Tag Archives: eccentric

Slugs having sex, dogs high on drugs, sawing-up cars & comedy in cemeteries

The Bo Diddlers diddling last night (Photo by my eternally-un-named friend)

The Bo Diddlers last night via the comedian from Venus (Photograph by my eternally-un-named friend)

Strange things are happening.

No change there, then.

Last night I saw Ewan Wardrop aka The Silver Peevil, the stand-up comedian from 1930s Venus – aka a George Formby one-man play - aka a former Matthew Bourne principal dancer – perform an astonishing hour-long dance show Stump! with his six-man morris dancing troupe The Bo Diddlers.

It is very rare to see a morris dance based on The Midwich Cuckoos book/Village of The Damned film nor another based on what appeared to be the Dawn of Man ape sequence from the movie 2001. Astonishingly original choreography.

“They are gorgeous,” said my eternally-un-named friend, “Captivating. They made me feel like dancing. You know the way boy bands have dolls they sell to fans? This group could have figurines. You could arrange them dancing on your mantlepiece.”

“Maybe,” I said.

The Bo Diddlers are repeating the show at The Place tonight.

Soiree in a Cemetery

A fully sold-out soirée in a Cemetery somewhere in London

Which clashes with the one-off Martin Soan/Adam Taffler event Soirée in a Cemetery in which comedian Stewart Lee, the British Humanist Association Choir and others perform a comedy show in a Victorian cemetery somewhere in London (it’s a secret until later today) – all accompanied by cake and hot spiced cider from the Women’s Institute. Tickets have sold out.

Slightly eccentric you might think. But only comparatively.

I have received an email from mad inventor John Ward, who designed the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards trophies. He lives in Lincolnshire. He tells me he is in a documentary being premiered next Wednesday at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

The film is called A Different Drummer after a quote from Walt Whitman: I step to the beat of a different drummer. Not surprisingly, as John Ward is featured, it is about eccentrics. There is a trailer on YouTube.

What is it about Vancouver? Is it becoming the world centre of eccentricity? Or has the entire world gone doolally?

This blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith lives in Vancouver. She spotted a notice:

Notice spotted by Anna Smith in Vancouver

Anna Smith spotted this in an educational Vancouver building

ATTN: Debriefing for the Porn & Genital Image Online Survey and the Romantic Relationships & Mindfulness Online Survey will now be held in room 1606.

Anna has also been watching TV and tells me:

“On the CBC, the big news is veterinary. Doctors are saying that far too many stoned dogs are showing up at clinics and they wish the owners would just be honest about the problem, because vets have to give the dogs expensive blood tests. The laboratories found that although, in a few dogs, traces of cocaine and heroin were detected, the overwhelming majority of the dogs had ingested too much marijuana. However, the veterinarians said that it is not lethal, not a reason to panic and the most common side effect is that – I quote - It gives the dogs the munchies…”

Without pause or link, Anna then asked me:

“Just wondering, have you ever taken a picture of slugs fucking?”

A reasonable enough question (it seemed to her) but I had to say I had not, although my eternally-un-named friend appears to be on a barely-controllable mission to eradicate slugs from Planet Earth. She was out in the dark again late last night.

Slugs mating with something coming out the bottom (Photo by Cathleen Smith, Anna's mother)

Slugs mating with something coming out (Photo by Cathleen Smith, Anna’s mum)

“My mum,” Anna Smith told me. “took pictures of slugs fucking. They created a thin string of slime about a metre long and were dangling from the roof all day, possibly for several days. I visited my mother whist this blessed event was taking place. I don’t know which slug was emitting the slime or if it was both of them or what that blob of goo is. We live in what is left of a rainforest. Slugs love it. People make fun of them.

“My grandmother used to wonder why there was so much fuss about slugs. She once asked: Why don’t people just eat them? They eat snails.

Anna had no answer to this. Neither do I.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, John Ward has started to tinker with motorised vehicles again.

John Ward with small but effective fire engine

John Ward with his small but effective fire-fighting engine

He was last heard-of in this blog arranging and supervising a charity cabbage-hurling event, but his last motorised effort was creating what is apparently the smallest fire engine in the world, based on the chassis of a 3-wheeled Robin Reliant car. He created it because the British government has been trying to save money and has closed various local fire stations. John Ward likes to help out.

He tells me his next effort involves stripping down another Robin Reliant to the chassis.

“I took the car apart,” he told me, “but what do you do with the body? It’s too big for our local rubbish tip. So I got a small bench saw and reduced it to a wheel barrow full of smaller bits before putting them into carrier bags – Tesco ones of course as every little helps. Then I took it to the tip.”

I have no idea where any of this leads – neither the sawing-up of 3-wheeler cars nor taking photographs of slugs mating; neither trained ballet dancers doing morris dancing nor holding comedy shows in cemeteries.

I can only sit back and wait expectantly.

Strange things are happening.

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Filed under Comedy, Dance, Eccentrics, Humor, Humour, Nature

Goat dragging and mounted girl chasing near climax at the World Nomad Games

Buzkashi_Game (Photo by Gideon Tsang via Wikipedia)

Buzkashi as played in Afghanistan (goat carcass on the right)  (Photograph by Gideon Tsang via Wikipedia)

In my blog yesterday, I mentioned that my friend Lynn had drawn to my attention that the first World Nomad Games are currently taking place in Kyrgyzstan – in fact, on the shores of Issyk-Kul, in Cholpon-Ata City.

Information on this event is, alas, a bit thin on the ground and I seem to have missed a BBC TV report from the Games. They started on Tuesday and climax tomorrow with the finals of the traditional Central Asian sport of Kok-Boru (goat dragging – also known as Buzkashi and Kokpar).

Unfortunately, this blog has no contacts in Kyrgyzstan (though I am open to offers), so I am reliant heavily on the BBC who were told by nomad storyteller Doolotbek Sidikov:

“We inherited Kok-Boru from our ancestors. Courageous and brave men were picked up to look after the horses and sheep and often wolves would attack them. When a pack of wolves would attack them, they would surround them in a circle and then grab the wolves with their bare hands to throw them away, sometimes tearing them apart. People then started using a dead goat as game to practise.”

It sounds similar to how football in Scotland developed from regular Saturday night drinking bouts in Glasgow.

A Kyrgyz stamp featuring horse wrestling

A Kyrgyz stamp featuring horse wrestling

But the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan is far more that goat-dragging. It is a multi-sport event which also includes Oodarysh (wrestling on a horse), Tyin Emmei (picking up a coin while riding a horse at full speed) and the not-fully-explained Toguz Korkool. As far as I can figure out, this is something akin to a ‘board game’ played in a field of pits with 90 goat droppings.

Over-all,  400 athletes from 20 countries are taking part including competitors from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia (Altai, Bashkiria, Buryatia, Yakutia etc), Tajikistan, Turkey,  Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The organising committee point out that the “sports are in no way inferior in staginess and popularity of the modern Olympics. Games give powerful impetus to rebirth of original national sports, spiritual self-awareness.”

The Kyrgyzstan embassy also points out that “the near-absence of chemical fertilisers gives Kyrgyz beans an environmental purity that beans from other countries can’t match.”

Perhaps one of the nomad sports least likely to make a transition to the Olympic Games is Kyz-Kuumai – Chasing Girls On Horseback.

Dzangil Dairbekova whips boys

Dzangil Dairbekova told the BBC why she likes whipping boys

One of the sport’s female participants – Dzangil Dairbekova –  explains:

“I have competed in girl chasing for over four years now. Girl chasing is trying to avoid getting captured by a boy. If he catches her, he is allowed to kiss her three times but, if the girl escapes, then she can whip him three times. I have whipped boys many times. I love it and it makes me feel very much like a nomad.”

The BBC report on the World Nomad Games is on YouTube.

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Filed under Kyrgyzstan, Sport

When an oeuf is an oeuf at the annual World Egg Throwing Championships

World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop with enthusiastic tosser

World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop with enthusiastic young tosser

At the annual World Egg Throwing Championships in Lincolnshire, no edible eggs are used, so no food is wasted. Sort of.

There are long-distance egg throwing and catching contests. There is the Trebuchet competition where contestants use home-made giant catapults (based on medieval siege engines) to throw eggs. And, of course, there is Russian Egg Roulette.

In 2012, I was runner-up in the Russian Egg Roulette Championship. I had high hopes of doing even better last year but, beneath my hard-boiled exterior lies a wobbly centre. I cracked under the pressure of high eggpectations and was beaten in the first round. For months afterwards, my mind was scrambled and I was merely a shell of the man I had once been.

My view as smashed Englishman Jerry Cullen fails

My view as smashing Englishman Jerry Cullen fails

This year – the year of the Scottish Independence vote, when my country of birth may at last free itself from the yolk of English oppression – I had hopes I could show the heathen English what true Scotch eggs competitors are made of.

World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop tells me that 64 people started the Russian Egg Roulette Championships yesterday. He may be over-egging it. I think there might have been 32. But there were certainly a lot.

To remind you, Russian Egg Roulette is the sport in which two contestants face each other across a table on which there stands a box of six eggs: five hard-boiled, one raw. Contestants take turns to smash an egg on their forehead. The one who discovers the raw egg loses. It is a knockout competition. Sometimes literally.

I bring shame on the Scottish nation yesterday (Photograph by Gail Deptfod)

I let down myself and the entire Scottish nation yesterday (Photograph by Gail Deptfod)

Yesterday, I triumphed in the early rounds, beating my 2012 nemesis Jerry Cullen – who was wearing an England football shirt, I think, just to rile me.

I triumphed in the Quarter Finals, but then I was shamed by Fate in the Semi-Finals. I suspected fowl play.

I consoled myself by talking to former World Gravy Wrestling champion Joel Hicks.

Joel Hicks scrambling for safety yesterday

Joel Hicks was scrambling for safety yesterday

When we chatted for my blog last year at the World Egg Throwing Championships, he was a human target dressed as a boxer and as a Samurai Warrior. This year, he was the anarchist hero of V For Vendetta.

“You been doing anything interesting this week?” I asked him.

“I did the Mud Runner Oblivion yesterday,” he told me. “That’s a 10k mud run near Gloucester. I’m absolutely shattered. I write for Obstacle Race magazine, so I do all the mud runs.”

Obstacle Race magazine?” I asked. “Has that got a big circulation?”

“Yes,” said Joel. “It’s sold in WH Smiths. It is a massive, massive industry these days. Things like Tough GuyTough Mudder. There’s so many and it’s a million dollar industry.”

“Tough Mudder?” I asked.

Joel Hicks: a man egged-on to do charity work

Joel Hicks: a man egged-on to do charity work

“Tough Mudder,” Joel confirmed.

“Do you get paid for any of these events?” I asked. “It’s all for charity?”

“It’s all part of the Always With a Smile Foundation, which is what I do in my spare time to try and keep people smiling. It’s tiring stuff sometimes, though not as painful as today.”

“Painful?” I asked.

“Yeah. You wanna stand here and have eggs hurled at you by grown men at 100mph who have no thought for how it feels when it hits.”

“Do you wear a cricket box over your genitals?” I asked.

“No. Every year, I think I should have some protection but I kinda feel it’s cheating.”

Joel Hicks with right hand egg man John Deptford

Joel Hicks with the Championships’ l’eggman John Deptford

This coming Saturday, Joel is taking part in The Color Run in Manchester.

“It’s a race franchise,” he told me, “where you run 5k and start in white but every kilometre they throw coloured powder over you. Then, on Sunday, it’s a trip to Wales for The Naked Run, which is 5k, usually in good weather. The weather affects some men more than others.

“The weekend after that, on Saturday I’ll be down on the South Coast for the Worthing Birdman competition where they build flying machines and jump off the pier. And then back up to Wolverhampton on Sunday for the Tough Guy event called Nettle Warrior, which is their summer obstacle course race.”

“Nettle Warrior,” I said, “sounds painful.”

“It IS very painful,” replied Joel. “A 10-12 mile cross-country run followed by a 2-mile, purpose-built, multi-million pound assault course.”

One girl did not have to throw so far yesterday

One little girl yesterday was right on target with her egg

“An assault course of nettles?” I asked.

“No no,” said Joel, “all sorts of contraptions. The nettles come in, really, in the 10-12 mile cross-country run.”

“Have they put the nettles in for you?” I asked.

“They grow naturally,” said Joel. “Six or seven feet high all on their own. They design the course to the features on the ground. Ah! There’s some nettles! We’ll make then run through that bit!”

A typical egg-plosion yesterday

A typical egg-plosion yesterday. The pun never ends.

I’m busy all through the year. Fifty-odd events every year.”

“Very odd,” I said.

“Every weekend and sometimes twice,” said Joel.

“Out of the frying pan…” I said.

In August, World Egg Throwing Federation President Andy Dunlop will be supervising the Scottish National Russian Egg Roulette Championships during the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. He may or may not be accompanied by his trusty l’oeuftenant John Deptford.

I saw the back of Andy Dunlop as I left yesterday

I was glad to see the back of Andy Dunlop yesterday

In a few days, Andy is off to Holland for their Egg Throwing Championships. He will be back.

But John Deptford is going to Siberia on Friday and has no idea when he will be back, if at all. The insects may kill him. He is going to Mirny where, he tells me, “the mosquitos have been known to carry babies away and the best mosquito repellent is a shotgun.”

Yesterday, as I left the Championship Field in Lincolnshire, Andy Dunlop was being pelted with the remaining eggs. I hope this will become an annual tradition. Andy does not. This morning, he told me he had a serious lip injury.

For more on Eggmen, I refer you to The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus

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Filed under Charity, Eccentrics, Humor, Humour, Sport

Today is April 1st. But this is true.

Racing driver Damon Hill in May 2012

Eleven years later. Racing driver Damon Hill in May 2012.

Today is April 1st.

But what follows is true.

I was thinking of pulling a stunt with a comedian today, but did not have time to set it up. And I am out meeting people most of today.

So, as I sometimes do, I had a look through my old e-diaries and what I did on this day in previous years.

On this day in 2001, I went round to the home of someone who had connections to a fairly well-known English criminal.

This person had a friend. That friend had a mother.

The mother was obsessed by Formula 1 motor racing driver Damon Hill. I do not think the word ‘obsessed’ is too strong.

In her living room (I saw it) she had a tyre from a Formula 1 racing car, signed by Damon Hill, which she had made into a coffee table by simply putting a sheet of glass on top of it.

She occasionally talked to the wheel and, when the family went out in their car, she had a life-size cut-out of Damon Hill which sat in the front passenger seat (with a seat belt round it) while she drove. Her husband and daughter sat in the rear seat.

That is true.

It is not an April Fool’s joke.

Life is strange.

People are stranger.

Which is good.

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Filed under Eccentrics

An emotional breakdown and news of Bigfoot and Yetis in Vancouver, Canada

I have had an iPhone malfunction, which means I am temporarily unable to access the recordings of my chats with (in alphabetical order) Juliet Burton and Jenny Eclair. So, today, my blog is a simple posting of two e-mails I have received recently from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith. She works in a bookshop in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is what she e-mailed two days ago:

______________

Anna Smith in the Vancouver bookshop

Anna Smith works in a Vancouver bookshop

Half an hour left of another undrunk day at the bookstore… I am writing this on my phone… Really, this place makes Black Books look like Enid Blyton.

Today the demolition of the Marble Arch Hotel’s innards was going full swing. They have lost their bin tarpaulin and clouds of white dust billow up from it. The workers hose the dust clouds sporadically… to no effect.

A couple of customers are in the store. One gent shakes his head. “They should have just burned it, he said, referring to the hotel.

Outside stand the inmates of the former hotel, dressed in the scrupulously outlandish style affordable only to the chronically unemployed… contrasting with the chunky workmen clad in dusty overalls who are gathered nearby.

A friendly hippy transvestite meanders into the bookshop wearing a home-made woollen hat, a shawl and a batiked skirt. She is looking for science fiction novels and confides that she is new in the neighborhood, having only lived here for seven months…

“Well, welcome,” I say, hiding my true feelings about the area. “Soon you will be able to apply for a passport.”

Just then the telephone rings. On the line is a young man in tears because a book of his has been damaged.

“The pages are alright,” he sobs, “but the spine…” At this point, he breaks down… “It will never be the same,” he cries. “I want to kill myself.”

I speak to him calmly, but in a firm tone.

“Wait a minute,” I say. “YOU are more important than the book. You should bring it in and I will show it to my boss. He is really good at repairing books.”

The sobs slow.

“Or else you could call Inquiry BC,” I suggest. “They can recommend the best way to deal with it.”

“I already called them,” he wails. “They said I should call YOU…”

______________

Some time after receiving that e-mail, I asked Anna to send me a photo of Bigfoot. I cannot remember why. But it seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea at the time.

Yesterday, I got this reply:

______________

Paul Fraser is a pianist

Paul Fraser, a pianist, will be 80 next month

Paul Fraser will be eighty in March. He is a pianist. He is gay. He says Bigfoot definitely exists and the Yeti too. I asked if they are gay and he laughed and said that he wasn’t sure about that.

After my shift at the store, I went to Blenz Coffee Shop with Vivian and Paul.

Paul is a lively beer-drinking, cigar-chomping bon vivant. He is charming, articulate and knows all the forgotten songs. He is well-dressed, in a flamboyantly scruffy cowboy-esque style.

The baristas at Blenz Coffee Shop are young Japanese girls.

We ordered our coffees and, when they arrived, Paul asked for a spoon.

The baristas did not give him a spoon.

“He wants a spoon,” I repeated helpfully, “for his sugar….”

They pretended not to understand us and cheerfully pointed to the stir sticks.

Vivian is a three hundred pound, five foot tall, exhausted, fifty-year-old Chipewyan.

She finally begged: “OH, FOR GODSAKES – GIVE HIM A SPOON. HE’S FROM THE 1920s! “

Last week, Vivian told me that Paul had to get a passport.

“A passport?” I asked. “Why does he need a passport? I thought he was going into a home.”

“No, he got a job on a cruise ship,” Vivian said,

Last night, when Vivian invited me to visit Paul at his apartment, I said: “I thought he went to sea…”

“Oh no,” Vivian said. “He quit.”

I had never been to Paul’s apartment before.

We arrived there at about 11.00pm. Inside was a haze of cigar smoke and quantities of beer.

At about midnight, the doorbell rang. Paul said: “That will be Bob.”

7ft+ Bob plays guitar while Paul accompanies

7ft+ Bob plays guitar while Paul accompanies

Bob came up. He was 29 years old, over seven feet tall and dressed like a cowboy, except that he was wearing a very new baseball hat that said KOREA on it. He had big feet.

“Have you been in Korea?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Bob, then he took out a flashy-looking guitar, which he said was actually cheap, and played some popular songs while Paul gazed proudly at him.

Paul occasionally made comments about the songs like: “That was a hit for three months in 1941″ – and then they played some very pleasing piano and guitar duets. They are considering touring Japan together.

Paul  showed me his faded scrapbook with newspaper clippings of the performances of his youth (he played in Canada and Europe), his scholarship awards and clippings of other musicians he had met and admired, including Glenn Gould and Paul Robeson.

That was during the time when Robeson was excluded from playing overseas (his passport was cancelled during the McCarthy witch hunts), so Robeson came to Peace Arch Park which straddles the US/Canada border at White Rock (just south of Vancouver) and did a free peace concert there, which Paul Fraser attended.

He said it is OK if I want to send stuff about him for your blog.

Bigfoot

Bigfoot photographed at Bluff Creek, California

His scrapbook has odd clippings, like one about the first American-born viola player and other odd items. Another is about an early female black American singer. The article notes that she was admired for her modest dress sense and her good manners which endeared her to the crowds.

I must ask if Paul has ever had any Yetis – or Bigfoot – in his apartment.

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Filed under Books, Canada, Eccentrics, Psychology

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist’s Ex-Wife Pulls Gun From Vagina While Arguing About Aliens During Sex Act

The Sun newspaper’s headline yesterday

Sun newspaper’s headline yesterday

I try to be original in this blog and to tell short (or sometimes not-so-short) stories which have not appeared elsewhere. I was going to post a totally different blog today, but what was published yesterday was too good to miss today.

I went into London for most of the day.

When I arrived at the railway station in the morning, I was greeted by the front page of the Sun newspaper boasting the headline HELL FREEZES OVER.

This referred to Arctic temperatures in the small American town of Hell in Michigan and, according to National Public Radio in the US, this event had caused headline writers to rejoice worldwide.

Their Google News search of the phrase HELL FREEZES OVER early yesterday morning turned up 3,980 results in news outlets.

Yesterday’s Evening Standard report

Yesterday’s Evening Standard

Yesterday afternoon, I got a copy of the London Evening Standard, where another eye-catching headline proclaimed: POLICE DID ALTER CRIME FIGURES SAYS MET CHIEF.

This referred to fact that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police force had admitted that their crime figures were faked and that he had misrepresented to a Parliamentary committee of MPs the findings of a report that he had “forgotten” he himself had written…

The policeman who revealed to MPs that the Met’s official figures had been understated by 25% on sexual offences and had been similarly faked on burglary and other crimes is – inevitably – currently facing a disciplinary hearing by the Metropolitan Police for misconduct.

When I got home late last night, though, I saw on the Smoking Gun website a story that will take some beating in the annals of eye-popping and deserves a mention.

It involves the ex-wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, author of The Road and No Country for Old Men.

He has, in the past, been described as “publicity shy”.

He must be having a bad week.

Jennifer McCarthy in a police mugshot

Jennifer McCarthy in Santa Fe police mugshot

Last Saturday morning, his ex-wife Jennifer McCarthy was with her new 53-year-old boyfriend at her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were having an argument about aliens from outer space. Like one does.

According to Jennifer, they started to yell at each other. As we all know, arguments about aliens from outer space can be passionate affairs.

The boyfriend told her not to touch him again… She touched him on his shoulder with her index finger “to aggravate him”.

According to the boyfriend, after they shouted at each other, she left the house. When she returned a little later, she went into her bedroom and emerged “wearing lingerie and a silver handgun in her vagina”. According to the police report, she then proceeded to “have inner course with the gun”. I am not sure if this is a mis-print or something people actually do when they have a silver gun wedged in their vagina.

At this point, someone said: “Who is crazy – you or me?” It is not clear – from the censored copy of the police report – which of the two said this and, frankly, it could have just as reasonably been said by either. At any rate, Jennifer became so annoyed that she stopped having “inner course” with the gun, pulled it out of her vagina and pointed it at the boyfriend’s head.

The police “statement of probable cause"

Deputy Zook’s “statement of probable cause”

According to his statement to the police, the boyfriend was then “in fear that Jennifer was going to pull the trigger so he grabbed the gun from her and put the gun in the toilet.”

Jennifer, not deterred by this, went into the bathroom to retrieve the gun, so obviously – as one would – the boyfriend took the gun out of the toilet and put it in the trash can outside.

When a policeman arrived – Deputy Chris Zook – he said he retrieved the handgun and “put it in a safe location”. Alas, Deputy Zook does not specify in his report exactly where he put it. One can only surmise.

Jennifer McCarthy was arrested by Deputy Zook on a  charge of “aggravated assault on a household member”.

What the exact legal definition of a “member” might be in a case like this, I can barely dare to imagine. And, given Deputy Zook’s suspect spelling of words, one can only be relieved that he did not mention Cormac McCarthy’s highly-acclaimed No Country for Old Men.

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Filed under Eccentrics, Newspapers, Police, Sex

Is it still illegal to celebrate Christmas in England? + Eating sloths in Guatemala

Phoenix, Arizona, the perfect place to fry an egg

Phoenix, Arizona: a perfect place to fry an egg on the sidewalk

Yesterday I had lunch with someone who has just come back from Phoenix, Arizona.

“I read a while ago that it was the fastest-growing city in the US,” I told her, “but that it is a hell-hole and you can’t go outside comfortably because of the heat.”

“It was very hot,” she agreed. “They have a new law on the statute books which makes it illegal to fry eggs on the sidewalk any more.”

She swore this was true.

What fascinated me was the phrase “any more” and the fact that such a law might be necessary: that it had become so prevalent it was a problem.

In the 1980s, as far as I am aware, it was still illegal under the law of England and Wales for young adult males NOT to practice archery every Sunday (presumably in case the French invaded or the English monarch decided to invade France)… and it was illegal to celebrate Christmas (under an un-repealed Cromwellian law). As far as I know, it still is.

The mis-named English justice system is constantly fascinating.

Last week, I read in the London edition of Metro newspaper that Westminster Magistrates’ Court had given a 20-year-old man a £745 fine and imposed a curfew on him because he had been staying in a hotel and had “emerged from a cupboard naked, with a fire hose up his bottom”.

A fire hose with (it says here) a Finnish coupler

Fire hose with (it says here) a Finnish coupler

The 20-year-old man was said by his lawyer to be “truly ashamed of himself”. This sounds unlikely. He will presumably be bought free drinks by his friends for the next ten years.

The Metro report did not specify the exact law under which the man had been prosecuted. Can there really be a specific law prohibiting people being naked with a fire hose up their bottom?

Life is a constant mystery.

But one mystery has been cleared up.

Yesterday, I wrote that this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith had told me that her sister’s visit to Guatemala had resulted in three children and her (the sister) becoming an Anglican priest.

I wanted – I think not unreasonably – to know more details.

These have been forthcoming.

Anna tells me:

“Twenty five years ago, my sister met a cute Guatemalan refugee at Saigon Palace – a Vietnamese restaurant on Spadina Avenue in Toronto. They married and soon had three children. My Guatemalan in-laws were very happy when they found out I had been involved with British comedy – In particular, they were desperate to know if I had met ‘Benny Eel’.

“My new Guatemalan extended family also enjoyed visiting the Natural History Museum in Toronto. When we walked past the taxidermied displays of jungle animals, they said: Yummy Yummy… Remember when we ate that anteater in Rio Bravo?  and  Look – a sloth! Remember when Auntie cooked us some sloth stew?…

A sloth - highly regarded in Guatemala

A sloth – they are highly regarded by gourmets in Guatemala

“Then suddenly (well, after eight years at the UBC Theology School), my sister became an Anglican priest.

“She moved to a village high in the Guatemalan mountains. After years of being shot at during anti-mining demonstrations, she decided to return to Canada and has been installed in a church in New Westminster, close to where the recent Godzilla movie was filmed. She has recently completed a book about the evils of the Canadian mining industry in Guatemala and sat as a judge in some genocide trials.”

“Good heavens!” I said. “Genocide trials in Canada?”

“In Mexico City, I think,” replied Anna.”I will have to ask… She was a witness of a lot of exhumed bodies…”

Some answers just create more questions.

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Filed under Humor, Humour, Legal system