Ubermungo™ is Hooting Yard’s terrifically lifelike artificial brain, built out of dough and string and wax and coathangers and processed cheese triangles and fig newtons and titanium. Every Sunday, it answers readers’ questions.
Dear Ubermungo™. I am a flapper. When I flap with too great enthusiasm, my cloche hat becomes dislodged. What advice would you give? – Poopy Clingclang
Well, Poopy, if you glue your hat to your head with a proprietary hat-head adhesive, future dislodgements will be rarer than albino Stalinists, and you can flap the night away to your heart’s content.
Dear Ubermungo™. What in the name of god is a nudibranch? – P V Bib
Wait while my innards process the question, P V.
Dear Ubermungo™. Yesterday I tied a yellow ribbon round an old oak tree. Today I am searching for the hero inside myself. Tomorrow I am thinking it might be a good idea to find out if my friends are electric. Are any of these activities valid? – S Fry
Stephen – No, they are not. Go and boil your head.
Dear Ubermungo™. Who won the FA Cup Final in 1968? – Bathsheba Gubbins (Mrs)
My innards are still whirring and buzzing away at P V Bib’s question, Mrs Gubbins, but the answer is something like West Bromwich Noblia. You may wish to check that.
Dear Ubermungo™. Shortly after taking part in the Tet Offensive, I was sitting on a balcony in a foreign capital city when my attention was drawn ineluctably to a toad sitting on a neighbouring balcony. Like many toads, it had a jewel embedded in its head, a jewel that glittered so brightly it was visible through the toad’s translucent green skin. My balcony was covered with an awning, so when a violent rainstorm began, I was untroubled. But the toad’s balcony had no awning, and despite its amphibious nature the toad appeared disconcerted by the rain, and it hopped away, out of my sight. The thing is, in the years that followed, I have been haunted by that brief vision, and more particularly, unmoored from peace and reason by my ignorance of precisely what sort of precious stone was lodged in the head of the toad. If I were to draw, with a pencil, from memory, a sketch showing the way the soon-to-be expunged sunlight glistened, through the skin, upon the jewel, the angles it cast, the tints and textures of the light, do you think you might be able to ascertain whether it was, say, a ruby or an emerald or an amethyst? – “Phnom Penh Vet”
Dear Tet Vet, All would depend on the skill with which you wield a pencil. You should also bear in mind that I am a mere artificial brain, and have no eyes, and thus cannot see. What I can do, at last, is tell P V Bib that a nudibranch is a sea slug.
Dear Ubermungo™. What is life but a vale of affliction? – Old Halob
Life can also be an opportunity to stand at the side of a running track, coughing up catarrh and keeping a beady eye on a stopwatch, dressed in a sordid raincoat and a Homburg hat. You should know that better than anybody, Old Halob!
>Every Sunday, it answers readers’ questions.
I know it’s none of my business, but can I ask what it does the rest of the week? Should I ask Ubermungo™ itself, in fact, and, if so, how?
R : You will be pleased to hear that Ubermungo™ is keeping a journal of its week, so we will all have the pleasure of finding out what on earth it gets up to from Monday to Saturday.