Stripping is an Art

Yes, its official: stripping is an art! Norway’s appeal court has ruled that striptease is an art form and under the country’s laws is therefore exempt from VAT. Fuller story on BBC News. So next time you enjoy the attractions of your local bar on a Friday lunchtime you’re supporting the country’s artistic heritage!

Russian Cure

As I’m currently trying to get rid of the latest vile seasonal virus, I thought I’d share a little Russian cure, which isn’t Polonium-210.

A couple of weeks ago a Russian acquaintance was telling me about the traditional Russian cure for a sore throat:

  1. Drink a large measure of neat Russian vodka. If you wish swill it around your mouth in the process and swallow slowly (if that’s possible).
  2. Wait 10 minutes.
  3. Then drink the squeezed juice of one whole fresh lemon. Oh go on, lemon juice it isn’t that bad! Again swill it round the mouth and swallow slowly.

The sore throat should miraculously disappear.

Do not be tempted to mix the vodka and lemon — they need to be taken separately as the cure is supposed to work by using the vodka to weaken/kill the bugs and the acid lemon to then wash away the debris. Hmmm. Sounds logical, but I’m not convinced. Good excuse for a couple of shots of Stolichnaya tho’. And even if it doesn’t effect a cure it ain’t going to do the sore throat a lot of good.


I have just received an email which begins:

nice creature that jo march is!”by a fellow younger than himself, for emil was past fourteen and a pluckycandy molly loo and merry brought me. mammy says i can’t eat it, and itand her “ow!” was more suggestive of pins being run into her than of feari’ve had it out with him, and he won’t want to see me again in a hurry,””i said you did not know me; now you seerose looked up with a face so full of tender sorrow he could not doubtwas, with a gilt crown on its head, a little bow in its hand, and one whiteponderously upon the bench, which creaked under his weight, stuffy …

It’s spam, of course, which is just as well because the subject line was the killer punch: “dont understand, hope u can help”. Well if they don’t know I sure as Hell don’t!

The Catte

The catte is a beaste of uncerten heare and colour;
for some catte is white, some rede, some blacke,
some skewed and speckled in the fete and in the face and in the eares.
And he is … in youth slythe, plyaunte, and mery,
and lepeth and reseth on all thynge that is to-fore him;
and is led by a strawe and playeth therwith.
And is a right hevy beaste in age, and ful slepy,
and lieth slily in wait for myce …
and when he taketh a mous he playeth therwith,
and eateth him after play …
And he maketh a ruthefull noyse and gastfull when one
proffereth to fyghte with another …

[Bartholomew the Englishman; Of the Nature of Things; 1398.
Translated John de Trevista]

The Bureaucratic Mind Gone Crazy

Bystander at The Magistrate’s Blog today blogs about a Department for Constitutional Affairs guide for its staff called Eliminating Inappropriate Language in the Workplace. This is so horrific that I just have to quote here the passage given by Bystander on expressions deemed “not acceptable” in the workplace, including:

Old, middle-aged, young, girl, young lady, boy, lad, young man, part-timer, the disabled, the blind, the deaf, black mark, black sheep, black list, black look, Black Monday, coloured, half-caste, West Indian, Afro-Caribbean, Chinese (used as a catch-all phrase), British (referring to whites), immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, gypsies (used negatively), Gyppos, Ethnics, Jesus Christ (used as a curse), Jesus freak, bible basher, Jewish (acceptable to some), gay (as a noun), manning the phones, manpower, policeman, chairman, spokesman, fireman, foreman, workmen, lady doctor, woman judge, male nurse, male secretary, love, pet, dear (used in a derogatory way).

Frankly this is bollox. Yes, of course all these words can be used derogatorily, as can many, many others and that is not acceptable to many people, just as the F-word isn’t acceptable. But for heaven’s sake; this is PCness gone absolutely stark, raving lunatic. The wholesale banning of such words is censorship and a denial of freedom of speech of the most insidious kind.

OK, I personally dislike neologistic euphemisms like “gay”. But it’s about time people grew up and accepted that they should be described as they are — factually! Like “deaf” if they can’t hear?! “Black”, if that’s what they are!? An “immigrant” if they are one!? Get a life; you’re a big boy now.

I for one have absolutely no intention of taking any notice of this drivel. I shall continue to describe things factually as they are. Besides what am I supposed to call an 18-year old female who is about to leave Cheltenham Ladies or Bennenden except a “young lady”?

Ban Organised Religion

No not my view, but that of singer Elton John according to a BBC News story this morning. Elton says “I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it … But the reality is that organised religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.” He’s talking specifically about the attitude of religions towards gays, but he could equally be talking more generally. His solution is to “ban religion completely“.

No, sorry Elton, while I see where you’re coming from this doesn’t work. If you ban religion (or anything else for that matter) all it does is go underground and become more ghettoised and radicalised. (See debates about banning, for example, boxing and pornography.)

Personally I believe that religion is the spawn of the Devil (if people didn’t believe in the Devil they wouldn’t need God/religion to save them from him). However I don’t believe that banning things works. That’s not to say we have to believe, nor that we shouldn’t argue against religion. I don’t find religion intellectually necessary or intellectually satisfying, but who are we to deny a crippled man a crutch? Freedom of speech rules — I may fundamentally disagree with your view but I would defend to the death your right to those views and to be able to express them within civilised bounds (eg. non-violently). Only by having open debate do we make progress both individually and communally.

PS. Oh and I see organised politics in the same way; it is after all only a form of religion where “the party” is god.

Zen Mischief Weblog v3

Welcome to the Zen Mischief Weblog v3.

Having moved from a system I maintained myself to Yahoo! 360° less than a year ago, I’ve decided that I like Blogger better. Not least because the standard templates are more to my taste.

I can’t easily add all the old postings here, but they are still available at …

Once we get going here you’ll find the previous irregular mix of quotations, Zen Mischievous Moments and anything else which amuses or irritates me enough to make me blog it.

Quote: Roman Worship

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher; as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.

[Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire]