Maximilian Bartie

LAST UPDATED: 27 Jan, 2012 @ 10:16
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Maximilian Bartie

Did you know…?

IT is comforting to note that, at a time when economies are crashing and war, famine, drought and political unrest beset the planet, researchers can still find the time and the money to pursue matters of spectacular and far-reaching irrelevance.

For instance, did you know that ‘according to research’ most people cannot get the hang of cooking Christmas lunch until they reach the age of 47 years?

I am also reliably informed that, in a study involving some 2000 workers, ‘research has found’ that up to a third dream about the office more than anything else.

Or how about: ‘according to (yet more) research’ 50 percent of British men admit to hiding in the bathroom to avoid their nagging wives.

And yet another study indicates that carrying heavy shopping bags increases the chance of suffering some degree of mental stress.

After reading these reports a number of questions spring to mind.  For example: Who dreams up these trivial research projects? From whence do the serried ranks of researchers get their financial backing?  And, most importantly, why on earth do they bother?

As to the research matters mentioned above: I really couldn’t give an elephant’s backside about what age one achieves proficiency in advanced turkey stuffing.

I certainly do not dream about work issues once my head hits the pillow and, despite The Lady Bartie’s well-deserved reputation for being ‘formidable’, I have never ever hidden from her in the bathroom (there is a perfectly good lock on the study door).

In retrospect, maybe we should be encouraging more of our graduate students to pursue careers in research.  This might reduce the unemployment statistics as, quite obviously, there are plenty of job opportunities and the field appears to be recession-proof.

I think I shall sponsor some research into the issue.

Top gun

SHOULD we be worrying about the recent upsurge in gun ownership in the DisUnited States of America?  Records show that on one day, 23 December last year, there were more than 102,000 background checks on the characters who were buying firearms in the run-up to Christmas.

Analysts are unsure whether the expansion in sales is attributable to existing gun owners adding to their collections or whether guns have become the latest ‘must have’ Christmas present.

If it is the latter then we need some instruction about the etiquette of gun giving.  For example, should we use pink ribbon when we wrap the little purse-sized derringer for the lady in our life?

Should one choose a semi-automatic or a revolver for the child who has everything?  Would Grandpa prefer a Kalashnikov or a 9mm Uzi carbine?  Is an annual subscription to the monthly magazine What Bullet? suitable for that maiden aunt in Cheltenham?

If it is existing gun owners expanding their collections then we should probably think more about groups of political nutters who, as I write, are planning to overthrow the government.  With luck we will find that there is only one nutter who has bought 102,000 guns rather than 102,000 nutters who have bought one each.

The National Rifle Association, a high profile American lobby group, advocates gun ownership for all and attributes increased gun ownership to a lack of confidence in the general maintenance of law and order.  It seems to envisage a return to confrontations between goodies and baddies as they face each other in the middle of Main Street.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that this is not the answer to the problem of modern criminality.  In my experience the baddies don’t wear black hats any more and the guys in white Stetsons are just as likely to steal your pension before they ride off into the sunset.

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