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READER LETTERS; Dodging the truth about a dodgy episode.


WE had a squalid time of passing the buck at Westminster last week.

The probe into the dodgy government document about Saddam Hussein's weapons is a laugh.

First, an embarrassed Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted the thing was "complete Horlicks".

Then spin doctor Alastair Campbell - the man whose full-time job is to twist the facts to protect the Prime Minister - claimed he wasn't to blame. He said a big BBC boy told a lie about him and ran away.

Is there no way the public can learn the truth about the lies told to the Commons on the so-called weapons of mass destruction? All we're getting at the moment are weapons of mass deception. - B. Cooper, Perth.

Sack Scots MPs

WITH the welcome departure of former Scots Secretary Helen Liddell and her cohorts from Dover House in Whitehall, the Scottish taxpayers will save about pounds 7.5million a year. It is now time for the abolition of the 72 London-based Scots MPs in the Commons, whose only role is being voting fodder for Tony Blair and his cronies. - John F. O'Hare, Arden, Glasgow.

Party smartie

JUST as well Selina Scott didn't get an invitation to Prince William's birthday bash because she would have turned up at the wrong place. She said it was at Highgrove when the party was at Windsor Castle. - A. MacRay, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

Blame No.10

DON'T blame President Bush and the Americans for planning to tow their derelict, rust- bucket ships round Scotland for disposal at Teeside (Sunday Mail, June 22). Blame our own government for allowing it. They probably suggested it in the first place. If it ends in an ecological disaster, we know whose head should be on the block. - Tom McCallum, Dumfries.

DURING the Cold War, the nuclear subs in Scotland were the No.1 target by the Soviet Union. Now the United States see the Scots as expendable with the threat of sending 94 contaminated warships around our coastline. - Douglas McKinlay, Woodside, Glasgow.

WE backed the Americans to get rid of Saddam Hussein but now they want to kill our seas by dumping ships on us that are filled with toxins and chemicals. They should tow them to the middle of the ocean and blow them up. We can't allow them to contaminate the fish round our coast. - Bill Crossan, Dedridge, West Lothian.

It's the limit

IT is now nearly 40 years since our schools stopped teaching imperial measures, so is it not time the metric system was brought into common use and 30mph signs were replaced by 50 kilometres per hour signs? - G.I., Newtown, Wales.

Tatty table

AFTER the Wetherspoon pub chain banned swearing a few weeks ago, I could have done plenty of that when friends and I had a meal at their West Kirk venue in Ayr. Our meal was dumped down on a table that hadn't been cleared of the previous users' dirty glasses and used ashtrays. - John Beagan, Cathcart, Glasgow.

Stop the suffering

RE Selina Scott's comments on halal and kosher meat. The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) recommends that all animals are pre-stunned before slaughter. Scientific research shows killing animals without pre-stunning causes severe suffering, with them taking up to two minutes to bleed to death. Advocates For Animals are aware of religious sensitivities but we believe all religions should respect the animal kingdom. FAWC also highlights many other areas of the law which need to be reformed to reduce the enormous suffering caused to millions of animals each year by the UK's ordinary, day-to-day slaughtering practices. - Ross Minett, Advocates For Animals, Edinburgh.

Blame Mum

THE reader who revealed her four teenage sons' rooms were so messy she could not see the carpets (Mailbox, June 15) only has herself to blame. What kind of a woman puts up with this? God help any girl daft enough to marry these boys. - Mrs J.C., Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire.

Food fads

SOMEONE in our canteen queue asked for a breaded haddock cut in two as the filling for two dry rolls. When I said I'd never heard of that one before, someone in the queue recommended I try Cadbury's milk chocolate melted over chips. Yeuch! "It's delicious," he assured me. - David Blair, Cathcart, Glasgow.

Write and tell us if your family has unusual food fads.


Henny one for a laugh?

PEOPLE go on about Scottish comics but most of them pinched their gags from the "King of the One- liners", America's fantastic stand-up comedian Henny Youngman (1906-1998).

A recent Radio 4 spotlight on him brought back memories of seeing him years ago in London. Henny worked through his 85th birthday and even appeared briefly in the gangster movie Goodfellas.

Here are some of my favourite Henny jokes:

Getting on a plane, I told the ticket lady: "Send one of my bags to New York, send one to Los Angeles, and send one to Miami." She said: "We can't do that!" I told her: "You did it last week!"

A man goes to a psychiatrist. The doctor says: "You're crazy". The man says: "I want a second opinion!" "Okay, you're ugly too!"

A guy complains of a headache. Another guy says: "Do what I do. I put my head on my wife's bosom and the headache goes away." The next day, the man says: "Did you do what I told you to?" "Yes, I sure did. By the way, you have a nice house!"

His motto is "Love Thy Neighbour". His neighbour is an 18-year-old hooker.

"Doctor, I have a ringing in my ears." "Don't answer!" - Bob Kerr, Dowanhill, Glasgow.

Arrogant ginger nut is cracked

AT LAST... big-headed Chris Evans gets his comeuppance. I cheered when I heard his stupid court case against Virgin Radio was thrown out of court and that he will have to shell out pounds 10million to pay for the costs. What an arrogant man. - Norrie Lawrence, Aberdeen.

LET'S hope the young people who thought Chris Evans was a role model get the message now that he has been humiliated in court. During the case, he admitted going on drinking binges that meant he often presented programmes suffering from a hangover. After his court disaster, he swanned about with a forced smile to cover up his public roasting and went for a "pint to drown his sorrows". But he ended up gulping down six. Will he never learn? - Ann Menzies, Inverness.

CHRIS EVANS is a spoiled brat. He probably still thinks he's right. We're told his assistants cut out negative stories about him before they handed him the day's newspapers. He now says he won't even read the judge's ruling against him. He should have been forced to listen to the truth in court. - H. Lee, Edinburgh.


Prat's a waste of our money

HAVE the Royal Family no sense of the value of money? Last week annual accounts showed Prince Andrew cost the taxpayer pounds 34,000 just to go to two England football matches during the World Cup. What a prat. Just think what that money could have done to help a school or an NHS hospital. - Mrs May Jones, Leven, Fife.

I WAS scunnered to learn that we had to shell out pounds 34,000 so the Duke of Pork could watch two football matches. Couldn't he have watched it on TV like the rest of us? - Stewart Pollok, Glasgow.

WHAT a joke - we're told the Queen has refused to foot the bill to provide Camilla Parker Bowles with a bedroom and bathroom at Clarence House, Prince Charles's London mansion. Why would she need one? Doesn't she share Charlie's bedroom? Does the Palace think we came up the Thames in a banana boat? - Kenny Greer, Edinburgh.

I CANNOT understand why people are always criticised the cost of the Royal Family. I think we get a bargain for the money. Royal accounts show it cost each one of us only 60p last year to finance the Queen's official duties. In my book, that's a good deal. What can you buy for 60p nowadays? - Mrs Katherine McCulloch, Milngavie, Glasgow.

IT'S good that we know what it costs us to run the Royal Family because they now publish official accounts. A few years ago we were told nothing. Think what they got away with. - W. Lawson, Dundee.


WHY is New York called the Big Apple? - N. McGowan, Glasgow.

NO ONE knows exactly but the phrase was first used in a book in 1909. It may be linked to jazz slang or to the popular dance named the Big Apple.

WHAT is Robbie Coltrane's real name? - G. Simpson, Oban.

HE'S Anthony McMillan. His stage name was devised in honour of American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, who died in 1967.

WHEN were credit cards invented and first used? - T. Morris, Aberdeen.

IN 1949, Frank McNamara went to dinner at Major's Cabin Grill in New York and forgot his wallet. After talking his way out of doing the dishes to cover his bill, he said: "Never again!" In February 1950, he and a partner founded Diners Club and returned to Major's with a small cardboard card. Frank signed for dinner without a hassle and the event was dubbed the First Supper. By 1951, 200 "members" were using their Diners Club cards at 27 different New York restaurants and left with the same amount of cash they walked in with. Magnetic strips were added in the 1970s.

WHY don't spiders stick to their webs? - K. Marsh, Leith.

THERE are two reasons. First, only the connecting strands of a web are adhesive - the bits that connect the primary spokes. The main spokes, which the spider uses to navigate, and the centre of the web, where the spider sits in wait for prey, are made of dry silk and are not sticky. Secondly, a spider has minimal body contact with its web. They also groom their legs constantly, keeping them clear of debris.

WHAT causes the sound of the sea you hear when you hold a seashell up to your ear? - B. McGuire, Edinburgh.

THE common explanation is that the shell amplifies the sound of your blood coursing through your head. But some experts now think the shell amplifies frequencies of the noise found in any environment.

WHY do cats hate water? - L. Drummond, Glasgow.

NOT all do. Cats native to hot areas enjoy a dip to cool them down but cats from cold areas aren't so fond because water stops their fur from keeping them warm. However, all cats are natural swimmers. Some Asian cats even dive in to fish for their food.

PS YOU asked readers last week for funny things children say. When my grandson Paul first went to primary school, he noticed a statue of Jesus in the foyer. He turned to his Dad and said: "I didn't know Jesus went to this school." - J. Sanders, Erskine, Renfrewshire.

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Title Annotation:MAILBOX
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 29, 2003
Previous Article:GREAT SCOT 2003: Vote for your unsung hero.

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