The Befouled Weakly News

24 October 2010

Good morning and welcome to another Sunday.

Ms Playchute was on the verge of calling out the doctor for me on Friday – she was convinced I had gone stark, raving, barking mad. Her expression of disbelief, doubt and distrust was etched across her face when I told her that I was about to go outside and clear out the gutters.

GutteringOf course, in most instances this would not have elicited such emotions of concern but she knows me better than most. She knew that (a) I hate carrying out maintenance tasks of this sort and will find every conceivable excuse to avoid them and (b) there was a college football game as well as a baseball playoff game stored on the satellite hard disk and the only reason I would choose to do something other than watch five hours of sport on the television was because I must be poorly.

As I say, clearing out gutters is not one of my favourite tasks and I suppose the last time they were cleaned out was three or four years ago. To be fair, there’s only one side of the house which really gets clogged up with dead leaves but some of the other gutters had begun to sprout a life of their own. It was either clean them out or find a way to get the mower up on to the roof in order to trim the lawn which was flourishing at various points around the guttering.

And, while one has the ladders out one ought to trim the wisteria and the jasmine to stop them taking over the whole house. So, I spent a very “happy” three hours clambering up and down a very long and heavy ladder extracting years’ worth of primordial ooze from each of the gutters around the house, not to mention the plantation of weeds, grass and thistles which somehow managed to seed themselves in the guttering and grow to a respectable height in the years since the last deforestation.

I guess that will keep us going for another three or four years.

I am sure many of you noticed the announcement of the annual Ig Nobel awards a few weeks ago. You can read about the usual collection of wacky and downright bizarre sorts of activities people get up to here but a couple are worth a mention in their own right, I think. For example, Richard Stevens from the UK won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize by carrying out research to confirm that swearing does, indeed, relieve pain. Well, I suspect we’ve all known that for years but it is nice to have it confirmed. The Public Health Prize was won by Manuel Barbeito from the US who determined that microbes cling to bearded scientists and the Management Prize was won by Alessandro Pluchino from Italy for demonstrating mathematically that organisations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

My favourite? The Biology Prize won by Libiao Zhang from China and colleagues for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats. The real question here, it seems to me, is not so much about what goes on between two consenting fruit bats but rather why anyone would be sufficiently aroused or interested to study it.

$1 Billion HouseFinally, with George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announcing his spending review this week and explaining how public spending over the next couple of years will be cut to the bone and then the bones ground up and discarded, it’s nice to know that some people still have more money than sense.

Love to you all,


On their way to a justice of the peace to get married, a couple has a fatal car accident. The couple is sitting outside heaven's gate waiting for St. Peter to admit them. While waiting, they wonder if they could possibly get married in Heaven. St. Peter finally shows up and they ask him.

St. Peter says, "I don't know, this is the first time anyone has ever asked. Let me go find out," and he leaves.

The couple sits waiting for two months and begins to wonder if they really should get married in Heaven, what with the eternal aspect of it all. "What if it doesn't work out?" they wondered. "Are we stuck together forever?"

St. Peter finally returns after yet another month, looking somewhat bedraggled. "Yes," he informs the couple. "You can get married in Heaven."

"Great," says the couple. "But what if things don't work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?"

St. Peter, red-faced, slams his clipboard onto the ground.

"What's wrong?" exclaims the frightened couple.

"Come on!" St. Peter exclaims. "It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it's going to take me to find a lawyer?"

This came from Sarah. I have significant experience of using all these tools.

A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh, shit!"

A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle .... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race...

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect...

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.


A tool used to make hoses too short..

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling, "Son of a bitch" at the top of your lungs.. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 5 volumes.
Excellent condition..... £200 or best offer.
No longer needed; got married last month.
Wife knows everything!

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