Saturday snippet: urinary frigidity

A few weeks ago, I published an excerpt from the late Brigadier Dick Lord’s history of the South African Air Force, “From Fledgling to Eagle“.  It was well received, particularly because it was very funny, and I had several requests for more of his tales of flight and fighting in the service of three different countries.  I’m happy to oblige, and I’ll post more snippets from his books at odd intervals in future. This tale comes at the end of his advanced training as a pilot in Britain’s Fleet Air Arm, during the very early 1960’s.  It’s taken from his autobiography, “From

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Doofus Of The Day #1,057

Here’s a graphic illustration of why you shouldn’t use gasoline in combination with matches to clear an ant or termite nest out of your back yard. Must have been fun explaining that to his wife! A common practice in many parts of Africa was to soak the offending nest with a couple of gallons of gasoline, but then leave it alone for the gas to penetrate fully and kill off the ants or termites by poisoning them.  We didn’t toss lighted matches at the gas-soaked ground, for obvious reasons, as illustrated above. I can still recall (with some glee) the

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A blast from the (fashionable) past

Australian reader Snoggeramus, who’s contributed many candidates for our Doofus Of The Day award, drew my attention to this 1997 report. George Alexander of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports that attorneys for Oleg Cassini phoned, saying how dare JPL put the fashion designer’s name on its Saturn probe without permission. JPL’s lawyers replied that the Cassini spacecraft was named for Jean Dominique Cassini, an 18th century astronomer. “There was a long silence on the other end of the phone,” Alexander said, “followed by an ‘Oh.’ ” Talk about an argument lost in space. Yes, that would have left egg on the lawyers’ collective faces.  I wonder

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Saturday snippet: Sam the Sex God

Some years ago I published “Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls“, a memoir of my service as a prison chaplain. Many of the realities of prison life are grim and unappealing, but there are flashes of humor even inside the walls that can relieve the tension.  Here’s one incident, as narrated in that book. A large proportion of the hardened criminals in high-security institutions are mentally unstable, to say the least. Some are downright psychotic. We have psychologists who constantly monitor our inmate population, treat those who need it, and advise the rest of us on problem areas. Inmates whose condition

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It’s time for the annual Broadway Bomb again

The Broadway Bomb is a skateboarding event held every year in New York City.  It’s been declared illegal since 2012, but that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from staging it.  (The Wikipedia page for the event appears to have been hacked by people with an axe to grind – at least at the time of writing.) Back in 2013, the police deployed in force to stop the riders.  Did it work?  Like hell it did!  Here’s a video clip that I posted that year, showing the results. I’m told that police haven’t bothered to intervene like that in subsequent years.  I can see why! Peter

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I bet that got dust up his intakes

An Algerian Mig-29 made an extraordinarily low pass over Mecheria airfield a few days ago.  If he’d towed a lawnmower behind him, I reckon he’d have got a full bag of grass cuttings in no time at all . . . The heavy smoke from the engines is a hallmark of the Mig-29, just as it was for the F-4 Phantom II. The later development of the MiG-29, the MiG-35, is better in that respect, but the smoke is still visible. Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #1,056

Today’s award goes to the member of Congressional representative Brian Mast’s staff who posted this tribute on Twitter to the US Navy.  (I presume it wasn’t composed by Mr. Mast himself – he’s a combat veteran, and, given that background, hopefully knows enough about the navies of world powers not to make this mistake.  Even so, it went out under his name, so he owns it.) Sadly, the tribute was misplaced.  That picture shows the Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy, not a US Navy ship.  The original tweet has since been corrected, and now shows a US Navy carrier task force.  Still, it was

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Not so much a flypast as a blowdown

It seems an Indonesian Mil Mi-35 gunship (an export version of the Mil Mi-24) recently made an unexpected and very low flypast during rehearsals for a military parade in the Natuna Regency, in the Riau Islands.  That proved to be not a good idea . . . I hope they had backup copies of those billboard posters.  I suspect the originals were probably damaged beyond repair. Peter

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