Thursday, December 8, 2016

Quote for the Day

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

- US Army Major quoted by journalist Peter Arnett (pictured below)
following the Tet offensive in 1968. 
 The village referred to was Ben Tre where a fierce battle 
had left much of the town in ruins.

Trivia Night, 'Ol Blue Eyes and a Squirrel


As I have mentioned previously, on Wednesday nights I am a member of a trivia team hosted by Mr Trivia, Graham. At Club Ashfield. Our team meets a bit earlier, we have a meal in the bistro and some conversation, then we do battle against the other teams.

The way the trivia is structured is that there are 2 rounds. At the end of the 2 rounds there is a final, multiple-choice question with 4 choices. Teams can wager as many of the points they have built up on the last question. Get it right and double the number of points wagered are added to the original score. Get it wrong and you lose what you have bet. 

On the principle of “no guts, no glory” we always wager everything we have.

The last question is usually so difficult or little known that it is a guess and invariably we get it wrong, blowing all our points.

Still, it’s all good fun.

Some items from last night’s weekly Trivia evening:

Q: Who was the first singer to record in the new Apple studio in 1968?

A: Frank Sinatra


The first single to receive an Apple catalogue number was ‘Those Were The Days’ by Mary Hopkin, being Apple 2. Apple 1, however, was a one-off re-recording of ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ sung by Frank Sinatra in 1968 for the birthday of Ringo Starr’s Maureen, who was a big Sinatra fan. It was retitled ‘The Lady Is A Champ’ and the lyrics were changed for the surprise gift for Maureen’s 22nd birthday.

Opening verse:

“There’s no one like her,
But no one at all.
And as for charm
Hers is like, wall to wall.
She married Ringo
And she could have had Paul.
That’s why the lady is a champ.”

Only one copy was made and then the master tapes were destroyed.

Hear it on YouTube by clicking on the following link:


Yesterday’s multiple choice question (we got it wrong):

Tommy Tucker was a squirrel in a WW2 fund raising campaign in England. 
What did Tommy Tucker wear? Was it
a. An airman’s uniform?
b. A clown’s outfit?
c. Striped pyjamas?
d. Women’s dresses?

Women’s dresses.


From Wikipedia:
  • Tommy Tucker (died June 25, 1949) was a male Eastern gray squirrel who became a celebrity in the United States, touring the country wearing women's fashions while performing tricks, entertaining children, and selling war bonds. A Washington Post columnist called him "the most famous squirrel ever to come from Washington.”
  • Tommy was adopted in 1942 by Zaidee Bullis and her husband Mark C. Bullis.
  • Zaidee dressed Tommy in women's clothing to avoid the tailoring around his bushy tail that a male wardrobe would entail.
  • Following World War II Tommy "married" a squirrel named Buzzy.
  • In 1944 Tommy was featured in Life magazine. The article noted that "Mrs. Bullis' main interest in Tommy ... is in dressing him up in 30 specially made costumes. Tommy has a coat and hat for going to market, a silk pleated dress for company, a Red Cross uniform for visiting the hospital."
  • Tommy died in 1949 ostensibly due to "a heart attack brought on by old age". His body was stuffed and mounted and he is on view in a display case at a law office in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Quote for the Day

Some word play limericks


(Dr is, of course, pronounce ‘Doctor’)

She was wooed by a handsome young Dr,
Who one day in his arms tightly Ir,
But straightway he swore
He would do so no more,
Which the same, it was plain, greatly shr.

(Worcester is pronounced ‘Wooster’)

There was an old fellow in Worcester,
Who owned quite a famous game rorcester.
But when it grew old
It had to be sold.
It could not fight as it urcester.

There was a young man from Elora,
Who married a girl called Lenora,
But he had not been wed
Very long till he said,
"Oh, drat it! I've married a snora!"

A king who began on his reign.
Exclaimed with a feeling of peign,
"Though I'm legally heir,
No one seems to ceir
That I haven't been born with a breign."

Though a young man of football physique.
His heart was exceedingly wique,
While he much loved the maid,
He was so afraid
That he hadn't the courage to spiquc.

Some day, ere she grows too antique,
In marriage her hand I shall sique.
If she's not a coquette —
Which I'd greatly regrette —
She shall share my six dollars a wique.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Quote for the Day

Some trivia

The expression “money for old rope” means getting money for little effort, similar to “money for jam”. John Lennon uses the expression in “Gimme Some Truth”:

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

It is a common explanation that the expression dates from the days of sailing ships when old ropes were used, with tar, to fill the gaps between the boards. This was known as caulking. But is that explanation correct? As word expert The Phrase Finder puts it, in the words of an old joke, “I’m a frayed knot.” The P F points out that yes, old ropes were used for caulking but the expression didn’t appear in print until 1936 when sailing ships had long gone.  Furthermore it is not recorded in any books of sailors’ slang and nautical terms of the sailing ship days and sailors wouldn’t have received extra money for caulking, it was part of their work for which they were already being paid.

More than likely, the two phrase – money for old rope and money for jam – originated around WW1 in the British Army, when jam was so common in the Army diet that it was considered worthless, the same as old rope.

Whilst looking at expressions, the proverb “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” means that you can make plans for people but their own mindset will determine what they do. It was first recorded in 1175 and has the distinction of being the oldest proverb still in regular use.

Author and wit Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was once challenged by fellow columnist and wit Franklin Adams to put the word “horticulture” in a sentence and make it humorous. She responded with “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think."

Two other quick Dorothy Parker items:

Whilst on her honeymoon, her editor sent a telegram reminding her of a pending deadline for material. She is said to have responded “Tell him I’ve been too fucking busy, or vice versa.”


I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Quote for the Day

Or, to put it more simply . . .

or, to put it even more simply . . . 

Street Art Sweetheart

I was thinking about the play on words of Street Art and Sweetheart, which prompted me to look into street art depicting or incorporating hearts.  There was lots. Here is some, more in the future.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Quote for the Day

Farts, Tatts and Colonoscopies

One side effect of doing this blog is that people ask ypu whether something or other is true.  One such query arrived from Leo M:
Otto, this can’t be true…. 
Buttock Tattoo Terror Lands Rotherham Pair In Hospital 
A furious row has broken out between a local tattoo artist and his client after what started out as a routine inking session, left both of them requiring emergency hospital treatment.

Furious film fan and part time plus size model Tracey Munter (23), had visited the Ink It Good Tattoo Emporium on Wellgate last week to have the finishing touches applied to a double buttock representation of the chariot race scene from the iconic 1959 film, Ben Hur. Tattooist Jason Burns takes up the story.

“It was a big job in more ways than one.” he told us “I’d just lit a roll up and was finishing off a centurions helmet. It’s delicate, close up work. Next thing is, I sense a slight ripple in the buttock cleavage area just around Charlton Heston’s whip, and a hissing sound – more of a whoosh than a rasp – and before I know what’s happening, there’s a flame shooting from her arse to my fag and my beards gone up like an Aussie bush fire.”

Jason says he rushed to the studio sink to quell the flames, only to turn round and see Tracey frantically fanning her buttock area with a damp towel. The flames had travelled down the gas cloud and set fire to her thong which was smoking like a cheap firework.

“To be honest”, said Jason, “I didn’t even realise she was wearing one. You’d need a sodding mining licence and a torch to find out for sure. She could have had a complete wardrobe in there and I’d have been none the wiser.”

Jason and Tracey were taken to Rotherham District Hospital accident and emergency department where they were treated for minor burns and shock. Both are adamant that the other is to blame.

“I’m furious” said Jason, “I’ve got a face like a mange-ridden dog and my left eyebrows not there any more. I don’t know about Ben Hur – Gone With The Wind’s more like it. You don’t just let rip in someone’s face like that. It’s dangerous.”

But Tracey remains both angry and unrepentant;

“I’m still in agony,” she said, “and Charlton Heston looks more like Sidney bloody Poitier now. Jason shouldn’t have had a fag on the go and there’s no way I’d guff on purpose. He’d had me on all fours for nearly an hour. I can only put up with that for so long before nature takes its course. My Kev knows that. I give him my five second warning and I’d have done the same for Jason, but I didn’t get chance – it just crept out.”

Ted Walters from the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service wasn’t surprised when we told him what had happened “People just don’t appreciate the dangers.“ he told us, “We get called out to more flatulence ignition incidents than kitchen fires these days, now people have moved over to oven chips. We have a slogan ‘Flame ‘n fart – keep ’em apart’. Anyone engaging in an arse inking scenario would do well to bear that in mind in future.”
Love it.  Couldn't give the ususal 5 second warning.  Charlton Heston looks more like Sidney blood Poitier.  Could have had a complete wardrobe up there and he wouldn't have known . . .


  • Leo, you are partly correct about it not being true.
  • The story comes from The Rotterham Bugle and can be read at:
  • The “About us” section of The Rotherham Bugle website contains the following:
We decided to launch The Rotherham Bugle after identifying a fundamental problem with other news based media covering the South Yorkshire area – they are restricted by a requirement that they stick to reporting on things that actually happened. And here’s the problem with that – what actually happened tends to be boring. 
And so from the very start, we made an editorial decision to give facts a back seat. Yes, you may find a grain of truth hidden away somewhere, but it’s more by accident than design. If you do find something that’s true, don’t judge us too harshly. Anyone can make mistakes. 
Our primary focus is on stuff that we’d have liked to happen, had a story taken a more interesting turn.
  • Which is not to say that it couldn’t happen.
  • There are numerous videos on YouTube of people lighting their farts – see, for example, a compilation at:
  • From Wikipedia:
Fart lighting, also known as pyroflatulence or flatus ignition, is the practice of igniting the gases produced by human flatulence, often producing a flame of a blue hue, hence the act being known colloquially as a "blue angel", "blue dart", or in Australia, a "blue flame". The fact that flatus is flammable, and the actual combustion of it through this practice, gives rise to much humorous derivation. Other colors of flame such as orange and yellow are possible with the color dependent on the mixture of gases formed in the colon. In order to "fire fart", one must have a fart prepared in the anal cavity, and a lighter at the ready. Then they fart onto the lighter.
  • On 31 October 2016, according to the New York Daily News, it was reported by the Tokyo Medical University Hospital that a patient passing gas during surgery was burned after the laser ignited her fart, resulting in a fiery explosion. While doctors operated on the woman's cervix, she apparently farted — the laser igniting the emission. As a result, her lower body in particular was badly affected. It is reported that the fire also spread to the surgical drape.
  • Remember the Ig Nobel awards, those prizes given to funny science articles and studies. The website for the awards says this:
The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative — and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.
  • The 2012 Ig Noble prize for medicine went to researchers who advised doctors on how to stop colonoscopy patients from exploding when undergoing electrocautery, the use of heat to remove potentially cancerous intestinal growths known as polyps. The official citation for the work is:
Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti [FRANCE] for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode.
REFERENCE: "Colonic Gas Explosion During Therapeutic Colonoscopy with Electrocautery," Spiros D Ladas, George Karamanolis, Emmanuel Ben-Soussan, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 13, no. 40, October 2007, pp. 5295–8.
REFERENCE: "Argon Plasma Coagulation in the Treatment of Hemorrhagic Radiation Proctitis is Efficient But Requires a Perfect Colonic Cleansing to Be Safe," E. Ben-Soussan, M. Antonietti, G. Savoye, S. Herve, P. Ducrotté, and E. Lerebours, European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, vol. 16, no. 12, December 2004, pp 1315-8.
  • Fortunately, colonoscopies rarely cause the patient to go boom. This is because the flammable hydrogen and methane in the large intestine have pretty much been reduced by the prior prep to a level below the minimal explosive concentration. Still, the researchers found 20 cases of explosion between 1952 and 2006, including one fatality.
  • It gives new meaning to the mascot of the Ig Nobel awards, dubbed The Stinker:
So there you go, Leo, hope this answers your query.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Quote for the Day

Team Tragedies


Discussions at the office about the Brazilian air crash tragedy raised other teams destroyed or affected by disasters. Perhaps the best known are the stories of the Andes survivors and that of the Manchester United crash. A brief look at those events, and some others . . . 

Brazil Chapecoense:

Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, commonly known as Chapecoense and whose acronym is ACF, is a Brazilian football club, based in the city of ChapecĂł in the state of Santa Catarina. The club was founded in 1973 and won its first state title in 1977. The club has won five state championships, the last in 2016. It has been referred to as “the fairytale club” in that in a league where it is a small club anongst many bigger and wealthier clubs, it rose to Brazil's top division, SĂ©rie A, for the first time in 2014. 

On November 28, 2016, the team travelled to Colombia to play the first leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana final against AtlĂ©tico Nacional, a match that was seen as the biggest in the history of the club. As the charter flight carrying the team approached JosĂ© MarĂ­a CĂłrdova International Airport near MedellĂ­n, Colombia, the plane crashed, killing 71 people. There were 6 survivors. A total of 43 of the 71 killed were part of the Chapeconse delegation (19 players, 17 club staff members, 7 people from the board of directors and 4 Fox Sports Brazil journalists), making it the deadliest disaster for a single team ever recorded. 

Following the crash, AtlĂ©tico Nacional conceded the match, making Chapecoense champions of the Sudamerica Cup. Five of Brazil’s top clubs have also offered to loan Chapecoense players so that it could playing.

It has been reported that the pilot of the crashed LaMia plane the Chapecoense team to Colombia chose not to stop for a planned refuelling, in violation of air safety rules, to save time due to an earlier delay. Having filled the tanks to maximum, thereby having just enough fuel to reach the intended airport destination, the plane’s fuel ran out after it was kept circling because of an emergency involving another plane.

The last reported picture of the Chapecoense Real football team prior to the plane crash.

The Andes Survivors:

In 1972 a chartered Uruguayan Air Force plane was carrying the Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to play a match in Santiago, Chile. Whilst flying over the Andes, the aircraft crashed. With both wings sheared off from hitting peaks, the fuselage hit the ground and slid down a steep mountain slope before finally coming to rest in a snow bank. 

From Wikipedia:
Of the 45 people on the aircraft, 12 died in the crash or shortly thereafter; another five had died by the next morning, and one more succumbed to injuries on the eighth day. The remaining 27 faced severe difficulties in surviving in the freezing mountains at such a high altitude. Many had suffered injuries from the crash, including broken legs from the aircraft's seats piling together. The survivors lacked equipment such as cold-weather clothing and footwear suitable for the area, mountaineering goggles to prevent snow blindness (although one of the eventual survivors, 24-year-old Adolfo "Fito" Strauch, devised a couple of sunglasses by using the sun visors in the pilot's cabin which helped protect their eyes from the sun). They lacked any kind of medical supplies, and the death of Dr. Francisco Nicola left a first and a second year medical student who had survived the crash in charge to improvise splints and braces with salvaged parts of what remained of the aircraft.
Because the aircraft was white, it blended into the snow and was unable to be seen from the air. The survivors heard on a radio that after 11 days, the search had been called off.

The survivors were faced with death by starvation and cold.

In his 2006 book, Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, Nando Parrado wrote:
“At high altitude, the body's caloric needs are astronomical ... we were starving in earnest, with no hope of finding food, but our hunger soon grew so voracious that we searched anyway ...again and again we scoured the fuselage in search of crumbs and morsels. We tried to eat strips of leather torn from pieces of luggage, though we knew that the chemicals they'd been treated with would do us more harm than good. We ripped open seat cushions hoping to find straw, but found only inedible upholstery foam ... Again and again I came to the same conclusion: unless we wanted to eat the clothes we were wearing, there was nothing here but aluminum, plastic, ice, and rock.”
Most of the passengers were classmates or personal friends, all were Catholic. Eventually they rationalised that cannibalising the bodies of the dead would not be against the laws of the Church. Thereafter they lived off the bodies of the dead, preserved in the snow.

16 days after the crash an avalanche killed eight of the survivors, including the last female survivor. 

When even the bodies of the dead began running out, it was determined that the strongest survivors should seek to travel down off the mountains and find help. 72 days after the crash Nando Parrado and Dr. Canessa made their way down the mountain and finally met Chilean Sergio CatalĂĄn who gave them food and then alerted authorities. The other 14 survivors were rescued on 23 December 1972, more than two months after the crash. In South America the matter is known as The Miracle in the Andes.

Passengers shelter near the tail of the Uruguayan plane which hit the mountains.

Survivors of the crash wave to rescue helicopters after their 72-day ordeal

Fernando (Nando) Parrado (left) and Roberto Canessa with Chilean carrier Sergio Catalan (back, in hat) in 1972

The Manchester United Crash:

In 1958 a British European Airways flight crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany. On the plane was the Manchester United football team, returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), along with supporters and journalists. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene, three more died in hospital.

It was later established that the crash was caused by slush on the runway, which slowed the plane too much to take off. 

How times have changed:
On 6 February 2008, the England national football team took on Switzerland at Wembley Stadium. Before the game, pictures of the players who lost their lives at Munich were displayed on big screens, and England players wore black armband. The minute’s silence was abandoned by the referee after 30 seconds because of whistles and cat-calls.

(Is it just me who thinks the ad to the left may have been a tad insensitive next to the main story?)


More sporting team tragedies:


A military aircraft carrying Zambia's national soccer team to a World Cup qualifying match crashed into the sea. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed, including 18 players, as well as the team coach and support staff. A Gabonese official investigation into the accident concluded that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine after a fire.


A Yak-42 passenger jet crashes seconds after takeoff, killing 44 out of the 45 on board, the sole survivor being the flight engineer. Amongst the dead is the entire Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv, plus players and coaches, who were on the way to a match in the Belarussian capital of Minsk. It was established that the pilots had used falsified documents to obtain permission to fly the aircraft, and that they lacked the training necessary to fly the Yak-42. In addition, the co-pilot had undergone treatment for a nerve disease and was forbidden to fly. Investigators say he did not feel his foot on the brake, leading to the crash and that he had applied the brake before raising the nosewheel.


A soccer match in the eastern part of the Congo ended in tragedy when lightning struck an entire team of 11 men. Thirty more people received burns. The freak accident occurred due to the metal spikes in their shoes. Even more strange, the opposing team was left unharmed, creating speculation that witchcraft caused the event.


In February 1961, the entire 18-member US Figure Skating team was killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Among those killed in the crash was 16-year-old Laurence Owen, who had won the US Figure Skating Championship the previous month. Bradley Long, the 1961 U.S. men's champion, also perished in the crash, as did Maribel Owen (Laurence's sister) and Dudley Richards, the 1961 pairs champions, and Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce, the 1961 ice dancing champions. In addition to the skaters, 16 people accompanying them, including family, friends, coaches and officials, were killed. The other 38 passengers and crew aboard Sabena Flight 548, which left New York on the night of February 14, also died when the plane went down around 10 a.m. in clear weather while attempting to make a scheduled stopover landing at the Belgian National Airport in Brussels.

Prior to the crash, the UShad won the men's gold medal at every Olympics since 1948 (when Dick Button became the first American man to do so), while US women had claimed Olympic gold in 1956 and 1960. After the crash, an American woman (Peggy Fleming) would not capture Olympic gold until 1968, and a US man (Scott Hamilton) would not do so until 1984.


The above figure skatingvteam tragedy was the worst air disaster involving an American sports team until November 1970, when 37 players on the Marshall University football team were killed in a plane crash in West Virginia.