The problem with Buster and Bridget

The new John Lewis Christmas ad is out, and after Lunar paedophiles, lovesick penguins and Lily Allen musically narrating the unlikely scene of a hibernating bear being awoken, this year, we’re being given a Boxer dog and a trampoline:

This is the story of a little girl called Bridget who loves to bounce. When her mum and dad buy her a trampoline for Christmas, they soon discover that she isn’t the only one with a passion for jumping.

Without further ado or spoilers, here’s the ad. Have a watch.

Link to video

It’s lovely, isn’t it?
But, perhaps predictably, I have a few issues with it.

First off, the weather. As I’m sure we’ve reported somewhere elsewhere on here (can’t find it), you’re more likely to have a white Easter than a white Christmas. Still, it could happen, it’s just really unlikely.

Equally, it’s possible that a pair of urban red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) might wander onto an unattended trampoline and quietly bounce up and down for a while. Much more likely, however, is the possibility that they will shit everywhere and wake dear Bridget up with their incessant, irritating barking.
I’ll overlook it. It’s just an ad.

They are joined by a badger. The European Badger (Meles meles) is Britain’s largest native carnivore. I know that’s it’s not quite as big as a lion, but I once saw a contest between a badger and an Austin Metro and it was a close run thing, with both sides almost instantaneously losing quite heavily. When not lying under the crumpled front of small hatchbacks, badgers in the UK are known primarily for their scarcity and their propensity to spread TB. Nice.
European Badgers hibernate from late October to mid-November and emerge from their setts in March and early April, comprehensively including Christmas. I’m just saying.

They’re then joined by some Eastern Grey Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) – which are listed as one of the main dietary items of the Red Fox and which are diurnal – and a Common (European) Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) – listed as one of the main dietary items of the European Badger.
But apparently it’s not suppertime. Odd.
How the hell did the hedgehog get up onto the trampoline? We’re asked to conveniently ignore this limiting factor. There are 4 legs on the unit in the advert, so it must be the Plum® Space Zone II 12ft Trampoline at £289.99. The mat therefore sits at ±80cm above ground level. For a hedgehog to jump that high (hedgehogs can’t jump, by the way) would be the same as me leaping onto the roof a three-storey building.
(And then not being eaten by the non-hibernating lion that was waiting there for me.) It’s implausible impossible.

How rubbish is Buster? There’s a improbable animal party going on in the back garden, including (but not limited to) several potential prey items – right in the middle of his territory and he is watching and almost imperceptibly growling. That’s it? What happens when the burglars come over the fence (using the phone box door as a handy step-up)? A little whimper? Pathetic. Get a proper dog. (Not a beagle – we’ve warned you about this.)

How rubbish are Bridget’s parents? (I’m saying this quietly though, because her Dad just assembled and then moved a huge, awkward 3.5m trampoline all by himself.) They don’t notice the miniature zoological carnival going on outside. They don’t notice their dog’s unusual (but admittedly near silent) behaviour. And they have their living room curtains wide open, despite the fact that it’s clearly FLIPPEN’ FREEZING outside. That’s not what happens in Britain. We’re not namby-pamby about the cold, but we’re not bloody stupid either. What of heating bills and draughts? No, these people are clearly not with the programme.
It’s almost as if this whole thing isn’t actually real.

Christmas morning dawns, and little Bridget emerges from her slumbers rather later than most kids would, and with more perfect hair than most kids would and hurries downstairs, ignoring her mother and father and heading out into her snowy garden and not slipping on the icy patio. But she is beaten to the new toy by Buster. How cute! And how weird that the sun moves through more than 90° to the north as we see the man walking past on the pavement, before returning to its original early morning position in the final shots.
This effectively means that the Earth spun about 6 hours backwards and then forwards again within 7 seconds. The consequences of this would be instantaneously apocalyptic.

I mean… really?

Look, by all means, enjoy this advert. By all means buy a trampoline at John Lewis for Christmas. But don’t tell me that this sort of thing could actually happen. It’s simply too far-fetched for words, even though I seem to have written 750 of them all about it.

Next year, I want something more down to earth.

Bah. Humbug.

Don’t blame Donald

Some of the adjectives used to describe Donald Trump in the lead up (and now aftermath) of the US Election have been… “choice”, shall we say?

But what if there was a hidden side to President Elect Trump?
What if his seemingly angry, outward persona is merely as a result of deep, lasting trauma?

I’m certainly not saying that the manifestation of that persona is excusable, merely that it might be more understandable if we could pin it on some difficult experience he had suffered.

I’m talking about this photo, obviously.


This is the side of Donald Trump that no-one has ever seen. This is the moment that has scarred him for life. See how he tries to pose for the cameras, tries to appear cool, attempting to grasp a probably-wriggling beagle.
See how it refuses to look anything but profoundly disappointed.
See how it has (almost certainly) chewed something important of his.

This isn’t behaviour specific to its proximity to Donald Trump.
We’ve all been there.

And these things can affect a man. I don’t profess to wanting to build a big wall or have individuals of a certain religion removed from my presence. And I’m certainly not defending those views. Not at all.

I’m merely suggesting that being near a beagle can change a person.
And not in a good way.

Those commentators concerned over Trump’s new democratically-given access to the “Big Red Button” controlling America’s significant nuclear arsenal (and the implications thereof) would do well to glance to the bottom right of the image above and the wide selection of baseball bats. None of which he has used on the beagle. This sort of evidence of extreme restraint will obviously come as some comfort to you hysterical individuals.

Like it or not (and I suspect I could likely gauge the majority public response from my readers) Donald Trump is the new POTUS.

But don’t ever be fooled: the beagles are still in charge.

That SAMJ wedding ring paper

Incoming DM on twitter:

This seems to be potential blog-fodder for you.

I looked. It was. Oh my, it was.

Are you married? Of course you are. Or perhaps you’re not. Maybe “it’s complicated”, although to be honest, it really shouldn’t be too difficult to work out since it’s a rather binary state of affairs (no pun intended).

We all recognise that one of the enduring symbols of marriage is the wedding ring. If you are married, you can always glance down and instantly remember that you are married. How far do most of us glance down? To the fourth finger on our left hand, of course, as tradition dictates. I say “most of us”, because if you’re in rural Limpopo, there is somewhere else you can stick it.

Hence a recent paper (A Fhima & N Lahouel, 2016) in the South African Medical Journal:

We report a case of penile strangulation with a wedding ring in an adult man who presented at Van Velden Hospital casualty department, Limpopo, South Africa.

Meh. Penile strangulation with a wedding ring. We’ve all done it*.

Penile strangulation is a rarely described medical emergency. Removal of the strangulating object is challenging, with a lack of proper guidelines.

Already, this is good. But the detail is better. Much, much better:

A 28-year-old man presented to the casualty department of Van Velden Hospital, which is in a rural part of Limpopo Province, South Africa…

Yes. And?

…accompanied by his mother.

u wot m8?


Ag, nooit! How do we think that phone call went, then?

Hi Mum. Hoe gaan dit?
No, no, I’m fine thanks.
Er… just wondering if you were doing anything this evening? Any plans?
I… er… It’s just I need a lift.
Where? Oh, nowhere really. Maybe the… hospital. A bit.
Why? Oh, no particular reason. Just…

[whispers] …please hurry.

And when they got there…

His penis was severely swollen and blue, and constricted with a ring (wedding ring) at the middle section. The patient reported that he had applied the ring 4 hours previously…

Why would anyone do that?

…for erotic reasons…

My question still stands. Why would anyone do that?
What were you thinking?
Where on earth do you get that sort of idea? The idea that putting an inflexible metal band of limited diameter around a bit of your body that is… well… that is known for “getting bigger” is a good idea?

…on the recommendation of friends.

Ah. Suddenly all is explained. “Friends”, ne? Again, let’s try to place ourselves as a fly on the wall when that conversation took place. How do you get to the point in a chat with your mates when one (or more) of them suggest that slipping your wedding ring off your finger and over your winkie might be a good way to obtain some sort of sexual gratification? I mean, I remember at the braai on Sunday when my group of friends were recommending putting an orange in one’s mouth and a bin bag over one’s head in an effort to improve the quality of one’s (self) love life, but they’d never suggest putting one’s wedding ring… well… anywhere.
Still, let’s have a bit of superfluous information to complete the horrific mental picture, shall we?

His wife had delivered 2 weeks ago by caesarean section.

At this point, I was most amazed that someone who would choose to do something like this was actually married.
Then I remembered what he’d got stuck on his willy. Look, it’s been a long day. Already.

The penis was erect and blue and the patient was in severe pain.

Now, I should point out right now that there are some pictures. I thought long and hard (STOP SNIGGERING AT THE BACK!) about putting them on here. And I thought that I wouldn’t. It’s up to you if you want to click through and see… see “stuff”.

If you do want to see the effect of four hours of penile strangulation with a wedding ring in an adult man click here.

What’s wrong with you?

Back to the story. Once you’ve got a wedding ring stuck on your bits, how do the doctors get it off?

With difficulty.

First off, you try the string method:

We first attempted to use the string method to remove the ring, with the patient under sedation with ketamine. However, this failed because of excessive swelling.

Then you try…

…using an orthopaedic oscillating saw.

*involuntary clench* But:

The ring proved too wide and strong, with limited space due to swelling.

And then… well, then you try using an aspiration method.

Multiple puncture aspirations were applied with a 20 mL syringe and a pink needle.

*immediate reclench* But suddenly:

The oedema subsided and the ring was successfully removed.

Oedema being the clinical term for swelling. Because being stabbed multiple times with a 20mL syringe and a pink needle in your… er… pink needle will cause your oedema to subside. Fairly rapidly, I’d imagine.

The patient was admitted and treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and analgesia. Within 3 days he had recovered completely and was discharged. One month later, the patient was reviewed as an outpatient. He reported full recovery.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Possibly, anyway.

If you take nothing away from this clearly cautionary tale, then you’re an idiot. If you do take something away from this cautionary tale, then it’s surely got to be that you should refrain from putting your (or anyone else’s) wedding ring on your member.

Just. Don’t.


* obviously no. No, we haven’t.

“Thanks” Jacques

How utterly terrible is Hillary Clinton?

I’m no fan of the indestructible Donald Trump. But honestly, how utterly terrible is Hillary Clinton?

I say this because virtually everywhere I look, I’m repeatedly informed what a wicked, despicable, loathsome, misogynistic, untruthful, predatory, distasteful, repugnant, narcissistic, dreadful human being  Trump is.

And yet, with little more than 24 hours to go to the 2016 Presidential Election, in this Bloomberg poll, Hillary leads Donald by 3%:

pollNote that small print: “Margin of error +/- 3.5 percentage points.”
And note that bottom bar “Don’t want to tell 4%”, too.
That against a 3% lead. Astounding.

It’s been an eye-opening campaign for me to observe as an outsider, with no axe to grind and no significant interest in the outcome. I’ve never seen such a huge outpouring of insults and incessant dragging down of one candidate in the majority of the media.
It’s become cool to insult Trump. And talking of insults, the NYT took a two page spread to publish a list of all the people Trump has insulted over the last year or so. And yes, as we’ve been told, the fact that he’s insulted so many individuals is a demonstration of what an appalling person he is, but what an unprecedented step for a newspaper to take.
Equally, there seems to be something of a general unspoken agreement to overlook any shortcomings from anything or anyone to do with the Democratic campaign. The recent vandalism of Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was near celebrated in the international media. And then there’s the media concentrating on the n lies Trump told in a TV debate while ignoring the n-10 (or whatever) untruths Clinton came out with. Yes, he’s awful, but how low do your standards have to be that you’re willing to completely overlook the deceit of someone who wants to be the President of your country simply because someone else was allegedly more deceitful on the same evening?

And yes, of course, there are news outlets working on completely the opposite agenda too, but they are hopelessly outnumbered. Still, this isn’t “rigging” the election, as Trump has contended. This is merely editors and media bosses exercising their right to freedom of opinion.
But it is overwhelming.

And so, let’s go back to the title of this post and ask again – with all that media support and with all those hugely-influential, loud-mouthed celebrities on her side – just how utterly terrible must Hillary Clinton be to only be “3% ahead” against “the most dangerous” and “the most orange” (sigh) man in the world?

I don’t know who’ll win – the corrupt autocrat or the corrupt socialist – but the fact that the latter might only just scrape past the former, despite the former being… well… being Donald Trump, should be ringing alarm bells – and not just in America.

Facebook images

On my Facebook this morning, these:


Yes, it was “only” Leyton Orient, but you can only beat what – or who – is put in front of you. And they were well beaten.
Apparently it was “a footballing exhibition”. We don’t get many of them at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane.

And then… this?

14962518_10154240154903710_9161354421735151647_nIt’s all a bit Scarfolk, isn’t it?

Here’s the gen.

Housed in a graffitied 40ft shipping container, The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (or the #ADPRiotTour) is a miniature world full of irreverent, post-apocalyptic scenes created by artist Jimmy Cauty (from 90s duo The KLF). This artwork was originally part of Banksy’s Dismaland Experience in Weston-super-Mare in 2015 and was shown at the Royal Academy in London this summer.
With your support this unorthodox artwork will be outside B&M Bargains in Macclesfield from Tuesday 15th to Monday 21st November to continue the town’s cultural revolution.
The container is internally lit from 11am-7pm so visitors can view the interior townscape through the peep holes all around.

Ah yes, but beware the Macclesfield Cultural Revolution. Knowledgable individuals will tell you that it’s been coming for quite a while. And it’ll be big too. Right up there with the Great Illyrian Revolt and The Khmelnytsky Uprising of Cossacks in Ukraine against Polish nobility in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

And we all know how that ended.

And meanwhile, on the Isle of Man:

the strictly craze grips the nation



Presumably the nation in question being that of Ellan Vannin. And yes, given the Islan’s geographical position twixt England and Ireland, Manx Folk Dancing seems to basically be the bastard child of Morris Dancing and Riverdance:

I bet your Facebook was nowhere near this interesting this morning.