A limerick a week #245

Cummings and goings…

So, former Tory advisor Dominic Cummings has gone to war with the UK’s Tory Government via his appearance this week before Parliament’s joint meeting of its Health, and Science & Technology Committees. (Personally, I think it’s a bit rich for Cummings to try to come across as the good guy in a nest of vipers, but c’est la vie!)

Anyway, Government Ministers subsequently had their chance to respond to his claims, but, interestingly, the only thing this stooshie between former colleagues has laid bare is, to use an erstwhile phrase, them’s ALL bas**rds!

An eye test chart inspired by Cummings’ trip to Barnard Castle (a place I know well through family links)

As an advisor he ended up branded
A liar and most underhanded,
But Cummings, it seems,
Plots revenge in his dreams.
OMG the ego has landed!

Postscript: anyone who viewed last week’s ALAW solely through the email that is automatically sent to subscribers, may be wondering which Gershwin classic had never been so ill-suited to me.

Sometimes the WordPress notification emails don’t render the posts in their entirety (and often render them badly!) and missing from last week’s notification was an embedded video clip from the film An American in Paris showing Gene Kelly singing and tapping along to I got rhythm

(You can always view the posts as intended at: https://blog.piscibus.com)

Quotes that made me laugh #53

Spot the difference…

Monty Python, North Minehead by-election, ca 1970:

Conservative: (droning) Well… speaking as the Conservative candidate I just drone on and on and on and on without letting anyone else get a word in edgeways, until I start foaming at the mouth and falling over backwards. Ooo-aaahhh. (THUD)

Real life, 2019:

Tory MP suffers concussion after falling off chair.

A Conservative MP suffered whiplash and a concussion after she fell off her chair during a meeting.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

A limerick a week #97

Giving it the bird…

When I started out in fisheries research, one of the issues that I was involved in concerned the possible impact of the Shetland fishery for sandeel, a so-called ‘forage fish’, on the then current breeding failures of seabirds around the islands.

It was clear that a shortage of young sandeel, as food for the chicks, was to blame for their failure to fledge. Meanwhile, the fishery data strongly implied that the reason for the shortage of young sandeel was not the fishery, but natural environmental effects in the egg, larval and ‘pre-recruit’ stages of the fish.

Actually, we used a semi-annual catch at age analysis and seasonal research vessel survey indices of abundance (a form of fishery-independent catch per unit effort)

Lengthy discussions with the British Trust for Ornithology and professional marine ornithologists from academia and the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology concluded this was the most credible perspective.

Unfortunately, that was not good enough for the RSPB:

So, the RSPB sought instead to destroy the professional reputation of my first boss (a true gentleman) and to damage my, ahem, fledgling career at the same time.

Long story short: later work by a consortium-funded research fellow showed that we were right; something only grudgingly accepted by the RSPB.

We then went on to develop a ground-breaking management regime for the fishery in which we provided data and annual assessments, but devolved management of the fishery to the local fisherman’s association and environmental groups. We would only intervene on management decisions if the local groups couldn’t develop a mutually acceptable plan (we never did have to intervene!).

The RSPB, of course, never ‘corrected’ itself to its million-plus members and never apologised for traducing my boss’s name and reputation or that of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association.

Slight diversion: Many years later, a policy push was instigated to compel warring aquaculture and wild-salmon angling interests to agree between themselves a management regime of some sort. It was touted by a here-today-gone-tomorrow senior policy official as a ‘first’ in Scottish fisheries management. In fact, he told a ‘porky’ because he ignored what we had achieved more than two decades earlier at Shetland (and our initiative actually worked).

(That’s the sort of behaviour that you get with greasy-pole-climbing yes-men who need to to validate themselves in the eyes of their political masters).

So, what was it that started me on this historical ‘avian and piscatorial’ polemic? It is simply that I took a childish and immature delight this week in the irony of reading that a pair of RSPB workers had killed a protected osprey chick when trying to ring it in its nest.

Here’s the limerick:

When I read it I thought “What the heck!”,
It seemed no-one had bothered to check
Which part you pick
When tagging a chick:

(“Yes”, I know the chick fell from its nest and didn’t have its neck wrung – but it’s a limerick not a news report!)

Quotes that made me laugh #23

The rugby coach and big girl panties …

There was a refreshingly honest touchline interview during today’s televised rugby match between Saracens and Exeter.

Under a new directive interpreting the punishment for various acts of foul play, Sarries had seen a player sent off for a dangerous, head-high tackle. Alex Sanderson, the Sarries coach and an advocate of more stringent policing of dangerous tackles, not only acknowledged the red card to be fully justified, but also commented that he would have had no complaint if a second Sarries player had also been carded at the same time.

His quote reflected a degree of irony vis-à-vis his advocacy for a safer game:

Karma’s come back and bit me in the a**e“.


Happy birthday to a hypocrite …

Having ‘dissed’ marketing departments in my earlier post I am now about to contradict myself by thanking the good people of the Laphroaig distillery for my ‘Friend of Laphroaig’ birthday card and 20% discount on my next bottle. Very timely. Ironic, really, as I became a ‘friend’ solely as a result of being ‘marketed’ …

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!


Me ∩ Osborne = {Team Demelza}

I would never in a million years have thought that George ‘Gideon’ Osborne and I had anything in common, but bizarrely we do. It appears that we are both on Team Demelza regarding the current TV production of the Poldark novels.

Initially rather shaken by this discovery, I can show this to be the only thing that we have in common through the following illustrative diagram in which Team Demelza comprises the sole element belonging to the intersection of Osborne and me or, as the mathematicians would have it:

Me ∩ Osborne = {Team Demelza}

The intersection of me and George Osborne

As far as the Poldark series is concerned, I view Osborne as more of a George Warleggan type, or ‘Evil George’ as the Graun’s commentary on the series calls him … now there’s a coincidence 😉

Enough of this nunsense …

I don’t intend this blog to be political, but the recent stooshie about French Mediterranean beach resorts promoting religious intolerance by banning the burka made me think …

Although a secular state, France is a predominantly Catholic country with its own religious conventions, so the questions of the day are: do nuns go paddling at the beach? If so, what do they wear and should it be banned too?

Habit of a lifetime
The habit of a lifetime

Nuff said!

Postscript: I found the illustration, above, by googling ‘nuns paddling’. Bit of an eye-opener there for a naïve north country lad!

Quotes that made me laugh #8

This is a quote that made me laugh not so much through humour as in despair. It seems that the CV posted by one of the contenders to become leader of the UK’s Conservative Party may have been ‘sexed-up’ (which is ironic given that it appeared in the same week as the Chilcot review of events pre- and post- the Iraq war; events that had alleged the production of a sexed-up dodgy dossier):

It looks as though the issue is that anyone who reads Andrea’s CV and attaches a lot of weight to that particular role may actually be under some slight misapprehension as to what it was she actually did.

‘Sir Humphrey’ couldn’t have put it better himself.

Toned and in the buff

So, as ‘Management’ told the kids this evening, when we first met I was “toned and buff”. I’ve news for her – I’m still the same, just different …

Then …

Toned: give greater strength or firmness to (the body or a muscle).

Buff: in good physical shape with well-developed muscles.

As in: “Ladies, do you find toned and buff men attractive?

Then: Toned and buff #1
Then … (aye, right!)


Toned: harmonise with (something) in terms of colour

Buff: a yellowish-beige colour

As in: “His skin had the buff tone of an ageing manila envelope

Now: Toned and buff #2
Now …

It’s a sair fecht 🙁