Number of the Month

December 2012

A matter of taste

How gladdening it is to see Sandy Szwarc back in full cry in pursuit of the purveyors of nutritional nonsense! Her piece More Epidemiological Shenanigans deftly takes apart an attempt to clamber on to the latest bandwagon – sugar is a poison – whose advent we noted in April. Amazing how it now takes two international centres of learning to produce such a turgid, turbid effusion! As we further noted in March of the Zealots “They will not be satisfied until they have you shivering in a cave, sipping thin gruel.”

The question of the moment is “What is the next item of nourishment and delectation that is in line for the treatment?”

Letters to the editor


I am sure that I am not alone in taking offence at your frivolous attitude to the toxic nature of much of the common diet. Personkind has been poisoning itself with inappropriate foods for millennia. It is only because of the achievements of modern epidemiology that we now understand this truth. What we need is more active organisations like CASH. Its snappy acronym, coupled with incisive evidence, provides a model for other new groups with potentially vital contributions to make.

I assume that you will now take steps to correct this egregious bias in your reportage.
P C Wisdom

Vinegar is an abomination that should be eliminated from the planet. Ruthless traders suppress the fact that the prime ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid, while very few people are aware of the Toxic effects of acetic acid, such as –

Potential Acute Health Effects:

Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, permeator), of eye contact (corrosive). Liquid or spray mist may produce tissue damage particularly on mucous membranes of eyes, mouth and respiratory tract. Skin contact may produce burns. Inhalation of the spray mist may produce severe irritation of respiratory tract, characterized by coughing, choking, or shortness of breath. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. Skin inflammation is characterized by itching, scaling, reddening, or, occasionally, blistering.

Potential Chronic Health Effects:

Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. The substance may be toxic to kidneys, mucous membranes, skin, teeth. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged contact with spray mist may produce chronic eye irritation and severe skin irritation. Repeated or prolonged exposure to spray mist may produce respiratory tract irritation leading to frequent attacks of bronchial infection.

That is why a group of concerned scientists have joined together to form Direct Research Into Vinegar Exposure Levels. Our first project has been to clear up a number of myths. For example, there is a widespread legend, of unknown origin, to the effect that repairs following cranial injury may be effected by vinegar and brown paper. A great deal of research and experiment has revealed that this is entirely fictional. Furthermore, it has been kept secret from the population that acetic acid contains carbon, the deadly destroyer of our climate. We are actively seeking Government funding to further this vital work, which could prevent up to 30,000 deaths.
Constance Cribble
PR officer, DRIVEL


 Why do you sneeze when there is pepper in the air? It is because your body recognises the presence of a poisonous substance and seeks to eliminate it as soon as possible. It is known to have an irritating effect on the intestines and is excluded from the bland diet prescribed for those with problems in that area. Many modern experts believe we would all benefit from a bland diet, which would also be in tune with the times. Pepper contains safrole, a carcinogenic compound used in the production of pesticides. Pepper dust is used to discourage encroachment by cats and dogs. Our animal friends know a thing or two that we don’t. There are those who believe that pepper, like coffee or graves, should be fresh ground; but we of PAP believe it should be left alone.

Mildred Drear
Coordinator Pepper Awareness Project

It’s time people were told the truth about mustard.

Mustard causes the eyes to water and irritates the mouth and throat. Why does this happen? Because your body knows best and is warning you that you are poisoning it. Beware! Mustard contains isothiocyanates. Mustard is known to encourage the consumption of red meat, which scientists have identified as a cause of cancer.

Mustard does not only exist as a solid. Mustard oil was banned for edible consumption in the EU, USA and Canada, mainly owing to its erucic acid content. The USFDA required all mustard oil to be labelled "For External Use Only". Erucic acid has been suspected of causing the accumulation of triglycerides in the heart; development of fibriotic lesions of the heart; increase in risk of lung cancer; and anaemia. Mustard gas is a deadly poison that killed over 4,000 men in the First World War.

Mustard is now believed to be killing thousands more innocent people in peace time. That is why a dedicated worldwide group of knowledgeable people have gathered together under the slogan “We can cut the mustard!” to form Mustard Exposure, Research, Decontamination and Elimination. We hope you will join us.
Lord Burns of Gusset Magna
Honorary President MERDE

Of late there has been far too much negative reporting about various hazardous items of contemporary food. You may be pleased to know that an international group of concerned dietary experts have got together to form the Society for the Promotion Of Nourishing Gruel. We trust you will aid our cause by giving due publicity to its more positive programme.

Our latest project is to promote Gruel-on-a-stick, which we hope will ease the burden of those with the grave responsibility for policing school lunch boxes.
Dr Diogenes Merriman
Chairman Elect, SPONG

As an ordinary house-husband I have become only too aware of the unhealthy aspects of our traditional diet. The time has come for a vigorous campaign to rectify this state of affairs. Given his record in past campaigns, is not our own dear Prime Minister ideally qualified to unite us under the slogan “Bland is best”?
Julian Junket

When I was a little girl one of our skipping chants was “salt, mustard, vinegar, pepper”. What do they sing now?


Rank folly

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
Einstein (attributed)

The Chief Twerp in the NHS has decreed that league tables for surgeons’ death rates will be published. From the Law of League Tables and its corollaries we can predict that:

bulletThe number of deaths from conditions that require surgery will remain roughly constant.
bulletThe number of deaths recorded for surgical operations will fall.
bulletThe number of deaths attributable to refusal of operations will rise, but will not be recorded.

The Chief Twerp has been told all this, but he has chosen to ignore the advice; just as the education bosses did, leading to the even further dramatic decline of school standards.


bulletIt will be hailed as a triumph for management by numbers.

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 How much more of this will the passive British tolerate?

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Ambrose Bierce

It had to come, the counter attack on the minor miracle of shale gas. The Law of Beneficial Developments made it inevitable. The source of the attack was also inevitable: in the Guardian and by the MP who has so shamelessly trousered huge sums of money from the tax farming rackets he has so assiduously promoted using his position as an MP and chairman of the relevant parliamentary committee.


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The twelfth annual Numby Awards

There are places in the world that are redolent of history. Even if you stumble upon them by accident, you experience an impulse to involuntary reverence. The very walls are suffused with the silent echoes of great works and deeds. Such a place is the Assembly Rooms above the Takeaway Kebab at the very heart of London’s cultural centre in the Balls Pond Road. What better venue for one of the world’s major historic award ceremonies?

I had decided to arrive early and discreetly on this occasion, before the audience were seated. I don’t know why, but I had been irrationally unsettled at the previous ceremony. My fears about having to negotiate the rickety staircase were alleviated by the discovery that a working party from the Balls Pond Boys Brigade had spent the year restoring the ancient dumb waiter, a lift between the ground floor and a serving hatch in the ceremonial hall. Some of the lads helped me into the cage, where I managed to double-up to fit in with no overlaps. The contraption began its grating journey aloft. Unfortunately, it came to a grinding halt while I was between floors. There was a long silence, then a youthful voice shouted up “Don’t worry Guv, we have a crank handle. It might take some time.” Eventually the cage began to creep at snail’s pace in the desired direction. After a seemingly interminable interval, I reached the top and with relief pushed the door open. I was disconcertingly greeted with a loud round of applause from the waiting audience. Two large ladies, of previous acquaintance, helped me, still doubled-up, to a seat. I noticed that the large shaven-headed men, standing around the periphery, did not offer any assistance, but eyed me with suspicion.

The procedures of the ceremony have subtly changed over the past two years. As the members of the award committee filed onto the platform to sit in serried ranks, grave and unsmiling, there were one or two attempts to start applause, but these were evidently frowned upon and soon ceased. Then the Chairpersonage entered to take his place at the new central podium. All then stood and dutifully applauded for exactly one minute and then sat in attentive silence. Professor Frutecake, for it was he, stood silent for what seemed an eternity as tension built in the chamber. Finally, he spoke:

“Once again we are gathered together within these hallowed walls to celebrate the rich endowment bestowed upon us by benign destiny, namely Intrinsic Knowledge. Though we are all, to a small extent, invested with this gift, there are a select few who benefit from a more copious inheritance. We are here not only to acknowledge such people and their contribution to human destiny, but also to resist those dark forces in our society that would spread the denial of truth by specious argument.”

Shortage of space does not allow a full account of the address, which went on for an hour in a similar vein, but eventually turned to the awards themselves.


It transpires that a small working group of a sub-committee of the judging panel has been working on a new class of award. This was originally code-named the “never was” award, but has now been formalised as The Winston Smith Medals. These are to be awarded to institutions that have demonstrated exemplary skill in the management of news and history, thereby maintaining the purity of public perception in vital areas of human activity.

The Gold Winston goes naturally to the BBC for the scandal that never was. A single infidel trouble-maker had caused a minor stir, invoking Freedom of Information, to demand knowledge of membership of the seminar that provided the justification for the BBC unilaterally to set aside its charter and abandon balance in its treatment of the terrible and immediate threat of global warming. The BBC, on behalf of its funders (almost the entire population), quite rightly assembled a small army of lawyers, who roundly defeated the solitary upstart with the aid of a wholly unbiased judging panel. Unfortunately, another perverse individual then retrieved that membership list from the hidden depths of the internet. It emerged that, by the purest of coincidences, all the members were followers of the true belief (as, it must be said, is anyone of worth in this well-regulated society). It is a tribute to the solidarity of the established media that coverage of the story was confined to the recesses of the internet, particularly in the USA, where uninformed contrarianism is rife. Sadly, that beastly little sneak Christopher Booker squealed as usual, but nobody noticed.

 The BMA is one of the world’s most famous multifunctional organisations. Among other things it acts as a militant trade union, a learned society and a cheer leader for the great movement for social cohesion that is known to its opponents as political correctness. In the awarding of the Silver Winston to this august body, just one of its many achievements was selected as representing a magnificent whole. This was not only the conversion of one particularly meddlesome individual into a non-person, but also the detoxification of his so-called principles by a simple process of augmentation. Without that straightforward action almost the entire benign profession of epidemiology could have been laid waste and its achievements in modifying human behaviour nullified. Thus the world is a better place without the man who never was.

The great commercial success that never was resulted in the award of the Bronze Winston to the gambling industry, with particular mention of its online branch. The staggering growth of this industry is only evident indirectly from such phenomena as sponsorships, particularly of sporting events, and the self-evident growth of its presence in advertising. Much of its success in expanding its clientele has arisen from such simple devices as offering free samples (maliciously likened by its envious critics to the mode of distribution of illicit drugs). It has risen above a campaign of rumour and innuendo about poverty, bankruptcies and the destruction of families. The occasional spectacular bankruptcy of an overpaid footballer makes the headlines, but otherwise the media tend keep quiet about it. It also benefits from the unspoken protection offered by successive governments, who rely on gaming duty to bolster the income required to maintain their bureaucratic infrastructure. As with other successful industries, such as those that are energy hungry, this merely prompts the move offshore, a nice illustration of the operation of the Laffer Effect, which now dominates the economic scene.

 Moving on to the more traditional trophy awards, International Man of the Year was Barack Obama, coupled with the EPA, for developing methods to bypass democracy, which has long been an impediment to movement towards the Great Green Future. Their multi-faceted attack on indigenous energy supply has only been exceeded by the EU, which has shaken off the encumbrance of democracy, thereby fending off the menace of economic growth. See, for example, our number of the month for March.

UK man of the year was Les Ebdon, who is a one man symbol of the New Education and the ultimate standard bearer for the justification for nationalising the universities coupled with total political control of schooling. By forcing uppity universities to accept students who are unprepared for traditional higher education, he has accelerated change in the nature of a degree, thereby, among many other benefits, fending off the menace of economic growth. His performance as a Vice Chancellor has also exemplified the wonderful creative variety of our degree courses.

 Life saver of the year was the heroic Dr Hu, who identified the deadly poison that is red meat. It is encouraging to note that Harvard Epidemiology has still maintained its standards of scientific precision. The chairpersonage might have pointed out that the relative risk of 1.19 that damned red meat was exactly the same as that with which the EPA damned passive smoking: results that might never have emerged if that non-person had had his way.

 Double act of the year were Messrs Gummer and Yeo, whom our number of the month for August comprised. What a wonderful example of the entrepreneurial spirit to present to the youth of the nation, turning the neutral chairmanship of a Parliamentary committee into such a nice little earner!

 Finally, a long overdue tribute to the fantastical land of Oz. It was awarded a special trophy for its contribution to international fairness. Richly endowed with natural wealth, it has imposed a voluntary handicap on its indigenous industries, so that it does not compete unfairly with the rest of the planet. Its pioneering carbon tax has been an inspiration to the free nations of world, who are hurrying to imitate it. Carping critics might complain about the morality of an impost on the very source of planetary life and a demonstration of the transient nature of political promises, but its example of self-sacrifice and unprompted embracing of economic obscurity is an inspiration to us all.

 The audience exhibited a respectful silence as the chairpersonage abruptly stood up and walked out. The committee, still unsmiling, trooped out after him. Still, as has often been said of these historic ceremonies, no two are ever the same. The usual exuberance was absent in the streets outside as the crowds silently and thoughtfully filtered away. Your bending reporter’s re-attainment of ground level does not bear description.


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Number of the month, year and age – 1.19

It is a curious happening that this small number should turn up again this year, out of the blue and in a new context, but in the same old guise as a relative risk. As a statistic it is insignificant, but as a cultural phenomenon it has been extraordinarily potent. Among its consequences have been –

bulletA tsunami of publications based on low statistical significance
bulletThe acceptance that statistical fraud is a legitimate tool of Government
bulletThe granting of powers to an autonomous body (USA EPA) that make it superior to and independent from the elected chambers (Congress) and give it carte blanche to lie to them without the requirement to produce evidence
bulletThe rise of control and self-censorship of the media, with the aid of sympathetic insiders
bulletThe uniting of the chaotic PC movement, pulling their wagons into a circle to protect one number
bulletThe rise of ad hominem attacks on critics based on alleged affiliations, such as payment by the tobacco industry
bulletTesting the war machine (as with the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War) in preparation for the coming great war against viable energy sources, via their proxy, carbon
bulletThe belief among  a majority of the population that environmental tobacco smoke is a deadly poison, despite the total lack of experimental evidence and dependence upon the linked fallacies of concentration and dosage
bulletThe spread of smoking bans among self-styled free societies

Your bending author, subject as a critic of the authenticity of this number to interminable accusations of attachment to the tobacco industry, was reduced to collecting and republishing every mention he had ever published about that industry (none of them complimentary) but to no avail. The production of this number was by means of blatant and multiple fraud, which has been ignored by the establishment media. Now the very same number has been relaunched on behalf of a different set of zealots, the veggies.

It is a mad world, my masters. 


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