• Message from James Clarke

    "South Africa's Best Humour Columnist"

    - SA's Comedy Awards September 2008

    “South Africa’s funniest columnist.”

    - Financial Mail

    WELCOME TO MY BLOG

    The name is Clarke. James Clarke. I have been told by people who know their way around the electronic world with its iPads, USBs, processors, modems, 500 gb hard drives, Blackberries and microwave ovens, that as a writer I have to have a blogsite. Otherwise, I am told, it is like passing oneself off as a CEO and you haven’t a leather chair that tilts back.

    Yet after four years of having a blogsite I still don’t really understand what it is or how it helps sell my books which is my major concern in life apart from not stepping on cracks when walking on the pavement.

    I am also told that on a blogsite it is customary to refer to oneself in the third person. This enables one to grossly exaggerate ones attainments without appearing to have done so personally.

    Not being one to buck the system...

    London-born James Clarke is your average tall, dark, handsome fellow who writes books – fiction and non-fiction. As a humorist he has been compared with PG Wodehouse and James Thurber. (The Daily Bugle in Des Moines said “compared with the works of PG Wodehouse and James Thurber, Clarke’s writing isn’t worth a row of beans”.)

    He long ago settled in South Africa where he became a mover and a shaker in the world of the environmental sciences. As a youth, being a mover and a shaker, had made it impossible for him to follow in his father’s footsteps as a bottler in a nitro-glycerine plant. Hence he turned to journalism.

    But around the time he retired a few years ago he found a new pursuit as a humorist. He wrote a daily humour column in the Johannesburg Star (now syndicated) and began turning out books of humour in the UK and South Africa.

    Clarke very recently moved boldly into the electronic publishing world. It was, he said afterwards, like a non-swimmer diving into a pool without first testing its depth.

    In November 2011 he re-issued his latest book of humour, “Blazing Saddles”, as an Amazon Kindle e-book under the title “Blazing Bicycle Saddles”. For a mere US$4.99 you can download a copy of this seminal cycling book in a matter of seconds by clicking here ....


    ooo

    He did this with the full realisation that he is totally at sea in the electronic world with its telephones that take movies and receive faxes and sports results.

    The original edition of “Blazing Saddles”, published by Jonathan Ball, has been out of print for two years. It reveals the true story of how six retired men – five of them journalists – year after year set out (intrepidly) from the African continent on a series of exploratory expeditions cycling into “Darkest Europe” to bring back to the people of Africa tales of its funny natives.

    Clarke will also shortly be publishing, via Amazon.com, another of his action-packed autobiographical books – this time an account of his Second World War exploits as L*E*A*D*E*R of the Yellow Six Patrol of the 1st Streetly Boy Scouts in the English Midlands. He recounts the patrol’s ceaseless campaign to defeat Adolf Hitler’s plan to invade England.

    You can read about “The Yellow Six” within this blogsite.

    Clarke, apart from moving and shaking, is a travel writer and proud father of two highly successful daughters – one a biologist and the other an environmental impact analyst. He and his wife, Lenka, live north of Johannesburg.

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Japlish and Chinglese – irresistible

It is, of course, rude to laugh at the efforts of foreigners trying to write English – especially people from the Far East. How can somebody, like me for instance who knows only two Japanese expressions (“saki” and “Tokyo Sexwale”), have the cheek to laugh?
Well, like chocolate digestives and kicking car tyres, I can’t help myself – and suppressing the temptation to laugh at Far Eastern instruction leaflets can lead to stress fractures in the lower abdomen.
Some time ago C L Voges of Lakeview, Florida, sent me the following instructions for a Japanese keyboard:
The audio speaker is so construction that a sound of volume will come out of it when a key is depressed due to the finger. This is due to an electricity of alternate flowing in the coil in it.
And how was this? – it came with a calculator.
The batterys must position so that the poles are to correspond to the like poles mark on the device. This will failure or damage device if not done so correctly.
Les Caroto sent me a letter he had received from a Taiwanese corporation:
Dear Sirs, we hereby to recommend a most practical invention, Ribbon Inker, to you. Instead of renewing a ribbon from time to time, Ribbon Inker makes it can be re-used over and over. Spenting just a little money you’ll have unexpected effect.
This machine can make the ribbon use again and again and don’t need to renewing so soon and re-used the ribbon over and over to protect the earth to increase rubbish.
All of us think that this new item will be come most necessary and most popular in the latest.
More information will be supplied at your comments. Please contact with us earlier, we assure you of our best service and quickly reply.
From an unnamed source I received these instructions which accompanied a Taiwanese-made sponge purporting to be German-made:
SPONGE SQUEEZE – please put sponge in water about 3-5 minutes to soft before use. Attention to always keep wet.
Wash the dirt, draw the handle a few times and dirt water will quick off the sponge.
NOTE: The Germany sponge features – don’t need sunburn and always keep wet after use for available. If a long time didn’t use it will dry out, please put in water again, for useful and long life.
And on a peanut packet:
GOOD EDIBLES – It is a famous local product refined with the peanuts in a special grade as raw material which are in even granule and thick in nut but thin in skin by a traditional direction in an advanced scientific method. It is a kind of good edibles which is suitable for young or old people with the special taste causing your favourite.
The Chinese use insensitive computer programmes to translate Chinese into English with sometimes hilarious results.
It prompted sports journalist, Jane Bramley, to tell me about a yoga mat she recently bought and how the instructions “nearly caused me to twist myself into a knot because I laughed so hard reading them”.
Jane then quotes:
The yogo mat is made of OVC foam materials which make it exceptionally durable, not adhinit dust, no poisonous, no sapor, block burn, defend avulsion, you can seat on the floor to practice the yoga, you can feel more comfort, act to the moment because of the yoga mat.
The rubber foam materials can greatly strengthen the resist the pull, make the action slowly, protect your body to get hurt.
Product characteristics: Flexible, comfort, touch the ground well. Excellent endure climate, protect the color. Withstand avulsion well, bear the low temperature. Good flexible, not easy to distortion
Soft chest expander. The soft chest expander is an exercise tool used to strengthen health. Its ergonomic design allows for ease of use while reducing the risk of possible injury. It’s well suitable for the length, the strength, the handgrip with the rubber foam, the pulling well, flexible comfort, antiskid good, the safe coefficient is high, it’s convenience for you stretching at home, it not only eliminate the proud flesh on the arm and the shoulder, but can also promote health develop of strengthen chest, it should exercise plump, goodliness of chest lines.
Avulsion? Like the tearing off of a limb.
Hmm. I need to exercise the plump. Maybe I should get a yoga mat and eliminate the proud flesh.
Imraan Geedat of Springs sent me the instructions for a “Magic Cube”, an elongated version of the Rubik Cube:
Exotic snake is an itellicence test to gain creativity cubic configueation and space master spilts, by spinnting the 24 bricks contionusly.
We can create thousand kings of different gitapes. This smain brochure coneats the picture created by exotic snake, please master these picture first, if you have done this then make your own pictures.
I received anonymously the instructions for a Hamanaka Pencil. It is for drawing on fabric. “For all clothes – Just only draw. You can dye”.
In case you made a mess of things it suggested: “You can clean up the colours on your hand and/or foot easily with soup.”

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Be my Valentine – anybody!

I don’t get Valentine cards. But, being an optimist, around this time of the year I hang around my post office box – even as late as April. You never know, what with the post being like it is.

The last time I received a Valentine card was in 1976 when I wrote in my diary:

February 14. Dear diary, Got up. Went excitedly down to mailbox, prized open rusted lid to find I had been inundated by a St Valentine’s Day card!

Tried to remain calm by going into yoga position and doing deep breathing but found myself frenziedly tearing away envelope sending little bits of paper flying everywhere.

“WHO? WHO?” (Caught myself shouting this out loud.)

Occurred to me that really, despite my age, I still have potential as lover boy. Still have lots of own hair, quite a few teeth, and do macho things like use Mum for Men and crush empty beer cans although, these days, it takes both hands and sometimes I also have to jump up and down on them.

I am not saying I am a Sex Symbol of Our Time but considering afflictions of youth, I have reason to be satisfied. Main problem in youth was that, whenever confronted by a girl, the nose would bleed, sometimes copiously.

With great fortitude I learned to overcome this to a certain extent. I never went on a date without a pocketful of teaspoons and keys for my girlfriend to drop down my back. Also held head right back when chatting up girls but this inhibited flow of smoochy-type conversation.

Worst problem was acting nonchalant at intimate candlelit dinners with plugs of toilet paper sticking from nose. Especially if plug fell out.

Sorry, diary, I digress.

Anyway, opened Valentine card and read through fog of perfume: “Guess who, cutie pie???” That’s all. That’s all it said.

Desperately tried to recognise handwriting but totally stumped. Who was she??? Pounded the forehead.

The envelope! That’s it! The postmark! Retrieved the little scraps of envelope from bushes and reconstructed them on pavement. Postmark simply read “Johannesburg”.

But address on envelope riveted attention. The card was for next door.

Felt sick. Neighbour has less hair than me and is an accountant who wears grey shoes. “Cutie pie”? Ha! Cute like Mike Tyson!

Keep asking myself “Why him?”

Tossed card into bin. No point in complicating his life, he’d only end up with a pacemaker.

Belinda and the Bloody Lights

This week, Mrs Williams at Malhurst Primary, desirous of completing her class register, set the children the task of writing a composition on what they did at Christmas. Belinda Tamsen’s pen began to scorch up the paper.

 

My Crissmus by Belinda Tamsen

 

We hadda verry nies crissmus and I had lotsa presents in-clooding a bike witch I lern 2 ride rownd and rownd the gardin and inter the dalliers witch I flattend. My cuzzin Mark came 2 see us with his sister Mary. Mary tell me Mark tride 2 get her 2 put all her pocket munny in with his munny so they could buy thear mother a sokka ball. Mary sed she didernt forl 4 that one.

We hadda crissmuss tree with lites that go on and off but at first they wud not go on at all and daddy sed it was becos one of the tiny lites was dud and 4 an owr he cud not fine out witch one it was and he kept say-ing bluddy hell and bugga the soddin lites. Sumtiems he ack-chew-elly swear.

My little brutha gotta plorstic tool kit and just wen daddy got the lites 2 werk he hit wun with his hammer and they all went owt. My daddy orst him niesly not 2 hit the lites again but he did and they orl went owt again.

My daddy showt doant do that agen EVER or I will brane you.

My little brutha got such a frite he wet hisself.

Crissmus dinner was fun. Granny and Granpa came and bort us all sox and ornty Berrill came and she also bort sox – again. I orsk you with teers in my ize wot sort of crissmus present is sox 4 hevins sake.

She giv my little brutha a trumpit which make a sownd like a So-wetto taxy. She dusint hav any chillren so she dusint unner-stand. My brutha neva stop blowin it Paaap! Paaap! Paaap!

Daddy say if you doan stop blowin that bluddy thing I will rap it rown yor nek. Ornty Berrill say wot a terribell think 2 say 2 a smorl boy and my daddy say wy did you by him a trumpit 4 peet’s sake and she say she by him wot she like and she pick my little brutha up and hug him and he wet hisself again and orlso wet ornty Berrills dress.

She REELY doan unner-stand chillren.

We all bort millyens of thowsens of presents and daddy say it is orl a ridicu-luss waist. Mummy say we only spent abowt R20 on each so its notta train smash. Daddy say that nex year we shud all stand inna sircle on crissmuss day and hand each otha a R20 note and be dun with it.

We had turkey and ham and crissmus pudding and crackers witch we pull and things jump owt like wissels and spinnin tops. My little brutha gotta tin frog that goes click clack click clack wen you press it until peepel go mad. He drop it on the floor and my daddy ack-sid-ently stud on it and smash it inter millyens of peeses.

Wen my brutha cride my ornt pick him up and skweez him tight and he bort up all over her dress – all his crissmus pudding an turkey and custid and orl sorts of in-ter-ess-ting things sum from breck-fus.

My cuzzin then play the pee-anno. Every body clap eg-sep me. Mummy sae wie doan I tern the pages of the music so I had 2 and I ack-sid-dently drop the lid of the pee-anno on his fingas and he yell and yell but at leest he hadda stop playing and we all clap again in-cloo-ding me this time.

Needed: a men’s liberation movement

As Monday is National Women’s Day and I have to clean my bicycle I hope you’ll forgive me if I tell you, once again, of the time I wandered upstairs into my cranium to pay a visit to the Pondering Division of my Memory Bank.

It was on National Women’s Day in 1997 and this was a surprise visit.

“Busy are we?” I said.

Naturally the staff began jumping around.

I smiled. Even though I am the captain up there, I am always friendly. I asked the Head of Pondering (HOP) if it were possible that men would ever, seriously, start a men’s liberation movement?

After all, we ARE liberated; we ARE our own masters; we ARE . . .

I was interrupted by a voice that made everybody jump. It came in from outside entering the operations area through both ears and reverberating off the walls.

It was the wife from the kitchen.

I said: “What is it, dear heart?”

She wanted to know what I was doing. I shouted back: “I was just talking to myself.” (She would never have understood the truth.)

She wanted to know when I would fix the iron. I said: “Yes, light-of-my-life, I’ll drop everything and fix it right away. I mean, I am only trying to earn an honest living but we don’t need money in this house because we get everything free just by shuffling our pack of plastic cards at the supermarket, at, the butcher, at the blasted dress shop . . . ”

I admit that most of this was said, sort of softo voce.

I leaned against the doorpost of the Pondering Department. Many staff members were scratching their heads. They tend to do this a lot in this section.

The Head of Memory (HOM) popped his head in. Useful fellow to have around. I told HOP and HOM that men have men’s clubs and the difference between a man’s club and woman’s is that most of the time a man’s club is silent. We have little need to speak. But when women meet they can’t stop.

The voice came crashing through again.

I replied: “Yes, chickabiddy, just getting the jolly old insulation tape. Can’t fix the iron without insulation tape, can we? You could get your little self e-lec-tro-cuted! ZAPPPPP!”

I told the Head of Memory: “Expunge that thought!” I heard the sound of flushing.

“Women chatter so,” I went on. “They chatter about each other. They chatter about anything.

“Men merely exchange views.”

Later, in the Memory Department’s operations room I caught somebody shovelling neurons into a bin. “Hey!” I cried, “what are you dumping?” I recognised my history notes from school. “You can’t throw these away!” I scolded. “And what’s this? My bachelor memories of Felicity Throgmorton and that time we had in a field outside Stratford! Dear old Throgs!”

I said to HOM, “How can you throw precious stuff like this away?”

He grumbled that I stored so much useless information that it was no wonder they couldn’t always come up with answers when I needed them.

“Please,” he said, “get away from those bins. Just leave us to do our job? You can’t possibly remember everything at your age.”

The Voice once more came bursting through, this time sending a memory file crashing to the floor. The dust made everybody sneeze. HOM said: “You see what I mean?”

His words were drowned by The Voice.

“Quick,” I said to HOM, “I am supposed to be fixing the iron. Where the devil did I leave the insulation tape last time I used it?”

“Search me,” he sniffed.

What happened to the real James Bond

Britain’s M15 says secret agents are “beyond it” by 50. – report.

 

Bond appeared in the doorway, “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

Grant of M15 said, “Who?”

“You know,” said Bond, “007! Licensed to kill and all that.”

“And all what?”

“Well, it depends on the season… but I’m also licensed to drive a vehicle that can do 320km/h, with machine guns in the hubcaps and an 88mm cannon disguised as an exhaust pipe and a grenade launcher in the boot and…”

“What on earth do you drive – a Soweto taxi?”

“An Aston Martin, actually.”

“Isn’t that a football team?”

“You’re thinking of Aston Villa,” said Bond.

Grant, “Anyway, old man, the name’s Grant, Sebastian Grant, 9800956. If you’ve been sent by Sir Andrew, I suggest we  move!”

Grant vaulted through the window to avoid being seen by those who (or even whom) he knew would be watching the front entrance. He landed lightly, three floors down. Bond followed, but landed astride some railings. He winced visibly and Grant, retrieving Bond’s tripod walker, noticed the old man’s eyes smarted, just a little.

“You OK?”

“Fine! Got this damned brittle-bone problem. Don’t worry – I can set my old bones myself once we’re in the car.”

Both 007 and 9800956 were gunning the M15’s Jag XJ 220 (with stereo radio and tape deck) along the M25 when 007 asked, “Tell me, old boy, whatever happened to Botvinik?”

“Old Botty – the Russian spymaster? He retired. We gave him a part-time job at M15, tidying up our files. He was more familiar with them than we were. We’ve given up chasing Russians, of course. Nowadays we buy their secrets through a mail-order catalogue. It’s the Arabs now.”

 “Grant, I must confess I don’t know why Sir Andrew sent me to you. My game was chasing Russians. Of course, once we realised most of the M15 and CIA chiefs had been Russian agents all along the situation became uncertain and we spent a lot of time chasing each other – often round our own desks.

Bond began to reminisce … “Once I turned 50 they gave me an Austin Mini – imagine! One day I was chasing Botvinik in his Fiat 1100…” Bond laughed at the memory and was instantly racked by a paroxysm of coughing.

“Anyway, we drove straight into a canal! I said to myself, ‘Bond, this is the end of the road! You’re past it!'”

Bond wiped some dribble off his club tie, the thin end of which hung lower than the fat end.

“But surely, Grant old boy, Arabs must be easier to spot? Look, there’s one!”

“By jove,  Bond! It’s Ali Salim Salim Ali, licensed to deal in Scuds. Hold tight!”

The rocket-assisted XJ 220 soared over the top of the Arab’s SL 960 (four-door with disc brakes), touching down just in front of it. Ali Salim immediately pulled off the road, grabbed his secret plans, umbrella and sandwich tin and sprinted into the fields with Grant in hot pursuit and Bond in cooler pursuit.

As Grant disappeared into the distance, Bond, out of puff, lay in the grass and closed his eyes.

He sensed a shadow fall over him and found himself gazing up into the liquid brown eyes of  Princess Fabiola Aman Ik Aman the famous Arab spy.

“Hello, James,” she breathed.

“Hello, my dear,” said Bond.

“Can I loosen your tie?” she sighed.

But Bond was already snoring.

No Sound Bites

According to a British travel agent visiting South Africa, today’s British tourists are no longer intrepid. They are not a patch on their explorer ancestors who came to Africa – Englishmen such as Sir Richard Burton; Welshmen such as Sir Henry Morton Stanley and Scotsmen such as Dr David Livingstone.

Not only are visitors afraid of mosquitoes said the travel agent, “The new type of traveller flies into a panic if he is bitten by almost anything at all”.

My mind floated back to the Old Type. Were they ever fazed by bites? Ha!

THE SCENE:

It is dawn and the mist thins slightly to reveal a small camp near the Ruwenzoris. Montague Cadwallader Ponsonby walks into his companion’s tent.

“What ho, Carruthers old boy! I say, not still in bed?”

“Ah, I’ll be up in a jiffy my dear fellow. Just feeling a little seedy.  Had a restless night.”

“Not well, old man?” says Ponsonby with genuine concern.

“Actually, dear boy, I was bitten during the night.”

Ponsonby then notices Carruthers’ leg is just a bloody stump, torn off above the knee.

“I say, that IS a nasty bite!”

“Lion,” says Carruthers. “Came into my tent during the night and tried to carry me off! Dashed thing! I’m surprised you didn’t hear the commotion – though I did try not to wake everybody. ”

“I say! And we still have about 200 miles to go, what?”

“My dear Ponsonby, it’s a bite. That’s all. No need to make a big thing out of it. I’ll be tickety-boo after a cup of tea.”

“But the Ruwenzoris, old boy! We have to cross the Ruwenzoris. It’s going to be frightfully difficult with only one leg. And what if we run into the waHitto?

“My dear Ponsonby, you worry so. Now, be a good man and help me to my feet. Or, rather, my foot! Ha ha ha. That was rather funny, what?”

Ponsonby helps Carruthers to his foot.

After a few miles Ponsonby says, “I think we’re being followed. Bless me, it’s the waHittos.”

But the two men manage to shake them off, at least for the time being. They press on. Occasionally they have to beat off creatures unknown to science at the time.

Inevitably Carruthers’ bloody stump begins to attract hyenas. On of them bites off his arm.

“I say, Ponsonby, I’m dashed if I haven’t been bitten again!”

“Oh, What absolutely beastly luck, my dear fellow! Here, try some more Peaceful Sleep.”

They come to the Semliki River and swim across. Ponsonby is bitten by a crocodile. He stifles a curse for he is a deeply religious man.

As they gain the far bank Ponsonby, now badly holed by crocodile teeth, makes light of his injuries. He then says, “Don’t look now Carruthers, but I think the waHittos have surrounded us.  Try as he might, not to look, Caruthers nevertheless finds himself eye-to-eye with a fierce waHitto warrior leading a war party.

Ponsonby addresses them:

“My dear chaps, we come in peace for all mankind. And womenkind also of course. We just want your land in the name of the Great White Queen, that’s all.

“Of course, if you want something for it I’m sure we can come to some amicable arrangement. Here, have a bag of salt old chap. No? Some beads perhaps? They’re jolly pretty, what?”

The tallest warrior says in sign language: “Chief Ntgathla, Chief of Chiefs, Man Among Men, sends cordial greetings to the bwanas and says he would be awfully glad if I brought you fellows back for dinner tonight.”

“How dashed decent of him!” cries Carruthers.

“Carruthers, for goodness sake!” whispers Ponsonby, urgently, “When the Chief says he wants us for dinner I don’t think he is necessarily going to entertain us – I think he will be more inclined to casserole us. We have no choice but to hop it.”

“I say, how very droll,” says Carruthers. “That’s all I can do is to ‘hop it’, what? Ha ha ha.”

He becomes serious: “Look, my dear Ponsonby, why don’t YOU make a dash for it on your own? After all you’ve got twice as many legs as I have and they probably look upon me as being perfectly ‘armless. Ha ha ha, there I go again! Gettit? Armless!

“I’ll distract them with my renditions from the Pirates of Penzance until you are safely away.”

Ponsonby solemnly salutes Carruthers’ noble self-sacrifice and escapes.

The waHittos, fascinated at first by Carruthers rendition of, “I am the very model of a modern major-general“, become restless and close in with their spears.

Carruthers switches to “God save the Queen” (as best he can while maintaining a stiff upper lip) – the spears fly.

(Dies).

Nothing (comprehensible) excites a geologist

I’ve received an interesting email based on an informal note by a mineralogist at Mintek in Randburg nroth of Johannesburg  commenting on how the media rarely present geologists to the general population.

If you discount the “sound bytes” on Discovery Channel’s volcano specials, they rarely get a mention, he says.

Well, no wonder…

A big American TV company last year tried to integrate geologists working in hazardous circumstances into a “Survivors” style show.

It hired a production crew and corralled a group of geologists prepared to vote each other off based on how they reacted while performing hazardous tasks such as crawling around active volcanoes, testing landslides, making hazardous flights into remote areas and so on.

The last remaining “hard-core geologist” would win a prize.

The team was plagued with problems from the beginning. They found six male and three female geologists and flew them to a very unstable volcano in the Philippines.

The nine scientists bonded nicely on camera, especially when given alcohol. But the camera crew noticed that even after drinking “gallons” the geologists continued talking in “an obscure jargonised language about ‘breccia,’ and ‘lahars,’ none of which made for good reality TV”.

The only rise in tension came when the seismologist and the structural geologist got into a yelling match over the best recipe for chilli.

When the geologists climbed the volcano to probe its secrets they went in different directions and camera crew was unable to find more than two working together.

The geologists felt that the volcano could erupt any moment. On hearing this the cameramen disappeared.

The result was almost no footage, and the TV editors were unable to make sense of what they had because they had no idea what the geologists were talking about.

Few of the scientists seemed to understand the concept of voting off another member. Finally, they were told to just get rid of someone on any sort of criteria so they decided to dump whoever had the worst aim with a rock hammer.

The second event, landing in a ski plane in Alaska’s frozen waste, failed because none of the geologists was nervous and thus there was no sense of drama – except among the camera crew. The crew refused to go on site. Instead it gave the scientists two cameras and asked them to film themselves.

When the editors went through the footage they found it was all about “glacial erratics”

Only 10 percent of the footage showed humans- mainly a petrologist standing passively to show scale.

In Hawaii’s volcanic zone most of the cameramen quit, defeated by the chilli diet and stressed by the danger. And only five geologists remained. The rest had become so fascinated by rock formations that they stayed behind.

Paying for an almost-constant supply of beer and the transportation of the geologists’ heavy piles of rock samples almost exhausted the budget..

The project has now been canned.

So geologists will remain an enigma.

In my experience palaeontologists (fossil hunters), despite the same pre-occupation with rocks, are far better material. They would make a splendid “Survival” series for they are very quarrelsome; they have a great sense of humour and they behave dramatically when, after days of lying in the dust scraping away at the ground, they leap around in ecstasy.

Glenn C Conroy, a professor of palaeo-anthropology (palaeo-anthropologists look mainly for pre-human bones) at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, told me about a cannibal restaurant that charged four times as much for cooked palaeo-anthropologists as it did for cooked missionaries.

Asked why, the chef said, “Have you ever tried to clean a palaeo- anthropologist?”

 

It’s much the same with geologists.

 

 

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