Monday, 21 May 2018

The Royal Wedding

The sleepy Principality of Dudley is in incandescent uproar at the anticipation of the Royal wedding of Prince Barry (call me Bazza) and his bride, Sharon Mugumbo. The dream couple met when Barry was carrying out humanitarian duties in a Tipton brothel. Apparently, they fell in love when their eyes locked over a moist, crusty bed sheet.  There are naysayers who contend that a Prince of the realm should be marrying someone posh called Cassandra or Jocasta, rather than marrying a colonial, coloured actress, stripper, chanteuse and hair dresser. And a divorcee to boot. Some aver that the trend had been set when the Duke of Windsor nearly married Wallace Simpson 148 years ago.

Controversy was spawned after it was divined that local itinerants, sleeping rough in Dudley High Street, had removed themselves voluntarily to take up permanent residence in the local cemetery. Filthy Eric, of no fixed kneecaps, managed to escape the roaming death squads and opined thusly: “Can you spare 20 quid for a pack of fags and a bottle of ‘Thunder Bollocks’ wine? “.  When encouraged with a cattle prod he continued in a dissimilar vein:” Ooooh, what a lovely couple. May beneficence cascade upon their tumescent loins. And their first child, be a masculine child. Although she does look a bit dusky”

Mr Khan, of Mr Khan’s cheap shit and tat, has launched a gaggle of products celebrating this most inauspicious event including a line of commemorative mugs sporting the effigies of the hapless couple. Sharon has been rendered in shimmering topaz sporting a spear, grass skirt and a bone through her nose, while Prinz Barry is in the full regalia of the SS Totenkopf division. The effect is enhanced by the judicious application of crayon highlights and Sharon’s moustache has been rendered in shimmering shellac.

Mrs Enid Mugumbo, of no fixed morals, ranted on interminably:  “Oooooo what a lovely bride Barry makes. I remember his mother, Kylie, a great useless, thick, stupid lump with a penchant for banging foreigners".

Sharon’s father is unlikely to attend the wedding as he is washing his underwear that day. His book: ‘The Prince who shagged my daughter’, will be available in all good book stores later this week.

The royal Ferret, Shagger, was not amused.

Prince Phillip is 137

Filthy Eric, in repose 

Friday, 18 May 2018

More Health & Safety Bollix

I have the unhappy designation of Departmental Health & Safety Officer. Tis a poisoned chalice full of foul smelling ichor. My main duties revolve around meticulous form completion; maintaining a hazard register and a chemical register. There is a pressing need to conduct a monthly 'Health & Safety Audit' and an insistent obligation for each staff member to complete an annual 'Health & Safety Questionnaire'. Anyway, it appears to me that as long as I dutifully complete the assigned tasks the management gods are appeased and life, as we know it, rolls along with wistful abandon. Furthermore, real health and safety issues, issues that actually impact on the worker are conveniently ignored, especially where money is required to remedy the situation. For instance, we have a long-standing issue with the air conditioning and temperature control systems in the laboratory. As this requires a complete and expensive refit, the management have conveniently ignored our repeated requests, entreaties, nay pleas, for refurbishment.

Last year I decided to audit the atmospheric levels of a chemical compound used in the processing of cells for chromosome analysis. One of the chemicals used in the mixture is acetic acid which is liberated into the atmosphere during the process. Visitors to the laboratory often remark on the pungent odour which appears to permeate/pervade the area. Of course, the scientists and technicians can no longer smell the chemical due to a long and frequent acquaintance. Also, copper pipes in the fridges and freezers have corroded resulting in equipment failure on a regular basis.  Consequently, I thought it would be a good idea to check on the recommended exposure levels and was appalled to note that the permissible levels in an environment should not exceed 8ppm over an eight-hour period. With this knowledge in hand, I obtained a dosimeter for measuring acetic levels in the atmosphere. Although not highly accurate, the meter gives an indication of acetic acid concentrations, albeit in a semi-quantitive manner.

Over the course of several months I’ve  assiduously measured the acetic acid levels in the lab, especially during peak activity. Eventually, this will form the basis of a health and safety report, which once completed, will be forwarded to our Occupational Health Department for deliberation and perhaps thereafter passed on to Higher Powers. Very early on in the study it became apparent that levels were high normal or over limits deemed safe. This work often had to take second place to my normal duties and I was hoping to submit my ground-breaking study sometime in July. But the fates and the furies had other ideas. And it came to pass that a senior manager got wind of my endeavour. Within a thrice I became the attention of a gaggle of upper management types. To a man they wore perplexed and worried frowns over suits of burlap grey. Mayhap, they were expressing concern for the health of their dedicated scientific staff? Or could there be a darker, ulterior motive?  They fired off a volley of insistent and pertinent questions. My answers did not allay their troubles. Head suit, gasped: “Oh my god, we could be fined  200k.” At that revelation they shuffled into my boss’s office to further spread the woe. To fix the issue will cost a meagre 10k- I wonder if they would be so willing to comply if the legislative ‘Sword of Damocles’ was not swinging adroitly above their well coiffured bonces?  

Once management had departed, and as if in a fevered dream, I was approached by my very harassed looking boss. “Flaxen”, he intoned, “I want your report on my desk first thing in the morning”. Bugger, says I, as I was hoping for a relaxed evening with the local ‘swingers’. All the crusty bits had been scraped off my gimp suit and a new ‘glory hole’ had been lovingly fashioned. Instead, I’ll be huddled over a keyboard until the wee hours poring over statistics and standard deviations- ARSE.

Moral of the story:  If you want anything done, cloak it in the guise of Health & Safety. It stirs like a Behemoth and lurks at the margins of all corporate decisions and if they fail to heed/feed the beast, they will incur the wrath of power wielding Health and Safety Pendants. The penalty for non-compliance is dire and immensely expensive. It is important to remember that a judicious and constructive enhancement (fiddling sounds too harsh) of data is okay, especially if it conforms to your own nefarious agenda- all the best scientists do it.    

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Bow of Doom

Behold the bow of Doom or Redemption, depending on perspective. This is my first successful Ash bow. My first Ash bow turned into a pile of firewood, but the hard-won lessons have been applied to my second project. It has taken a while to fashion this bow, about 3 months, due mainly to the lack of spare time for practical woodwork.

The bow is 66 inches long and has a draw weight of 30lbs, at my draw length. I was aiming for a weight of between 40-50lbs. Unfortunately, I made the bow limbs too thin and had to cut down the bow from its original length of 72 inches to its final length to gain extra poundage. This is not a mistake I intend to make with my second bow. The handle region is 10 inches and overlaid with a piece of Kwila. Kwila is a native NZ hardwood used for the construction of decking. I had a piece in my garage and decided to include it in the build. I managed to rasp down the handle to give an ergonomically functional profile. I used the same wood to reinforce the knocks.

I've backed the bow with rawhide. This material is relatively expensive to obtain from archery outlets and being a tight arse (arse) I decided to purchase a rawhide dog chew from the local pet shop. I soaked the chew in warm water for a couple of hours. Thereafter I unpicked the 'bone' and glued it to the back of the bow. The rawhide gives the bow a rustic, primitive look and helps to prevent the rise of splinters which could introduce weak spots and areas of potential failure. As far as I'm aware, the rawhide does not impart any additional poundage to the draw weight, for that I would require a backing of natural sinew or fibreglass. I finished off with a couple of applications of boiled linseed oil for protection.

The bow shoots well and appears to be reasonably well tillered. It does not sport an arrow shelf or sights- no bells, whistles or fripperies. I designed the bow to look unrefined and arrows are shot off the knuckle. Not the prettiest bow in New Zealand and way too light for my taste. I'd require at least an extra 20lbs for hunting deer or hog. This brings me neatly to my second Ash bow: I've already started the project. This bow will be of a similar pyramid design to the first. The handle, or riser, will consist of a laminate of three different kinds of wood, to achieve an aesthetic. Also, I intend to back the bow with strips of Lincoln green fibreglass. This time I'm aiming for a 50lb draw weight. This bow should be suitable for target shooting and hunting and although the overall design will not be sophisticated I'm hoping for a bow which will be pleasing to the eye.

I'll be moving to my retirement property next month. A four-bed single storey home with barn, nestling in 2.5 acres. Absolutely perfect for setting up a static archery range. The Tararua Mountains provide a majestic backdrop to my rural idyll; far from the unwashed crowds and common folk. And here I will wend out my dotage until my body is consigned to the flames and once more I will meld with the universe.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Fat Twat

Shock breaking news from the principality of South Tipton as it revels in the moist glistening folds of the Black Country peninsular. For today, it can be revealed that the esteemed leader of the North Tipton Democratic Republic (NTDR), Dim Sum, has crossed the ‘pantyhose line’ to enter into negotiations with South Tipton’s leader, Enoch Vowel II.

This is indeed a historic occasion and heralds rapprochement between the two states for the first time in 60 years following the great pig's pud and ferret wobbling disaster of June 25th, 1950. That date, which will live in infamy, signalled the breakdown in diplomatic relations between these two kindred nations. Pig’s pud was hurled and Shagger the ferret suffered from a particularly severe wobbling. Needless to say, relations have remained strained ever since. Indeed, Kim Do Pong threatened to unleash his latest terror weapon, ‘The peace Rocket’, but luckily for South Tipton, a random whippet pissed on the box of matches.

Dim Sum will visit the local orphanage and deposit thousands of NTDR children as a goodwill gesture and afterward find homes in the NTDR for thousands of stray dogs denuded from South Tipton’s kennels as a humanitarian gesture.

Mrs Enid Mugumbo, of no fixed dentures, had this to say about this momentous event: ''Ooh what a lovely man to cement harmonious accord between our great nations. Although I didn’t expect him to be so short, fat, ugly and sporting a particularly shite haircut. Has anyone seen my poodle'', Noodles?''

Wise words indeed, Mrs Mugumbo.
Ramen Poodles

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Dunning-Kruger Effect

We all know of people with an expanded view of their own importance, intelligence and abilities. They boast of what they can achieve and how easily they will accomplish said tasks. However, reality is generally not kind and they end up blaming an excruciating sequence of events, of course outside their control, which conspires to thwart their endeavours at every turn. They appear blissfully unaware of their innate stupidity and have no insight into how dense they really are. Indeed, their ignorance is a type of bliss that only a truly stupid person can endure. Typically, they overemphasise their 'intelligence' and are happy to tell all how smart they actually are. But as we know, smart folk don't have to tell anyone; their actions do that for them. Prudent folk have an appreciation of their limitations and act to redress those shortcomings or at least mitigate their impact.

Collectively, dumb people have a habit of believing in fantastic and grandiose schemes and concepts. They are easily drawn to conspiracy theories and alternative, so-called, therapies. They are willing to accept quite ridiculous propositions on the most flimsy of evidence or no rational evidence at all. 

This effect is known as the 'Dunning Kruger Effect' and is named after the two researchers who published a seminal study on the phenomenon back in 2005. Below is a graph illustrating how stupid people perceive themselves in comparison to competent individuals. Who would have thought that folk with low ability would fail to recognise their own ineptitude?      

A good example of this type of individual is the sub-group of contestants performing in the myriad of talent shows which besmirch and bespeckle our televisual programming on a Saturday evening. They caterwaul and prance clumsily on the stage watched by millions. They are oblivious to their obvious lack of talent. Tis excruciating on the senses and grates our very being into a thick frothy broth. Yet it is strangely compelling to watch. With the inevitable 'nil point' they appear genuinely aggrieved that the panel has failed to notice their singing prowess and strut off stage in bemused and surprised chagrin. They vocally avow their return next year when the experts will rue over today's lost opportunity to lavish a lucrative music contract upon their well-disposed bonces......    

Another, rather ridiculous example concerns the bank robber, MacArthur Wheeler, who squirted lemon juice on his face in the misguided assumption that it would render his features invisible to the bank's security cameras. He knew that lemon juice could be used as invisible ink and extrapolated from this principle. Sadly for MacArthur, his cunning ruse failed and he is currently incarcerated (no shit). This, of course, represents an extreme example. Not all stupid people are this dim.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Friday, 20 April 2018

Flaxen's Friday Rant of Doom

Political correctness is a disease that needs to be resisted with every fibre of our being. Tis cancer, a bitter cud that should be excised and destroyed. Why the will of a vocal minority be forced on the majority who sensibly despise the whole PC concept is an anathema to any free-born man. Tis an affront to our freedom of speech. A freedom that did not materialise overnight but is now a given right in a society which would deem itself civilised.

Much of this madness originates in our higher education institutions. A few ‘right on’ sociology Professors together with their student lackeys are keen to foist onto the student body and the University Administration their warped philosophy of intolerance. The idea that no one is to be offended, is obviously ridiculous.

What is particularly tragic is that higher education is perhaps the only time in an individual’s life where they will be subject to a range of diverse views. Views which challenge their cosy/rosy world of ‘reality’ and hopefully make the recipient think deeper about long-cherished ideas. Once out of college our instinct is to associate with our own; folk with a similar world outlook to ours which can lead to a form of intellectual atrophy. If we disagree with a speaker, then this should initiate debate and a free exchange of ideas without censure. To ban a speaker or upbraid someone because they are not in tune with your intellectual temper is a grievous sin. How can we form well-rounded and considered opinions on topics, various, if we are afraid to enunciate our thoughts? With every utterance, we create ‘victims’. Folk so divorced from reality that they run to a ‘safe space’ whenever someone disagrees with their world-view. Is this the society we crave? Are we to nurture a generation so disjointed from reality that they are socially paralysed when confronted with any perceived or real form of conflict? I'll leave my good readers to ponder and weep in equal measure.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Nibbles the Gerbil

Nibbles before his demise

I was sent a link concerning the demise of a certain gerbil, called Nibbles. The death of small rodents is generally not newsworthy. However, it was not the death of the gerbil which was deemed of note but the mode of his disposal. Most folk of a sentimental nature would shed a single tear as the small rodent disappeared down the toilet. At best the owners would have ensured that ‘Cuddles/Dimples/Fluffy/Truffles’ (delete as applicable) had slipped this mortal coil before consigning the creature to a watery grave. If you have a sick one it saves the mess of belting them to death with a hammer. A gentle drowning is infinitely preferable and doesn’t leave an unsightly stain on the carpet.

Anyway, when Nibbles, a denizen of Somerset England, popped his claws it was deemed that a more elaborate disposal was necessary. As the owners had pagan leanings it was decided to give the rapidly stiffening gerbil the dubious honour of a full Viking funeral. For those not familiar with a Norse funeral ritual then please read on and be agog. In times pagan, a Viking warrior would be laid out in full war regalia on a Viking longboat. The boat would contain pitch, tar, and kindling and set adrift on the frigid North Sea. At an appropriate moment, prominent warriors of the war band would unleash a volley of fire arrows into the boat causing a mass conflagration as it sailed majestically into deep water…….Frankly, I wouldn’t mind this for myself. No doubt my relatives could fashion a suitable vessel out of wooden pallets. My perfectly formed body, extra nipple notwithstanding, would be doused in petrol and I'd go off in a blaze of glory down the Birmingham to Dudley canal. I think I've digressed.

Getting back to Nibbles, the hapless gerbil. What the account doesn't mention is that soon after being cast adrift the flaming barge ran aground and the conveniently roasted body was immediately pounced upon by a clowder of feral cats. Poor Nibbles might have been a third-rate pet (gerbils are crap) but in death became a first-rate entree for Mittens and co. Thus are vicissitudes of death. 

Should have flushed the little bugger down the loo.