A limerick a week #188

‘Tis the time’s plague, when madmen lead the blind. (King Lear Act 4 scene 1) 

Last November saw the publication of an insider’s view of Donald Trump’s presidency. The Washington Post quoted the author of ‘Anonymous’, describing Trump as being:

like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.


It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him … you’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.

Of course this was before the Coronavirus pandemic. Since when Trump appears to have put his faith in hydroxychloroquine as a cure-all tonic for Covid-19 infections despite the scepticism of, er, actual medically qualified experts.

Since then, the Washington Post has reported that the States’  National Institutes of Health recommend against the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combination “because of the potential for toxicities. The NIH offers no recommendation about use of hydroxychloroquine alone”. 

The Post subsequently reported that a “study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs suggest that those treated with hydroxychloroquine or hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin didn’t see marked improvement from use of the drugs. The rate of death was higher in groups treated with the drugs than among those who didn’t receive the treatment.” Indeed the American Food and Drugs Administration subsequently warned against their use due to “serious heart rhythm problems”.

Any normal person would take these comments and outcomes as notice to leave things to the experts, but not the White House snake-oil merchant. Now we’re told that internally applied doses of UV light and injections of disinfectant will stop the virus in its tracks. Only a moron would propound such beliefs.

It’s not just me that thinks that. The Graun reports that Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, added: “It is incomprehensible to me that a moron like this holds the highest office in the land and that there exist people stupid enough to think this is OK. I can’t believe that in 2020 I have to caution anyone listening to the president that injecting disinfectant could kill you.”

It was  in 1978 that Jilted John sang “Gordon is a moron”. Time for someone to update the lyrics, methinks. Meantime, here’s the limerick…

A moron once had an expectant
Belief that a certain injectant
Would cure all our ills
Without vaccines or pills
So he dosed us with pure disinfectant.

… and courtesy of a friend:

A vicar in the US has died after ingesting disinfectant. It is said Donald Trump has been charged with bleach of the priest

Postscript: Of course it’s not just the USA that has imbecilic morons embedded in its political structures.

My home-town county has one such candidate. The fact that some NHS health workers operating on the Coronavirus frontline without suitable PPE have died as a result of a Covid-19 an infection, contracted most probably at work, is no reason to politicise the issue according to Workington’s M.P., one Mark Jenkinson. This is utterly shameful… 

A limerick a week #153

On Baa Baa Black Sheep and POTUS’ hissy fits…

In the early 1980s, a fisheries scientist from the then MAFF Fisheries Laboratory in Lowestoft presented a novel assessment of the size of mackerel stocks to his overseas colleagues at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) headquarters in Copenhagen.

Although the principle behind the method was not new, it was newly applied to the mackerel stock and, in a nutshell, it required an estimate of the abundance of eggs produced during the mackerel’s spawning season in order to quantify the number of mackerel necessary to have produced them.

Although not immediately adopted, the egg production method has now been the mainstay of the ICES’ northeast Atlantic mackerel assessments for many years, with a huge effort put into the triennial mackerel egg surveys and estimation of the other biological parameters related to egg production. But it had a difficult birth.

It was rejected for use initially because it was unproven and relied on relatively few observations. When subsequent years’ data were available and some loose ends had been tied up, it was finally accepted as an appropriate assessment method for mackerel, notwithstanding what came to be known as ‘the million tonne mistake’ (see Postscript #2)!

Ironically, when originally presented, the most critical comments on the method came from the man-from-MAFF’s UK colleagues, albeit it from colleagues ‘north of the border’, who added spice to the rivalry between the senior Scottish and English scientists of that era.

As a result of the Caledonian criticism of his method, the man-from-MAFF wrote a vehement letter of complaint to the Director of the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, the late Alasdair McIntyre. In it, he wrote of his disappointment that fellow UK scientists were the most vocal critics of his work whereas other nationals were more amenable to it.

I was shown the letter many years ago and the reply (copies of both were held in the old registry of the Marine Laboratory, but I suspect the file holding them has long since been destroyed). I can’t recall the exact wording of the complaint, but it was pretty much a frustrated rant.

On receipt, Alasdair forwarded the complaint to the head of the laboratory’s Fish Team, Alan Saville (also since deceased), a herring scientist and the foremost critic of the new approach for mackerel, asking him to reply directly.

His riposte was blunt. He told the man-from-MAFF that his response to the criticism at ICES reminded him of a tantrum thrown by a toddler when its parents’ reaction to the child’s first ever rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep did not receive the applause and approbation that he felt it deserved! Ouch!

I was reminded of this earlier this week when Donald Trump truculently called off his Presidential visit to Denmark because his plan to buy Greenland was labelled ‘absurd’ by leading Danish politicians. Trump (of all people) later framed the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments as ‘nasty’.

Personally, I think even a toddler would have reacted with more maturity than POTUS.

Here’s the limerick…

So POTUS told the world he’d derail
A visit to the Danes because they’ll
Not accede to his whim
(When they pricked his thin skin),
‘Cos Greenland, they said, ain’t for sale!

Postscript #1: Saville’s harsh rejoinder to the man-from-MAFF was amusingly ill-timed as it preceded publication of the DAFS Marine Laboratory ‘green’ book, Developments in Fisheries Research in Scotland published by Fishing News Books.

It must have been a delightfully retributive occasion for the man-from-MAFF who reviewed it for the ICES’ Journal du Conseil, damning it with faint, if any, praise!

Postscript #2: The million tonne mistake. Imagine, if you will, a graph that looks like a triangle and think of the area under the triangle as representing the number of eggs produced in a mackerel spawning season; that’s the egg production curve. Now imagine the same triangle with a notch taken out of it where that notch represents the egg production of about one million tonnes of mackerel.

In the early days of the mackerel egg survey, a notched curve was the only one observed and scientists were unsure whether the notch was a genuine property of seasonal egg production or an artefact due to sampling error.

Tbe conservative approach was to err on the side of caution and to accept the lower (notched) estimate of stock size albeit with caveats. Sampling in subsequent years indicated the notch to be an artefact and the retrospective view of the stock size was increased accordingly by a million tonnes.

So, who was right? The scientists for taking a cautious  approach with clearly explained reservations, or the pelagic fishing industry that christened it the million tonne mistake?

Answers on a postcard, please, to…

A limerick a week #96

Trump, making Russia great again…

The problem with narcissistic sociopaths is that when they concoct risible explanations for their faux pas they expect the world to believe them. In truth, despite their brass necks, they just demonstrate their complete idiocy.

Which brings us to Donald Trump, who this week expects us to believe that he merely ‘mis-spoke’ when favouring Vladimir Putin’s assurances of ‘doing no wrong’ over the hard evidence provided by American intelligence analysts that Russia did, indeed, meddle in the election that brought Trump to power.

It is no surprise, then, that bipartisan political opinion in the States is that he has now brought the office of the American President into disrepute (as if he hadn’t already)!

“Calling out to idiot America”

Indeed, the Graun reports that:

John Brennan, CIA director under Obama, said Trump’s conduct was “nothing short of treasonous” and more than amounted to “high crimes and misdemeanors” – the benchmark for impeachment. “Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

“In the pocket of Putin” they say? Hmmm! For any conspiracy theorists out there, the Russians have a word for when they hold compromising information on a person; it’s ‘kompromat‘ (just saying!)

Arnold Schwarzenegger called the imbecilic President “a little wet noodle” which has helped greatly with this week’s ALAW. The OddSocks Theatre Company also helped (the ‘encore’ to its production of The Tempest that I saw last week was a terrific rendition of Green Day’s American Idiot in honour of Trump’s visit to the UK – brilliant!).

Or ‘imbecile’ as the Graun reported.

So, with a little help from Arnie, OddSocks and the Green Day gang, I give you…

The truth, when you come to consider it,
Is that Trump’s a political illiterate.
And Putin’s wee poodle,
That “little wet noodle”,
Is truly an American Idiot.

Fake noodle, fake President. Wet noodle, Trump. Same difference!

A limerick a week #70

For every action …

… there is an equal and opposite reaction; aka Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

It comes as no surprise then, that in response to Donald Trump’s support of the so-called birthing movement that questioned Barack Obama’s true country of origin, a social media reaction has taken place due to the dubiety of Trump’s recent medical report.

The girthing movement as it is known gets its name from doubts over Trump’s recorded weight and height, but it’s greater concern will ultimately comprise the report’s mendacious support of his fitness for office.

No-one could ever accuse Trump of modesty or humblebragging (“I think I am, actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.”), but his latest excursion into the realms of fantasy is a hoot, (“[I’m a] a very stable genius”).

Really? When he believes that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”?

What an idiot!

And here’s my tuppence-worth for the week …

With veracity ever so sparse
‘The Donald’ continues his farce
And fantasy meets
Vainglorious tweets
That prove he’s a true genie-a**e

A limerick a week #51

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

So, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and its environs, Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest recorded and the longest lasting of that strength, has laid waste to a number of Caribbean islands (and Donald Trump’s mansion on Saint Martin) and is, in turn, being followed by Hurricanes Jose and Katia.

Meanwhile, as reported by LiveScience in early August, “NOAA recently predicted that the season would have between 14 and 19 named storms and between two and five major hurricanes. Already, the season has experienced six named hurricanes and 11 named storms. Hurricane season doesn’t typically reach its peak till September 10“.

While all of this is going on, Trump continues to reverse the previous US administration’s efforts to limit carbon emissions and forbids policy papers to refer to global warming or climate change.

Trump’s idiocy as viewed by the Graun’s Ben Jennings

So it comes to pass that the threat to Trump’s Caribbean mansion and Floridian properties and golf courses is down solely to ‘weather extremes’ or, as a recent Graun headline phrased it, “The Trump administration’s solution to climate change: ban the term“; something facilitated by its senior advisor to the US Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, a right-wing talk-show host with no background in science, who considers climate research to be junk science.

Back in the real world, a statement from the independent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reflects the reality of the past 30 years: “A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.”

For a gabshite that’s so prone to blunder
Even Donald must soon start to wonder
If he’s wholly deranged
To think climate’s not changed
Now his home by the sea’s rent asunder.