Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on politicians, weedkiller and a low-tech weapon from Oz

“The people who sneer at politicians are generally people who've never made a decision bigger than what socks to wear today.” Trevor Phillips, currently grilling many politicians as the new presenter of Sunday Morning (Sky News).

Trevor Phillips – griller of politicians

I was taken to task by a reader for suggesting the term “mug shot” is American slang. He insists it's an old English term. I doubt that. While “mug,” meaning a face, is undoubtedly a very old English word, “mug shot” strikes me as something you're far more likely to hear uttered by Perry Mason than George Dixon. If there is an authority on such a subject, it's probably the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Its website includes a research article which tells us: “The term ‘mug shot’ to describe a portrait of a criminal seems to have first been used in the United States in the early 20th century.” I'll stick with that, thanks.

You may have experienced that sensation when, on poring through a newspaper's health section, you discover you have the symptoms of every single disease you read about. Take the living roundworm recently removed from a woman's brain by surgeons in Australia. Think about it. Can you not feel just the faintest wriggling of something wormy in your grey matter? A sort of tickly, ickly, burrowy sensation up there between your eyes and ears? Yes, there it goes again . . .

Ukraine is scoring some significant bulls-eye hits on Russian positions using a new basic, self-build drone made of rubber bands and reinforced paper, supplied by an Australian company. According to the makers, the drones are “easier to assemble than flat-pack furniture. “ But then almost everything is easier to assemble than flat-pack furniture. The low-tech simplicity of these budget drones reminds me of the old Cold War maxim: “ If the Third World War is fought with nuclear weapons, the Fourth World War will be fought with bows and arrows.”

About to let rip with some weedkiller, I read the instructions on choosing a suitable day: “Do not apply during drought or in freezing conditions, when rain is imminent or the grass is wet. Do not apply in windy weather.” I can't remember the last time we had days like that.