[HB - in dingbat font]
[a.k.a. The Daily Doolally Post]
The joy and the doolallyness of the passing parade, as embraced from the grassy knoll
[A wolf-whistle - in
silent jazz mode,
i.e. a smile]
landed ... Huw and Smile - see below ... one tiny step for
humanity, one giant leap for me, HB
Self-published, with much thanks to www.publishandprint.co.uk
Shwmae, hello, welcome...
Children smile up to 400 times a day,
adults - on a good day - up to 40 (the hassles and stresses of modern life,
especially so here in the UK with its 5Bs - Brexit, Brussels, Bercow,
Bollocks and Boris (coming up on the rails)
- ruthlessly neuter humanity's default ode to joy mindset). My
smileometer, according to a local jollyologist, currently registers some
200, so I must be halfway toward second childhood. Hm, perhaps I never
left the first. Anyway, Huw and Smile - an antidote to the public
commotion known as a hue and cry, see the aforementioned 5Bs -
chronicles the squalls and passions of sex, greed, tribalism,
rock'n'roll ... and much else besides
a nod and a wink to a world gone bananas, a thousand days or so of the
eye-rolling hysterics and doolallyness of flame-fanning topics such as Brexit,
Trump, Social Media and Huawei (or Why-Why? as they say down the pub).
Essentially it's B-Day plus 1,000 - that's B-Day as in Brexit-Day,
but you may wish to put your own spin on B-Day!
Whatever, Huw and Smile has a craic at doing so with its hat set
a jaunty angle - and hopefully a little ball bouncing along above the words. Happy
To waft some electronic smoke signals downwind, e-mail me at:
In the meantime...
rolling register of embraceable joys and disposable doolallyness to
help lift the
spirits and boost the smile quotient...
(Point of order: both joy and doolallyness effortlessly embrace delight, irony and bonkersness)
Pass the rubber
Spinning a line ... "A protruding pencil of tenderness..." The phrase that earned American novelist Jonathan Franzen, 62, a nomination for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award back in 2010, which he bemoaned at the 2021 Cheltenham Literature Festival.
I like it that he "bemoaned" his Bad Sex Award.
I like it even more that The Literary Review concluded at the time that his writing showed "a propensity for innuendo which comes over a bit Benny Hill". Ah, Benny Hill. Anything innuendo-ish draws out the Benny Hill crack in all of us.
Anyway, it's worth sharing the, um, Jonathan-cum-Benny Bad Sex passage in full:
[Spot the C-spot] ... "One afternoon, as Connie described it, her excited clitoris grew to be eight inches long, a protruding pencil of tenderness with which she gently parted the lips of his penis and drove herself down to the base of its shaft."
Blimey. As Casanova once memorably attributed his good fortune with the ladies to: "Just spin 'em a line - and the longer the line the more they love it."
By coincidence, I happened upon the following "Spot the..." visual challenge in Mail Online...
Actually, it's "Spot the pencil" - but you can see where I'm coming from (lead in my pencil and all that; there goes my Benny Hill once more, sorry).
Anyway, back with Jonathan Franzen at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. I learn that he also discussed "white privilege" - oh God, here we go again, the age of woke is beyond broke: "I'm a privileged white male writer and it is past time to be questioning in a serious way, collectively, what that privilege means."
And at that point, I came to my senses, made my excuses,
withdrew, and left.
Lateral thinking - 1
The French can stuff their turkey! ... "If the French stop us having turkey at Christmas, we could always eat cake. Walter Smithwhite of South Shields, Tyne & Wear, in a letter to the Daily Mail.
The splendidly named Walter Smithwhite invokes the ghost of Marie-Antoinette as the French hint that they will not send us their turkeys should the UK, come December, suffer a scarcity due to a shortage of butchers, lorry drivers and competent politicians.
Budget biscuits ... "When offered Rich Tea biscuits at home, my late father used to say: 'If this is what the rich have for tea, heaven help the poor.'" Mary Reid of Salisbury, Wiltshire, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
Ah, Rich Tea biscuits, the poor man's cake.
Reaction to Rich Tea
biscuits ranged from a Paul Blundell insisting that it is the
only biscuit, including varieties for dogs, that his border
terrier insistently barks "thanks, but no thanks" - to a
Rosemary Eustace telling us that her four elderly sheep would
kill for the five they have every morning and evening. Crumbs.
Let me take you down,
Look away now ... "Daniel Craig's 'garish' Strawberry Fields pink blazer ridiculed at the No Time to Die film premiere." A typical clickbait from the morning after the night before.
Now I covered that particular event a couple of weeks or so ago, in particular the Duchess of Cambridge looking effortlessly elegant and classy in her golden eyeful dress - click here to share the joy.
However, much was made of Daniel Craig's pink suede jacket - comments ranging from someone wondering why he had turned up dressed as their nan's sofa, to looking like an Austin Powers tribute act.
Be all that as it may, the Daily Mail runs a weekly competition where readers are invited to write an amusing caption for the most smilingly eye-catching picture of the week. So readers were invited to suggest what Daniel Craig was saying to Kate...
The winner of that gloriously witty effort was Mike Wilson of
Churchdown, Gloucestershire. Top marks.
Five-star letters from Middle-Britain - 9
Impolite flight ... "Columnist and leader writer Tim Stanley is concerned that British Airways staff, in the interests of diversity and inclusion, will stop addressing their passengers as 'Ladies and Gentlemen'. He would be even more distressed if he were to learn that most aircrew already refer to them as 'self-loading freight'. Captain Colin Cummings of Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
How wonderful is that? And when you see how passengers are squeezed onto aircraft these days they do look like sheep being loaded onto a transporter.
Anyway, never mind "Ladies and Gentlemen" and all that jazz, why not just say "Greetings, folks...", and said as if there's a little ball bouncing along above every word. That would do it for me.
Incidentally, I note that Captain Cummings lives in a village called Yelvertoft, a curious looking and sounding place name.
A quick click informs me that the name has its origins in "curtilage of Gelfrith" - toft (Old English), as in Yelvertoft, meaning curtilage, the plot of ground in which a dwelling stands, so probably the cottages of Gelfrith (and as far as I can tell, the homestead of a man called Gelfrith, perhaps a priest, Amen).
Every day a day at school.
Space tourism a-go-go a-no-no
Earth comes first ... "The Duke of Cambridge took aim at space tourism on the day William Shatner, 90, the Star Trek actor, became the oldest person to go to space." Prince William said the "world's greatest brains" should focus on saving the planet.
I guess most of us will nod in agreement with that sentiment. Especially so when those behind Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX keep spouting that space tourism, despite its huge carbon footprint, may help us find extraterrestrial life and other planets to colonize, ho-hum.
But here's the thing: do you suppose Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are shapeshifters, the offspring of William Shatner who crash-landed here, perhaps in Roswell in 1947, and they are all desperately trying to work their passage home at our planet's expense?
And to shoot off at a tangent, as is my wont, I also happened to spot this headline: "This is why Prince William never wears a wedding ring."
It's a detail that has passed me by in the decade since Prince William and Kate Middleton were married.
The topic resurfaced when The Duke of Cambridge launched his Earthshot prize. I learn that: "Prince William is not one for jewellery, has never worn any. It's all down to personal preference and is something the Duchess of Cambridge is totally happy with."
So I have something in common with William. I too have never worn any jewellery. As a bonus I have never had a tattoo either and I guess William hasn't.
And of course his genetic inheritance plays a part: "William's decision isn't without royal precedent. His grandfather Prince Philip, who was happily married to the Queen for the best part of seven decades, didn't wear a ring either, though Prince Charles does wear a wedding band."
wonder what all that says about William, Kate and me?
Last week in the rear-view mirror
Nice to tweet you, to tweet you nice ... "Hello literally everyone." Tweet from Twitter as tens of millions of people world-wide turn to its service after Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram go crash, bang, wallop and go missing in action somewhere offline.
I am just catching up with some of the more memorable "Quotes of the last week". Although the Facebook crash had no effect on my stroll through time and space I rather liked Twitter's tweet.
Meanwhile, at the Tory Party Conference...
Internal rhyme ahoy! ... "I know there has been a certain raucous squawkus from the anti-Aukus caucus." Prime Minister Boris Johnson sounds like a character from Alice in Wonderland as he makes light of the major diplomatic row between Aukus - the trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US - and France.
Yes, Boris is becoming more like the White Rabbit with every passing day as he disappears down the hole and we all follow. And poor old Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party with his dreary 90-minute conference speech, didn't help...
Poetry and prose ... "Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, once said that politicians campaign in poetry and govern in prose. The exuberant Boris Johnson and pedestrian Sir Keir Starmer seem to be doing things the other way round." Michael Stanford of Old London Town, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
And finally, a dose of reality...
Remember, remember ... "Discussing the party conferences, my hairdresser said: 'You can understand where Guy Fawkes was coming from, can't you?'" Sally Lynes. also of Old London Town, in a letter to The Guardian.
Yep, November the 5th is looming. And threatening to go
(Throwaway) Bits and pieces - 3
Pssst! ... "Don't be a tosser. Stop soiling your community or you'll go blind." What should be a public information notice.
As regularly featured hereabouts, I am always taken aback by the volume and variety of rubbish I collect along my two-mile walk into town every morning, most of it along a quite busy country lane.
Yesterday morning I picked up the following...
I mean, it's a 12" pizza, a large box to just chuck away - especially so as this is what it says on the back...
Now the recycling message can't be much clearer. So I presume the tosser involved is already losing his sight after too much tossing.
There's no hope for us, honestly.
♪♪♪: It's life, Jim...
But not as we know it ... "Yes, it's true, I'm going to be a rocket man." Canadian actor William Shatner, 90, who became a cultural superstar for his portrayal of Captain James T Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise, prepares to become the oldest person ever to slip the surly bonds of earth to "touch the face of God" for real.
Let's hope he keeps an eagle eye out for those dreaded Klingons on the starboard bow. Anyway, our hero continues:
"What do the space guys do if they have to go to the bathroom?" Reminded that the flight will last just 11 minutes, he deadpanned: "Yeah, but you know, when you're 90, 11 minutes can be a long time."
As someone who is increasingly woken in the middle of the night by the bladder alarm, that did make me chuckle.
Our Captain Kirk also, quite naturally, added that he was both "thrilled" and "terrified" ahead of the space flight, now postponed because of high winds until this Wednesday the, er, 13th.
Let's hope the social media headline doesn't read "Shatner shat himself".
Finally, and in a tangential way, the following quotation also generated a nod and a smile:
No more boarding calls ... "One of the joys of old age is the thought that I will never see Heathrow again." British novelist Penelope Lively, 88, gives up international travel.
Great surname, by the way, made even better given that she was
born Penelope Low, but married academic and political theorist
Jack Lively in 1957.
It Ain't Half Busy Mum
Atten-SHUN! ... "Apropos the panic buying of fuel due to a shortage of lorry drivers, the Government says the Army has been put on standby. A bit worrying that as I thought the Army was always on standby." Ian Harrington of Axminster, Devon, in a letter to the Daily Mail.
The above missive came to mind this morning perusing The Sunday Times ... I stumbled upon this smiley Newman cartoon...
The most worrying aspect in this messy business is: what happens
when there's a shortage of army personnel?
♪♪♪: Oh doctor, I'm in trouble...
Say ninety-nine ... "I went to the doctor the other day, and he said: 'You've got hypochondria.' I said: 'Oh God, not that as well.'" English comic Bob Mortimer, 62, quips about his health problems.
Yes, humour is a tried and tested way of facing up to life's trials, troubles and tribulations.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence...
A little ray of sunshine ... "Whenever you feel sad and angry that the world is cruel and uncaring, just remember that you'll be dead soon and out of your misery." Fellow English comic Ricky Gervais, 60, accentuates the negative in his usual droll fashion.
Both quips made me smile and respond with a "Well, goodness
gracious me!" to earn their place in the joy and doolallyness
Letters from Middle-Britain - 26
Slow, slow, quick-quick, slow ... "Apropos the current fuel shortages, when they could not afford to buy fuel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his wife, the singer Constanze Mozart, would apparently waltz around the house to keep warm. Should we all be booking dance lessons?" Tricia Barnes of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
Or, at least in my case, break the habit of a lifetime and actually start watching Strictly Come Dancing to pick up tips (traditionally, I am strictly a smoocher).
Meanwhile, back on the fuel front...
Sky falls on PM's head ... "There is an old farming adage: 'Never look to the skies for a living.' It applies to energy production, too." Brian Morris of Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, in a letter to the Daily Mail.
Talking of weather, a few days ago, following many damp and grey days here in Llandampness, watching the forecast on BBC Wales, Sabrina Lee said: "Tomorrow will be a much more cheerful day."
Which made me smile. And sure as hell beat "be sure to take an umbrella" or "rap up warm", the child-like advices increasingly dished out by our forecasters.
Guillotine falls on PM's head ... "If the lights go out, so will you, Prime Minister." Mick Bridgstock of Rushden, Northants, in a letter to the Daily Mail.
Yes, Boris Johnson is becoming a master of waffle. Indeed, with
every passing day he looks more like the White Rabbit from
Adventures in Wonderland. To be continued...
Pump up the volume
Queue here, please ... "Beer shortage soon. Panic buy here." A sign outside The White Hart pub in the village of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire.
As is the way with these things, a variation on the theme has been appearing outside pubs all over the shop - and why not, it certainly generates a smile.
Talking of pubs, here's something which has a bar-room feel about it...
Leg over ... "My father was a toolmaker. In a way, so was Boris Johnson's." No, not heard in the Asterix bar down at The Crazy Horsepower Saloon, but a rather risque joke delivered by, gulp, Sir Keir Starmer, he who is exceedingly serious of face and character, at last week's Labour Party Conference.
I mean, it's a rather jolly joke, especially as the word on the street about Stanley Johnson, father of Boris, suggests that when it comes to getting one's leg over, the old adage "like father, like son", is applicable, with balls - oops - with bells on.
Oh, and talking of shortages and queues, back at the start of the fuel crisis, a BBC reporter called Phil McCann was filming at a petrol station while standing in front of motorists filling up their vehicles and, um, their spare fuel cans.
How good is that? Well worth a mention on the joy and
♪♪♪: Overhang, underhang, dangling free
Swipe me! ... "Over or under? Original patent confirms that the 'correct' way to hang the toilet roll is OVER - as experts warn hanging paper the other way round can increase your risk of coming into contact with bacteria." A Mail Online headline catches the eye and I am infused with a quick dose of joy rather than bacteria.
So I peruse ... a survey found that 42% of us - the same number that offers up the answer to life, the universe and everything - get exceedingly irritated by "wrong way" toilet rolls. This of course means that 58% don't give a shite.
Anyway, every day is a day at school, and the original patent for the toilet roll holder shows that the paper should hang over the top of the roll.
A 2011 study also found 19 types of bacteria lurking under cover in the bathroom and around the roll. Those ever-present experts that lurk around every corner of life, the universe and everything, say having an underhanging roll increases the chance of you touching a surface.
Now that would have been that, I would have rolled my eyes, tore myself away and moved on - if I hadn't spotted the following in connection with this rolling news story...
Toilet roll hangover
Brilliant. Incidentally, Jason Alexander, 62, is an American
actor and comedian - who sports a beard. Oh, as I do, even
though I have never thought of myself as cool. Or bad, come to
that. Just someone trundling down life's middle lane, whistling a happy song - wandering underground,
overground, Wombling free...
Bond. James Bond
"On this day ... in 1962 Dr No, the first James Bond film, had its premiere in London. The Vatican described the film as 'a dangerous mixture of violence, vulgarity, sadism and sex'." As spotted in today's Times newspaper.
And this in The Daily Telegraph:
Unstirred ... "Am I alone in thinking the new and overlong James Bond film, No Time to Die, is not as smart as it thinks it is?" Alan Stanley of Old London Town, in a letter to the Telegraph.
I can't vouch for what Alan Stanley says as I haven't seen the film. Indeed, I can't even remember when I last saw a Bond film. Be that as it may, the overlong tag is something I have registered in many a media dispatch about No Time to Die since its release.
Talking of "overlong", about a week ago I did a feature on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's 14,000-word essay on the party's future direction. The policy pamphlet was much criticised for being too long and heavy-duty. Since then he has given a 90-minute speech to the annual party conference, and again "overlong" was the much used word.
As previously mentioned, I believe it was Winston Churchill who got up to speak and apologised to the audience for the length of his address because he hadn't had time to make it shorter.
It was definitely the French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778), who said: "One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say."
remember someone saying that, if you are not a talented and
recognised raconteur, you should never speak publicly for more
than six minutes, for that is the maximum you can hold someone's
attention. Preferably any public address should be much shorter
than six minutes.
Next question ... "Why are train drivers paid more than lorry drivers?" Steve Cattell of Hougham, Lincolnshire, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
With a dearth of lorry drivers causing shortages in the delivery of fuel, food and goodness knows what else, the above conundrum popped into mind this morning along my early morning walk into town as I was passed by a HGV.
Also, I happened to stumble upon - well, let's rewind: back in July I shared a couple of tales of vehicle tyres found by the roadside, one of them a shredded car tyre...
For more details of the curious case of the tyres that appeared to tread clumsily in the night, see here ...
Anyway, at the very same spot where I found that shredded tyre, today a variation on the theme...
Yes, a wheel trim - so I propped it up against the same road sign I hung the shredded tyre on for one of the local council lads to collect and dispose of.
It's a strange old world. So hey, let's tread carefully out
Headline of the day
Hello, can you hear me? ... "'Missing' drunk man accidentally joins his own search party for hours until he hears them call his name." Spotted in The Sun: "Beyhan Mutlu, 50, was drinking with Turkish friends when he wandered into the woods, and when he failed to return was reported missing."
How about that? A brace of joy and doolallyness "headlines-of-the day" two days running.
It seems our Turkish friend had a little bit too much to drink, so perhaps thought he was a Turkish Paddington Delight and went into the woods to do what bears do in the woods - and got lost.
Anyway, a search and rescue party was organised - and off they went in search of Paddington Beyhan.
Somehow or other he inadvertently joined his own search party. According to local reports, realisation set in as volunteers began calling out his name. He replied, somewhat sheepishly rather than bearishly, one presumes: "I am here..."
As someone suggested: perhaps it wasn't so much a rescue party, more of a party than a rescue.
Whatever, when old Paddington Beyhan fully grasped all the bother he had caused, he reportedly told the police: "Don't punish me too harshly, officer. My father will kill me..."
There's something rather wonderful in the notion of a 50-year-old being afraid of his father.
As regularly reported hereabouts, there is nothing new under the sun. In 2012, there was an equally amusing story when an Asian tourist who went missing in Iceland was found in her own search party after she failed to recognise her own description released by police.
Oh, and as mentioned at the top, today's tale is definitely a variation on Sunday's regular knock-knock routine.
Spellchecker moment ... the computer came to a
in Beyhan Mutlu, and suggested
(at which point I generated a peculiarly wheezy sort of heavy
Headline of the day - 3
The Pied Piper of Silly Billies ... "Twenty-car convoy trails tanker for miles in Northamptonshire in desperate hunt for petrol ... only to discover that it is carrying cement." A Mail Online headline: "HGV driver Johnny Anderson had noticed a string of about 20 cars in his wake as he trundled along a dual carriageway, but curiously, nobody was overtaking him..."
When the tanker eventually turned left into a road that would take it to its construction site destination, driver Johnny Anderson noticed that the line of cars followed and pulled up behind his truck.
When Johnny climbed down from his cab and went to investigate, he said: "The man at the front wound down his window and asked me which petrol station I was going to. When I said I wasn't, he asked me 'why not?', and when I said I wasn't carrying petrol he actually said 'you could have stopped and told us you weren't a petrol tanker'. I couldn't believe it - I just went full McEnroe and said 'You cannot be serious!'."
That is such a great tale of the unexpected. To the casual eye, a tanker is a tanker is a tanker, but as someone who once worked in the ready-mixed-concrete business, a cement tanker has a very distinctive shape, especially at the rear - it is full of cement powder which is blown into tall silos.
The above tale adds so much to yesterday's headline, see
"Please don't panic buy!"
1st October 2021 ... "'It's worse than trying to get tickets for Glastonbury!' Furious Ocado customers say deliveries for Christmas are already booked up just hours after slots went online." A headline spotted in Mail Online.
Getting a grip ... "The Government is inept at dealing with the problems facing Britain today - the fuel crisis, food shortages, Covid-19, M25 eco-protestors and the cross-Channel migrants. Boris Johnson must get a grip now or the public will lose faith in him." Mark Twiddy of Old London Town, in a letter to The Sun.
Gobbledygook ... "No turkeys for Christmas! I can't see why. There are plenty in Parliament." John Brady of Worcester, in a letter to the i newspaper.
And just to prove that all sides of the political divide are losing faith in you-know-who, he who is in desperate need of a short-back-and-sides, this spotted in the Daily Mirror...
Yes, you know it's pretty bonkers out there when all political parties are massing their tanks on Downing Street.
PS: I occasionally feature a Spellchecker moment, where the computer suggests a smiley alternative for a word it doesn't recognise. For example: Mark Twiddy, above, came up as Mark Tidy, Tweedy, Tiddly, Teddy, Titty, Twatty... Mark could dine out on those suggestions.
Also today, 'spelling and grammar suggestions' apropos my
buy'. It suggests:
Well it made me smile. While the second suggestion makes no
sense, I rather like the notion that the individual known as
Bits and pieces - 2
Rogue remains ... "The warning on the packet said: 'Although we do our very best to take out all the bones, some may remain.' The meal was macaroni cheese." Michael Franklin of Tring, Hertfordshire, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
Given that we are now at that time of year when warnings abound about being extra careful picking and eating wild mushrooms, I well remember the advice that all mushrooms are edible, some only once. And then this additional tip surfaced:
Mindful foraging ... "The best advice I've heard on going mushrooming is 'always save one to take to the hospital'." Michael Heaney of Kidlington, Oxfordshire, in a letter to The Guardian.
Now what was it the British novelist and journalist Shirley
Conran, 89, said? Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.
Back to square one...
Huw and Smile 2021: September
Huw and Smile 2021: August
Huw and Smile 2021: July
Huw and Smile 2021: June
Huw and Smile 2021: May
Huw and Smile 2021: April
Huw and Smile 2021: March
Huw and Smile 2021: February
Huw and Smile 2021: January:
Huw and Smile 2020: December
Huw and Smile 2020: November
Huw and Smile 2020: October
Huw and Smile 2020: September
Huw and Smile 2020: August
Huw and Smile 2020: July
Huw and Smile 2020: June
Huw and Smile 2020: May
Huw and Smile 2020: April
Huw and Smile 2020: January to March
Huw and Smile 2019: October to December