You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2008.

I once mailed a link to RD on Ceylon, which he posted and which drew many enquiries and comments. So when the Last Queen sent me these, I thought it would be a good thing to share them with those of us who are interested in Ceylon and those times gone by – circa 1931 and 1932. Actually, one of them may well be the same one sent RD on that occasion.

This will take you to the site, but you will have to click on ‘Sri Lanka’ in the ‘Countries’ search gizmo to get you there.

Makes us wonder if folks in this country were happier then than they are now – not that it matters all that much!

Or does it??

Some of us in this country had the good fortune to watch Marsh Dodanwela play Billy Markham in Shel Silverstein’s “The Devil and Billy Markham” several months ago, and if you were one of us that did, you may remember that final verse that goes like this:

Then, arm in arm, Billy Markham and the Devil walk out through Linebaugh’s door,
Leavin’ Billy’s old beat-up guitar there on the floor.
And if you go into Linebaugh’s now, you can see it there today
Hangin’ from a nail on the wall of peelin’ gray
Billy Markham’s old guitar . . .
That nobody dares to play.

And now to continue:

Until, that is, one stormy night a stranger walked right in
To Linebaugh’s, and he looked around his face being pretty grim.
He checked out Red – still strummin his guitar, with nary a word to say,
Then he looks at Eddie, who gets a beer and turns to look away.
Vince thinks he’s seen it all before, so he passes once again,
And Ronnie with his snuff queens ain’t feelin any pain.
The stranger takes another look, then see’s Billy’s guitar
Hanging on the wall so lonely as no one dared to play.
The stranger turned to Linebaugh and in a silky voice he said
Hey man, is this that same guitar that Billy Markham played?”

They all looked up to check him out, this stranger with a face
So familiar it seemed to them, although they could not place
Where they had seen it before,
Could it have been here, so long ago,
When the Devil made his play
With spotless dice and another voice,
And Billy made his day?
Or had Billy come to claim his place,
His grace, his voice, his previous face?
They could not tell and yet they stared
At the stranger at the bar.
And Linebaugh, looking up at last
Said to the stranger with a laugh.
Yeah man that’s Billy Markham’s ol guitar

The stranger got himself a drink and lit himself a joint,
Inhaling deep he looked around and then he made his point.
He walked up to that ol guitar and gently tuned its strings,
He handled it with tender care and almost made it sing,
And then he struck some bluesey chords and got into a song
That Billy Markham played a lot, and they hadn’t heard so long.
His voice was not like Billy’s rasp, it rang out smooth and clear
Not so unlike that Devil’s tone”, thought Linebaugh as he got himself a beer.

The stranger done, he looked around to see the folk were staring
At something strange that happened while he was up there playing.
And sure enough, the stranger thought, as he looked in Linebaugh’s mirror,
His face was changing, his guitar playing and his memories made him shiver.
Another time, another place, another game with spotless dice,
Another player steeped in vice, had tricked him into playing.
And then it all came back to him
What had happened in the interim….

Down there in Hell after some time old Billy had enough
Of stupid games of roll them dice and other Devil stuff,
And so he hit upon a plan to get away from there.
He had to use the same old dice to satisfy the Devil’s vice
And so he did prepare.
He got some bones from haggard crones and carved up cubes – a pair.
He cut them out and shaped them up and polished them with care
Until they looked just like the ones the Devil would entice
A fool like him, and cheat his way to win with spotless dice.

He took his time between the works the Devil made him do,
Concealed the dice where the sun don’t shine and out the Devil’s view.
And then, when all alone at last, he painted dots where there were none
On both cubes – just like the Devil’s – and put it back when he was done.
Much later, when the Devil checked to see if all was well,
He spotted Billy working hard to stoke the fires of Hell.
Hey Billy Markham”, the Devil yelled, “get yo ass up here.
Come on up and play my game and if you win I’ll sever
The chains that bind you – no strings attached – and you’ll leave Hell forever

Billy smiled, his chance had come – he had waited for this time
To get right back to Linebaugh’s bar and get his ass in line
To hang out with them pimps and whores, his gambling and his other woes,
To breathe fresh air, play his guitar, sing the blues, get stoned once more.
And so he got his ass in gear and climbed out of the pit
That he was in for all the sins that he did once commit.
The Devil laughed, he cracked right up to think that all this while
Billy never tired of being made a fool by his satanic majesty’s guile.

Gimme them dice, I’ll play the game” said Billy thinking fast
He knew he had the other pair he’d hidden up his ass.
The Devil laughed, his evil leer made Billy think that never
Would he be more determined to pull this off and and leave this dump for ever.
So he took the Devil’s dice and thinking fast he made a pass behind his fanny
And switched his dice with painted spots with the Devil’s own that hadn’t any.
He shook em up, blew in his fists and watched the Devil leer
As he chanted “Come on sweethearts, do your thing and get me outta here”.

He rolled the dice across the floor of the Devil’s sanctum scene
They rolled until they hit the wall and ended up – “thirteen
Screamed Billy – holding up the dice so they’d be seen.

You cheated me” the Devil yelled “these fucking dice have spots,
There’s sevens on one when mine had none
And only sixes on the other one
Sorry” said Billy with a smile, “they’re the only dice I’ve got”.

Well, the Devil had to keep his word and set old Billy free
And so he took him by his hand and walked him to the edge
Of Hell, and pointed out for him to see
The fringes of eternity.
He shook his hand and with a grin
Said, “Billy, you deserve to win
You played my game
And did your thing
And then you played my game to win
Your freedom. So go and get back to your bar
And sing the blues and play guitar
And hang out with them pimps and whores,
Your gambling and your other woes,
Go breathe fresh air, get stoned once more

And then, without so much as a “fare thee well”,
Bill was kicked out from the gates of Hell.

So now he’s back in Linebaugh’s bar.
He’ll sing the blues and play guitar
And hang out with them pimps and whores,
His gambling and his other woes
And breathe fresh air, get stoned as well,
Having left the Devil in his fires of Hell.

Being an ex-soldier, he thought to himself, gave him a far better insight into the workings of the military minds that determined strategy, than those pseudo-analysts who thought that just by reading Sun Tzu, or Rommel’s ‘Infantry Attacks’, or Michail Dragomirov, or some other treatise on war and strategy, they were experts. He remembered the forecasts by one of those self-proclaimed specialists whose weekly column (before he ascended to higher stations in the international orbit) included numerous theoretical scenarios of what Prabhakaran would do, complete with his descriptive ‘pincer movements’ and other forecasts of how the war would turn out. Turned out to be a crock of shit! He wondered at the mindsets of those who took these idiots seriously. But then that was the way of the masses – just consider the US’ misadventures in Iraq that brought terror and untold suffering to thousands – both at home, as well as in Iraq, whilst the corporate entities included in the deal minted lucre, with the benefits flowing down all the tributaries of distribution to those chosen few, selected by their benefactors on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Not much different here – the grunts bore the brunt – and their families back home, whilst the powers continued with their ‘not-so-hidden’ agendas. But for how long could the masses be fooled?

He remembered the axiom – All warfare is based on deception

He knew the war at home couldn’t really settle the issues that created the conditions for its escalation, but also knew that Prabhakaran needed to be defeated, if not destroyed, to make whatever settlement was possible to come about. All those bleeding heart do-gooders who had no idea of the drivel they put out, not having, as he did, a first hand experience of the terrors and tribulations the grunt faced out there in the dry heat during most of the year, and in the humid conditions brought about by the monsoon where they often had to wade through slush and scrub, ever careful to avoid reptiles and other creatures, in spite of the painful cracks between the toes where the constant dampness caused fungal infections and that made life even more difficult. The enemy was resourceful and crafty, and he harboured a secret admiration for their dedication and courage in the face of so many disadvantages and lack of more sophisticated weaponry. Most of them, mere kids, were fanatical in their missions – quite unlike a lot of the soldiers who were in it due to their social circumstances and not to do with anything even resembling ‘patriotism’ or ‘commitment’ to a cause. He often wondered what the hell he was doing there until, as usual, he remembered the circumstances that led to him enlisting and that seemed like ages and ages, so long ago.

He had got out in time – for innumerable reasons – not least being the fact that he had had it. The wound started the thought process going until he thought to himself – enough of the bullshit from the top, enough of being commanded by some who were not worthy of his respect. There were the officers that he admired for the various characteristics they displayed that made them in his eyes, worthy – the ones that led from the front being chief amongst them. And once he had made his mind up about the futility of how the war was being fought, it was easy to move on. He had better things to do with his life.

Now it was all so different. And although the marriage hadn’t worked out, he would always find the ultimate joy in the hours he spent with his only child – whenever that was possible. The post-war job was satisfying and he was more successful than he imagined he would be when he lay in hospital recovering from what was fortunately not such a serious condition. He now also regretted the direction the war was going in on the ground in the south. When the stories of abductions and white vans started, he viewed them with skepticism and defended the government’s position to its critics, but this view had gradually disintegrated as he got inside information that contradicted his views. The beatings, disappearances and murder of the journalists brought the gravity of the situation up front, especially when one of those who was severely beaten up and threatened happened to be a friend he knew to be objective and not, as some other journalists were known to be, sympathizers of opposition politicians or who had other agendas to work on. His friend was in critical physical condition and his mental state was also cruelly altered, resulting in his nearly unrecognizable state.

The final straw was when he heard the news that his ex-wife and child had been caught up in a mob running amok trying to disperse a peace rally they were not even a part of – just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were injuries, he heard, although he wasn’t aware of the exact situation until he reached the hospital. And that was when he cracked.

He had made his mind up. Enough of the killing of innocents – no matter what ‘side’ of the country they were in. There were other parents with heavy hearts – and will be many more. Maybe his action would make a difference. He knew what he was about and knew how to achieve his object. He was familiar with the procedures.

As he prepared for his mission his mind was still. He had been a good student and knew that seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful – only in this instance there would be no ‘seizing’.

Termination’ was the name of his game.

Emily Brontesaurus wondered lonely – not as a cloud but not unlike one either
She floated about – not on winged feet but floated nonetheless waiting for the time
That would bring forth the fruit of harboured desires and reckless suggestive dreams
No matter
That she could no longer enter the portalled labyrinth that led up the convoluted stream
Of consciousness for reasons best known to keepers of codes and the imaginary entities
Standing guard at the entrance to infinity lest her imploring break the barrier to the coven
Now extinct
Until her persistence could force their existence through the boundaries of reality
To make once more the thirteen for the coven that made their magic come alive
Again amid the swirling mysts and muted darkness of the petrified forest they inhabited
Long ago
When Lennon imagined Strawberry Fields and The Walrus was A Nowhere Man
In his Nowhere Land doing nothing but watch Lucy in the sky search for diamonds
That had long gone the way of Bungalow Bill with his elephant and gun – no mum
This time
It was different the way Silverstein got Billy Markham to sing them catchy melodic blues
For Mephistopheles to swing to the counterpointed rhythm and make mayhem for Mick
And those Stones in the park near the Golden Gate that led to the immeasurable abyss
She loved
Falling faa-ll-ling fa-a-a-l-l-lling feeling the wind rush past as she picked up speed
Like a meteor through space past galaxies but always at the center of her universe
She sped through time to the very beginning when creation was yet to be
Before God
Made Its first mistake in that Garden of Eden with misfits and wrong reptilian forms
Beginning the curse on the species now too far gone to turn back from the threshold
Of self-destructive genetic urges that brook no sympathy for the Devil’s advocate
And still
She lingers in that Wasteland with roots that clutch where broken branches grow
From stony rubbish
where Eliot sang a love song for J. Alfred Prufock until exhausted
Her endless quest for truth unquenched – Emily retreats to where time ceases
To exist

That’s Java’s recurring
dream – he has no control. What can I say?

She wanted to score so badly, but the thing about it was it had to be on her own terms – and this was the problem for her. The guys that she had run into since getting back and who had shown interest in her seemed, for the most part, only interested in getting some nookie – or did she imagine this? And to make matters worse, all of them, save one or two, were positively Neandertholic in their heads – which wouldn’t do at all. She needed more than just sex to make for any kind of meaningful relationship and boost her sense of worth. Come to think of it, she had met more chicks that were far more attractive, made intelligent and intelligible conversation, and who were cool to be around. And so, she wondered, did it make any sense at all to keep on looking for that elusive male who would find it mutually attractive to get something going?

She had never been in a relationship with another female – not counting those early days when school-girl crushes went only so far and no further, and wondered how she would cope, now that she was so much older and ‘worldly-wise’. She had gay friends and wasn’t in the least bit homophobic, so it wouldn’t be that much of a big deal for her to take the plunge – or so she thought.

Never having been to the ‘Blues’ before, she was quite taken by the vibe when she and her two friends – a couple who had been seeing each other for the past year, but had not yet felt ready to make their relationship ‘legal’ – walked into the place. They headed for the near end of the bar by the pool tables. It was Friday and not quite midnight yet so the place was only sparsely peopled and there was even a pool table going a-begging, so they ordered their drinks, moved a couple of seats around a table between the bar and the pool tables and then she looked around to survey the scene – not wanting to catch any of the eyes that were cast in their direction as they walked into the place. Her friends made for the free pool table and started to shoot a game of eight-ball. She settled back and sipped her Margarita, getting into the DJ’s selection of the moment.

She let her gaze run down the length of the bar – nothing really startling there – except for the couple at the far end, close to the dance floor. The girl seemed to be a bit down and the guy, who she thought was definitely on the cute side, looked like he was being solicitous. The DJ had Santana and Rob Thomas doing Smooth and there were two guys dancing. There were a few folk scattered among the tables and someone who could have been one of the resident bouncers was mooching around like he was keeping an eye on the happenings. As she looked back at the couple, she saw the guy was looking right at her and as their eyes met she felt a distinct spark of something she couldn’t quite figure out at the time. And then he was back to being solicitous – the girl was still in depressed mode it seemed to her.

The pool tables were active and her two friends were totally absorbed. As she walked over to their table, one of the players at the next one said hi and smiled. He looked pretty cool, so she smiled back. She tried shooting a couple of balls with her friends, but decided to get back to her seat and finish her Margarita. As she sat back down, she looked towards the couple and once more caught the guy looking at her. This time, he gave her a faint smile but she didn’t acknowledge it, pretending that she was looking past him to the two guys, still dancing – now to some heavy house music. She took another sip of her drink and wondered if the guy was making a play for her and if so, how she should react. She felt a tinge of excitement at the prospects of a chance meeting developing into something more substantial – and God knows she needed some action, as things had certainly not looked all that bright in the area of sensual gratification since she had got back. She looked back up and sure enough, the guy was looking at her again – in between saying things to his date. This time, as their eyes met, she returned his smile and felt the slightest bit of an adrenaline rush. Tricky situation, she thought to herself.

The place was slowly getting crowded as other couples and groups started trickling in, getting tables, crowding the bar. The band was setting up for a session and place was starting to buzz. She ordered another Margarita in between exchanging a few more looks and smiles with the guy. The floor was now occupied with more dancers and as her friends joined her after their game, they all headed for the floor and started dancing. She was careful to position herself so she could see the guy, who had now shifted position, so he could watch the dancers – or was it to watch her? They smiled at each other again and then she saw him virtually force his date to get on the floor. It was crowded and the dancers were bumper to bumper, as it were. It didn’t take too long for the guy to maneuver himself and his partner to where she was and since everyone there seemed to be in very high spirits, smiles were exchanged at random whilst she felt him making physical contact. The occasional rub to begin with and then closer and more frequent contact as the crowd of dancers exceeded the space on the floor. She felt great.

At the end of a number, her friends decided to get back to where they were and get more drinks, so she flashed a parting look and went back to her drink. The couple got back to their spot at the bar not too long after, and by now the looks were long and meaningful – or so she thought. After a bit, she excused herself and headed for the Ladies’. There were a couple of girls smoking in a corner, and an older lady who had seen better days was washing her hands. One of the stalls was occupied. She went into the other and heard what sounded like someone clearing nostrils and then a sharp intake of breath, followed by uncontrollable giggles from the stall next to hers. More sniffling and blowing of noses followed. She finished and washed up, and as she got out of the Ladies’, there he was, lighting up a cigarette in the passage that led back to the main area of the club. She felt a flush as he said hello. He seemed in a hurry and after introducing himself and getting her name, he explained that he was trying to help a friend out but would love to meet her another time. She was trying to be cool and un-flustered, but her heart was pounding as she wondered how to react.

There were others going in and out of the Ladies’ as they stood there – it all seemed to her to be like in a dream. She heard the back-beat from the music, the smoke and dimly lit passage making everything appear surreal. The passers-by moved in slo-mo. Her head was a blank and all she could see was his anxious face as he waited for her answer to his question. Was she dreaming? It all seemed so unreal. She asked for his phone and inserted her number, giving it back to him without a word. He held her hand for an instant and walked away with a parting glance that had a certain spark.

The disco lights were a flashing colourful blur and the music pounded her head as she walked back to her friends. It wasn’t a dream. She could hardly wait.

Heard something this morning on a radio news channel about a protest in Paris with regard to billboards. The folk organizing the protest aim to take matters literally into their own hands and paint over the advertisements, so the message of the advertisers will be indecipherable and their own ‘message’ up there for all to see. They have also decided not to be secretive about it – in fact, they welcome being arrested, as this will enable them to initiate a serious debate on this issue through the French legal system. Their rationale is fairly simple and in this day and age of treasuring one’s ‘rights’, makes pretty good sense. In short, they feel that a billboard, as opposed to advertising on TV, radio or other media outlets, does not allow the individual the right to ‘turn it off’ if they choose not to be affected by it. There is also the case that it is visual pollution and spoils the ambient beauty of the environment.

Java and I also view billboards as an unnecessary evil that is forced on us – whether we like it or not – by advertisers, which include the folk who want to sell their products and the advertising companies that encourage them to. Java reminded me of the scenario on the East Coast after the tsunami had wreaked its havoc all the way down the coast, when a whole slew of medium-sized billboards appeared, almost overnight, to advertise a brand of tri-shaw. It was like blight on the sea-scape and an affront to our sensibilities – for more reasons than one. There we were, trying to help out the survivors of the awful experience, and there they were – the advertisers, trying to hock their wares – possibly hoping that some of that ‘aid’ money would flow their way.

Billboards in the city (Colombo, in this case) are not quite as bad, given that they are crammed in with all sorts of other visual pollutants and don’t disturb the aesthetics of the surroundings as do those placed at strategic locations that succeed in destroying the scenic beauty of our rural environment. One just has to take a bend on the Colombo – Kandy road to be assaulted by monstrous rectangles depicting an assortment of personalities or just plain folk imploring the viewer to ‘get some too’. What a fucking bore!

I remember in the early eighties there was some manufacturer of shock-absorbers who took the liberty of painting what would have been considered to be ‘suitable’ rocks, with the message that X shock-absorbers were great and where to get them. This was done continuously along the road and succeeded in getting us and the friends we were with so pissed off, that we got ourselves some spray cans and set about obliterating the white painted messages with black paint, so that the rocks looked reasonably ‘natural’. It was both painstaking, as well as expensive, but we did our bit as our consciences deemed appropriate. Billboards, however, are a whole other can of worms! How to fight them?

The Parisiennes are giving it their all – and more power to them. But looking at the scenario here, I guess that public opinion is just not in that place, where protests on such ‘mundane’ issues are concerned – and who can blame us, with all the other shit that’s going down? But in the end I guess it will be up to the advertising agencies and their clients to have the sensitivity and be in tune with infringing on the sensibilities of a lot of us who do care about the environment and the visual beauty of our land, and not too much about which mobile phone is superior or what milk is better for your children – particularly when most of the populace just can’t afford any of what is being shoved in our faces.

Do you think that if sales plummeted for stuff advertised on particular billboards (the ones that screw up our countryside) that the Agencies and Clients would flash on the reverse effect they have on the psychology of the consumer? So perhaps boycotting products advertised on offensive billboards would be the way to go?

What do you think?

RD’s two-liner post posing the question on whether bloggers make better observers, made Java bring up a few thoughts on the subject. Actually, come to think of it, the question would have made more sense if it was posed in reverse – that is, ‘are (good) observers better bloggers?’ – as opposed to bloggers that are not all that observant. This would obviate some of the comments that quite correctly pointed out that some excellent observers don’t even blog.

And then again, what is it that makes a ‘good observer’? Is it someone who is so attentive that nearly everything going on is ‘observed’? Or is it someone who focuses on one facet of what is going on and absorbs the essence of it so that it gets embedded in the memory bank and can be recalled at will? Or is it someone who takes in the whole picture but yet has the ability to assess and zoom in on what is considered to be the focal point in relation to the object of the observation? Or, in the case of a blogger who is looking for a subject, is it one whose ‘observation’ enables a flight of imagination that is based on the observation, but really has nothing to do with it? Or is it the blogger who has that kind of memory that will enable a snapshot like reproduction of the observed events to be blogged about? There are other possibilities as well, so the question gets complex.

Anyway, since (presumably) RD’s post had to do more with ‘bloggers’ than ‘observers’, Java ventures to ‘observe’ the following:

Hey maaan, seems to me dat bein a good observer shurre would help wit addin to what dem writers (not jus bloggers, hear?) get into dere heads and den down on paper, but den da individual’s creative abilities mus be up to som standard to get dose observashuns down in a way dat makes what be written eider interestin or informative, or both. Like ol RD – good blogger, an fair to middlin observer (dat last bit jus so he won’t be wit his head in dem clouds!).

That’s Java’s take on it – and it seems a fair ‘observation’.

As for my thoughts on it – it’s probably a combination of being a good observer, with the added inputs of insights, imagination and the skill to express oneself with wit, intelligence and lucidity (not necessarily in that order) that makes for a ‘good’ blogger (or writer). But then again, I guess ‘good’ depends on who is reading and what level of ‘intelligence’ is present (or not!) – not to mention interest in the subject(s) being blogged about.

So there – some thoughts for RD, and for the rest of us who give a shit, to ponder on with regard to his original question: ‘Are bloggers better observers?’

Have you ever noticed that sometimes similar events take place in cycles? This was brought home a few days ago by another attempt by the dogs – Sally in particular – again! Once more it was towards the end of the usual morning walk, when I spotted Sally absorbed in following the spoor of some creature. She dashed around and then disappeared into the wild patch next door, with Buster, Rocky and Bruiser following in eager anticipation. The next thing I knew was that a Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak) was in the garden with Sally virtually at its heels. I started to yell at her and run towards them when Sal got the deer by the rump, which made me pick up speed before the others got there and got into finishing off the poor frightened animal. And then I found myself hurtling through the air – having run obliviously into and over the rabbit proof, waist high, chicken-wire fence that protects the vege beds from the hare (Lepus nigricollis singhala). Using my hands to break the fall, I felt the impact with some amount of pain shooting through my right forearm and left wrist, but sprang up to continue the chase. Perhaps my yelling, combined with the thud of the fall, distracted Sally, as the deer managed to get away and bounded towards the fence bordering the fields at the bottom edge of the garden and disappeared from view, Sally and the others still in pursuit.

I stood there, not quite aware of what exactly happened and wondering about the damage, if any, to my arm and wrist. So I went through the motions of flexing the affected joints to check if anything was broken or dislocated and was glad to realize that the joints appeared to be intact, although the soreness was starting to increase gradually. The dogs returned after a while, Sally with deer blood around her mouth, and I sent one of the boys down to see if they had got the deer. Thankfully the folk working the fields reported that they had seen it disappear into another wild patch further down and it did appear that it had got away.

I had a busy morning ahead as there was work-related stuff to do at Monaragala that involved others who had made the trip from Colombo, so it couldn’t be postponed. Anyway, I strapped my right arm, which looked like having a bad elbow sprain and set off. The meetings went off successfully, but the pain was ever increasing until it got so bad I wondered if I had really suffered more than just a sprain. Getting through the work as quickly as I could, it was back to Flowerbook to try to cope with the hassle of being handicapped with no ‘near and dear’ to help out – all concerned being back in the city. At this time, the arm was definitely dysfunctional, with a bruised and swollen elbow, so that I couldn’t even get a doob to my lips with it – in spite of Java’s encouragement. Brushing teeth with the left hand was far more complicated than I thought it would be, and showering, soaping and drying myself was also tricky and fraught with elements of shooting pains. Typing shit was also rather a strain (hence the shortage of posts!), though possible, and sleeping had to be dependent on the position, with as little movement as possible. In short – it is a horrendous drag!

Now, just three days, many ice-packs and some amount of flexing later, I can almost get the doob to my lips and the pain is a lot lighter – I can even type for a reasonable amount of time, so it does look like the healing process is well underway and hopefully it will be back to ‘normal’ in a few more days.

The problem is trying to get Sally to curb her natural instincts and be cool with the animals, which does pose the problem of sussing out the strength of genetic programming versus the results of effective environmental conditioning.

But I’m working on it.

Here’s something interesting we were sent by Kranzloid. I’m sure it’s bound to generate heaps of thoughts on the subject- and perhaps even some major changes in behavioural patterns with regard to most folks’ favourite desire. It’s the result of a study conducted by a North Carolina State University. Check it out.

Study: Fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women

(AP) -Women who perform the act of fellatio on a regular basis, one to two times a week, may reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 40 percent, a North Carolina State University study found.

Doctors had never suspected a link between the act of fellatio and breast cancer, but new research being performed at North Carolina State University is starting to suggest that there could be an important link between the two.

In a study of over 15,000 women suspected of having performed regular fellatio over the past ten years, the researchers found that those actually having performed the act regularly, one to two times a week, had a lower occurrence of breast cancer than those who had not. There was no increased risk, however, for those who did not regularly perform.

“I think it removes the last shade of doubt that fellatio is actually a healthy act,” said Dr. B.J. Sooner of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. “I am surprised by these findings, but am also excited that the researchers may have discovered a relatively easy way to lower the occurrence of breast cancer in women.”

The University researchers stressed that, though breast cancer is relatively uncommon, any steps taken to reduce the risk would be a wise decision.

“Only with regular performance will your chances be reduced, so I encourage all women out there to make fellatio an important part of their daily routine,” said Dr. Inserta Shafteer, one of the researchers at the University. “Since the emergence of the research, I try to fellate at least once every other night to reduce my chances.”

The study is reported in Friday’s Journal of Medical Research.

In 1991, 43,582 women died of breast cancer, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Len Lictepeen, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said women should not overlook or “play down” these findings.

“This will hopefully change women’s practice and patterns, resulting in a severe drop in the future number of cases,” Lictepeen said.

Sooner said the research shows no increase in the risk of breast cancer in those who are, for whatever reason, not able to fellate regularly.

“There’s definitely fertile ground for more research. Many have stepped forward to volunteer for related research now in the planning stages,” he said.

Almost every woman is, at some point, going to perform the act of fellatio, but it is the frequency at which this event occurs that makes the difference, say researchers.

The research consisted of two groups, 6,246 women ages 25 to 45 who had performed fellatio on a regular basis over the past five to ten years, and 9,728 women who had not. The group of women who had performed fellatio had a breast cancer rate of 1.9 percent and the group who had not had a breast cancer rate of 10.4 percent.

“The findings do suggest that there are other causes for breast cancer besides the absence of regular fellatio,” Shafteer said. “It’s a cause, not THE cause.”

How about that?!!!

That was a few years ago – now get ready for the downer!

The Truth

This story is a hoax.

When you go to the web address that has circulated in the eRumor (, you get an explanation from a man identifying himself as Brandon Williamson, a student at North Carolina State University. He says he wrote the phony CNN story as a joke and intended that it would be seen by only a few friends. Within a few days, however, he found out that the page, which had been posted on the University’s website, had been visited more than a half-million times.

He got into trouble with the Associate Press (the original version had identified the article as from AP) and the university, so he’s altered the article to accommodate their concerns.

Sorry bout dat, but we got fooled too – for just a mo!

Buster got the blues. And it’s all because he tried to mess with a porcupine (Hystrix indica). This was when I was at Flowerbook doing my routine morning ‘round’ with the pooches. Fortunately for him, although it didn’t seem like it at the time, Rocky was tethered for being a delinquent and so missed getting spiked like Buzzy and Sal did.

We were approaching the last bit of the walk and I was absorbed in trying to count how many Scimitar Babblers (Pomatorhinus melanurus) were in the flock that were chirruping in the scrub at the edge of the property. Sally dashed off through the bush to the small piece of abandoned land next door, followed closely by Buster and then I heard the unmistakable sound of the chase through the bush. I figured it must have been the usual mongoose (Herpestes sp.) or civet cat (Viverricula sp.) that the dogs love to hassle whenever they sus one out, until I heard a distinctly painful yelp and then lots more scrabbling around. Getting a bit worried about the possibilities that they may have run into a boar and were getting into something more than they could handle, I rushed to as close as I could get to them, yelling for them to “come”. The next thing I knew was a crashing through the scrub and a blur of motion through the tall illuk grass, with Sally in pursuit. I couldn’t see the creature that Sally was chasing and asked Selvam, who was doing his morning chores in the vicinity, what it was. Selvam, who is clueless about creatures of the wild replied that it was a mongoose, and when I rather doubtfully asked what colour it was, he said it was black and white and had kuru (quills)! Having had previous experiences with dogs’ encounters with porcupines, I got a bit worried, and then I saw Buzzy limping back homeward, so hurried to find out how extensive the damage was.

Bleeding profusely from his shoulder where a quill had penetrated about an inch, he had a quill sticking out a fraction of an inch from his eye and another two sticking out of his chest, Buzzy was looking in rather sad shape, not knowing what really hit him. I got the quills out and bathed the wounds with warm water and then washed them out as well as I could with spirits. A rather large swelling was visible on the shoulder, but the bleeding stopped with the pressure I applied, so it didn’t look too, too serious.

In the meantime Sally returned from the chase with a quill sticking out of her snout – again just missing her eye, and two more in her chest. The one that missed the eye had penetrated quite deep and I had trouble getting it out. Sal had, in her attempts to paw the quill out, partially broken it – which is why I had a problem extracting it, although I didn’t know it at the time. Fortunately, I turned it around, which would have got the jagged edges together, and then I managed to get it out. There was hardly any bleeding, which surprised me, and Sal was soon back to ‘normal’.

Buzzy however, was feeling very sorry for himself, obviously in pain and not interested in any of much. He was very quiet for most of the day, limping a bit when he walked around, so I gave him a pain-killer. Later in the evening, however, during the usual game of cricket with the kids next door, he seemed more of himself – disturbing the game as he usually does by getting the kids to throw stones for him to fetch.

He was quite himself the next morning as I packed up for the trip back to the city, joining the other dogs to look a bit down in the dumps as they saw the bags coming out. Hopefully it will be a lesson learned and neither Buzzy nor Sal will attempt to mess with a porci ever again.