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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.

Let’s Wrap the 2012 Quiz Up Now That It’s Technically 2013

1 Jan

new year 2012If you missed the second half of my fabulous Large, Chubby Quiz of the Year 2012, the questions are listed below. If you’d like to compete against thousands to win something (I’ve not decided just yet), please send you answers (written coherently, please) to by noon GMT, 2 January 2013.

17. Who was Mr Heron Williard?

18. For what did David Cameron say he was “profoundly sorry” in September 2012?

19. About what did Nick Clegg say “when you’ve made a mistake, you should apologise” in September 2012?

20. What is title of my newest book, which “dropped” 20 December?

21. Where did Felix Baumgartner land after becoming the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power?

22. Complete Mitt Romney’s presidential debate phrase: “binders full of __________.”

23. Complete Barack Obama’s presidential debate phrase: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer __________ and __________.”

24. In October 2012, Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to prison for which crime?

25. What was different about the Queen’s message this afternoon?

26. Whose effigy did Edenbridge Bonfire Society burn on Bonfire Night 2012?

27. After how many days in the job did George Entwistle resign as Director General on 10 November 2012?

28. What did David Beckham do for the last time on the first of December 2012?

29. What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

30. What was the first video to get over 1 billion views on YouTube?

31. Which country had the best performing stock market of 2012?

TIE-BREAKER:Why am I so lovely?

Click here to display the correct answers.

Alas, I’ve had to declare no winner in the quiz. Unfortunately, the entrant with the most correct answers is someone I once slept with, and I was afraid I’d be accused of rigging it in his favour, if you know what I mean. So I’ve declared a mistrial, and we’ll have to do it all again in eleven months.

But well done to you all!

Um, Actually I think It’s Your Round

16 Dec

This year I’m serving as your quiz mistress for the Everyone Needs An Algonquin Quiz of the Year. We’re at the half way mark so I thought we could have a little musical interlude to give you a chance to freshen your drink, nip to the ladies’ or step outside for a fag. The landlord requested something to raise everyone’s spirits (though it would have made more business sense to keep everyone miserable as all good barmen know misery + alcohol =£££). Enjoy!

For those of you who have arrived fashionably late, each day a new question is posted on Facebook so like us there (see conveniently located help on the right of this page) to get access to the daily questions. However, I appreciate that some do not participate in Facebook, and I wouldn’t want to exclude those people just because they have the good sense not to get sucked into such evil, so now’s your chance to get caught up.


Question 1: Why was the name of the Roman goddess of harmony in the news in January 2012?

Question 2: My webpage, Everyone Needs An Algonquin, went black on 18 January 2012. What was up with that?

Question 3: What was the name of the creator of the “Hippest Trip in America,” who died in February 2012?

Question 4: In February 2012, who was cast in the role of Jeremy Irons in “Agatha! The Musical”?

Question 5: In March 2012, David Cameron refused to sign the EU’s “fiscal compact.” What other country’s leader also refused to sign?

Question 6: Why was Christopher cautioned by police in March 2012?

Question 7: Who won the Grand National in April 2012 and why did I back him to win?

Question 8: Rupert Murdoch celebrated the “most humble day” of his life with what kind of a pie?

Question 9: Why is May 1 known as the Day of the Incident in the Whitt-Wellington family?

*Picture Round*

Question 10: This woman’s Scottish husband won which race for the third time this year?

Question 11: What was my personal response to this so-called astronomical phenomenon?

Question 12: Which one of these disembodied bald heads created the recipe for Diamond Jubilee Chicken?

Question 13: To whom did I donate my Olympics tickets?
Bored Queen

Question 14: This man showed up in London to watch which Olympic event?
Putin So Fuck Off

Question 15: How many medals did Great Britain win in this year’s London Olympics?

Question 16: How many medals did the United States win in this year’s London Paralympics?

Once everyone’s settled back into their seats and the paramedics have dealt with that man who got glassed out by the bins, we’ll get back to the quiz!


Advice For Those Who Have Temporarily Given Up Menstruation

3 Dec

Many a woman might feel bitter when the young thing who stole away her prince (literally) comes out in the press as up the duff. Luckily, I’m not like that. I have come to accept that the relationship between Wills and me never would have lasted, and I bear no grudge against Catherine for her choices: having what can only be described as a relatively showy ceremony, becoming impregnated before we all are sure that the world in fact is not ending in 2012—it’s not my place to judge her. In fact, given my wonderfully generous nature, I have instead chosen to offer her a lesson that will also benefit any woman who finds herself in a family way.

It is, simply, get a grip.

PE BabyYou’ve chosen to bring another human being into this world and while it’s a morally questionable decision, it’s a done deal now. You may feel that the changes a child will bring are all going to be sweet and lovely, but stop relying on Christmas adverts for your information. Of course, there’s bound to be some nice things, but you need to be prepared for lots and lots of hassle and grief that basically will never ever ever go away. By the way, congratulations!

Let’s look at an analogy: when you were younger, you may have had a pet gerbil. If so, you know that gerbils need to be fed, watered and tidied on a pretty regular basis. If you wanted to sleep over at a friend’s house or go on holiday, you had to make arrangements to ensure the gerbil was taken care of. That’s pretty much what a baby is: a very large, hairless gerbil that lives inside your body until it is expelled down your lady chute and becomes completely dependent on you for (at least) the next sixteen to eighteen years.

Of course, if you neglected your gerbil, the worst thing that could have happened was that your parents grounded you for a weekend and you had to chuck the carcass out in the bin. If you mess about with your baby’s care, though, I’m afraid the consequences are a bit grander.

If you don’t take care of your offspring, you can seriously eff up its body and/or mind. We already have enough unhealthy and unhappy people in the world; no more are currently required, thank you. Additionally, the effects of any kind of neglect or abuse stay with a little person after they become a big person, and this is rarely good news for anyone. He or she may be unable to find love, may turn to criminal activities or, most worryingly of all, could gain a position of power in government and then we’ll all be buggered.

So buck up and grow up. Take care of yourself while you’re preggers—even if this means giving up certain foods, drinks or official tours of Commonwealth realms. The sprog’s well-being needs to be your priority now. Once the kid’s born, you’ll have even more responsibilities—ranging from preparing healthy foods and cleaning poo to showing love and teaching life skills. Basically, get yourself sorted.

Those of you who are non-breeders may assume that this advice is so incredibly obvious that I needn’t have sullied the pages of Everyone Needs An Algonquin discussing it. Alas, common sense is not as common as it should be. If you spend the next day counting all the people you meet whom you would describe as twattish, the number, I fear, will be quite large. Those people weren’t born twats, you know—they became twats and many did so because of poor behaviour on their parents’ parts.

39weeksBut also consider this: the American charity the March of Dimes is running a campaign whose sole purpose is to convince pregnant women to let their feotuses brew for the whole nine months. Now it seems pretty obvious to me that, unless there were an emergency, we’d just pretty much all agree to let the baby be born when he or she is ready to be born. But charities don’t spend money on campaigns that don’t have target audiences. Apparently there are women who need to be told not to muck about with their baby’s due date just because they’re sick of being pregnant. My beef’s not with the charity itself (dimes are actually one of my favourite coins and I strongly support anyone prepared to march for them). I just think its campaign indicates a pretty sad state of affairs.

So to the Duchess and anyone else whose rabbit has recently died, I say good luck on the adventure that is pregnancy and parenthood. Just be sure to make responsible choices from here on in. It might be helpful to remember  while you’re looking forward to the arrival of your little bundle of joy, that Klara Hitler was probably pretty excited about hers as well.

PS: Kate, do you mind if I call you Kate, I hope you are feeling better soon and the rest of your pregnancy is without pain or illness. Follow your doctors’ advice, get some rest and, despite what one semen-obsessed psychologist at SUNY-Albany says, don’t fall for that old ‘hair of the dog that bit you’ remedy for morning sickness.

All Knowledge, the Totality of All Questions and Answers, Is Contained In the Dog

1 Dec

Probably my favourite part of the holiday season is the end-of-the-year quiz. This is because I am both clever and competitive (and if you’re expecting me to feel ashamed of either of these qualities, you’re going to be sorely disappointed). Amidst all the hubbub of Christmas shopping, family feuds, and wintry weather, I try to take solace in beating the pants off anyone who wants to take me on at trivia.

Unfortunately, there was an incident at the pub this week and I’ve been barred from quiz nights for the remainder of the year.  I don’t want to make a big to-do of it, but if you’re going to ask for the lyrics to “Tangled Up In Blue,” you really should have the sense to clarify if you’re talking about the Blood on the Tracks version or the Real Live one. And I’d also like to point out that saying I’m going to glass a guy is not the same as actually glassing him. But hey ho, I guess some people just don’t value accuracy and precision as much as I do.

Jimmy Carr will *not* be involved in this operation.

Jimmy Carr will *not* be involved in this operation.

So I’ve decided to step into the quizmaster role for 2012 and feature my own Quiz of the Year. I would like to invite you all to play along.  A question will be posted each day in December on my Facebook page, and the person with the most correct answers will win an as-of-yet-undetermined prize, which is most likely to be the respect of your peers (and in many ways the value of that is priceless, if you think about it).

I would like to reassure that you that, as in most other aspects of my life, I shall be harsh but fair. Cheating, of course, is incredibly unbecoming and won’t be tolerated: anyone seen using a smart phone to access the Internet at any point during the month of December will be immediately disqualified.

Happy quizzing, brain boxes!