G.O.D. (II)

Posted by Mr.D.

Picking up on the redoubtable Lyle’s superb earlier post about ageism, I confess that I am Growing Old Disgracefully.

At the recent barbecue for my 50th, I had to be prematurely put to bed while the party raged on outside.

I blamed it on the stress of worrying about whether the weather would hold (it did, of course) as I might have to cook in the garage (only joking, firefighter people!).
I also fell on the excuse of having had to cater single-handedly (well, Mrs.D. did help a bit) for 20 people, ensuring that the burgers were leathered at exactly the same time as the sausages were reaching cremation-stage.
I claimed I was emotionally over-charged by having all of my closest friends around me.

Mrs.D. blamed it on the vodka shots I was doing with my son and his mates, who’d come round for the free booze.

Shaded shrivelling

(oops, forgot to say this was posted by qB)

“Light and shade” is what he said he wanted. “He” being the host-with-the-most guest-bloggers. Which means that I’m the shade. I know quite a bit about shade. Useful in the summer when bright light and heat demand momentary relief, but the prelude to exposure in the autumn months. In the winter in southern Africa people die in the shade who would have lived had they been lying in the sunshine. So I’m good on shade. In fact I’m good on Stygian darkness too. I’m recovering from a bout of disaster-induced darkness which not even happy-pills to the max could dispel. Which is why I’m a bit of a late starter on this guest-blogging trip. I’ve been in bed for a few days.

I’m sure you’ve been treated to lots of light – Lyle I reckon is like those mega-rockets which go “screeeeeeeech….. BANG” (he has no children to get scared); Mr D is one of those mortar-shaped ones which hiss and sparkle a rainbow fountain of different shades whilst occasionally shooting up fireballs which go “bang”; while Mr SAAP is likely a mixed box with a lot of sparklers for waving round, drawing pictures and words in the air, and sniffing (why do they smell so good? or is it just me?) So obviously they need a bit of shade to show them up to best advantage. No good having fireworks on midsummer’s day. Together we shall look like this, as long as you click manically to the max.

He also (the h-w-t-m guest-bloggers) used the word “erudite” in his introduction. I looked it up. It means, apparently, “well-educated or well-read, learned”. So I’m little miss smarty pants, am I? I just wish to state that I am far from little, I am not a young woman or girl and my pants are antique over-washed-baggy M&S. I notice in my dictionary the words preceding “erudite” are “ersatz”, “error”, “erroneous”, “erratum”, “erratic” and “errant”. Maybe he just got the wrong one by mistake. (I am umbilically attached to my dictionary because my spelling is so bad.)

Well, now that we’ve got all that sorted out, I thought I’d turn to the issue of issue. Ankle-biters, rug-rats, demon spawn or however you care to refer to the juvenile of the species. Since it’s three to one of issued to issueless. I don’t mention my little bees very often over at my place because, well frankly, I find the subject of limited interest beyond close friends and family. And I’m generally totally uninterested in the spawn of others beyond that circle. And I’m only interested on the family spawn in the way that certain medical textbooks with lavish illustrations of disfiguring diseases are interesting. But there are aspects of the condition of having issue that bear discussion (geddit? this is a symptom of the condition too). If only to serve as a warning.

Take, for instance, this:


Here we have two bears. They are twins. Both aged three. Identical at birth. One has been in close contact with b2 (aged four). The other has led a child-free life based in the back of the wardrobe, waiting on the substitute’s bench in case of death, dissolution or disappearance of the main player. Can you tell which is which?

On the left we have a vibrant, fluffy, sleek-coated, devil-may-care, buoyant bear-about-town. On the right we have a shrivelled, shrunken, snot-n-food encrusted, staring-coated, slack-stuffinged, sack-stomached excuse for a bear.

Worked it out yet?

I’m not drawing any great conclusions here. I’m just, um, displaying the evidence. Nature versus nurture.

Dr. Who?

Posted by Robin.

I was excited about the idea of joint guest blogging from the start and I hoped that creatively speaking it would turn out to be as harmonious and memorable as the Six Wives of Henry VIII. Not the Rick Wakeman record, the poem:

Divorced Beheaded Died,
Divorced Beheaded Survived.

My son thought it referred to two queens, both cruelly treated but one luckier than the other. I suppose that is what got me thinking about the poem again and marvelling at its balance, brevity and utility. Six famous women who, albeit unconsciously, gave us a classic of school literature. Think about it. If just one of those six queens had failed to play her part we never would have had that poem. I take inspiration from that.

Which is why it pains me that I got off on the wrong foot yesterday. I have my excuses but in the end what counts is what is on the page. I was trying to find that balance of the personal and the general that Mike does so well but some of the reaction I have had leads me to think that I didn’t quite find the middle ground.

Which is my natural habitat.

I am not a partisan person. Without wishing to boast I have a reputation for integrity that has reached at least as far as Nigeria, so my emails tell me anyway.

For instance I’m neutral about who should be the new Dr Who. Just one thing. For heaven’s sake don’t let it be Nick Hornby. After his recent high-handed showing on Desert Island Discs he’ll be asking for 499 extra pretty girl assistants which, I’m sure you would agree, might be nice for him but would not be entirely within the spirit of the programme.

Feel free to nominate your choices below.


posted by Lyle

I know this is probably WAY below the humour of most TD readers, but what the hell. via Scaryduck, Amazon’s reviews of a book titled Sex, Freud and Folly: The Truth About Psychotherapy. The author’s name has caused untold hilarity among Britain’s schoolboy humour forum, and I’ve laughed myself silly.

Possibly not filter-friendly – I honestly don’t know, and you have been warned.


posted by Lyle.

While I was up in Scotland in February of this year, I stayed up near Schiehallion. One of the claims to fame for this mountain is that it’s where it was proved that gravity is affected by mass – i.e. larger objects exhibit more gravitational pull. Since then I’ve been working on some corollary theories for this.

First of all, it explains why people seem to need to walk directly at me whenever I’m in town and doing shopping or whatever. They look at me, make eye contact, and sometimes actually flippin’ change direction in order to try and collide with me. And of course if they do collide, it’s entirely my fault – there seems to be a theory that they can walk anywhere with alacrity, and even when they decide to walk into someone, it’s the collidee’s fault, not the collider. I’m not paranoid, they ARE out to get me. I’ll never be slim and sylphlike – but if there were a diet marketed that announced “lose weight and stop people walking into you” then I’d be first on the sign-up list.

The other corollaries work on a slightly different principle – I think that it’s part of this ruling that means that if you’re walking fast, or in a hurry, then you’re surrounded by every slow-moving grebo all trying to block your passage as much as possible. (Oooh errr, missus) Also, if you know what you want, and where to get it from, then the path to that particular destination will be blocked by every indecisive gawping brain-dead freewheeling sloven known to man.

Today, I’m disorganised. I forgot the sandwiches I normally do, forgot the card I needed in order to collect a mystery package from the Post Office, and there’s probably a load of other stuff I’ve forgotten today, except I now can’t remember what might be on that list. So a trip to buy a sandwich for lunch has turned into a mission that would’ve made even Oates go “keff that, I’m not going to be gone that long”. The sandwich counter was populated by retards trying to decide between chicken salad, and chicken with stuffing (or whatever – I didn’t pay that much attention) and despite the incredible amount of advertising around the area, they were also discussing just what they could get as part of a meal-deal. I’ve been in 30 seconds – it’s sandwich, drink, crisps. Simple. Rocket Science this ain’t.

So – that’s the theories. Gravity, Speed, and Idiocy. The three great rules of the modern world. I’m off to eat my hard-gained sandwich.

What’s in a name? (1)

Posted by Mr.D.

At the weekend we took our daughter back to Uni ( “Slight returns”.) Yes, I know it’s a shameless blogvert for my own site, but I’ve hardly had time to decorate since moving in, what with this guesting an’ all.

Her Uni is one of two in a Very Large City in the West Midlands. *kicks over the spoor to confuse the trail and wrong-foot stalkers* and we were stunned by how much Birmingham had changed in just one year. Damn, gave it away and after all that careful brushwork too.

The new Bullring has replaced the concrete monstrosities and monoliths which dominated the city and clearly a large amount of time, money and thought has gone into renovating the surrounding areas. So the mere mention of Birmingham should no longer cause you to groan “Oh, that place, it’s awful”.

We overnighted on Saturday for a bargain £50, right in the city centre and on Sunday morning, headed off to find an alternative to the Hotel’s idea of breakfast. Minutes away, on a lovely stretch of canal, a houseboat was serving “Full English” for £5.75, with as much toast as you could butter, served by an extremely friendly staff. Bargain 2.

Now I’m the ‘Go, see, buy’ type of shopper and find no joy whatsoever in aimless perambulating and entering stores I have no intention of purchasing anything from etc., but I was impressed. And the mall has a small but perfectly-formed Molton Brown, so unless our host returns from La Belle France french-scented, he may care to pay them a visit?
The 3-floor Selfridge’s will leave all other branches in its wake and in Poundland, they were selling computer keyboards for, well, a pound. Bargain 3. I’m going to save up my pocket money next week and go back for a laptop.

I can see that the bronze bull statue at the entrance to the shopping complex will no doubt be a magnet for drunken rodeo games, but it might be fun to watch the Brummie cowboys trying to mount up.

Blogosphere Update: A Personal View.

Posted by Robin.

Took a small tour of the blogosphere this evening, my first for a while. Here are some thoughts.

By a strange piece of child centred synchronicity I see that the Scaryduck household has also acquired a hamster as of last Friday. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

The clink of glasses is stilled for once over at Uborka to be replaced by the sound of slapped backs and plaudits being handed round. If you haven’t done so already then treat yourself to a read of their Post of the Month Winner at Invisible Stranger. No, I’m not bitter.

I note the result of the latest round of Z’s Blog Idol without comment. Perhaps she’ll stop when the loss of one friend per week really starts to hurt.

Lastly I was going to say that I’m sure we all wish Peter from Naked Blog a good hol and a speedy return but he seems to be back already. And not only in the undergrowth of a TD comments box but also in full cry on open ground too. Instead I will merely urge him to feel free to use ‘outwith’ as much as he likes.

Aging (Dis)gracefully

Posted by Lyle

Over the weekend, I had three different occasions where people were trying to make me feel “old” – now, bear in mind I’m 32, which isn’t old by anyone’s standards (well, except for the little 15-16yr olds who think they know it all anyway) – but the people saying it are a couple of years younger than me. The thing is, I don’t know what it was meant to prove – OK, so I’ve got some grey hairs,, and (according to them) my hair’s thinning. Frankly, so what?

For various reasons, getting older has never held any real terrors for me. Turning 30 was weird, and affected me more than any of the other “special event” birthdays (16, 18, 21, whatever) had. But it still didn’t make me think “I’m getting old” or any of that gubbins – it was more of a stock-taking exercise, looking at what had been done, what there was to show for it, that kind of thing. But those comments have made me think about it all a bit more – and still I keep coming to the same conclusion – “So what?”

Every single one of us is getting older. That’s just the way it is. Maybe we remember how we were in younger days, and mourn the addition of a few pounds, the onset of gravity, the slow failings of the body and joints – but it’s still a natural progression. Getting older happens. Some people fight it off with the joys of cosmetic surgery, anti-aging creams, and every nostrum and potion known to manipulative advertising executives the world of science – but at the end of the day, it’s all a waste, because none of the potions and surgeries are turning back the clock. It’s just another layer of fallacie – hurling good money after Old Father non-specific-entity Time, and trying to battle it.

So what good does it do to be pointing these things out? Yeah, I could dye my hair, stay “healthy and virile” by not being grey. Fact is, I quite like it with a bit of grey. If the hair is thinning, receding, or even coming out completely, so what? It’s still me – I won’t be wearing a wig, or doing those horrible baldy-man Comb-Over jobs – it’ll just be the way I am. Does pointing them out mean “you should be taking more care of yourself”? Or “look, those things aren’t happening to me” (yet) ? Whatever the reason, it certainly wasn’t anything intended to make me feel better about myself – it’s lucky I don’t care all that much, and simply accept the effects of age – if I were worried about it, the comments that were made could have held a really negative effect on me.

I wish I understood the motivation – but I don’t, and I probably never will. If it was intended as a way to belittle me, or to make me feel insecure about it, then it failed. Getting older isn’t news – but perhaps the way “friends” address that kind of thing towards me is.

A final additional thought – I’m sure some people who read this will be thinking “Ah, the young whippersnapper” – I’m not complaining about age at all, more about the perspectives of “friends”.

Anyone for tennis?

Posted by Mr.D.

During the past year, I’ve read many blogs but cannot recall any one mentioning the author’s participation in anything of a sporting nature. Sure, bsag cycles and Gert enjoys her walks (and londonmark does pint-lifting) but I have to assume that you’re a sedentary bunch of intellectuals and a keyboard is your weapon of choice? Therefore, a challenge – tag-chess.

The Rules are very simple (for the challenge, that is). Chess, of course, is horrendously complex, so if you don’t know how to play the game, ask someone. That will keep up the spirit of this guest-blogging, by involving an ever-widening circle of players and their coaches.

It will probably never work – but then, they said that about British Rail.

The Rules.

1. A blogger may only be challenged once, so you must perforce peruse previous participants prior to passing the baton. (Ooh, nice alliteration, Mr.D. Why, thankyou!)
2. Chain-breakers will be hunted down and ostrichised i.e. their head buried in the sand, the body elsewhere
3. When someone is ready to mate (generally after several drinks in the U.K. and subject to status elsewhere) the move should be directed back to the TD. He can then publish the result and disclose the number of moves involved.
4. I am exempt because, being a Grand Master, it would all be over in three moves and therefore spoil the fun.

So because BW likes to be first, she will start the play….Game on!

P.S. Hope the linky things work – first time I’ve done this!

Speaking as an Issue-less Adolescent

Posted by Lyle

Oh dear lord, what has Mike let himself in for? I suppose these are the risks when you get to flit off to Paris for four weeks. And thanks for the introduction, Mike. *Grin*

I’ve been thinking all weekend about what to write here – should it be more of the same old gubbins as on d4d™, or slightly more introspective and thoughtful? Or maybe a bit of both? Ah – middle ground – that’ll be the one then. Except, of course, that even taking the middle ground isn’t something I’m normally renowned for. One thing I’m not allowed to do is say f**k or c**t (and how I’m going to go a week without saying flak or chat is beyond me, it really is) because of people’s “sweary-at-work” filters. Hmmm, time for some creative obscenities? Perhaps.

I’ll admit, I’m fairly stunned that Mike would want contributions from yours truly – while not exactly a newbie to the Blogosphere® I’m still new enough to be surprised that other people apparently like the way I write. Writing for other people though, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish. With great blogging comes great responsibility, or some such gubbins.

So what will I be writing about over the next week? To be honest, you’ll have to wait and see – which is code for “*Shrug* Not a clue, guv” But I won’t let Mike down, that’s for sure.


Posted by Robin.


That all rather tumbled out. I meant to start with a short speech thanking Mike for having us and explaining how honoured I felt personally being such a novice at this sort of thing. It’s probably just lack of sleep. I had a v draining day yesterday, described in outline here but which account leaves out the trip to Spy Kids 3D about which I can say little because I slept through most of it. Bear with me and I’m sure I’ll be all right by this evening.

Down with Outwith.

Posted by Robin.

There it was again this morning, about 6.40 am, Radio 4. The ghastly ‘Outwith’. Meaning ‘outside’ (I think). Who thought up this horrible word and why do we need it?

We already have two words in English that cover this ground very adequately.
1. Outside: meaning ‘not inside’. Direct, complete and unmistakeable.
2. Without, as in “There is a green hill far away without a city wall”: meaning ‘outside’. (See 1. above.) A bit arch. and poet. but serviceable and at least with the syllables in the right order.

I wish these clogsclevers would just out it cut, swapping words round nilly willy and without a leave your by. It’s necessaryun and it makes it difficult to standunder what they mean, yet still they carry on lessregard. I forethere demand a rangewiding and goingthorough review of CBB policy and lineguides wiseother where will it all end – the housemad?

Laying out the virtual Welcome mat.

From tomorrow until Sunday, I will be joined by four guest bloggers – with four more to come next week, and four more the week after that, and four more the week after that. What a party we shall all have together!

This week’s guests are:

Lyle of D4D, a.k.a. Dummies For Destruction, formerly known as Destruction For Dummies (until the “For Dummies” people got shitty with him). Scrupulously well-mannered, considerate and supportive in the comments boxes of many of my favourite blogs, the sharp contrast with the wonderfully ranty, shouty Sweary Mary on his own blog never fails to tickle me.

Mr.D. of Aprosexic. A long-standing blog commenter, who guested here back in March, Mr.D. has now finally taken the plunge, setting up Aprosexic only last Friday. You might remember him as the man with the big fish. I most certainly do.

qB of Frizzy Logic – a cultural treasure-trove, which contains far more erudite content than I could ever rustle up, not to mention an ongoing series of truly fantastic photos taken from the top of London buses.

Robin Preene of everybody’s favourite new discovery – now newly migrated to Movable Type, so it clearly means business – Speaking As A Parent. Curiously – and I only realised this after I had drawn up the list – no less than three of this week’s guests are, um, blessed with issue. Will they turn Troubled Diva into one big parents’ meeting, one wonders? And will this leave Lyle cast as the stroppy adolescent?

Time alone will tell. Let the guesting commence!

(As for myself – I probably won’t be posting again until Thursday night at the earliest. You’re in their hands now.)