Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pass the henbane, mother, and some more of those spotty mushrooms

NATURAL SELECTION is a wonderful thing. Thanks to the forces of nature, the strong survive and the weak don’t, and right always triumphs over wrong.

Which brings us to celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson. Writing in something called Healthy and Organic Living magazine, a top-shelf title if ever I’ve seen one, the little bearded gimp recommended a weed called henbane as “a great addition to salads”.

One small problem: henbane, which is related to deadly nightshade, is a classified poison that can cause hallucinations, convulsions and a rapid heart rate. Indeed, dear old Dr Crippen used henbane to make the poison with which to kill his wife.

Poor Anthony has since been reviled in the national press for his homicidal carelessness. I, however, regard him as a hero. For all we know, AWT could be a double agent: a man devoted to the cause of allowing the yoghurt-knitting bunny-huggers who read dangerous propaganda like Healthy and Organic Living magazine to exterminate themselves by eating such delicious dishes as ragwort trifle and red-and-white spotted mushroom risotto. And that’s natural selection.

Want more evidence? Scientists have announced that vegetarian men who eat even a small amount of soya-based products (e.g. Linda McCartney’s sausages) have a lower sperm count than that of meat-eating men.

There is only one possible outcome to this – nutters will be less successful at breeding than normal people and will eventually, inevitably, die out, like the dodo and the dinosaur. Truly, God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.

I’LL TELL you another group heading for the great Mausoleum in the Sky – men with beards. (I was going to write ‘people with beards’ there but I didn’t want to upset the non-shaving, sensible shoe-wearers in dungarees who worship at the shrine of K.D. Lang.)

Think about it: what do Radovan Karadzic, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro and Peter Sutcliffe have in common? Yep, they all have or have had beards.

The aforementioned, wife-murdering Dr Crippen? Growing a beard on a transAtlantic liner when he was apprehended. The pensioner-topping, public services-saving Dr Harold Shipman? Reassuring, leave-me-your-money, whiskers. Dr Rowan Williams, advocate of homosexual priests, female bishops, and the introduction of Sharia law to our legal system? A full set that would put W. G. Grace to shame. Evil, the lot of them.

(Actually, I’ve just noticed another link there. They’re all doctors, of one sort or another. Although you wouldn’t really want any of them to make a house call. Especially the God-botherer.)

LORD NELSON performed many duties for his country, not least putting the fear of Dr Rowan Williams up the Frogs and the fuzzy-wuzzies, therefore keeping the sea lanes clear for our prosperous slave trade. And he never grew a beard.

But now it appears that he might have done us the greatest service ever, fully 200 years after his death. Scientists (presumably the same men who have pointed out the scrotal deficiencies of vegetarians) have been studying the ships’ logs of Nelson and Captain Cook and can now reveal that global warming is not so unusual after all.

The Met Office, an organisation so normally so timid that it forecasts “sunshine and showers with spells of heavy rain and sleet … and hail … and snow” on a daily basis (and then gets blamed for no-one choosing to take their summer hols in the still-smouldering Weston-super-Mare), has stuck its metaphorical head into the hornet’s nest of political correctness and announced that after studying the weather conditions recorded in more than 6,000 naval logs dating back to 1600, we actually went through a similar period of global warming during the 1730s as to that which we’re experiencing today.

Now forgive my historical ignorance, but I think I’m on safe ground when I say that 4x4 vehicles were thin on the ground in the 1730s. So were coal-fired or nuclear power stations, cheap flights to the continent, plasma televisions and Marks and Spencer carrier bags. Yet still polar bears were chucking themselves off crumbling glaciers and a mad Prince, heir to the throne, wibbled on about the impact of carthorse emissions on the environment to any plant in his garden prepared to listen.

(Excuse me a moment … I’ve just realised that I’ve learnt more about history from four series of Blackadder than I have from 13 years of assorted schoolteachers.)

So, as I keep telling you, we’re being conned. Your car isn’t being taxed to extinction and your bins aren’t being emptied to stop global warming. It’s always happened and it always will. These things go in cycles, and our own influence on our own environment is tiny and ineffectual in the grander scale of things.

Still, as long as it gives the EU the chance to bully us and our own government an excuse to tax us to the hilt, then no-one in authority is going to let the real story have any credence. Think about that the next time you’re stood in front of a Dalek-like row of multi-coloured recycling bins trying to decide if a cornflakes packet is ‘waxed cardboard’, ‘treated cardboard’, or just plain ‘cardboard cardboard’, knowing that a £110 fine will be winging your way if you get it wrong.

SOME HOSPITALS have had to call in pest controllers over 50 times in the past year to combat infestations of rats, fleas and cockroaches.

Forgive me, but I would have been more worried if they HADN’T called in pest controllers …


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a pedant,But Crippen killed his wife with Hyoscine whish he purchased from a chemist.However, I wouldn't take my word for it as I have a beard.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Random said...

Except that one hospital in Portsmouth claimed the reason it had a lot of callouts was for sea birds. Dead ones. Forgive me for naivity, but if I find a dead bird in an inappropriate place I chuck it in the bin, and disinfect as appropriate. I don't pay someone to do it!

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barry, you are a gifted writer and I'm particularly glad you've gone on about the decline of grammar - however, you yourself are guilty! Not only do you not understand all right abut think it's alright, and even worse think you are loathe when you are loth, but on this latest instalment you have Think about that the next time you’re STOOD in front of when you should say Think about that the next time you’re STANDING in front of - actually a pretty awful fundamental grammatical balls-up. You're a good writer otherwise, so please pay attention to what you're putting.

5:24 AM  
Anonymous a smartarse said...


You may be a grammar expert but your punctuation's shite.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

"our own influence on our own environment is tiny and ineffectual in the grander scale of things"

Once you can tell me that you've studied climate modelling and/or associated science devotedly for a couple of years, I think I'll stick with the body of science on this one.

In any event, given the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction versus your commute costing you a few bob more each month - action seems the sensible choice.

7:08 AM  
Anonymous arescee said...

Methinks it is perhaps even more simple Baz,
Those most likeley to be reading about, or following the advice of A.W.T. are indigenous white middle to lower class - How many Indians, Muslims or etc. have you heard saying "I'm just Going out for a Worrall ma!".
The rest of the indigenous population that can afford to, are already leaving the country for lands abroad.
So if the remaining indigenous population deteriorates enough by following A.W.T's advice, that will leave almost all of this land for those that can swim well enough, run fast enough, or pole vault any fences into Britain. - At least in years to come Britain should have an Olympic team second to none.
I think Tony Blair & Gordon Brown were planning to have all of this in place by 2012 for some reason!

7:18 AM  
Anonymous twojags said...

Actually Ben the body of science is decidedly split on the matter. I take it you're siding with the government funded ones.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous ade niah said...

"The body of science"

What the fu­ck is that? You only hear about "anthropometric" global warming from pseudo intellectuals: environmental journalists, committed second rate politicians, activists and other such detritus.

If someone like David Bellamy says its a load of old cock then I remain a sceptic. We have more pressing matters to squander resources on than polar bears.

This is a bigger con than the Millenium Bug.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous tony b.liar said...

The trouble with so many of the "anonymous" boneheads who make "learned comments" about Bazza's various posts is that they are all too often WRONG. Henbane is indeed a poisonous plant and the reason it is, is because it contains Hyoscyamine and Scopolamine [aka 'Hyoscine'].
The name Hyoscine is derived from the latin name for Henbane - Hyoscyamus niger - odd! If you don't believe me have a look at:
Hope this puts all the anonymous pedants, sophists and general smart Alecs right on this one.

p.s.Baz, I have a beard, should I be worried?

12:48 AM  
Anonymous peter carter-fuck said...

According to a programme on Channel Five I saw recently, Crippen was innocent. They analysed the DNA of some of the bits of flesh allegedly found at his house, which were meant to be his wife, and found they came from a man. They also found that the filth supressed evidence that his missus had moved out of the family home and tried to empty his bank account.

I bet the coppers who tried to fit up Colin Stagg and Barry George wish we still had hanging, it was so much easier in the olden days.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the greatest of respect, you old Devil's advocate ( lawyers started that way - as advocates- by the way) even we, your regular fans around the world, must take issue with your antipathy toward beards.

I have a full bushy. It is white, apart from the mouth hole which is slightly off colour as a means of identification for where I put my pipe. Indeed, small children often ask if I am Father Christmas. I tell them 'Yes', of course. A lie, I know, but as you are an advocate I know you will approve.

Now, a small coda somewhere to extoll the virues of beards just might get you back on my Christmas list.

1:01 AM  

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