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Right On Red (How to Drive and/or Make Love)

9 Mar

carUnfortunately the time when most of us first experiment with operating a car or doing sexy-sex is during our early teens when we have the least control over our brains and bodies. Most of us probably had our first driving lessons from a family member (I’ll leave any further comment to the Freudians amongst you), but even if we are given professional instruction, we just don’t have the mental and physical capabilities to effectively perform the functions needed for a satisfactory experience. Sadly, though, we stick with our awkward, teenaged techniques and continue to do it wrong for the rest of our lives.

This undoubtedly explains why 3500 people die on the road each day and why the toxic stink of sexual dissatisfaction fills the bedrooms (though generally not to a lethal level) of many homes around the world. I’d like to pass on some advice I’ve picked up through my travels, which may help improve your skills and keep your insurance company off your back as well.

Safety first

Buckles, helmets, condoms — don’t be daft, you know what this paragraph is going to say. Also, don’t text. It’s dangerous and rude and not the best use for your fingers during this time.

Honour local laws and customs

In many places, it is legal to turn right on a red light. However, this is not the case everywhere. When I’m in an area where it’s illegal and some jerk honks to pressure me into turning right on red, I want to slam it into reverse and ram him (and not in a good way). Different locales have established rules or guidelines which need to be respected, and it’s important to be aware of these so you don’t offend or end up in cuffs (again, not in a good way).

The opposite of defensive is not aggressive

My mother suggested early on that the goal is to be a ‘defensive driver’, meaning my job is to respond only to what others on the road are doing. This, like most of what my mother says, is tosh. If all I do as a driver is react to what others are doing, I’m never going to get to my destination. I’ll be stuck in neutral, letting everyone else have their fun whizzing by, swerving to avoid my timid self. Obviously, it’s important to watch what others are doing and respond appropriately, but driving defensively is not wise.

However, the opposite of defensive is not aggressive. I don’t want any one’s bumper up in my face and I doubt you do either. This strategy is only going to lead to broken bones or blue balls, and no one wants to end up on a list of those statistics.

Instead you should aim to be offensive. Think about sport (especially if you’re trying to last a little longer): if all you do is loiter around your basket/goalposts, you’re not going to win. But if you blindly crash through your opponents, you’re going to end up on the sidelines with a technical or red card. To score, you must focus on the offense — be strategic and focused, while being prepared to respond to whatever is thrown your way, and you’ll come out on top.

Know when to slow, speed up and stop

The gas pedal is what gives you control over your speed. If you’re coming up to a stoplight, simply lift your foot from the gas and your car will slow. Don’t ride or slam on your brakes. Follow traffic patterns — if people are going faster than you, you probably need to speed up. Otherwise, they’re going to get there before you and might be dressed and out the door before you arrive.

Knowing when to just simply stop, though, is also important, especially when it comes to milking a metaphor for all its worth. Watch as I prove this right now.

Special advice for motorcyclists

  1. Maintain smooth wrist action
  2. Any additional riders should hold your hips to keep balance
  3. Be careful when giving it choke

The Internet Is Tricking You

19 Feb
Come for the click-bait; stay for the advice.

Come for the click-bait; stay for the advice.

You may have arrived here because you like Benedict Cumberbatch. That’s fine, no reason not to, just because he once refused to share a cab with me, claiming he was allergic to my perfume. I don’t hold grudges; if anything, I pity him if it’s true that he can never enjoy the smell of lilacs (though I wonder if he’d have been so insistent had he known the bottle of scent was given to me by Terence Stamp).

Regardless. Here’s the thing. You won’t find anything here about Benedict Cumberbatch (excluding the anecdote above, obviously). You were led here under false pretenses. Because, my dears, the Internet is lying to you.

I am terribly sorry to be the one to tell you about this.

Now let me ask, what do you think of when you think of the Internet? What visual image appears in that little head of yours? Perhaps it’s a big ‘ol mess of wires connecting countries on a map. Wrong. That’s not the Internet.

Maybe you prefer to think smaller and simply picture your own little device whenever you think of the Internet. I like that you’re keen on synecdoche, but I’m afraid that is not appropriate either.

If you insist on my suggesting a concrete image for you, I’d have to say the Internet is most like a big ass, fire breathing dragon. Not unlike the dragon in those Hobbit films (hold on there, didn’t one Benedict Cumberbatch provide the voice and motion capture for that dragon? Oh my, it looks like I’ve accidentally mentioned that name again!). Anyhoo, get your mind off him for like two minutes of your life, please, and listen up. The Internet is a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm who is fucking with your head, even as we speak.

Benedict Cumberbatch does not approve of being used like this. Unlike you, he doesn't have any choice.

Benedict Cumberbatch does not approve of being used.

Every time you “log on” to the Internet, you are giving away a little piece of your soul. This most frequently takes the form of your privacy or your self-control. And what’s worse is that the Internet is trying to trick you into believing you want to do this. In most other circumstances (excluding the minds of many high school male athletes), this kind of trickery would be considered criminal coercion. Not so here. The Internet can get you to do most anything it wants you to by almost any means whatsoever (say, by misleading you into believing you’ll learn something new about Benedict Cumberbatch).

It’s a dirty business really, and we should all be ashamed of participating it. I know I’d be ashamed if I weren’t so sure the stats for this blog post will be exponentially higher than any of my previous ones. That’s the thing: at the moment, most of us are pretty happy with the situation. We may lose some things because of it, but we gain others. Yes, our personal details got hacked but we were able to buy something from Target without having to actually go to Target, so it’s swings and roundabouts, isn’t it?

I’m not suggesting you stop using the Internet (in fact, why not subscribe to this blog? I won’t even ask for your mother’s maiden name). I’m not even suggesting you stop telling strangers your mother’s maiden name, if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.

All I’m saying is this: be aware of what’s going on and the role you’re playing. The Internet is using you. Google is aware of that purchase you just made. The NSA knows you. I know they know you because yesterday when we had lunch together, your name came up in the conversation. It’s likely your identity will get stolen, your sex tape made public, or a good year of your life lost to Candy Crush Saga. Tread carefully.

The fact that the dragon’s got a voice that gives you fizzy knickers shouldn’t permit you to forget that ultimately what he wants is your gold. Or your soul. Both of which you should remember are the precious (yes, I know that’s Gollum, but work with me here, people, I’m trying to make a point).

No Raccoon Has Ever Lied To Me

2 Feb

Raccoons-bite-baby-sleeping-in-cribI’ve never seen a raccoon in England. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re furry grey animals with fluffy tails. A bit like squirrels except less squirrel-ish and more raccoon-ish. Their most distinct feature is the black mask across their face, making them look like fluffy bandits. Cute! What I like most about raccoons, though, is that they are incredibly trustworthy.

This may come as a shock to you, but as a child, I lived for eight months in Canada. My mother led me to believe that this location change was due to my father’s draft dodging. Alas, I was too young to realise that not only was the draft not enacted at the time, the US was not even at war. Nonetheless, to this day, I still see my father as a conscientious objector, and I look back at those months with great fondness.

One afternoon I decided to head out for a long walk in the Canadian wilderness. I went out with one of my brothers (or sisters, I don’t remember exactly, and does it really matter?). We hiked through the woodland, making small talk and pausing frequently for me to capture nature with my Kodak Instamatic.

It was mid-July. While most of us tend to think of cold when we think of Canada, I can assure you it was well hot. After an hour or so, my brother (or sister) and I were regretting not bringing drinks with us and decided to head home. However, we had lost our way and raccoon-wallpaper-10-752390neither of us had a compass with us. As we were plotting out our plan back to safety, I noticed a little raccoon with her kits in a nearby tree. I stood up to take a snap (even in times of danger, I am committed to my work as a documentarian) when I swear the mother beckoned me towards her. I cried out, and she and her babes scuttled down the tree and took off. We ran over to where the raccoons had been, and spelled out in pebbles at the root of the tree was the word “wow.”

“What do you think it means?” my puzzled sibling asked me.

I walked slowly around the message. From a different angle, it spelled out “mom.” So I determined that the raccoon was either directing us towards something worth seeing or leading us to our mother. Either way, we decided to follow and took off in the direction in which the animals had fled.

We quickly caught up with the raccoon family, primarily because they had thoughtfully stopped to wait for us. Again the mother used her little paw to urge us forward. As we made our way through the trees, we began to hear the sounds of a waterfall and then of gleeful laughter. We were almost home safe!

As we rounded a corner, though, it quickly became clear that we were not at the Whitt-Wellington homestead but rather the raccoon had led us to a park for nudists. My brother (or sister, whatever) and I stood transfixed as we watched the nudie grown-ups frolicking in the water, lying in the sun and bending over to pick flowers. For a few moments, we were frozen in our tracks. Then, we turned our heads away from the spectacle and saw the raccoons running away, so we followed again for quite some time until we ended up behind a police station. We went in, our folks were called, and eventually we got home. Neither my sibling nor I mentioned the nudists to the cops, our parents or each other. That day I learned what a naked man looks like, and all I could say was “wow” (read whatever tone you want into that). The other thing I learned was that raccoons can be trusted.

I bring this up today because it is 2 February, also known as Groundhog Day in America. In Pennsylvania, a whole bunch of people get together to listen to a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil predict Groundhogs are Liarsthe weather. (If you’re not familiar with groundhogs, they look nothing like raccoons.) If Phil sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of winter; if he doesn’t see his shadow, an early spring is coming. The problem is, of course, that groundhogs are notorious liars, and Phil’s predictions are usually wrong.

Don’t go to groundhogs for your information. If you want the truth—however harsh, wrinkly or dangly it might be—a raccoon will lead you to it. If you want to know the weather, however, simply look out your window.

Pleasure v. Pain: Which Brings More Pleasure?

17 Sep

Don’t be daft: obviously, the answer is pleasure.

Or is it, Agatha? you might be asking in that cute way you do when you’re trying to look clever but are really just being silly.

Well, yes, it is. Because pain is always painful. Guaranteed.

Whip of DesireNow if you are currently clad in handcuffs with a ball gag in your mouth, you might be tempted to speak up to contradict me. You needn’t bother. I’m well aware of the whole “pain is pleasure” scene, as the young sadomasochists are calling it these days, though I remain skeptical. I mean, we all love a good whipping, sure, but those welts are going to sting like a bitch the second you lower yourself into a nice, hot bubble bath and then you’ll have wished you thought twice last night before introducing leather play into your bedroom shenanigans. Let’s face it — orgasms are a dime a dozen (if you’re a Gold Club member) but few things are more pleasing than a long, hot soak. Write that on a piece of paper and tape it to the door of your sex cupboard (or car dashboard, if you’re a member of the dogging community) to remind yourself for next time. In the long term, doing what you can to avoid pain usually pays off dividends.

However, pain does have a purpose and the next time you feel it, I recommend you stop to think about the lesson it is attempting to pass on. Pain is rarely subtle; it screams but doesn’t whisper.

For example, if your hand hurts because you’re hitting it with a hammer, you’re probably going to want to stop hitting your hand with a hammer. Pain’s messages are usually as straight forward as that.

If your ears are hurting, turn down your iPod or purchase higher quality headphones.

If your eyes are hurting, you probably need more sleep or to take breaks from looking at the computer.

If your nose is hurting, cut back on the cocaine.

I am not even a doctor and I know these things.

Emotional pain works similarly. If your heart is breaking, pain is trying to tell you that your taste in romantic partners is poor. If you suffer from a panic attack on the drive to work, you probably should quit your job. If you feel despondent, why not lift your spirits with some cocaine?

So while we can learn from pain (and learning should always bring joy), ultimately the evidence has shown that pleasure packs more punch in the pleasure department than its alternative. However, this is not say that pleasure doesn’t have the potential to bring harm. It does, because everything does. Are you really that naive? I’m sure you familiar with roses, yes? They’re beautiful, very pleasurable to both look at and smell. Yet if you eat two thousand tonnes of rose petals, you are going to get a very nasty tummy ache.

So I generally don’t recommend doing that.

It’s Your Body

7 Sep


I hear the word a lot. It’s usually used to dismiss something, to question its credibility or to accuse the person speaking about it of being a liar and/or idiot.

You already know how I feel about liars. And idiots. Now I’m going to tell you how I feel about bollocks. Well, specifically complementary medicine, which is what curly-haired clever clogs currently enjoy dismissing.

Complementary medicine can refer to a wide range of health remedies — from herbs, tinctures and oils to procedures like cupping, acupuncture, and energy therapy. These options are seen as alternative, because they are not scientifically sensible as things like drilling into teeth, putting pigs’ parts into humans and swallowing chemicals in tablet form are.

I am not going to defend complementary medicine. However, I am also not going to rip it a new asshole either. Because, while I have no truck with most of it myself, those who judge should keep a few things in mind.300px-Jekyll.and.Hyde.Ch1.Drawing1

If you think everything scientists get up to is automatically above board, I’d like to remind you of Victor Frankenstein and Henry Jekyll. Yes, they had white coats and medical books but their methods were a little dubious, don’t you agree?

Drink MeAs long as no one is being swindled out of cash or doing damage to themselves, if something relieves someone’s symptoms or worries, who am I to judge them and their gullibility? There is such a thing as the power of the mind, you know.  What about Alice, eh? After drinking a special potion, she went on a pretty magical adventure — is it asking too much to allow a little girl some joy? (Please do not be distracted by my over-reliance on fiction-based evidence.)

Quite frankly, some of what falls under the complementary medicine label is actually pretty clever. For example, making sure you get good nutrients can prevent getting poorly in the first place. Filling your room with some nice smelling lavender isn’t going to cure genital herpes, but it might lift your spirits so you focus less on that painful itch. Sometimes what is actually common sense is banished as bunkum, just because no pharmaceutical company can market it.

Massage is another treatment that often gets unfairly lumped in with alternative therapies. Unless, of course, it’s called physical therapy when all of a sudden it’s medically sound. Whatevs. I happen to know that certain types of body manipulation are extremely beneficial: they can relax stiff muscles, can hasten injury recovery, and, if done in the right alley, can earn you a quick tenner.

All I’m saying is this: I don’t care what you do. Go to a GP with a certificate and swallow her elixirs or go to a herbalist and rub his salve into your chest. As long as you get the facts for yourself before you do anything, you won’t ever hear of bollocks coming out of my mouth. Promise.

Do Good And Don’t Worry To Whom

12 Aug

This proverb is one of the many reasons I love the Mexican people (their overindulgence in cilantro is perhaps the only reason I do not). Too many people today only “do good” if it benefits their friends or family or even themselves personally—by helping them get promoted at work, go to the head of the class once they get to heaven or satisfy their God complex.

When was the last time you did good without worrying to whom? You just did something good, something nice, something kind. You didn’t tell anyone, maybe not even the person who benefited (making anonymous erotic phonecalls, I’m afraid, does not count). What would happen if you did something like this today? What could it hurt? Whom could it help?

I’d like to say I do good like this all the time. But, of course, I can’t say that because it would be taking credit for my good acts, which nullifies the very point I’m trying to make (pay attention, please). So I won’t say that I do good all the time, but instead I shall say that I will try to be more like the Mexicans and spread a little sunshine around—to anyone, to everyone—just because doing good is good. You should do some good, too. If you do, resist the temptation to email me to detail what you’ve done, because one, keeping quiet about it is part of the challenge and two, I’m not really that interested in you as a person and you are quickly becoming tiresome to me.

Cricket for Dummies Girls Foreigners Novices

14 Jul

A lovely dear American friend named Martin got in touch to say:

Miss Agatha,
Over the past few days, you’ve been doing quite a lot of bellowing about something called the Ashes, which I have deduced is related to the sport of cricket. While it’s always thrilling to hear you cry out with joy, I confess I feel unable to truly appreciate your excitement as I find cricket somewhat confusing. I’ve been doing some research, but still feel befuddled. Can you help a poor man who just wants to understand?
Yours truly,

I don’t doubt Martin is not alone in his bewilderment, because it can be hard to understand any sport if you weren’t taught the rules by a frustrated, middle-aged primary school PE teacher who still lives with his mother. Even I myself once was ignorant.

Because I love learning, I went directly to the library to educate myself on the history, rules and strategies of cricket. The librarian suggested two tomes: Cricket for Dummies and Helping Women Understand Cricket (if you guessed the librarian was male, you are correct). Personally, I don’t like those . . . for Dummies books because I don’t believe in starting off the writer/reader relationship with an insult. The other book was equally appalling: most of its pages were dedicated to advice on keeping large plates of sandwiches fresh and jugs of tea hot to ensure players’ satisfaction at the lunch interval. Outrageous!

There’s also quite a famous summary which is often titled “Explaining Cricket to Foreigners.” Now, of course, we can’t ignore the xenophobic stupidity of the title nor the fact that, while the explanation is correct, it’s clearly designed to mock those who aren’t familiar with the sport. Here it is:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

So it makes sense that Martin would come to me, a woman famous for her thoughtful clarity and extensive experience with bats and balls. So let’s get to work.

If you are familiar with baseball, realise that this will actually hinder rather than help your understanding. It ain’t baseball, people, and trying hard to connect the two is just going to get your brain cells in a tizz. So stop doing that.

Instead please read through the following helpful explanation of test cricket.


In the middle of a great big grassy field is a strip of dirt (called the pitch). At each of the strip’s ends are three wooden sticks (called stumps) with two little sticks (bails) balanced across them. Together, the stumps and bails make up the wicket. This is important.

Two teams of eleven players each wear white outfits.

Throwing the ball (which is maroon) at the batsman is called bowling. Bowling involves a little run then a little jump then whipping the arm up in the air before releasing the ball. It looks wonky at first, but it’s a proper skill because the bowler can’t go too wide (called a wide) nor can the bowler’s front foot cross a certain line (called a no-ball).

Batsmen use fat, flat bats made out of willow, with a thin handle at one end. Batsmen also wear helmets and pads to protect their legs because just because the ball is maroon, don’t think for a minute it can’t do some proper damage if you’re hit by it. (However, fielders do not wear gloves because they aren’t pussies about it.) That batsmen stand in front of the wicket to protect it from being hit by the bowler.

What’s that you say, Agatha? How can the batsman be standing in front of the wicket when you just said there are two wickets on the pitch?

Get your mind blown, suckas. There are two batsman. But there are also two bowlers! Can you believe that?

A bowler bowls six times at the batsman standing in front of the wicket at one end. This is called an over. Then the other bowler bowls six times to the batsman in front of the other wicket. The fielders move position to be better prepared to catch the new batsman’s hits.

One player on the fielding side stands behind the wicket; this player is called the wicket keeper. Big, webbed gloves help the wicketkeeper stop the balls that have been bowled but not hit.

There are two umpires on the field. They also wear white shirts but black trousers. There is a third umpire who looks at video replays, and a fourth umpire who is basically the other three umpires’ bitch and brings them drinks and new balls if the ball gets too beat up.

Here is a cricket pitch.

Here is a cricket pitch.

Here is a cricket pitch that has been invaded by a swarm of bees.

Here is a cricket pitch that has been invaded by a swarm of bees.


One team bats while the other fields. A team is at bat until ten batsmen get out. This is called an innings (no, not an inning). Then they switch places and the second team bats until ten of their batsmen are out. Each team gets two innings.

Obviously the goal of the fielding team is to get the batsmen out.

The goal of the batting team is slightly more complex: the batsman must protect the wicket from being hit by the bowler (if this happens and the bails fall off the stumps, the batsman is out).

The most ideal way to protect the wicket is to hit the ball with the bat. If it’s hit hard or far enough, both batsmen run to the other wicket and one run is earned. If they’ve got enough time to run back to their original wicket, they get another run. They can do this as much as they want but if a fielding player is able to knock the bails off the stumps with the ball (including by throwing the ball directly at the stumps) before the batman gets back to it, then that batsman is out. However, if the ball is hit so hard that it rolls to the edge of the grassy field (called the boundary), neither batsman has to run; that team just automatically earns four runs. If the batsman hits so the ball goes right over the boundary, six runs are earned. If the ball is hit up in the air and a fielder catches it, the batsman is out.

Another way a batsman can get out is called leg-before-wicket (LBW). The batsman cannot use the body to protect the wicket. If the bowler bowls a ball that seems like it would hit the stumps, and the batman disrupts the ball’s flight with a body block (well, a leg block since the pads more easily absorb the force of the ball than, say, the batsman’s crotch would), then the bowler (and other fielders) jump up in the air and yell “How’s that?” (usually written as “Howzat” for comic effect). If the umpire deems that yes, the ball would have hit the stumps if it weren’t for the batsman’s big fat legs, then the batsman is out LBW.

Though both batsmen run at the same time to earn runs, the one who actually hit the ball gets the credit. If a batsman gets credit for fifty runs before getting out, the batsman holds up the bat in the air and all their supporters cheer. If the batsman gets one hundred runs before getting out (called a century), the helmet is removed and the bat is held up. The batsman gets a standing ovation, sometimes even from their opponent’s fans, and the commentators talk about how this is a historic moment.

Brian Lara of the West Indies once scored four centuries in one innings without getting out. Now that was a historic moment.

On the other hand, if a batsman gets out before ever scoring a run, it’s called a duck and the crowd should feel free to mock the batsman, especially if it happens on the first ball that’s bowled (or if the batsman’s Australian). This situation is called a golden duck. Quack.

Please keep in mind, though, that the batsman does not have to hit the ball, doesn’t even have to try to hit the ball. As long as the bails don’t fall, it’s cool. Sometimes quite a long time passes in between runs. As a viewer this can seem tedious, I will not lie. But it can be very strategic play. This is especially true if one batsman is much better than the other. The crap one just has to not to get out; after six bowls, the other batsman is up and can start swinging and scoring.

Test matches last a long time, usually three to five days. If an innings is over quickly, that means fewer runs are earned. That’s bad for that team. So the teams try to make their innings last as long as they can, scoring as many runs as they can. Hanif Mohammad of Pakistan once made his own innings last for over sixteen hours! What the hell, dude? Each day’s play is usually about seven hours, with a few breaks for drinks or lunch. The batsmen who haven’t got out at the end of the day are the ones who start the next day.

During the match, the scores reflect only the batting team’s status. The scoreboard will say 113-4 or the commentators will say “At the end of that over, England are 113 for 4.” The first number refers to how many runs have been earned; the second refers to how many wickets have fallen (how many outs). At the end of the first over, the team’s score might be 250-all out (250 runs, all batsmen out). When the first team bats again (the third innings), those runs are added to their previous total but the out total goes back to zero. After the end of the third innings, the team that batted first can no longer earn any more runs. So if their grand total is 456, this means that during the fourth innings, the other team is “chasing” 456.

Obviously the fourth innings is key in determining the match’s winner. If the team batting during that fourth inning overtakes the score of the other team, the match is over and they win. If both teams play their full two innings (where each has ten batsmen out twice), the team with the higher score wins.

However, the match could actually end after the third innings (when the team that batted first has finished batting for the second time). If that team still has fewer runs than the other team, the match is considered lost (since that team won’t have another chance to bat) and the fourth innings don’t have to even be played (since the team with the higher score would just be adding to their already higher score). Everyone goes home and the people with tickets to Day Five of the test match feel they have been slighted, even if their team has actually won. Babies.

You can also have a draw in cricket, which many people whinge about — “It lasts five days and there’s not even in a winner? Whinge, whinge, whinge.” Yeah, well, shut up.

A cricket match ends in a draw if the fourth innings does not end (meaning the batting team has not got ten outs) by the end of the allotted time (by the end of play on Day Five). If that’s the case, it’s a draw regardless of who has the higher number of runs. Sometimes a team will just make that last innings go on forever, even if they know they won’t be able to score enough runs. It’s a hard way for a match to end (if your team is the one in the lead), but you know what? Life is hard, mate. Get used to it.


Like many sports, cricket is full of complications. There are many ways to bowl the ball and different fielding positions. There are cunning strategies. There is new technology to highlight one’s viewing pleasure and help umpires make their decisions. A scorecard can be kept using symbols and notes. Statistics and records are thoroughly analysed. Test cricket is played between different national teams, but there are many different levels. There can be one day matches, matches that last for only forty overs, all types of crazy shit.

But I think perhaps we’ve had enough for today.

Except to mention that the particular test match that had me erupting this week is part of a very important series of test matches that takes place every other year. It is called the Ashes and highlights the longstanding rivalry between England and Australia. Let’s let Lego explain:

So there, Martin, is cricket.

I’d just like to end with the suggestion that you and other readers from non-cricket playing countries and/or who are unfamiliar with the game just watch it. It’s hard to comprehend anything in the abstract. Think about the first time young people hear about sex — they can’t imagine how it works or why anyone would be interested. This is why it’s better to actually watch it happening (actually now that I’ve written that line out, please disregard my previous sex analogy). I’m just saying cricket — like all sports — has tons of little details that are hard to sort out just on paper. In fact, despite my own understanding of cricket, when I read back all I’ve just posted, I think, what the fuck are you talking about? So read but then watch and it’ll all fall into place.

Who knows? Maybe once that happens, you’ll fancy playing it yourself. Just don’t play for Australia or I will instantly become your mortal enemy.

Pornography, Crystal Meth, and/or Me

9 Jul

As you probably already know, my recent collection, Everyone Needs An Algonquin: The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Agatha Whitt-Wellington (Miss), has taken the publishing world by storm. Like pornography and methamphetamine, the public just cannot get enough.

Yet you have not purchased your copy.

I’m okay with this, I guess. I’m not going to bully you. It’s cool. Besides, I know times are tight for everyone financially; it’s hard to find the extra pennies.

So here’s the diddly-dealio: I’m giving away autographed copies via the website GoodReads. You have until the end of July to enter. To get into the running, you don’t even have to include a 100 word essay about why you want a copy[1], just enter and five winners will be randomly chosen[2]. Easy-peasy.



Click here to enter and for giveaway details


And best of all? You don’t have to enjoy my book alone in a darkened room, weeping ashamedly, as you do with porn, nor will it, like meth, leave you toothless.




[1] Though if you really feel like singing my praises, feel free to do so in comment section below.

[2] If you are a winner, though, let me know you read this website, and I’ll send you a little extra something-something.

Buying This Book Will Change Your Life

31 May

e-book coverI mean it.

You’ll be wiser, happier and eight pounds lighter (geddit?).

No seriously now, everyday I get stopped by people on the street saying, “Agatha, we love your work, but we refuse to accept the future and will not regularly use the Internet for the following reasons:

  • we haven’t found our computer’s on button yet
  • we are afraid of trolls
  • we find easy access to porn too tempting
  • we’re just like that

so please publish a normal book the normal way so we have something to read in bed after we refuse to have sex with our partners.”

Okay, I finally said.

Everyone Needs An Algonquin: The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Agatha Whitt-Wellington is now available for purchase. It includes a few oldies-but-goodies from this website (where you could have read them for free, but whatever) and lots and lots of new work that will make you think, laugh and look more clever than ever before.

As an international mover-and-shaker, of course, I had to figure out how to simultaneously release the book to my fans all over the world, because I don’t want to be seen to be giving preferential treatment to any one certain country (not after the Fijians caused that ruckus about the debut of my first book of memoirs a few years back). So the book is now available in paperback and Kindle form at a buttload of Amazon websites.



Canadian, eh?

Les Français:

Das Deutsche Volk:

Gente di Italia:

Pueblo de España:

I’m not a doctor, even though I’ve slept with one from TV, but I worry that without this book, you’re putting your health in danger. Now you shouldn’t put your health in danger. Not even if the cool kids tell you to. So go ahead, buy yourself a copy. I can assure with great confidence (though notice I didn’t use the word guarantee, which is a legal term) that you will enjoy it.

In fact, why not buy a couple copies and give them away to your friends, family, ex-lovers or postman? Now is the time for generosity because if you wait until Christmas, they’ll be expecting a gift anyway and won’t truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Besides, the guy said my back garden wall might not make it through another winter so I need cash to get that fixed pronto.

Lastly, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it’s likely you’re mentioned in the book. I mean, you’ve always known I admire you, right? Wouldn’t it be nice to see it in print? (Note: if your particular name is not included in the book, please accept my apologies for the oversight; I’ll give my editor a right thrashing, but rest assured I was thinking of you at the time.)

Lots of kisses, little ones!

Let’s Just Have A Think About That

30 Mar

Few of us truly understand how directly beliefs can affect the spiritual, emotional and physical health of ourselves and our world. Sometimes this is positive; for example, one might believe that her experiences as an international mover-and-shaker are interesting enough to share in books. Those books are then read worldwide and make even the lowliest of people stop before swallowing the whole bottle of pills and promise to dedicate their lives to being more fabulous, which improves the entire global community. However, things don’t always go so nicely. A person might believe that those without enormous trust funds don’t deserve basic human rights and then do his level best to fuck up the lives of others once he becomes Chancellor of the Exchequer.

thinkSince what we believe has power, it’s important to think critically about what we think about whatever we’re thinking about. Too frequently we just follow along with the ideas our friends and family, the media or taxi drivers pass on to us.  Often we just buy into what are called “commonly held” beliefs without ever questioning them, and that’ll end up leading to nothing but trouble: from small hassles within our own households to devastating world wars and natural catastrophes. It takes time and energy to think critically, of course, but as usual, I’m here to help. Let’s debunk a few assumptions that most people seem to just take for granted as truth and examine their possible consequences.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

There’s no need to worry about doctors showing up at your house unnecessarily: most doctors don’t make house calls, so if you really don’t want to see one, just don’t go into the surgery. Of course apples are tasty and good to eat, but we need to stop perpetuating the fear of doctors stalking our homes because it scares little children who sometimes have to walk past hospitals on their way to school.

Breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck

A mirror is simply a fancy pants piece of glass that reflects whatever you put in front of it. Breaking a mirror has no more negative affect that breaking a champagne flute: if you step on a piece, you could cut your foot but other than that, it’s no biggie. If you’re really worried about seven years bad luck, instead avoid getting married.

Waking a sleepwalker could be dangerous

First off, sleepwalking doesn’t exist: the person is pretending. Why do you think you always find your husband sleepwalking his way to the whorehouse? The next time you encounter a sleepwalker, throw a lit match at them and you’ll see how quickly “waking” one can actually prevent a dangerous situation.

Dropping a penny from the Empire State Building can kill a person

This belief encourages people to throw away their money and perhaps without it, the economy would be in better shape. If you want to kill a person on the sidewalk below, the best bet is to drop a bullet out of gun while aiming it at their head.

Goldfish have a two second memory span

Why do you even care? What are you doing to your goldfish that is making you obsess over how well they remember things? The truth is goldfish have wonderful memories—I personally have met goldfish who can remember the Korean War in great detail so just watch yourself.

Eating a dictionary can improve your vocabulary

The ink used in dictionaries can stain one’s teeth and cannot be properly processed by a human’s digestive system. To improve your vocabulary, read more books and do more crosswords.

Unfortunately, I can’t be there with you all the time and if I have ever promised to be, I’m guessing I was probably drunk at the time. Please use these examples as models to question all of your beliefs. Hold tight to the solid, helpful ones and dump the others. Many local communities have salvage centres where you can drop off dumb ideas that can be recycled into jewelry and household goods which can then be purchased on Etsy.


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