TWO skirt-wearing American politicians have been banned from using the V-word, not, you may be relieved to learn, in the state of Virginia but in Michigan.
During a debate about abortion, Lisa Brown, a Democrat, managed to tell the Speaker in the state legislature that she was "flattered you're all so interested in my vagina" before she was cut off, quite possibly in her prime. Another Democrat, Barb – surely short for Barbara – Byrum, caused even more of a ruckus after Republicans refused to permit her to introduce an amendment which would allow men only to have vasectomies in extremis, which is usually why they have them anyway, isn't it? By the by, it is 40 years since Michael Parkinson told an awe-struck nation that a vasectomy is "the best present a man can give his wife". Please celebrate this wonderful anniversary with your usual restraint.
ALL hail Frankel, by a country mile the fleetest gee-gee ever to trot on four legs. After it had won its 11th successive race at Royal Ascot, its trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, was asked when next it might be seen strutting its stuff. "I don't think he's had a hard race here but he will tell me. I won't tell him," said Sir H. "If the horse wants to go to Sandown, we'll go. If he doesn't, we won't." In short, then, it's up to the remarkable Frankel whether to say yeigh or neigh.
HOW fascinating are fascinators? And don't you dare say not very! I am reliably informed by the Diary's in-house fashion wallah, Jean-Paul Gutted, that we have Camilla Loose-Bowels to thank for the popularity of the head-gear which the fashion cops at Royal Ascot have banned in the royal enclosure. No need to ask what C L-B thinks of that.
Ladies' Day at Ascot followed its sister meeting at Musselburgh, which was a wonder to behold. Rain was forecast and it duly arrived. Advised to dress for the occasion in wellies and sou'westers, the ladies – elastic term – made a major concession and wore knickers. Well, some of them must have!
After a few hours in heels the height of Cleopatra's Needle, many of them could barely move. One elastic lady took shelter under a tree and her heels sank into the mud. Rarely has one seen a better impression of a stork.
Many an elastic lady made it to Stagg's, where mein host Nigel had hired a platoon of Gurkhas to defend the optics against all-comers. The Home Secretary perched on a bar stool from where she could keep an eye out for any wardrobe malfunctions and eavesdrop on the Socratic dialogue.
"I'm so horny!" said one elastic lady, thinking she was speaking into the ear of the nearest bloke but actually addressing a mini amplifier. "Mutton dressed as lamb," intoned a regular, "mutton dressed as lamb." Roll on winter.
TO the launch of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, having somehow contrived to miss the launches of the posh, fringe, film and knitting festivals. Older readers may recall that launches were once for ships. No more. These days we launch everything but. Introducing the programme, the EIBF's director Nick Barley talked about genius without once mentioning your diarist. How's that possible? There were, though, many geniuses on duty, including my great chums Sir Magnus Links-Sausage DVD, Richard Holloway KFC, whose 20-part series on Radio Four on doubt has turned us into a nation of haverers, and others with brains the size of Brechin who must remain anonymous, which is not what you normally expect from we scuttlebutts.
Among the more eccentric couplings in the programme is that of Alexei Salmonella with Ian McEwan, who are destined to spend an hour in each other's company trying desperately to find anything in common.
Both, I reckon, are geniuses, albeit in spheres which rarely collide. The EIBF boasts at least another 800 geniuses who Mr Barley has instructed to "challenge, delight, entertain and provoke thought in equal measure". I'll be there with my scales.
ANENT – ach weel – Jimmy Carr, the soi-disant comedian who is now umbilically attached to the phrase "tax avoidance". Mr Carr, it seems, is just one among thousands of rich tubes who are prepared to go to great lengths not to do what you and I have no choice over, which is to pay the taxman what he asks for. Through a Jersey-based company, Mr Carr has coughed up a risible percentage of income tax on his earnings of more than £3 million a year. Lest anyone dare ask how this is legal, let me assure you that it is. Or so we're told.
One looks forward to seeing the loophole close tight around Mr Carr's neck. He is due to appear in August on the Fringe where, doubtless, other tubes will pay handsomely to hear him crack "jokes". He was also at Queen Tupperware's diamond jubilee shebang, hoping no doubt that it will lead to him being given a gong. Arise Sir Jimmy Carr, PAYE!
WHERE stands Scotia noo, Pt 214: A dear, female friend was travelling by car from Dundee to Glasgow when a tyre blew out. Ayrton Senna-like, she managed to steer the stricken vehicle off the road and into a lay-by where she intended to call the cavalry.
As she was doing so, another car, carrying three men and one woman, pulled in after her. Momentarily, my friend thought they'd witnessed her plight and had stopped to offer succour. How wrong she was, how wrong. Simultaneously, the men got out of their car, advanced towards the kerb, unzipped their drawers and micturated. After which they got back into their car and sped off, abandoning my dear friend to her memories.
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