The Forward Guide Vane – Atonement review

The wife has been to see ‘Atonement’ at the cinema and was keen to discuss the finer points of this dramatic masterpiece.
“When she gets out of the fountain her dress is so wet that you can see her front bottom.  She’s got a lot of hair for a skinny girl!”
“Perhaps she’s wearing a merkin,” I suggested.
“What the hell’s a merkin?”

A merkin is a pubic wig and they have been around (and about) for over four hundred years, although I would buy a new one if you’re going to indulge yourself.
The merkin man called at the houses of the Gentry and sold his wigs to Ladies who had removed their God-given pubic hair to combat lice infestation.  If the Man of the house answered the door, to spare the blushes of the Lady, the merkin man would pretend that he was selling false beards.  This could lead to some embarrassing mix ups in the bedroom, especially if the couple had similar tastes and had chosen the same design and colour.  In fact, Brian Rix had a play running in the West End that was based entirely on that situation.  Hilarious.

The nursery rhyme, ‘Have you seen the Muffin Man?’ is actually a corruption of the original, ‘Have you seen the Merkin man, with merkins curled or plain?’

A vertical aerodynamic fin called the Merkin first saw its use in Formula One on the Williams FW22A (2000) (as named by Chief Aerodynamicist Geof Willis), although this name was changed to the more common name of “Forward Guide Vane” after higher authorities found out its true meaning. 

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New speed record

Timothy Brady, 33, pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown court to dangerous driving.  He was clocked driving a Porsche 911 Turbo at 172 mph.  That is the fastest speed ever recorded in a routine speed check in the UK.Insp Martin Percival, of Thames Valley Police, said: “All road users share a great responsibility to others and need to realise that high speed increases the chance of failing to react to an emergency, let alone take sufficient action to resolve it.”  Insp Percival said the 172mph speed equated to 77m per second.
“To put that into context, the average duration of a single blink of the eye is 0.3 seconds, during which time the car would have travelled 23m (five car lengths).” 
In fact the constable who recorded the incident didn’t at first realise what had happened. 
“I thought I’d had some sort of stroke,” said Constable Happening, “I saw a blur of light and lost all the feeling in my toes.  There was a breeze as if an angel was passing and I heard the distant sound of Johnny Cash singing ‘I Walk the Line’.  It turned out that Mr Brady had run over my toes, luckily he was travelling so fast that it only left a fleeting impression.”

A more permanent impression was recorded by the speed cameras and Mr Brady faces ten weeks in jail.

Previous record holder, Jason McAllister, recorded a time of 156mph driving on the A90 between Aberdeen and Dundee.
“If you’ve ever spent time in Dundee you’ll know why he was leaving so fast,” said an Aberdonian.

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Shivering sands

I’ve had a ‘phone call from my mate Dunston!  Things aren’t too good.  It turns out that his ‘island’, Shivering Sands, is actuallly a World War II defence station!  He wondered why people looked at him strangely when he mentioned the name of his new home, and now he knows why the fisherman who took him out there was laughing so hard.  There are seven rusty, iron forts some still joined to each other by rickety walkways.  On their four stilt legs, rising out of the waves, they look like battered old Martians from War of the Worlds.  Below is a picture of them that I found on Dave Roberts site at gulbekian.plus.com.  Go there and have a look at some more. Imagine Dunston, his cat Flump and Justice the dog, inside their sleeping bag, inside their tent, inside their fort.  The best you can say is that the neighbours are peaceful and the front lawn doesn’t need mowing.

shiveringsands3.jpg

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Mime dies

Marcel Marceau died today aged 84.  He will be sadly missed in the world of entertainment.  A friend commented, “He was the perfect neighbour, he led a quiet life, never a sound from him and he would always lend me his make-up if I ran short.  The poor man was often struggling in the street with wind.  I got the feeling he always felt boxed in.”
Mr Marceau’s last words have not been reported.

Umbrella

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Reptile smuggler

A Californian man has been charged with using his false leg to smuggle three endangered iguanas from a nature reserve in Fiji to the United States.  He is alleged to have constructed a special compartment inside his prosthetic limb to move the reptiles.
“It was uncomfortable, a bit itchy and there was a strange smell,” said one of the iguanas.
“Our investigation was limp, we kneeded a break but once we uncovered his plan and went out on a limb he was stumped and his lawyers won’t have a leg to stand on,’ said an overworked Customs officer.
‘It’s an unusual case, but we can handle it,’ said a court official, ‘we have reptiles in here most days.’

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Captain America Civil War – film review

Knowing it was a long film we stocked up on supplies in the foyer.  I fancied an ice cream tub. The 1litre and half litre tubs with their many varieties of mixed flavours, sprinkles and choc-drops to choose from looked a bit too much for me.
Then I spied a group of 150ml tubs huddled together at the back of the bottom shelf like frightened kids in the playground on the first day of secondary school. I like chocolate as an occasional treat so I chose double-chocolate.

It was a good choice. It lived up to its description. It had two chocolate flavours and was just enough to please me. There was a cute little plastic spoon tucked away inside the lid.

I felt that a bigger tub would have taken too long to eat and confused me with the surfeit of flavours running through it. By the time I got half way through I would have felt bloated, a bit sick and my taste buds would be blunted.

Just because something is bigger and packed with more ingredients doesn’t make it better than something that is carefully considered and tightly packaged.

Next week: ‘The Nordic Avant Garde’  – at Tate Modern – a cheese and ham sandwich.

Tub

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