A Short Break

Important Hooting Yard postages are unlikely to appear over the following week while I become a temporary member of the international jet-set. During this period, the best thing you lot can do by way of coping is to sprawl in a ditch and sob your little hearts out. To assist you in this endeavour, here is a snap of the sort of ditch in which you ought to sprawl.


On Why I Should Be The Next Pope

So, having previously explained why I should have been the next Archbishop of Canterbury and why I was the obvious choice to be the next Director General of the BBC, I will no doubt be asked to explain why I should be the next Pope. Do I really need to argue my case? Has the world collapsed to the extent that it is even necessary for me to stake my claim? I mean, isn’t it blindingly obvious that I would be absolutely the finest Pontiff you could imagine? I shall sit by my metal tapping machine and await the call from the conclave of cardinals, and while I wait I shall give due consideration to the pontifical name I shall adopt. Readers may have their own suggestions of course, which you may wish to note in the comments.

Meanwhile, it appears that these very sensible persons of the Islamic persuasion were correct after all. . .



I decided not to extend the daily diary entries theme beyond the end of January, for the simple reason that I suspect it might become somewhat restrictive and also unforgivably dull. So there will be no overarching theme at Hooting Yard this year, just scrapings from the interior bran tub of my brain as and when they occur. Such scrapings may include the occasional thousandish-word essay “On…” a particular topic, and indeed the occasional diary entry, from the great or the not so great or the frankly fictional, but if so they will be slotted in alongside general witterings, insights, reportage, sweeping paragraphs of majestic prose, and whatnot.

God’s Punishment

Last night on Channel 4 News, Jon Snow related that the Russian Orthodox Church had issued a statement regarding the Pussy Riot trio. “God has already punished them by depriving them of their common sense”, it said, or words to that effect. (I cannot find a written reference.)

The implications of this are immense, and I find in thinking them through that my brain is dizzied, and I too am being deprived of what common sense I might possess. Oh Lord, Oh Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Owls And Monkeys

Sound advice from Richard Carter :

having a pair of owls in your bathroom could help avoid potential embarrassment when you have guests.

As he says,

wouldn’t it be utterly awesome to keep a couple of owls in your bathroom, just to impress visitors?


Meanwhile, over at Wonders & Marvels, monkeys at war!

Who were the first monkeys to see action in war? Before the invention of gun powder fire-arms in China (ca 13th century), a 9th century Chinese chronicle (“Yu-yang-tsah-tsu” by Twan Ching-Shih) describes annual battles between soldiers of Po-mi-lan and 300,000 giant rock-throwing apes who came down from the high craggy mountains of the west to ravage crops every spring.

Mosh Pit

For last night’s performance with Lepke B. at the Resonance104.4FM tenth birthday bash, I designated an area of the room as the mosh pit, for young persons to commandeer and do whatever it is young persons do in mosh pits. This shows, I think, that I have my finger on the pulse and have due regard to my audience.

I was taking my lead from that titanic twentieth-century pamphleteer Dobson, whose own mosh pit travails were recounted last year.

A Further Note On Pickles

In the bulging sack of letters I received in response to the piece On Pickles And Pluck And Gumption, one particular missive struck me. “A lesser man would of course plunge the syringe directly into the flesh of the subject,” wrote a reader. There is some truth in this, though only a smidgen. Some would argue that a smidgen of truth is better than no truth at all, and they may well be right, but what my correspondent overlooks is that if one did plunge the syringe filled with essence of gumption and pluck directly into the subject, thus obviating any need for the pickles in the first place, what on earth would one do with all those pickles, and indeed with the jars into which they are crammed? The obvious rejoinder to this is “Offer them for sale, unmodified, at the church bazaar or fête”. This is a superficially attractive suggestion, one that might be leapt upon by the credulous, the dimwitted, or the poor. Those of us bounden to the glorious idea of pickles-with-a-purpose will disagree.

Elizabethan Smoker

The estimable Wartime Housewife has a rant about the latest stupidity regarding tobacco sales, so I don’t have to. Instead, in a no doubt doomed attempt to redress the balance, here is a splendid image of a smoker unburdened by modern restrictions. John White’s “The Flyer” (1587) shows an Algonquian shaman prancing around, with his tobacco in a pouch slung around his waist and, most importantly, a small black bird tied to his head. I think perhaps this is the correct attitude to adopt.