although Liverpool was dealt a severe blow it took some decades to completely manifest itself and it was not until the run-up to the Great Depression in the 1920s that the full extent was realised. Liverpool has not been the same since.

If you do not learn from history, you are bound to repeat it.

The operators of the ferries across the English Channel never believed their world would change. Consequently, the 23 mile journey between England and France became the most expensive ferry journey in the world with the operators continually explaining that the special circumstances of the English Channel meant they were forced to maintain high prices. Then along came the Channel Tunnel and the ferry operators, threatened with the loss of their business to the newcomer, suddenly found – most surprisingly considering their previous opinion – they were able to dramatically reduce their tariffs after all.

If they had earlier reduced their tariffs by a fraction of what they were ultimately forced to reduce by, the Channel Tunnel would never have been built.

Where Shooting Stars Come From.

The Otford English Dictionary

Abdicate (v.): to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Already (n.): to blush all over.
Analyse (n.): what you need to look out of your bum.
Approximate (n.): someone who stands in officially for your spouse.
Balderdash (n.): a rapidly receding hairline.
Benign (adj.): what it will be after eight.
Bleach (n.): a hole in the Great Wall of China.
Cacti (n.): extremely unattractive neckwear.
Canapé (n.): Scottish inability to settle one’s debts as they fall due.
Carmelite (n.): half-hearted Buddhist.
Catastrophe (n.): feline punctuation.
Château (n.): cat’s piss.
Chiropractice (n.): rehearsals before visiting Egypt.
Circumflex (v.): to cut off the end of a piece of wire.
Circumvent (n.): the opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
Cockney (n.): damage to the patella by an exceptionally long penis.
Coffee (n): the person upon whom one coughs.
Collywobbles (n.): the uneven gait of a three-legged sheepdog.
Commonplace (n.): Essex.
County Down (n.): the backwards counting leading to the launch of a Chinese space rocket.
Cursory (n.): where small children are taught to swear.
Daunting (n.): the early morning ringing of an alarm clock.

St Valentine's Day On Google

All from

Explain This To Your Insurance Company

A Bit Of Table-Top Experimentation

(Apologies for the off-screen commentary - I couldn't find a version without it.)

Partially Capsized Ship From Google Earth

If you cut and paste the following co-ordinates into Google Earth, you can see this capsized cruise ship in Korea:

35°9′20.89″N, 129°8′49.49″E

The Period

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.

France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers’ warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mall was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, “in consequence of the failure of his ammunition:” after which the mall was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles’s, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer’s boy of sixpence.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures – the creatures of this chronicle among the rest – along the roads that lay before them.
The first chapter of A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Miscellany of all, there is a pianist, plunking out mordant melodies from happy musicals as if waiting for a hearse caught in traffic...
AA Gill.
The sea has formed the English character and the essential England is to be found in those who follow it. From blue waters they have learned mercifulness … and they have also learned – in the grimmest of schools – precision and resolution. The sea endured no makeshifts. If a thing is not exactly right it will be vastly wrong.
John Buchan, quoted from Endure No Makeshifts by Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach.
For close designs and crooked counsels fit,
Sagacious bold and turbulent of wit,
Restless, unfixed in principles and place,
In power unpleased, impatient of disgrace.
From Absalom and Architophel by John Dryden, 1681.
Youth 1: “Do your parents still have sex?”
Youth 2: “No”
Youth 1: “Might they in the future?
Youth 2: “If parsnips, Marmite.”
Food joke (only considered funny by the Editor).

Malcolm: “I’m opening a theatre.”
Vera, Malcolm’s mum: “Are you having me on?”
Malcolm: “You’ll have to audition along with everybody else.”
Theatre joke (only considered funny by Malcolm, the Editor’s brother-in-law).
I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

I went to the library and asked the librarian, “Where are the books on paranoia?” She wanted to know why I wanted to know.

I went to the library and asked the librarian, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming “WOO HOO – What a ride!!”

Mr Demetri Marchessini
would respectfully draw the attention of his friends and acquaintances to the fact that the continuous reports of his intimate relationship to a certain titled lady are inaccurate, and that all connection with the lady in question was permanently terminated some time ago.
From The Daily Telegraph, 8th September 2005.
The social changes brought about by war can best be addressed by developing a model which breaks down war into four components:
  • the destructive consequences,
  • the way which war tests institutions,
  • how participation in wartime benefits under-privileged groups, and,
  • the psychological repercussions.
Professor Arthur Marwick.
When the angels sing for God, they sing Bach. When they sing for pleasure they sing Mozart and God eavesdrops.
Karl Barth, finest theologian of 20th century.
Your daddy’s rich,
And your mamma’s good looking.
Sufficient justification for requesting a baby to be quiet and to stop crying (according to George Gershwin).
It’s down to cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women.
Henry Allingham’s well known explanation regarding the key to a long life. At 112 (he was born 6th June 1896), he is Britain’s oldest living man.
In previous life he was a tyrannosaurus, but only the sore arse [saurus] bit survived.

Darwin Awards Finalists


I recently read that love is entirely a matter of chemistry. That must be why my wife treats me like toxic waste.
David Bissonette.
When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
Sacha Guitry.
After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can’t face each other, but still they stay together.
Hemant Joshi.
By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.
Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.
Alexander Dumas.
The great question ... which I have not been able to answer ... is, “What does a woman want?”
Sigmund Freud.
I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me.
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Rodney Dangerfield.
Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.
Henry Youngman.
I don’t worry about terrorism. I was married for two years.
Sam Kinison.
There’s a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It’s called marriage.
James Holt McGavran.
Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming:
  • Whenever you’re wrong, admit it,
  • Whenever you’re right, shut up.
Ogden Nash.
I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.
Patrick Murray.
The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once...
You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.
Henny Youngman.
A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.
Milton Berle.
Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.
The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
George Bernard Shaw
A man inserted an advertisement in the classifieds: “Wife wanted.” Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing, “You can have mine.”

First man (proudly), “My wife’s an angel!”
Second man, “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”

Text Message Received Today

GOOD NEWS. Your mobile phone network call charging has changed. The UGLIER you are, the cheaper your calls. You can now ring anywhere in the world for free. I would have rung to tell you but my calls cost a fortune!

Daniel and William Cormack

Inscriptions upon the mausoleum of Daniel and William Cormack, in the cemetery at Loughmore, County Tipperary, Ireland:

By the IRISH RACE, in memory of the brothers DANIEL and WILLIAM CORMACK who for the murder of a land agent named ELLIS were hanged at NENAGH after solemn protestation by each on the scaffold of absolute and entire innocence of that crime, the 11th day of May 1858. The tragedy of the brothers occurred through false testimony procured through GOLD and terror, the action in their trial of JUDGE KEOGH, a man who considered personally, politically, religiously and officially was one of the monsters of mankind, and the verdict of a prejudiced, partisan packed perjured jury. Clear proof of the innocence of the brothers afforded by ARCHBISHOP LEAHY to the VICEROY of the day but he nevertheless gratified the appetite of a bigoted, exterminating and ascendancy caste by a judicial murder of the kind which lives bitterly and perpetually in a nation’s remembrance.

Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori illi autem sunt in pace.
[In the sight of the unwise they seem to die, but they are in peace.]

In commemoration of the removal of the remains of the CORMACK BROTHERS from the jailyard at NENAGH to this mausoleum on May 11th 1910. In the morning a solemn REQUIEM OFFICE and HIGH MASS were celebrated in the Parish Church, Nenagh, Canon McMahon presiding, and an immense number of Killaloe priests being in the choir. The funeral cortege which contained MR JOHN DILLON, M.P., MR J. HACKETT, M.P., and many others of high name and inspiring example, was by magnitude, representative-ness and observance unprecedented in IRELAND. At Loughmore, the pastor preached a funeral oration and assisted by priests from IRELAND, ENGLAND, AMERICA and AUSTRALIA, officiated at the placing of the remains here to rest in peace and honour until the day of their vindication by Jesus Christ before the whole human race in the Valley of Josophat.

Corpora sanctorum in pace sepulta sunt: et vivent nomina eorum in aeternum R.I.P.
[The bodies of the saints are buried in peace; and their names live for evermore. R.I.P.]

Joseph And His Coat Of Many Colours

We all know the story: Joseph was Jacob’s favourite son. One day Joseph’s brothers went out early to tend their flocks and Joseph later followed-on but could not find them. A man who was stood in a field pointed out to Joseph the way his brothers had gone. When Joseph caught up with his brothers they sold him into slavery and then went home and told Jacob that Joseph was dead.

Joseph was taken to Egypt where eventually he interpreted the pharaoh’s dream of seven fat cows and seven thin cows as meaning there were to be seven years of good harvests followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh gave Joseph the job of collecting sufficient grain in the good years to see everybody through the bad years. When the famine came, Jacob and his family were able to buy Egyptian grain and were saved from starvation.

God had told Jacob to change his name to Israel. The families of Jacob/Israel’s twelve sons made up the twelve tribes of Israel and are the foundation of Judaism and therefore Christianity.

All pretty serious stuff and one of the key elements of the world we live in. And all because of an unknown man stood in a field. We don’t know who he was, but his directions changed the entire course of history.

So next time someone asks you for directions, tell them your name, so if it’s really important, we’ll all know it was you.

New Ikea Flat-Pack Car

Ikea have announced their new flat-pack car. All you need is one of these:
And the rest is simple.

Some More Favourite Aphorisms

Don’t think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm.
Malayan proverb.
Facts do not cease to exist just because they are being ignored.
Aldous Huxley.
We have no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual and those interests it is our duty to follow.
Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston, British Prime Minister.
The only statistics worth believing are those you falsify yourself.
Winston Churchill.
For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke.
If you wait by the river long enough you will see the bodies of your enemies float by.
Sun Tzu.
Good taste and humour are a contradiction in terms, like a chaste whore.
Malcolm Muggeridge.
You learn most from mistakes that are made. The art is to do most of your learning from other peoples mistakes and not you own.
Rupert Brennan-Brown.
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of he always declares it is his duty.
George Bernard Shaw.
Success has always been a great liar.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.
We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us.
Dr. Samuel Johnson.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
Henry Louis Mencken.
Our enemies’ opinion of us comes closer to the truth than our own.
Duc de La Rochefoucauld.
No man of honour ever quite lives up to his code, any more than a moral man manages to avoid sin.
There are times when lying is the most sacred of duties.
Eugene Marin Labiche.
[Talking about a competitor’s product:] It’s a dog – it howls. Ours is a tiger – it p-u-u-u-r-r-s.
Richard Alberg.
I don’t say we should misbehave, but we should look as though we could.
Oscar Wilde.
Deadlines are the mothers of invention.
John M. Shanahan.
A stiff apology is a second insult.
G. K. Chesterton.
A lie is an abomination unto the Lord and a very present help in trouble.
Adlai Stevenson.

How To Be The Perfect Husband

Walk On The Wild Side

Holly came from Miami, FLA.
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA.

Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her leg and then he was a she
She says, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."
Said, "Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side."

Candy came from out on the Island.
In the backroom she was everybodys darling.

But she never lost her head
Even when she was given head
She says, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."
Said, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."

And the coloured girls go
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,

Little Joe never once gave it away.
Everybody had to pay and pay.

A hustle here and a hustle there.
New York City is the place where they said,
"Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."
I said, "Hey Joe, take a walk on the wild side.

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets,
Lookin' for soul food and a place to eat.

Went to the Apollo
You should have seen him go go go.
They said, "Hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side."
I said, "Hey Babe, take a walk on the wild side."
All right, huh.

Jackie is just speeding away,
Thought she was James Dean for a day.

Then I guess she had to crash,
Valium would have helped that dash.
She said, "Hey Babe, take a walk on the wild side."
I said, "Hey Honey, take a walk on the wild side."

And the coloured girls say,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,
"Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo,

Interesting Views From Google Earth

Brighton, England

Sydney Botanic Gardens

Ingleside, USA

Somewhere in England (where else?)

United Nations

The term United Nations was coined by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill while the British Prime Minister was sitting in a bathtub.

Churchill was in Washington over the New Year’s holiday 1941-42 and the two men were struggling with what to officially call their alliance. The term alliance was unacceptable in a formal document because, according to Churchill, it posed constitutional problems for Roosevelt – evidently a formal alliance would require Senate approval. Neither liked the alternative Associated Powers.

On New Year’s Morning 1942, Churchill, who was staying in the White House, was taking a bath when Roosevelt knocked on the door, was wheeled into the bathroom, and proposed the term United Nations. Churchill instantly liked the term, recalling the lines from Byron’s Childe Harold.

Later that day Roosevelt and Churchill, along with representatives of the Soviet Union and China, signed the United Nations Pact, pledging to fight Germany, Italy, and Japan to the last and to make no separate peace. Eventually, twenty-two other nations signed the agreement and the name was taken later on for the post-war international organization.

At the Mansion House on 10th November 1942, speaking about the bond between the English speaking nations, Churchill said:

I recall to you some lines of Byron, which seem to me to fit the event, the hour, and the theme:

[Thou fatal Waterloo*]
Millions of tongues record thee, and anew
Their children’s lips shall echo them, and say
Here, where the sword united nations drew,
Our countrymen were warring on that day!
And this is much – and all – which
Will not pass away.
From Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
*This line added to give the context.


Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street, and crossing Finsbury Square, Mr. Sikes struck, by way of Chiswell Street, into Barbican: thence into Long Lane, and so into Smithfield from which latter place arose a tumult of discordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement.

It was market-morning. The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire; a thick steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily above. All the pens in the centre of the large area, and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space, were filled with sheep; tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen, three or four deep. Countrymen, butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vagabonds of every low grade, were mingled together in a mass; the whistling of drovers, the barking dogs, the bellowing and plunging of the oxen, the bleating of sheep, the grunting and squeaking of pigs, the cries of hawkers, the shouts, oaths, and quarrelling on all sides; the ringing of bells and roar of voices, that issued from every public-house; the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping and yelling; the hideous and discordant dim that resounded from every corner of the market; and the unwashed, unshaven, squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to and fro, and bursting in and out of the throng; rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounded the senses.
From Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

More Memorable Song Lyrics

Song lyrics considered by your Editor as being sufficiently memorable that at least to him the particular song can be easily recognised, and generally remind him of his younger years:
Two girls for every boy!

Oh, the summer time is coming.

You and me, babe, how ’bout it?

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee.

And when it’s time I’ll go and wait
Beside a legendary fountain.

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky,
With one hand waving free.

Will I love my wife for the rest of my life?

We’re going back to where we came from.

And the whole bloody issue was covered in shit.

Come run with me now, the sky is the colour of blue
You’ve never even seen in the eyes of your lover.

And over the line stepped a hundred and seventy nine.

Yeah, I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady,
You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.
Huh! And that ain’t too cool.

Singular and Plural

The singular of dice is die.

The singular of data is datum.

The singular of sheep is sheep.

The singular of graffiti is graffito.

The singular of agenda is agendum.

The singular of candelabra is candelabrum.

The singular of pluralia tantum is plurale tantum.
(Some nouns and noun-phrases, such as measles, trousers, glad-rags, powers-that-be and odds-and-ends have no singular form; these are called plurale tantum. On the other hand, some nouns, such as dust and wealth have no plural; these are singulare tantum.)
The plural of singulare tantum is singularia tantum.

The plural of court martial is courts martial.

The plural of octopus is octopodes.

The plural of formula is formulae.

The plural of platypus is platypi.

The plural of index is indices.

The plural of sheep is sheep.

The plural of pizza is pizze.

The plural of Jesus is Jesi.

Start The Day With A Proper Breakfast.

The End Of Civilisation

He Is Not Missing, He Is Here*

*Field Marshal Lord Plumer at the unveiling of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, 24th July 1927.

The Menin Gate Memorial is dedicated to the 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers of the Great War who were killed in the fierce battles around the Ypres Salient area who have no known grave. All of their names are incised into vast panels set into the wall of the Memorial.

Following the dedication of the Memorial in 1927, the citizens of Ypres wanted to express their gratitude towards those who had given their lives for Belgium’s freedom. As such, every evening at 8pm buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes under the Memorial and play the Last Post. Except for the occupation by the Germans during the Second World War (when the daily ceremony was conducted at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey) this ceremony has been carried on uninterrupted since.

On the very evening that Polish forces liberated Ypres in the Second World War, the ceremony was resumed at the Menin Gate despite the fact that heavy fighting was still taking place in other parts of the town.

The ceremony continues every night to this day.

Probably The Best Beer Advert Ever

Fares, Please! (An Everyday Scene In London)


The theorist Talcott Parsons described what he called the sick role. He argued that illness is a temporary, medically sanctioned form of deviant behaviour. He went on to suggest that there was a conflict for people labelled ill to, on one hand, get better, and on the other, to continue to enjoy the secondary gains of attention and exemption from normal duties.

Doctors act as the gatekeepers to the sick role, in that they are the ones who decide whether or not a person enters this role. While society must show compassion to those deemed unwell, it must also make sure that the gains are not so great that everyone wants to join in.

The difficulty for doctors is to identify those that are faking from those that are genuinely unwell. It’s a surprisingly common difficulty, and with mental illness it’s especially tricky because psychiatrists aren’t mind readers – diagnosing exactly what is going on inside someone’s head relies on them exhibiting certain symptoms.


In July 1900, Kaiser Wilhelm II delivered a speech to troops leaving to suppress the Boxer Rebellion, an effort by Chinese forces to stave off foreign influence and the dismemberment of their country by the Great Powers.

Addressing his forces, the impulsive Kaiser stated:
When you come upon the enemy, smite him. Pardon will not be given. Prisoners will not be taken. Whoever falls into your hands is forfeit. Once, a thousand years ago, the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one still potent in legend and tradition.

May you in this way make the name German remembered in China for a thousand years, so that no Chinaman will ever again dare to even squint at a German!
This speech, invoking the memory of the 5th-century Huns, coupled with the Pickelhaube, or spiked helmet, worn by German forces until 1916 – reminiscent of ancient Hun helmets – was seized upon by enemy propagandists during the Great War. The Germans quickly became associated with the barbaric Hun.
Rex Palmer, Barnet, Hertfordshire, from The Daily Mail, 12th May 2007.


"It's broccoli, dear."
"I say it's spinach, and to hell with it!"


Bird rib

I prefer pi

Warsaw was raw

Lager, sir is regal

Can I attain a “C”?

Never odd or even

Was it a cat I saw?

Must sell at tallest sum.

(Finnish for soap salesman)

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak

Live not on evil, madam, live not on evil

“Am I mad, eh?” Giselle sighed, “Am I, Ma?”

Are we not drawn onwards, we Jews, drawn onward to new era?

Huckleberry Finn

Shortly, Tom [Sawyer] came upon the juvenile pariah of the village, Huckleberry Finn, son of the town drunkard. Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town, because he was idle and lawless and vulgar and bad – and because all their children admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden society, and wished they dared to be like him. Tom was like the rest of the respectable boys, in that he envied Huckleberry his gaudy outcast condition, and was under strict orders not to play with him. So he played with him every time he got a chance. Huckleberry was always dressed in the cast-off clothes of full-grown men, and they were in perennial bloom and fluttering with rags. His hat was a vast ruin with a wide crescent lopped out of its brim; his coat, when he wore one, hung nearly to his heels and had the rearward buttons far down the back; but one suspender supported his trousers; the seat of the trousers bagged low and contained nothing, the fringed legs dragged in the dirt when not rolled up.

Huckleberry came and went, at his own free will. He slept on doorsteps in fine weather and in empty hogsheads in wet; he did not have to go to school or to church, or call any being master or obey anybody; he could go fishing or swimming when and where he chose, and stay as long as it suited him; nobody forbade him to fight; he could sit up as late as he pleased; he was always the first boy that went barefoot in the spring and the last to resume leather in the fall; he never had to wash, nor put on clean clothes; he could swear wonderfully. In a word, everything that goes to make life precious that boy had. So thought every harassed, hampered, respectable boy in St. Petersburg.

Tom hailed the romantic outcast: “Hello, Huckleberry!”

“Hello yourself, and see how you like it.”

“What's that you got?”

“Dead cat.”

“Lemme see him, Huck. My, he’s pretty stiff. Where’d you get him?”

“Bought him off’n a boy.”

“What did you give?”

“I give a hoop-stick and a bladder that I got at the slaughter-house.”

“Say – what is dead cats good for, Huck?”

“Good for? Cure warts with.”
From The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens).

Settle And Carlisle Railway

If a line were to be built between Settle and Carlisle, it would have to be by spanning valleys with stupendous viaducts, and piercing mountain heights with enormous tunnels; deep cuttings would have to be blasted through the rock; and mile after mile of high embankments would have to be piled on peaty moors, on some parts of which a horse could not walk without sinking up to his belly. However great the obstacle that lay in their path, they had simply one of four courses to take – to go over it, or to go under it, or to go round it, or to go through it: but go they must.
From The History Of The Midland Railway, published 1876.

More Doggerel

They rhyme; they scan.
They’re funny, man.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, wuz he?


You can't make a silk purse
Out of an old sow's ear,
But an elephant's foreskin
Makes a excellent so’wester.


One green bottle,
Drop it in the bank.
Ten green bottles,
What a lot we drank.
Heaps of bottles
And yesterday’s a blank,
But we’ll save the planet,
Tinkle, tinkle, clank!
Apologies to Wendy Cope for including her fine poem here.

When I’m sad and lonely,
When I think all hope I gone,
As I walk down High Holborn,
I think of you with nothing on.


Caviar comes from the virgin sturgin.
The virgin sturgin. is a very fine fish.
The virgin sturgin. needs no urgin’,
That’s why caviar is a very rare dish.


Oh to go down to the sea again,
The deep blue sea and the sky.
(I left my shoes and socks there –
I wonder if there’re dry.)


The one-L lama, he’s a priest.
The two-L llama, he’s a beast.
And I would bet a silk pyjama
There isn’t any three-L lllama.
Ogden Nash (who else?)

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back-to-back they faced one another,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
One was blind and the other couldn’t see,
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “Hooray!”
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And rushed to save the two dead boys.
A paralyzed donkey walking by,
Kicked the copper in the eye,
Sent him through a rubber wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.
(If you don’t believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man – he saw it too!)

Route 66

Editor's True Story

Going into the exam room for my Geography O-level, I was presented with the requirement to answer four out of eleven questions. Looking through the questions, there were probably two I could take a crack at; all the rest I had no knowledge of. Then the seventh question caught my eye: “With the aid of a sketch-map, describe and account for the importance of a transcontinental overland routeway.”

Hmm. We had certainly not learnt anything (that I could remember) about “transcontinental overland routeways” but an idea entered my head. At the time the Rolling Stones were in the hit parade with their rendition of the song Route 66. In the middle of the song were the lines that would come to my rescue:

It winds from Chicago to LA
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Well, it goes through St Louis,
Joplin, Missouri,
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.
You’ll see Amarillo; Gallup, New Mexico;
Flagstaff, Arizona; don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Los Angeles was certainly on the Pacific Ocean. Chicago wasn’t exactly the other side of the continent, but I was sure it was connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes, so Route 66 it was. Based entirely on the song and the hope that the examiner wouldn’t check too closely the facts of my answer, I set to work.

Surely, the road crossed the Rocky Mountains somewhere but I didn’t know where, and it might cross the Mississippi River, but I wasn’t sure if it actually did, and if it did, where. But I was confident that I could work around these by a bit of creative writing.

A good guess would be that Route 66 crossed some big rivers somewhere, and that a town would have grown up at the crossing. So I included a general description of the big river bridge and the well known associated town and industry, but, somewhat carelessly (!) forgot to mention the town’s name, hoping that the exuberance and enthusiasm of my answer would convince the examiner of my depth of knowledge. Similarly, the route of the road through the Rocky Mountains was described in general and suitable mountainy terms, while, again, carelessly forgetting to mention specific locations.

The answer was a masterpiece and for many weeks I impressed my friends with my enterprise and knowledge of pop music. It’s a shame that the examiner was not as impressed as I was. I failed.

Many, many years later, I was thinking back to my school days and the geography O-level failure came back to my mind. I thought to investigate Route 66 and its eponymous song.

As an identifiable long-distance road, Route 66 was established on 11th November 1926 and officially decommissioned on 27th June 1985.

In 1946 jazz composer and pianist Bobby Troup wrote his well known song after driving the highway himself to get to California. He presented the song to Nat “King” Cole who in turn made it one of the biggest hit singles of his career.

But back to my O-level failure. As far as the song went, it was factually correct. However, it is clear that in the pursuit of artistic integrity, Mr. Troup had taken some geographical liberties. Having included such towns as Winona and Gallup, two respectable but decidedly modest communities, he had left out many, much larger towns – even Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, sitting on the junction of Route 66 and the Santa Fe Trail, wasn’t there (probably, in its case, for the want of a satisfactory rhyme).

© 2007 The Edmondson Blog