Sideswipe: November 16: How does your garden grow?

“I’ve been watering this little succulent which was sharing a pot with a money plant for the last year and a half. The money plant died but the succulent kept on flourishing. Until I came home one evening and it was askew in the pot. It was then that I realised the succulent was in fact made of plastic.”

Human shield of blondes

In 1938, actress Jean Colwell came up with a way to end all wars. According to Weird Universe, her idea was that if a group of beautiful, blonde women stood in between the two opposing armies, in the “no man’s land” then the soldiers on each side would refuse to attack because “no soldier will shoot at a good-looking blonde”. Peace would be achieved! To make her vision a reality, Colwell placed an ad in a New York newspaper: “Are you blonde, beautiful and ready to join men in the trenches in the next war? It’s the last chance to save this idiotic man’s world.” The response was enthusiastic, and within a month she had enough volunteers to form a “blonde brigade”, all willing to risk their lives for peace. Women of other hair colours didn’t want to be left out. So, there was soon also a “red-headed regiment” and a “brunette battalion”. Of course, none of these women were ever shipped to the front line

'Tackling' should be a little bigger

Sound effects album

In 1977, the BBC released Death & Horror — an album of horror-themed sound effects which (unlike most sound-effect records) made its way onto the UK’s Top 100 charts. The record contains sound effects of a stake being driven through a heart, an arm being sawn off, a hot poker gouging out an eye and other grisly tidbits. Self-appointed decency campaigner Mary Whitehouse said she was “horrified” by it. She called the record “utterly irresponsible” and said she would ask the government to ban it. The publicly financed British Broadcasting Corporation, the generally sedate organisation known to many Britons as “Auntie BBC”, said the long-playing record was intended for drama groups, owed most of its effects to “the mistreatment of large white cabbages”, was made “without the loss of a single member of the staff” and assuredly was no cause for alarm. Whitehouse, who also campaigned against stage nudity and pornography such as a proposed film on the sex life of Jesus Christ, sent protests to the head of the BBC, Sir Michael Swann, and said she will complain to Home Secretary Merlyn Rees. “What is the BBC’s aim?” she asked. “To brutalise and desensitise people?”

Brutal burn

A reader writes: “My 6-year-old grandson is currently into fast disco-type electronic music. Recently I walked into the lounge when his music was playing and started to dance. He looked at me quizzically and when I asked what was wrong, he replied: “You’re insulting the music!”

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