The Edmondson Blog

Professor Prasad Varanasi

When Professor Prasad Varanasi of Stony Brook University, New York, retired recently, his boss fixed up a retirement lunch at a local restaurant and sent him a friendly invitation and explained that he had also invited the university’s mechanical engineering department and another professor, Robert Cess (who once had shared a Nobel Prize with Varanasi and a third colleague)

Professor Varanasi replied:
I do not know how to tell you this but my heart is not in this retirement celebration shindig. I will not be there at the lunch you are planning for me. I hate Bob Cess. I hate the entire mechanical engineering department. I hate the way you all treated me over the last 43 years.

I think it disgraceful that you are asking people to pay for their own wretched lunches to come to honour me.

…I say the hell with you all. I hope the Stony Brook stink will not stay on my skin when I leave here and go happily to Hawaii.

With nothing good to say about any of you at all,

I remain,

Prasad Varanasi

Men With Talent

Meanwhile, During An Important Presentation...

Child Custody

A seven year old boy was at the centre of a Family Division courtroom drama when he challenged a court order over who should have custody of him.

The boy had a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her.

When the judge then suggested that he lived with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and to confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the England football team, whom the boy firmly believes are incapable of beating anyone.

Meanwhile, In The Village Pub...

Modern Aphorisms

  • Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
  • The real trouble with reality is that there's no background music.
  • Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.
  • War doesn't determine who's right. War determines who's left.
  • I once prayed to God for a bike, but quickly found out he didn't work that way ... so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness
  • Sarcasm helps keep you from telling people what you really think of them.
  • If you think things can't get worse it's probably only because you lack sufficient imagination.
  • You can't be late until you show up.
  • Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way; wisdom is looking both directions anyway
  • Parents spend the first part of our lives teaching us to walk and talk, and the rest of it telling us to sit down and shut up.
  • Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.
  • The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
  • Books have knowledge, knowledge is power, power corrupts, corruption is a crime, and crime doesn't pay ... so if you keep reading, you'll go broke.

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

Come Dine With Me

As many of you know, your Editor has spent a major part of his adult life engaged in the search for the definitive cheeseburger.

O Mio Babbino Caro

How daughters go about wheedling consent from doting fathers.

The lovely Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø sings the aria O Mio Babbino Caro from the Giacomo Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi.

O mio babbino caro,
Mi piace, e bello bello,
Vo andare in Porta Rossa
A comperar I anello!
Si,si ci voglio andare
E se I amassi indarno
Andrei sui Ponte Vecchio
Ma per buttaarmi in Arno!
Mi struggo e mi tormento!
O Dio, vorrei morir!
Babbo, pieta, pieta!
Babbo, pieta, pieta!


Oh my dear daddy
I love him, he is so handsome
I want to go to Porta Rossa
To buy the ring!
Yes, yes, I mean it
And if my love were in vain
I would go to Ponte Vecchio
And throw myself in the Arno!
I fret and suffer torments!
Oh God, I would rather die!
Daddy, have pity, have pity!
Daddy, have pity, have pity!

It Pays To Advertise

Interesting Film To Take Your Mother to See


Useful phases if you are reintarnated (reborn as a hillbilly):
  • You plant a tater, you get a tater.
  • Never try to teach a pig it dance. You'll waste your time and just annoy the pig.
  • Never get into a wrestlin' match with a pig. You're both goin' to get muddy, and the chances are the pig likes it.
  • Tell me what you need and I'll tell you how to get by without it.
  • Go for ugly early and you'll never go home alone.
  • If I was any better, I'd be twins.
  • About as sexy as socks on a billy goat.
  • I'm busier than a borrowed mule.
  • He looks like three pounds of ugly in a two pound sack.
  • He's so stupid he thinks Johnny Cash is a pay-toilet.
  • He's so stupid he couldn't pour piss out of a boot even if the instructions was written on the heal.
  • I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm better once than I ever was.
  • I feel like I was shot at and missed, and shit at and hit.
  • That's like wiping before you poop - it don't make sense.
  • I got a bad case of the zacklies: my mouth tastes zackly like my but smells.
  • That piano player's fingers are slipperier than sausages on a griddle.


By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Indian Thriller

Brilliant Micky Jackson micky-take from from the Bollywood film Donga featuring a song called Golimar.

Where To Live In The Capital

Genteel and up-and-coming neighbourhoods of London:
  • Act-on-Town
  • Bar-on-Scourt
  • Leyton St. One
  • Old St. Reet (quite close to New St. Reet)
  • Plum St. Ead
  • St. Epney
  • St. Ockwell
  • St. Onebridge
  • St. Rand
  • St. Reatham
  • Whet St. One
(You get the idea.)

200 Days

December 1963 (Oh What A Night)

It was late December back in '63 and Fred had a date with Peggy Sue. He arrived at her house and rang the bell. "Oh, come on in!" Peggy Sue's mother said as she welcomed Fred in. "Have a seat in the living room. Would you like something to drink? Lemonade? Cup of tea?"

"A cup of tea, please," Fred replied.

Mum brought the tea. "So, what are you and Peggy planning to do tonight?" she asked.

"Oh, probably go to the pictures, and then maybe grab a bite to eat at the coffee bar, maybe listen to the juke box..."

"Peggy likes to screw, you know," Mum informed him.

"Really?" Fred replied; eyebrows rose.

"Oh yes," the mother continued. "When she goes out with her friends, that's all they do!"

"Is that so?" asked Fred, incredulous.

"Yes," said the mother. "As a matter of fact, she'd screw all night if we let her!"

"Well, thanks for the tip!" Fred said as he began thinking about alternate plans for the evening.

A moment later, Peggy Sue came down the stairs looking pretty as a picture wearing a pink blouse and a hoop skirt, and with her hair tied back in a bouncy ponytail. She greeted Fred.

"Have fun, kids!" the mother said as they left.

Half an hour later, a completely disheveled and furious Peggy Sue burst into the house and slammed the front door behind her.

"The Twist, Mum!" she angrily yelled to her mother in the kitchen. "The f***ing dance is called the Twist!"

Stunningly Interesting Fact

St Johns Wood is the only London Underground station to share no letters with the word mackerel. (You read it here first.)


The Zimmerman Telegram

Arthur Zimmerman was German foreign minister. On 16th January 1917, he sent his notorious telegram to the German ambassador in Mexico instructing him to approach the Mexican government with a proposal for a military alliance against the United States.

The telegram’s message was:


We intend to begin on the first of February unrestricted submarine warfare [against British shipping]. We shall endeavour in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. In the event of this not succeeding, we make Mexico a proposal of an alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. The settlement detail is left to you.

You will inform the President [of Mexico] of the above most secretly as soon as the outbreak of war with the United States of America is certain and add the suggestion that he should, on his own initiative, invite Japan to immediate adherence and at the same time mediate between Japan and ourselves.

Please call the President’s attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace within a few months. Zimmerman.

Although the telegram was intercepted and decrypted by the British, it could not be publicised as that would have disclosed to the Germans that their code had been broken. Also, it could not be shown to the Americans as the British had obtained the original by illegally tapping an American private diplomatic telegraph.

However, the telegram had been sent via the German Embassy in Washington for forwarding to their embassy in Mexico City. The telegram to Washington was encoded using a newer, more difficult code. The British deduced that this code was not at the time in use at the Mexican Embassy, so the telegram would be transcribed into an older code in Washington; also, the onward transmission would be via the commercial telegraph system.

A British agent in Mexico, known only as Mr. H., bribed an employee of the commercial telegraph company to obtain a copy of the message, and, as expected, it was in an older code that could be easily decrypted.

The text of the telegram was given to President Wilson on 25th February and, on 1st March, the text was given to the press. Initially, the American public were sceptical but, in an unexpected move, Arthur Zimmermann confirmed the authenticity of the telegram in a speech on 29th March.

On 2nd April, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany, which they duly did on 6th April, bringing the US into the Great War.


As a society, we are fabulously wealthy. In the hundred years from 1910 to 2010, inflation, measured by the Retail Price Index (or its equivalent from before the Retail Price Index), has increased prices by about 70 times. That is to say, £100 of domestic goods bought in 1910 would now cost about £7,000.

Set against that, wages have increased 380 times – an annual wage of £100 in 1910 is now equivalent to £38,000.

So, for equivalent wages we can now buy over five times more than a century ago. Although this sounds excessive, it is the equivalent of wages increasing faster than prices by about 1.6% each year – almost so small as not to be noticeable year-to-year, but compounded over a century gives the dramatic result.

In actual fact, in a properly running capitalist society there is constant competitive pressure to at least keep prices low, if not to reduce them, so the benefit has come partly from increases in wages and partly from real prices falling. Low or falling prices sometimes manifest themselves as improvements in value-for-money: for example, a generation ago, a heater was an optional extra in many cars, whereas air-conditioning now comes as standard in equivalent models.

Perfect Day

(Dedicated to Ron on his birthday - Happy Birthday Ron.)

Meanwhile, Back At Corporate Headquarters...

"Jilly, could you sent someone in here who can tell right from wrong?"

"Oh, that three billion quid."

"Have you noticed ethics creeping into some of these deals lately?"

"We must never take for granted the precious gift of hindsight."

"No, Thursday's out. How about never? Is never good for you?"

"Would you like to hear some music while you wait?"

Names That Will Stunt Your Growth, Make You Go Blind, Etc., Etc., Etc.

Dick Beater, born Norwich 1835. At the time of the 1851 census he was a 16 year old prisoner in Wisbech Jail.
Willy Beatoff, born Yeovil, Somerset, 1821.
Dick Handler, baptised Earles Colne, Essex, 29 December 1585.
Jack Hoff, born Thetford, Norfolk, 1910.
John Thomas Massage, married Maria Catherine Bond, Old Church, St Pancras, London, 17 June 1780.
Alfred Henry Pullcock, born Surrey 1811.
Willy Stroker, died Salford, Lancashire, 1872.
Dick Wacker, born Essex 1781.
Thomas Wank, died Chorley, Lancashire, 1886.
Willy Wanker, born Angus, Scotland, as reported in the 1841 Dundee census.
Easter Wanking, baptised Wigmore, Herefordshire, 7 February 1822.
Bertram H Wankwell, born Bournemouth, Hampshire 1900.

Man - A Chemical Analysis

Element: Man
Symbol: Ah (short for Arsehole)
Quantitative: Average height 5' 9" but some isotopes can be as short as 5'.
Discoverer: Eve
Occurrence: Found following dual element Wo, often in high concentration near a perfect Wo specimen.

Physical properties:
  • Obnoxious when saturated in alcohol
  • Tends to fall into very low energy state directly after reaction with Wo.
  • Gains considerable mass as specimen ages, loses reactive nature.
  • Rarely found in pure form after 15th year.
  • Often damaged as a direct result of unlucky reaction with polluted form of the Wo common ore.
Chemical properties:
  • Nearly all forms desire reaction with Wo, even when no further reaction is possible.
  • May react with several Wo isotopes in short period under extremely favourable conditions.
  • Usually willing to react with what ever is available.
  • Reaction Rates range from aborted/non existent to Pre interaction effects (which tend to turn the specimen bright red.
  • Best results apparently near 18 for high reaction rate, 25 35 for favourable reaction style.
  • Heavy boxes, top shelves, long walks late at night, free dinners for Wo.
  • Pure specimen will rarely reveal purity, while reacted specimens broadcast information on many wavelengths.
  • Tends to react extremely violently when other Ah isotopes interfere with reaction to a particular Wo specimen. Otherwise very malleable under correct conditions.

Woman - A Chemical Analysis

Element: Woman
Symbol: Wo
Discover: Adam
Atomic Mass: Accepted at 53.6kg, but known to vary from 40 to 200kg
Occurrences: Copious quantities in all urban areas

Physical Properties:
  • Surface usually covered in painted film.
  • Boils at nothing; freezes without known reason.
  • Melts if given special treatment.
  • Bitter if incorrectly used.
  • Found in various states from virgin metal to common ore.
  • Yields if pressure applied in correct places.
Chemical Properties:
  • Has great affinity for gold, silver and a range of precious stones.
  • Absorbs great quantities of expensive substances.
  • May explode spontaneously without prior warning and for no known reason.
  • Insoluble in liquids, but activity increases greatly by saturation in alcohol.
  • Most powerful money reducing agent known to man.
Common Uses:
  • Highly ornamental, especially in sports cars.
  • Can be a great aid to relaxation.
  • Very effective cleaning agent.
  • Pure specimen turns rosy pink when discovered in the natural state.
  • Turns green when placed beside a better specimen.
  • Highly dangerous except in experienced hands.
  • Illegal to possess more than one, although several can be maintained at different locations as long as specimens do not come into direct contact with each other.
  • Should you experience itching, burning or rash, discontinue use immediately and seek medical treatment.

Kings And Queens Of England, Part 5


Edward VII, born 1841. Reigned 1901 – 1910. Was weak from overindulgence and smoking - he had a 48 inch waist and smoked on average twenty cigarettes and a dozen cigars a day. Not surprisingly, he died from a heart attack. To his son:

George V, born 1865, reigned 1910 – 1935. It was admitted in 1986 that he was “helped” to die, some say so that the death could be reported in the Times and not the evening papers. To his son:

Edward VIII, born 1894, reigned 1935 – 1936. Abdicated because he wanted to marry Mrs Simpson (not Bart’s mother). Eventually lived in Paris. No children. To his brother:

George VI, born 1895, reigned 1936 – 1952. Died from lung cancer. His wife, the late Queen Mother always felt that Edward VIII caused George to die young by making him become King. George had a stutter because he was left handed but made to write with his right hand. To his daughter:

Elizabeth II, born 1926, reigning 1952 – present. God save the Queen! To her son:

Charles III or George VII, born 1948. Upon the death of Elizabeth II, if Prince Charles keeps his given name he would become known as Charles III. Prince Charles has however considered rejecting that style when he accedes to the throne, because of its associations with Britain’s bloody past and with Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649 following the English Civil War. Such a move would not be a first – three of the past six British monarchs chose a regnal style different from their Christian name, and even from their previous given name; for example, George VI was known as Prince Albert (Bertie to his family). The most discussed alternative style has been George VII, in honour of Charles’ grandfather. And then, hopefully, to his son:

William V, born 1982.

Newly Discovered Hitler Archive

Parenting Skills (Could Do Better)

Never Fib To Your Mum

Brian's mum was visiting him at uni and he invited her to stay for supper with him and his roommate. During the course of the meal, Brian's mum couldn't help but notice how beautiful Brian's roommate, Jennifer, was. Brian assured his mum that he had a totally platonic relationship with Jennifer and scoffed at the idea that there might be something more going on. Mum was not so sure.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Brian and Jennifer than met the eye.

Reading his mum's thoughts, Brian volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian saying, "Ever since your mother came to supper, I've been unable to find all the teaspoons. You don't suppose your mum took them, do you?"

Brian said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll send her an e-mail just to be sure. So he sat down and wrote:

Dear Mum,

I'm not saying that you did take our teaspoons, I'm not saying that you did not take our teaspoons. But the fact remains that our teaspoons have been missing ever since you were here for supper.

Love, Brian

Several days later, Brian received an email back from his mum that read:

Dear Brian,

I'm not saying that you do sleep with Jennifer, I'm not saying that you do not sleep with Jennifer. But the fact remains that if Jennifer is sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the teaspoons by now.

Love, Mum

Lesson of the day: never fib to your mum!

Kings And Queens Of England, Part 4


James I of England and VI of Scotland, born 1566, reigned 1603 – 1625. In the latter years of his life he was seriously ill with arthritis and gout and was unable to properly perform his duties as king. In 1625 he had a stroke and died during a severe bout of dysentery. His elder son, Frederick, died in 1612, so to younger son:

Charles I, born 1600, reigned 1625 – 1649. Believed in the Divine Right of Kings, and many feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power. There was widespread opposition to many of his actions, especially the levying of taxes without Parliament’s consent. Deposed and executed by Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell, born 1599, died 1658. A key contributor to making England into a republican Commonwealth. A religious Puritan, regicide and a brilliant soldier, he rose from leading a single cavalry troop to eventual command of the entire army. He was the third person to sign Charles I’s death warrant and was made Lord Protector on 16th December 1653. Died of Maleria. When the Royalists returned to power in 1660, his corpse was dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded. To his third son:

Richard Cromwell, born 1626, governed 1658 – 1659. Despite his very short reign, he is the longest lived ruler of England, dying in 1712 if old age. To the son of Charles I:

Charles II, born 1630, reigned 1660 – 1685, King of Scots from 1650. Died of a stroke, apologising on his death bed for taking a long time to die. His last words were, “Let not poor Nellie starve,” referring to his mistress, Nell Gwyn. To his brother:

James II, born 1633, reigned 1685 – 1688. Deposed and died 1701. James was a Roman Catholic and became unpopular because of his views on religion. He had two protestant daughters by first marriage but a big problem when his Catholic son was born. Deposed by William of Orange (brother in law) and died in 1701 of a brain haemorrhage in the French royal chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. To:

William III (nephew of James) and Mary II (daughter), jointly reigned from 1689. Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and William continued as king until his death in 1702. Died from complications from a bad fall and broken collar bone caused by his horse stumbling on a molehill. To Mary’s sister:

Anne, born 1665, reigned 1702 – 1714. The probable cause of her death was erysipelas (an acute bacterial infection of the skin and underlying fat tissues) and suppressed gout. To her second cousin (both Anne and George I were grandchildren of Charles I):


George I, born 1660, reigned 1714 – 1727. Died of a stroke. To his son:

George II, born 1683, reigned 1727 – 1760. Hated his own son Frederick, declaring, “Makes me vomit.” He outlived Fred. George II was the last king to lead his troops in battle. To his grandson:

George III, born 1738, reigned 1760 – 1820. Lost America. Regency by Prince George from 1810. Mad, foamed at mouth, rolled eyes, shouted obscenities and spoke gibberish. To his son:

George IV, born 1762, reigned 1820 – 1830. In 1795 married his cousin, Caroline, to get her money. She was foolish, charmless, badly behaved and smelt. Split up in 1796. One daughter Charlotte died 1817. Caroline came uninvited to coronation in 1820. Caused great fuss but died in 1821. George died of a ruptured blood vessel in his stomach. The Times wrote, “There never was an individual less regretted by his fellow creatures than this deceased king.” To his brother:

William IV, born 1765, reigned 1830 – 1837. No legitimate children (but lots of others). Spat a lot and not at all nice. Lots of drinking and gambling at court. Duchess of Kent complained bitterly and said she would not let her daughter come to court. They say William IV hung on before dying so that Victoria would be 18 years old and so Duchess would not be Regent. Died of cardiac failure and broncho-pneumonia. To his niece:

Victoria, born 1819, reigned 1837 – 1901. Her reign was at the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress, and a great expansion of the British Empire. Married Albert who died in 1861 of typhoid. Victoria died of old age. To her son, Edward VII.


Edmondson’s Rules For Ski-ing.

Rule 1: Never ski on snow you cannot see.
(If you get right up to the edge and lean over as far as you dare AND still can’t see the snow, don’t do it. That way lies madness.)

Rule 2: Never eat yellow snow.

Rule 3: If, after years of practice, you think you’ve finally cracked it, you haven’t.


Proverbs, 16:18: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Weight Loss

Edmondson’s Rules For Dieting.

Rule 1: Stand amongst fat people.

Rule 2: Food of the same colour has the same calories: for example, pistachio ice cream has the same calories as broccoli*.

*Which is just as well as your Editor subscribes to the sure knowledge that broccoli is the food of the devil and an abomination; and having an acceptably coloured alternative is an indication of how the world is in perfect balance.

© 2007 The Edmondson Blog