Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo Returns to Sandwell

WEST BROMWICH, UK | It's been almost a year since the last sighting of the Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo in The Black Country. But reports from Sandwell confirm that this rare beast has indeed returned for its bizarre annual ritual.

Like last year, the source of its arrival remains undercover; lips behind said source remain sealed to the public. However, we've been able to lay our hands on the one exclusive photo thus far to prove that the Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo is more than mere myth.

What do we know about the Mo?

There are conflicting views about where and when the Mo originated. The first hint of its existence aired a little before the end of the last millennium on the Seven Nightly News, Australia:

This was in 1999. But due to the circumstances surrounding the source at that time, it was passed off as little more than a "hair-brained", beer-induced publicity stunt.

When a group of enthusiasts threatened legal action, the Mo went underground, despite growing a considerable following in Adelaide and around the Australian state in a relatively short time.

The Mo returns, prouder, stronger and more visible than ever

In 2003, the Mo was again in the news down under. Threats of legal action were set aside when claims of ownership were waived or deemed unfounded.

In order to verify and preserve its status, activists spent their weekends and spare time raising awareness, ensuring that the Mo wasn't forced from public view a second time around.

Adam Garone, one of the main participants in the project during 2003 thru 2005, co-launched a Foundation Trust to drum up support.

With an official base camp, Adam and the gang could now seek ways to populate other countries with the Mo. To engender familiarity, they started with neighbouring New Zealand.

If its rise to prominence was unprecedented in 1999, four years later popularity (and subsequent sightings and adoption) of the Mo became astronomic!

Today, the organisation employees 90 people and has six offices around the world, in Melbourne, L.A., London and Toronto.

Such sizeable support is needed, too. The Mo has become an integral part of both men's and women's lives for its fleeting annual visit.

The Lesser-Spotted Ginger Mo, who would only pass one small comment, testifies to the dual gender support the Mo now gets:

"It's great to be back in Sandwell with my Mo.

"Good to see the Mother-in-Law getting involved, too. But it looks like she started growing hers a little early, this year…"

2011 - The Mo hits Social and cements its place in history

In 2011, the UK public adopted the Mo in a real sense for the first time. The support that Celtic legend John Hartson received from other sportsmen showed that growing and owning a Mo may not cure illness, but it can raise awareness of men's health issues. More importantly, if enough people grow and publicly wear their Mo, much needed funds into research will help prevent their occurrence in the first instance.

As well as prominent sports and music starts supporting the Mo in 2011 (Snoop Dog and Phil Taylor amongst the most renown), Garone took to social media to explain why the Mo is so important.

It was necessary, too. It's commonly accepted that what people don't know, they fear. A few years beforehand, a New Zealand college had excluded students from year-end prizes and threatened to ban one graduate from sitting exams for supporting the Mo.

There's a candid interview on LinkedIn Pulse, where he answers a Q & A session with Florencia Iriondo.

For more in-depth insight, here's the TED talk Garone gave in the same year to explain his Foundation to the masses and to help educate people in the need to keep the Mo alive:

What you can do to support MOvember

Okay - so you've cottoned on to the fact that this article is about Movember and its origins, right? Cool.

It doesn't matter what month it is. You can donate all year round. Here's my Mospace on the official UK Movember site. Do drop in and give me a wave of support or a share, even if you can't spare a dime yourself.

As Garone explains in the 2011 LinkedIn interview, November just happens to be when the public's awareness of the Mo is greatest. It would be awesome if you could donate just a pound or two, whatever you feel comfortable with. No one judges those who give freely. Thanks for reading.

  • Original "Seven Nightly News" broadcast (1999): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPH0qQFqs0M
  • LinkedIn interview: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20121128095828-30293285-movember-how-one-man-turned-the-moustache-into-a-movement
  • TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/adam_garone_healthier_men_one_moustache_at_a_time
  • Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movember#Origins


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???