Physics & philosophy

THE scientifically-curious Diary is pondering the mystery of trouser zips and their propensity to defy Newton’s First Law of Motion by slithering downwards, even when they are not being acted upon by an external force.

Gordon Casely gets in touch to enlighten us. First, by revealing that in his native Deeside "zip down" is translated into "spaver doon".

Gordon further informs us that he often takes the advice attributed to the philosopher Plato… sorry, we mean that other awe-inspiring Greek thinker, the late Duke of Edinburgh.

“His advice for public occasions, whether speaking or being interviewed, was ABC and XYZ,” explains Gordon.

“In other words, Always Be Concise and Xamine Your Zip.”


Military stud

WE mentioned a nugget of surreal humour that bamboozled its intended audience, a small child.

It reminds David Donaldson of an occasion, many years ago, when his young daughter was watching the Trooping the Colour ceremony, and asked how the soldiers kept their chinstraps in place.

David wisely informed her that the men had plastic surgery to insert a small press stud on their chins.

Unfortunately his freshly enlightened daughter generously shared this startling revelation with every one of her classmates the next day.

“She still hasn’t forgiven me,” sighs David.


Painful admission

DISTURBED reader Marni Pattison asks: “Am I the only person who isn’t entirely happy that the bloke in the boardgame Operation is still awake?”


Mind your language

AN American tourist was visiting the Western Isles, recalls Ian Noble from Carstairs Village.

Being a yackety Yank, he got talking to a local barman, and they strayed onto the subject of words with variants in different languages.

The tourist asked the barman for the Gaelic equivalent of the Spanish word "Manana".

The barman didn’t know what it meant, so the American explained that it was used when someone wished to avoid doing something today that could be put off until tomorrow.

The barman thought for a moment, then said: “I don’t think we have a word that expresses such urgency.”


Dishing it out

GLASGOW is a cultured city where every citizen is a gourmand, with the ability to describe the strengths or weaknesses of a multitude of culinary delights.

For instance, reader John O’Kane overheard a garrulous gastronome in a city centre café say authoritatively:  

"It's like that battered spam. It leaves that horrible thingmy in yer mooth."


Computer says: “No.”

DISAPPOINTED reader Pam Wilson says: “I wanted to change my computer password to my favourite French city, but it’s Toulon.”