Recent Posts

31 March 2014

Wardrobe Mistress

My mother is ninety and likes
To wear a nice dress.
But she is tiny.

Size ten, and only five feet tall, she likes
Colour, nothing too clingy.
And needs a collar.

She would also like some nonslip
Ankle boots that are
Size four and a half.

Please help.

Nobody seems to cater for
Small, slim people of a certain age
Who are not terrifically flexible.

Do not want low necklines.
Do not like black and beige.

Taken from the "Wardrobe Mistress" column in the Sunday Times' Style Magazine, 29 September 2013. Submitted by Kirsten Luckens.

28 March 2014

Wood Green chopping city

I've shown you how to chip,
I've shown you how to chop,
I've shown you how to dice and slice.

These sad people who spend
all their time chopping stuff up
in the kitchen - all you need's just
three cuts across like this.
You won't find an onion chopper any quicker!

They're not cheap.
If you're looking for cheap stuff getahtofere.
I've been using this same machine
on my demonstrations for fifteen years.

And you get a free spirally cutter, look -
you can use the peel for earrings.
There's a booklet with both words and pictures
so if you can't read the words, just look at the pictures.

They're £24.95 on TV,
so you're saving almost a fiver.
If you can't afford it today,
stick to the knife,
don't bother me,
Not bein' rude,
but I don't have to live in your house.

The patter of a cockney guy demonstrating an elaborate kitchen vegetable cutting machine in Wood Green Shopping City, London, 2004. Submitted by Richard Tyrone Jones.

24 March 2014

Scientific American

You sink into their brains
a little socket with a screw on it
and the electrode can then
be screwed deeper and deeper
into the brainstem,

and you can test at any moment
according to the depth,
which goes at fractions of the mm,
what you're stimulating,

and these creatures are not
merely stimulated by wire,
they're fitted with a miniature
radio receiver so that they can be
communicated with at a distance.

The technique is very ingenious.
I mean you could press a button
and a sleeping chicken would jump up
and run about, or an active chicken

would suddenly sit down and go to sleep,
or a hen would sit down and act
like she's hatching out an egg,
or a fighting rooster would go into depression.

Taken from Aldous Huxley's speech "The Ultimate Revolution", given on 20th March 1962 at Berkeley Language Center. Submitted by Howie Good.

20 March 2014

Buddhist bullseye

The look of
the moment
Infinity scarves

Sign in the Juniors department of Target, 1 March 2014. Submitted by J.R. Solonche.

17 March 2014

Place & Time

The atoms in a fluid can roll and tumble
and cascade around each other.
It's that flowing freedom that gives
fluid motion its hypnotic quality.

Allow yourself to become mesmerized
by the flow of a fast-moving river
around a bridge trestle and you'll know what I mean.

And there is dance in the roiling turbulence.
But, most importantly, the choreography
you're watching doesn't care about place and time.
What you see before your eyes today
is being repeated all across the cosmos.

If you don't believe me, go flush your toilet.

Taken from the NPR article, "How To See A Galaxy In Your Toilet Bowl", 18th February 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.

14 March 2014


once i had a boil on my butt
and i went to the doctor. She told me

just to keep it clean and it will go away.
that was about a year ago now.

Now i get boils on my butt and in between my legs.
It is so annoying. It hurts when I sit down

and thats all we do in High School.
I am obese and my mother says

its because my legs are rubbing together.
She is probably right.

I am trying hard to lose weight
but these boils are getting in the way.

it is getting out of hand. Oh yeah, and
for some reason, which i don't know, all these boils

are leaving purple marks and not small ones.
I just need some help with this.

Is this a huge problem?

From a comment left at, 25 June 2013. Submitted by Jo Bell.

12 March 2014

From the clods

Flocks of seagulls are flying with the rooks and starlings
white plumage makes them visible.
The grass has not grown,
would hardly hide a mouse.
The smallest bird injured by
how bitter the weather is.

Sharp against the sky
four oxen draw the ancient wheeled plough
to and fro on that open ridge
like ploughing on the dome of St Paul’s:
nothing for the rooks.
Now and then a lark sings in despite of
the bitter wind shaking to pieces
agriculture generally
while the house is falling.

From Field and Farm by Richard Jefferies (Phoenix House, 1957), chapter V 'On the Farm'. Submitted by Rebecca Gethin.

10 March 2014


As the car
in front of us
the lanky German
driving our car
that he was going
to look away
from the road
and slam
on the accelerator.

And he did.

This is how
the future
creeps into
the present.

Taken from the NPR article, By The Time Your Car Goes Driverless, You Won't Know The Difference, 4th March 2014. Submitted by Howie Good.

07 March 2014


there is a car
and in that car there is
a person and a person and a person

far in the distance


From the New York Times crossword puzzle, 27 January 2014. Submitted by Peter Valentine.

05 March 2014

Why We Can't See What's Right in Front of Us

People tend to fixate on the common
use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic

overlooked the possibility that the iceberg
could have been their lifeboat.

Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg
to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long.

The Titanic was navigable for awhile
and could have pulled aside the iceberg.

Many people could have climbed aboard it to find
flat places to stay out of the water

for the four hours before help arrived.
Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships,

people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg
(plus the fact that it would not sink).

From Why We Can't See What's Right in Front of Us, Tony McCaffrey, Harvard Business Review, 10 May 2012. Submitted by Emma Rae Lierley.

03 March 2014

THIS IS NOT A LOVE THING - The Harlot’s Progress 2014

1. Arrival in London

Boy have you been a lucky girl
new in town and everybody’s
darling: love, desire and a tender
touch always has the boys high
for candy kisses, little miss.

Beware the late night
luxury love, enjoy the
good times - for a day.

2. Quarrel with her protector

Introducing a girl in a million.
A young mistress, tamed and trained
with a luxury new apartment
and a wardrobe full of fun and games.

She’s fresh and lovely, a cherry ripe
English rose. Fresh and green
she must be seen.

3. Apprehended by a Magistrate

Come on gentlemen
report now!
She’s a genuine siren
talented and in control.

Urgent, be warned – your afternoon
fun just got sensored:
it’s playtime with visiting
magistrates now!!

4. Scene in Bridewell

So, a total transformation for
the country girl – complete captivation
caged amd reduced to tears. A taste of
no mercy, a broken sentence.

Bow and show repentance.

5. She expires while doctors quarrel

Great, she’s back!
In town, in pain. Feel
the sensation – it’s agony
she has friends: caring,
friendly and understanding
a lifetime too late. Ouch!

6. The funeral

Demonstrate respect for the
pleasure princess. This is not
a love thing, she’s heaven bound –
it’s judgement day for all.

Relax Venus
and enjoy the rest.

Taken from a series of 'tart cards' found in London phone boxes. The poem is a take on The Harlot's Progress by William Hogarth, using his original titles and featuring the found text to tell the story of each print. Submitted by Victoria Bean.