Up Yours, Gaius Mucius Scaevola!

As we all know, GMS thrust his right hand into the fire to get right up Lars Porsena’s (of Clusium) nostrils. His claim, apparently, was that it was a significant sacrifice.

Rightist Bastard. Some of us would have been more distressed, had we had to present our sinister phalanges to the flame.

Anyhoo, and this is important to me. Today is, apparently, International Left Handers Day.

Whoopee! Not sure that there are any other Southpaws out there who are still posting to the Chariot.

Whatever! I am left-handed, right-brained and proud.

Forza la sinistra, non-politically.

Dear Boris

On behalf of my fellow afficionados, I must register the strongest possible objections to your inappropriate reference to the iconic British letter-box. Your context – the veil worn by some religious extremists – trivialises the vital role played by letter-boxes throughout the realm for centuries; and attributes undue importance to facial adornments.

An apology will suffice.

Yours etc.

British Association for Letter-box Lovers (BALLS)


A home girt by sea… and one that is not.

Well, it has to be done. On Tuesday, next week, I will be flying out to Awestruck-and-failure for a 3 week stint. My junior attachment will be participating in something called World Scholars, an academic forum involving children from 50 countries. The event is being held in the Melbourne Convention Centre form the 18th to 21st of August. Continue reading “A home girt by sea… and one that is not.”

G & T

I’ve rarely been known to refuse one. Schweppes and several fingers of gin. So it doesn’t surprise me to find that it’s now a bit of a cult – with go-to choices of both ingredients. Dwarling, you simply must try my elder-flower. Really cool, huh?

And by sheer coincidence, cool-speak is also defined by G and T. Not only is good pronounced gid but every -ing is an -in; every lot is a lo’. And most cringeful of all, like every plural subject attracts a singular verb.

Worse still we can’t point fingers at speakers of Estuary English or Brummy or Scouse. They are all at it! Like not cool at all.


Not a Happy Announcement

Some of you may still remember Terrible Turk from MyT days yore. He was acerbic, at times abrasive but, in the end, a true gentleman. He was a product of the early post-war years, a man who craved moral and social certainties and certitudes. He had a good career, 30 years in the Middle East for the US Geologic Survey with sojourns into South and South-East Asia. After his retirement, he settled in small-town Virginia where he became a fixture of the local social scene.

He was on my case for years, most recently because of my preference for stepping away from academia and moving, at least partially, into private industry. He was convinced that academia needed at least a few people who weren’t certifiable Bolsheviks amongst its ranks.

You may have noticed that I have discussed him in the preterite. This is no accident. I was informed less than half an hour ago that he has passed away. After a spirited battle with cancer, one that required having his bone marrow removed and replaced, Atropos did her grim deed.

Come back, Oliver, all is forgiven

Except for the bit about chopping off the monarch’s head (Leave good Queen Bess alone, after all, the armed forces swear allegiance to her and she is a very nice lady), we could do with another Oliver Cromwell to deal with the self-serving nonentities that occupy the present British parliament.

Here is what he said when dissolving the 1653 Parliament :-

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place,

which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

Any volunteers? Nigel, mayhap?


You need hands

I was heel-clicked incarnate. Honestly, the cliché police, if they existed, would have thrown the book at me or locked me up and thrown away the key. Nothing could stop me in this mood. I was on top of the world, soaring like a cold blister and full of beans that could make a new forest. As I walked down the street I was the shiniest on show by a city mile (not in the country and anyway, a mile’s a mile for all that). I couldn’t resist singing my favourite Scorpions song “Here I am, Rock you like a Harry Kane.”

Then Destiny called. “Hello, you,” she said.

A driver had lost control of his Ford F650 pick up truck and had driven it onto the pavement. Careering at speed it was almost upon a young boy who was walking in front of me. I had a split second to make a decision.  Continue reading “You need hands”