Everything Gives You Cancer

The immortal words of Joe Jackson come to mind:

No amount of alcohol, sausage or bacon is safe according to cancer experts

Even small amounts of processed meats and booze increase the risk of a host of cancers outlined in World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) guidelines updated every decade.
The respected global authority has unveiled a 10-point plan to cut your risk of getting cancer by up to 40%.
Brits have been told to banish favourites such as ham, burgers and hot dogs from their diets by experts who say they are a direct cause of bowel cancer. Processed meats also cause people to be overweight which can trigger many more cancers.
But UK experts have disagreed with the draconian advice insisting the odd bacon sandwich “isn’t anything to worry about”.
The WCRF found boozing is directly linked to increased risk of six cancers and for the first time recommended sticking to water or unsweetened drinks. The report said: “Even small amounts of alcoholic drinks can increase the risk of some cancers. “There is no level of consumption below which there is no increase in the risk of at least some cancers.”
On processed meats it added that “no level of intake can confidently be associated with a lack of risk of bowel cancer”.
Cutting down on steaks and other red meat such as lamb and pork can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

The WCRF’s 10-point health plan

  1. Be a healthy weight
  2. Be physically active
  3. Eat a diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and beans
  4. Limit consumption of ‘fast foods’ and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars
  5. Limit consumption of red and processed meat
  6. Limit consumption of sugar sweetened drinks
  7. Limit alcohol consumption
    [last three omitted because irrelevant to my Readers, e.g. breastfeeding]

I guess I’m fucked, then.  Oh well.  Time for some BBQ brisket, Elgin sausage and sweet iced tea.  Or a steak & kidney pie, chips and a pint of London Pride?

If I’m gonna die, I want the doctors to exclaim at my post-mortem, “Bloody hell!  How did he last so long?”


 

There’s no link because the Mirror has the most irritating ads on the planet.  I went there so you don’t have to.  And fuck their “fair use” guidelines.

Memorial Day

Charles Loxton was a small man, no taller than 5’6”, and was born in 1899.  This means that when he fought in the muddy trenches of France during the First World War, he was no older than 17 years old — Delville Wood, where he was wounded, took place in July 1916.

Seventeen years old.  That means he would have been a little over sixteen when he enlisted. In other words, Charles must have lied about his age to join the army — many did, in those days, and recruiting officers winked at the lies.  After all, the meat grinder of the Western Front needed constant replenishment, and whether you died at 17, 18 or 19 made little difference.

Why did he do it?  At the time, propaganda told of how the evil Kaiser Wilhelm was trying to conquer the world, and how evil Huns had raped Belgian nurses after executing whole villages.  Where Charles lived as a young boy, however, the Kaiser was no danger to him, and no German Uhlans were going to set fire to his house, ever.

But Charles lied about his age and joined up because he felt that he was doing the right thing.  That if good men did nothing, evil would most certainly win.

It’s not as though he didn’t know what was coming:  every day, the newspapers would print whole pages of casualty lists, the black borders telling the world that France meant almost certain death.  The verification could be found in all the houses’ windows which had black-crepe-lined photos of young men, killed on the Somme, in Flanders, in Ypres, and at Mons.

He would have seen with his own eyes the men who returned from France, with their missing limbs, shattered faces and shaky voices.  He would have heard stories from other boys about their relatives coming back from France to other towns — either in spirit having died, or else with wounds so terrible that the imagination quailed at their description.

He would have seen the mothers of his friends weeping at the loss of a beloved husband.  Perhaps it had been this man and not his father who had taught him how to fish, or how to shoot, or how to cut (from the branches of a peach tree) a “mik” (the “Y”) for his catapult.

But Charles, a 16-year-old boy, walked out of his home one day and went down to the recruiting center of the small mining town, and joined the Army.

When years later I asked him why he’d done it, he would just shrug, get a faraway look in his blue eyes, and change the subject.  Words like duty, honor, country, I suspect, just embarrassed him. But that didn’t mean he was unaware of them.

So Charles joined the Army, was trained to fight, and went off to France.  He was there for only four months before he was wounded.  During the attack on the German trenches at Delville Wood, he was shot in the shoulder, and as he lay there in the mud, a German soldier speared him in the knee with his bayonet, before himself being shot and killed by another man in Charles’ squad.  At least, I think that’s what happened — I only managed to get the story in bits and pieces over several years.  But the scars on his body were eloquent witnesses to the horror: the ugly cicatrix on his leg, two actually (where the bayonet went in above the knee and out below it), and the star-shaped indentation in his shoulder.

The wounds were serious enough to require over a year’s worth of extensive rehabilitation, and they never really healed properly.  But Charles was eventually passed as fit enough to fight, and back to the trenches he went.  By now it was early 1918 — the Americans were in the war, and tiny, limping Private Charles Loxton was given the job as an officer’s batman: the man who polished the captain’s boots, cleaned his uniform, and heated up the water for his morning shave every day.  It was a menial, and in today’s terms, demeaning job, and Charles fought against it with all his might.  Eventually, the officer relented and released him for further line service, and back to the line he went.

Two months later came the Armistice, and Charles left France for home, by now a grizzled veteran of 19.  Because he had been cleared for trench duty, he was no longer considered to be disabled, and so he did not qualify for a disabled veteran’s pension.

When he got back home, there were no jobs except for one, so he took it.  Charles became, unbelievably, a miner.  His crippled knee still troubled him, but he went to work every day, because he had to earn money to support his mother, by now widowed, and his younger brother John.  The work was dangerous, and every month there’d be some disaster, some catastrophe which would claim the lives of miners.  But Charles and his friends shrugged off the danger, because after the slaughter of the trenches, where life expectancy was measured in days or even hours, a whole month between deaths was a relief.

But he had done his duty, for God, King and country, and he never regretted it.  Not once did he ever say things like “If I’d known what I was getting into, I’d never have done it.”  As far as he was concerned, he’d had no choice — and that instinct to do good, to do the right thing, governed his entire life.

At age 32, Charles married a local beauty half his age.  Elizabeth, or “Betty” as everyone called her, was his pride and joy, and he worshipped her his whole life.  They had five children.

Every morning before going to work, Charles would get up before dawn and make a cup of coffee for Betty and each of the children, putting the coffee on the tables next to their beds.  Then he’d kiss them, and leave for the rock face.  Betty would die from multiple sclerosis, at age 43.

As a young boy, I first remembered Charles as an elderly man, although he was then in his late fifties, by today’s standards only middle-aged.  His war wounds had made him old, and he had difficulty climbing stairs his whole life.  But he was always immaculately dressed, always wore a tie and a hat, and his shoes were polished with such a gloss that you could tell the time in them if you held your watch close.

Charles taught me how to fish, how to cut a good “mik” for my catapult, and watched approvingly as I showed him what a good shot I was with my pellet gun.  No matter how busy he was, he would drop whatever he was doing to help me — he was, without question, the kindest man I’ve ever known.

In 1964, Charles Loxton, my grandfather, died of phthisis, the “miner’s disease” caused by years of accumulated dust in the lungs.  Even on his deathbed in the hospital, I never heard him complain — in fact, I never once heard him complain about anything, ever.  From his hospital bed, all he wanted to hear about was what I had done that day, or how I was doing at school.

When he died, late one night, there was no fuss, no emergency, no noise; he just took one breath, and then no more.  He died as he had lived, quietly and without complaint.

From him, I developed the saying, “The mark of a decent man is not how much he thinks about himself, but how much time he spends thinking about others.”

Charles Loxton thought only about other people his entire life.

In Memoriam

Wanton Poses

From Reader David S comes this observation in email:  “I can’t get that pic you recently posted of Sophia Loren out of my mind.  Why is that?”

It’s a simple answer, and while Sophia is undoubtedly gorgeous, it’s her unladylike pose which does it.  Those carelessly-sprawled legs… the pose is an age-old aphrodisiac to men, and so powerful is its effect that it was only in the modern era that artists could even begin to portray it, e.g. Henri Matisse’s Odalisque Couchée:

…and Egon Schiele’s Reclining Woman:

Now understand me well:  I’m not talking about the typical pornographic splayed-leg shots, which remind me of nothing less than a gynecological view of the female anatomy (and Schiele is perilously close to it in the above).  But there is something sexy — maybe frighteningly-sexy — when the pose is done properly.  And of course, what I’m saying is useless without pictorial evidence, so here we go:

Téa Leoni:

Anthea Turner:

Amanda Righetti:

Amy Adams:

…and of course, there’s Marilyn:

But when it comes to truly erotic, you need a recumbent pose to get the full effect:

Jean Carmen:

Catherine Deneuve:

Kirsten Dunst:

Claire Goose:

Anita Ekberg:
…and finally, in a pose which mimics Matisse’s Odalisque, Charlotte Rampling:

Some people find these poses too overtly sexual — “slutty”, as my Mom might have put it — but there’s no denying their attraction.  I report, you decide.

Not The Best Idea

So London’s Arsenal F.C. have finally announced a replacement for longtime manager Arsène Wenger.  But I’m not interested in the doings of the North London Scum (as we Chelsea fans call them).  Here’s the interesting thing.  As is customary, the new guy (some Spanish dude, who cares) held up an Arsenal jersey at a photo-op to mark his new allegiance.  Anyone see anything wrong with the pic?

Of all the silly advertising… Visit Rwanda?  Rwanda?

Let’s just say it’s not on my  Travel Bucket List.

Okay, okay… before any pro-Rwandan maniacs get all bent out of shape, let me acknowledge that Kigali was recently voted “Most Beautiful City In Africa”:

…no doubt by the same people who also think that Yemen is a dandy vacation idea.  As with all things African, though, you need to step about a hundred yards outside the publicity photos to find the reality:

But hey… go ahead and fly Emirates to Rwanda, be my guest.

Me, I’m thinking about Prague…

Not So Fast, Fritzie

Sayeth Victor Davis Hanson:

Every 20 to 50 years in Germany, things start unraveling.  Germans feel aggrieved.  Ideas and movements gyrate wildly between far left and far right extremes.  And the Germans finally find consensus in a sense of victimhood paradoxically expressed as national chauvinism.  Germany’s neighbors in 1870, 1914, 1939 — and increasingly in the present — usually bear the brunt of this national meltdown.

Well, yeah;  except that in 1870 they had just unified Prussia’s army with those of the other German states, in 1914 they had the Imperial German Army and in 1939 they had Hitler’s Nazi war machine to boss their neighbors around.

Nowadays?  LOL.  The Alabama National Guard could whip the Bundeswehr and still be home in time for dinner.

This time, the Germans should direct all their energies inward, to fix their festering immigration population, the unions’ stranglehold on industry and the country’s  1920s-style social decadence — but they don’t have the balls to do that, even.  And I don’t see anywhere a potential  Bismarck to try it all, let alone a Hitler.

It’s not often I disagree with VDH, but this is one time I do.