Nail clippers or scissors? Let's cut to the quick

Nail clippers, found in every Christmas cracker collection since trading with China began, are lethal. Even in experienced hands, they can bring tears to an unsuspecting little boy's eyes.

Okay, I'll grant you that quality nail clippers in the hands of a manicurist are the simplest way to accomplish nails to die for. But the sort I'm talking about, cheap ones dangling from key fobs and available en masse at the five and dime store, can do more harm than good.

Growing pains - from scissors to nail clippers (and back again)

When you're an infant, clippers are useless. Your calcium is in such high demand by other developing parts of your body that your nails simply melt to the touch. Try to clip them and they tear; mothers: they do not cut at that age!

I'm sure many parents, having inadvertently been gouged by their babes-in-arms, would contend that 'soft nails' argument. My response:
"If you'd used baby scissors, you wouldn't have a had problem! Or that, is that a scar...?

Am I biased? Probably...and with good reason

Before I got the hang of nail clippers, mother cut our nails with them. Was she so busy that this surgery needed to be performed as infrequently as possible? Seemingly so, as she'd always scythe right back to the hyponychium. The "quick", to you and me.

When those stainless steel half-moons of death clamped onto that sensitive flesh, boy, did it make you squeal?! Silently, of course. No tears in front of little sister.

Softly, softly...like a man

I didn't have to wait too many years until the successive ingrowing toe nail syndrome. Not to over-dramatise this subsequent episode, but similar (self-inflicted) toenail cutting practises in adolescence almost blighted a promising teenage semi-pro football career.

I knew no better. Once I'd mastered clippers (I was desperate to wrest them from mother's hands), I cut them toenails as far back as I could without drawing blood, just as mother hadn't when we were at her mercy.

Breakdown of fingernail components
I do have a theory. We're talking early 70s, when shoe prices increased with your respective shoe size. I'm sure mother was looking to save a few bob by ensuring that my toenails never came close to leather at the toecaps. I guess we'll never know.

I digress. I must have been going through a growing spurt. During one match, our football club's kit-man/physio/shrink/chiropodist/trainer - I did say semi-pro - saw me hobbling. He pulled me off at half time. After that, he substituted me (joke!).

Upon whipping off my boots and socks, he reliably informed me that my toenails were ingrowing. The grooves along which they ought travel had all but disappeared and the free edge was embedded into the flesh. Both were the result of years of overambitious curtailment.

Where should I cut my nails to?

Toenails ought to be cut with a straight edge, level with the very tip of your toes, I was reliably informed. That way, any pressure placed on the nail bed from the toes beneath would be displaced by the nail itself.

As things stood - literally - the nail beds were curling back over my toes like Turkish slippers. The edges - or lateral nail folds - of my toenails curled underneath themselves like used staples. My toes were a mess.

I later learned that fingernails likewise should not retract beyond your fingertips. Rather, they should follow the fingertip around its lunar crescent. Hence the rounded shape of, you've guessed it, fingernail scissors.

It took a while to get used to holding the scissors with my left hand, but the thought of never having to clamp those half-moon teeth near tender flesh again was all the spur I needed...

Clippers or Scissors - what's the verdict?

Once the precision-engineered blades had removed the scrolling calcium and I'd taken the antibiotics to accompany the flesh-cutting nails (seriously, antibiotics is all they could do for that bit), I swore off nail-clippers for life.

Lethal? Let me rephrase that. Cheap nail clippers are evil in the wrong (or uneducated) hands!

Pressure on the pads, toes or fingers, isn't good if there's no nail beyond to help reinforce your pinkies. As I found out, long term abuse can lead to painful malformation or ingrowing nails. Or both.

It may not be terribly manly, soaking hands until your nails are scissor semi-pliant. But learning to cut one's right hand's fingernails with scissors with one's left hand is one of life's crowning achievements.

Just think, if I'd have ever learnt to kick with my left foot too, perhaps I wouldn't have had to wait for a kit-man-cum-chiropodist to tell me I'd got a problem with my toenails, either...

image courtesy of simplenails4you


UK Google Search Trends Zeitgeist 2013: twerk, rest and play

So, you all thought Britizens were dowdy, pasty-faced stuffed shirts who drank tea and loved Lizzy, did you? Well, you're wrong. Erm, sort of.

Yesterday's article in HITC (UK) has published what we Brits have been searching for online all year.

The die-hards are there, like the Grand National. Universal Jobmatch makes #8 on the list - that says more about our country's status than it should. And, predictably, the Royal Birth extended the 2012 Year of the Brit another 12 months.

There are some surprising entries, though. Twerking, Zumba and YOLO have all featured highly in our fascination with (and lame attempts at) keeping up with the world south of Southampton, west of Weston and east of East Ham.

Does anyone down south really care about what happens north of Watford? You wouldn't think it, but for us in the Midlands and above, north of Northampton, too.

We do seem to have a fascination with death, according to a similar article in The Guardian. Thatcher, Cory Montieth, Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela all made the top ten general searches at positions 9, 4, 1 and 6 respectively.

Top ten Google "What is?" searches 2013

With lists like this one, it's amazing to find out what people don't know as much as what interests them that's gobsmacking. The fourth most searched "What is?" Question in the UK in 2013 was: "What is a prime number?".

Spooning and Zumba also make the list. Where do these people live? Under rocks and stones without access to the media or WiFi? C'mon, people. Stop twerking me off!
  1. Twerking;
  2. My IP;
  3. YOLO;
  4. A prime number (you're kidding me, right?)
  5. Illuminati;
  6. My car worth;
  7. Spooning (come here let me show you! Women only need apply);
  8. Global warming;
  9. Zumba;
  10. The meaning of life.


Sexy VIP e-cigarette advert garners 147 complaints [Video]

The short 21-second ad shown on ITV the other night responsible for the "outrage" is viewable at Mirror Online. The 59-second uncut version is below.

Some of the ads that get past censors in Scandinavia and Australia wouldn't even make YouTube. So when you see mass hysteria for only slightly taboo ads shown on UK TV, you realise exactly why the rest of the world see Brits as prudish.

What makes complaints about the latest VIP e-cigs advert hard to swallow is that it was shown after the watershed.

What would have happened if the full, uncut version had been shown in the break of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here", instead?:

So, UK TV audience: what are you objecting to, exactly?

By VIP's own admission on YouTube, the uncut version (above) wouldn't have made it past UK censorship. Even then, there's nothing overtly sexual in the commercial.

True, the actress is all aquiver as if she's about to have an organism when she states that she wants to put it in her mouth. But surely any innuendo inferred is in the mind of the audience?

  • Is the actress stark naked? No!
  • Is there a man in the clip with her? No!
  • Is there any reference to any tangible object she's saying she'd like to taste (actually in the ad only, not the uncut version)? Erm, No!

It's good to see VIP sticking by its guns. Miguel Corral, one of the joint owners of the e-cigarette manufacturers, told the Bolton News:

"Due to advertising regulations we were not permitted to include the product in the ad, so we decided to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to appeal to an adult audience."

What next? Herbal Essences ads gonna be pulled?

If you ask me, the Herbal Essences long-running ad campaign is guilty of exactly the same tactics. There's an actress (with a lot less clothes on than the VIP e-cigarette actress in her LBD, one hastens to add) washing her hair against the backdrop of a jungle waterfall.

Innocent enough, you say? She's been uttering the infamous "Yes, yes, yes!" as she gets herself in a lather for years. And those ads are shown at all times.

Let's hope Ofcom (I didn't know the ITC had ceased to exist - 10 years ago. Wow!) don't react with a knee-jerk ruling.

I like e-cigarettes

I have to admit, after trying patches and gum I thought "vaping" was going to be another let-down. How shocked was I when offered a blast at a party this summer?

Admittedly, they do taste better after six or seven pints of Thatcher's Gold Cider. But, rather than go outside for a ciggy as the breeze takes on a decidedly wintry edge, a vape as I key away on my word-processor is a very happy compromise between me and my good lady wife.

That's not to mention the other benefits I've found from smoking electronically:

  • a lack of tar clogging my lungs, easing my chest;
  • no toxic fumes flooding the house, tainting my aura and staining the ceiling;
  • the cost, compared to smoking 20 normal ciggies a day.

As you'll probably guess from the comments above, my better half is very keen on me giving up smoking. After seeing my eyes light up upon trying one of my buddy's E-lites, she went out and bought me the executive pack.

E-lites Executive Starter Pack

E-lites aren't the cheapest, but they do tend to be the most widely available.

There are many cheaper versions available online in all sorts of styles, with or without nicotine and in more flavours than you can shake a soggy stick (or cigarette butt) at.

The problem most people have is putting faith in brands they don't know. Especially when they're going to be inhaling who knows what directly into their lungs.

What I do now, for choice, trust and price, is get mine from Amazon. The vendors there have a very good reason for providing quality products. Why? Because of the very public review system.

As of mid-December 2013, there are almost 1,000 e-cigarettes and starter kits (on Amazon.co.uk)in the Personal Health section alone. Spoilt for choice, I know.

Okay, it's not giving up. But it's a start. And I might just make a video of me partaking in an E-lite after sexual intercourse and post that on YouTube. See what the miserable sods make of that.

In fact, I could even film the graphic bit, as a prelude. Got to fill the rest of the 30 seconds with something, right???


How You Can Avoid These Escalating Hazards Filmed at New St. Station

Oops-a-daisy, Maisie! You can't go anywhere these days without those pesky escalators sneaking up on you when you least expect it, can you?

I'm sure the eejits captured on film just do it to get on You've Been Framed. I'm also pretty sure that YBF's where the full CCTV footage showing the "danger of escalators" at Birmingham New Street Station on the Express & Star's website is destined for, eventually.

Rail Against the Machine

Network Rail has begun its Christmas 2013 Safety Campaign in earnest by issuing a video that depicts three numpties failing to tackle that most dangerous of obstacles: The Escalator!

Is Network Rail just poking fun? On the evidence, they have every right to. But on average, more than one person a day falls foul of these evil mechanisms. An incredible 418 "escalator escapades" have been captured on video across the UK's busiest railway stations year-to-date.

But it does seem that people are learning to spot the danger signs. This year's total number of incidents represents a drop of almost a fifth on last year, when 512 victims succumbed to these silent assassins. That's still way too many for both the rail company and, of course, the HSE, hence the heightened and radical campaign this year.

How dangerous are escalators to humans? I mean, really?

The newly-released footage shows how mischievous these mechanical monsters of modern technology can be when left unattended and unsuspecting numpties clamber aboard. As a result, there are two distinct messages we can glean from Network Rail's campaign this winter; if you're:

  1. carrying heavy shopping, use the elevators;
  2. wearing high heels, hold the hand rail.

Point two is blatantly obvious, to both seasoned and virgin travellers. But the problem is that unattended elevators tend to smell of wee, especially in December. What's more, with carriage limited to around 2,400lbs, lifts can hold no more than four Brummies at a time.

The point of note here is neither obesity nor using the elevator as a urinal. No, it's repeatedly listening to that droning Birmingham accent.

Being subject to those elongated vowels for any longer than the 10 second ride between platform and ground level has been known to turn elevators suicidal, even moreso than Marvin The Paranoid Android. That's why so many lifts at New Street Station break down, both on a mechanical and emotional level.

But back to the numpties. Rather than exit an elevator smelling of B.O. and recycled ale, inter-city shoppers would rather take their chance with an escalator fail.

That's it. Blame the beer…

Puddles of piddle in paranoid prisons aren't the only concern, it seems. It's one thing carrying too much Christmas Spirit whilst sporting Stilettos. But Network Rail allege that many incidents are caused when that particular genie is let out the bottle and finds its way into the alcohol streams of merry-making daytrippers.

But isn't that stating the obvious? Let's face it, Saturday afternoon drunks struggle to negotiate the stationery pavement, let alone an over-zealous escalator ascending toward the ozone (okay, The Pallasades) at such speed. When you've had a few, those escalators...they become a challenge, y'know?

After one too many in the Trocadero, there's a very delicate art in holding onto:

  • your balance,
  • that swift half you've purloined from said boozer,
  • and your dignity.

At least without spilling any.

If guys and gals can't go out and have a few sherberts at Christmas without having to face the swathe of dangerous escalators reportedly attacking innocent travellers, I don't know what the world's coming to.

But I am pleased to report that, to date, no numpties captured on film have been fatally wounded. Yet. But if this menace to society is left unchecked, who knows who'll be the first victim on a stairway to heaven. You have been warned; here's Network Rail with the last word:

"Everyone in this video made a full recovery. Please tread carefully!"


Anaconda swallows drunk man(?) outside liquor store

No wonder he's hissssing at the onlookers. If the geezer he swallowed was that rat-arsed not to notice his sleeping bag had got fangs and a dislocating jaw, I bet the snake's got a shocker of a hangover, too!

Man-eating Anaconda
Is it a man-eating anaconda? Or wind?

Okay, it's a good photoshop if it's fake (Is it? Vote in the poll below↓). But we've all been blind drunk enough not to struggle when someone's slipping a warm blanket over us, right?

For this poor drunken bum, I guess he never reckoned on sharing his last bed with the gastro-juices of a 15' anaconda. I mean, who would?

One minute you're propping up a shop doorway with your bottle of Turpentine in a brown paper bag. Next minute, you're talking to something hissy, slimy and serpentine that's only got one thing on its mind. Yeah, we've all been there too, right? (What, never been to Wolverhampton?)

Is it a drunk or the worst case of serpentine constipation ever?

The figure's not decidedly human, but I can't imagine a snake swallowing anything else remotely that size even similar. Too big for a goat. Not small enough for an elephant. They're rarer than drunks in doorways, anyway.

And another thing: how on Earth are they ever going to confirm that it was the wino, anyway? Something tells me there'll be no fingerprints. And what about the guy's teeth? Does the pathologist just wait for the snake to "go" and try and reassemble the dentures?

I mean, you can't blame the anaconda. But you can bet it's gonna be cut open to verify the remains...
...what little there'll be left. How gruesome a job would that be? Nuh, uh! Gimme the job of rebuilding the dentures.

Poor thing. It only popped out for an Indian and look at the fuss it's caused...

Cast your vote: is the photo real?


Shopper caught masturbating in Sainsbury's meat aisle banned from everysupermarket in UK

Oi, Grandad! Come here! Shit, too late...

I've heard some wanky wacky stories in my time, but Eugenio Freitas' escapade in Sainsbury's takes playing with your meat and two veg a tad(pole) too far.
The guy had already been copped exposing himself in supermarkets in 2010. Now it appears a 10-minute frame of pocket billiards was caught on CCTV last summer to add to his offences.

The episode concluded with the grandfather pocketing the pink after being confronted by red-faced staff in the Newcastle-Under-Lyme store. Unbeknownst to him, they'd been homing in on his cue action due to his suspicious loitering.
Mr Freitas had ‘fully intended’ to go shopping on July 8 but became overwhelmed by his ‘excessive sexual drive’.
The guy's obviously got a problem with his meat. Not only has he now been banned from every supermarket in the land, but I also suspect that abattoirs and slaughter houses in Staffordshire will be wary of would-be employees looking to give more than their 110%.

Wonder if he's related to Hannibal Lecter...?