ALL is odd. It’s so odd that, sometimes, you think you’re in a weird dream and say to yourself, ‘I’d better wake up now’. But, with horror, you realise you’re awake, and only sleep or death can provide an escape from this ongoing, weird, real fantasy.

In this week’s lecture or homily, I want to deal with plans to nuke the Moon and Duncansby Head, and to examine also the complex triangular relationship between Donald Trump, Kim Jong-loon and Elton John.

Reading about these this week provided me with a frisson of terror as well as further confirmation that, not only have I been forced to share a planet with mad people, but that the latter are the ones in charge.

Watch the page go all wobbly as I take you back to the 1950s, a pleasant time where life was lived in black and white. Back then, we learned this week, the forces that be, or that were, thought about nuking the Moon before the Russians did so, as a show of strength.

The possibility was also considered of adding sodium to the warhead so that an extra glow would create a spectacular effect from Earth.

According to a new book by John Greenewald, called Secrets of the Black Vault, which examines declassified documents obtained by Freedom of Information requests, the Moon was a potential battleground in the Cold War “space race”, and Project A119 wanted to ensure the USA got first dibs on a big lunar bang.

The Russian had similar plans, and both adduced a scientific purpose, claiming such explosions would yield information about the surface of the Moon (“Oh, look, it’s all burned and jaggy”), but the whole thing was just a bunch of bairns trying to cock a snook at each other.

Luckily, the plan was dropped on the arguably sane grounds that it could lead to “unparalleled scientific disaster”.

From the Moon to Duncansby Head, through some internet link about mad nuclear plans, I also learned this week that, in 1953, researchers at Aldermaston, Britain’s nuclear weapons HQ in Berkshire, wanted to detonate a nuke in the far north east, deeming Caithness fine for such a jape as it was sparsely populated.

The mad plan, revealed by The Sunday Post in 2016, involved placing the weapon on one of the Stacks of Duncansby and standing about 675 miles back to see what happened.

It was only called off for meteorological reasons: Caithness was too wet and cloudy. In 2016, a nuclear expert said that, if the test had gone ahead, folk would still be avoiding Caithness today.

You’ll recall that, in 1942, Gruinard in the Inner Hebrides was used as a testing ground for anthrax as a biological weapon. About 20 years ago, as a reporter, I was sent there (“That should get rid of him”) because somebody was threatening to use it in the Gulf, if I remember rightly.

Of course, I didn’t set foot on the island – the name’s Crafty no’ Daftie – but observed it through binoculars and interviewed some local folk about it. I distinctly remember washing my hands when I got home.

After Duncansby Head, incidentally, the nuke-heads turned their attention to Skipsea, off Lincolnshire’s North Sea coast but, following local outrage, decided instead to evict some aborigines and nuke their land in South Australia.

Nuclear nuttiness brings us to US President Donald Trump, North Korean gaffer Kim Jong-un and, er, Elton John. According to The Room Where It Happened, a memoir by former presidential adviser John Bolton, amidst de-nuclearisation negotiations with Herr Kim in 2018, Mr Trump was determined to send the diminutive clot a signed copy of Elton John’s hit, Rocket Man.

Trump had referred derisively to Kim as Little Rocket Man, but now wanted to persuade him, through this gift, that it was a term of affection. The project became an obsession, overtaking other arguably more important details and, while Trump did eventually send a signed copy, it’s not clear if it was delivered.

Bolton recalls the President saying: “Boy, I bet Elton will get a kick out of this.” One tabloid newspaper commented: “Let’s hope his next gift isn’t [another E. John hit] Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

It’s difficult to get your head round this stuff. Indeed, if you’re going to deploy your onion with regard to it, I’d suggest shoving it under a pillow and praying for sleep to come. For the world out there is just way too odd to contemplate.


HERE’S another odd thing we learned this week: neckties are spreaders of infection.

A correspondent to a London newspaper wrote: “If one wished to design an uncomfortable and rarely cleaned item of clothing that restricts breathing and prevents infected respiratory droplets falling on a regularly washed shirt, the tie would be the answer.”

That is a good point, well made. We learned further that ties are often banned in clinical settings or, “ridiculously”, tucked into the shirt.

The problem I have with this is: how are we to know who is in charge, who is in a position of authority? Oh, I see: it’s all women nowadays. Fair enough.

Noises off

WILL the world be a quieter place post-corona? We hope so. Pubs and restaurants will have to ditch the muzak, or at least keep it whisperingly low, so that punters don’t have to close up their social distancing to hear each other speak.

Devoid of irritating fans, the football has been better without all that racket from the terraces, whence the same boring songs emanate over and over, a nadir reached in Continental Europe where supporters lack even the lyrical imagination of their bovine English and Scottish counterparts.

The new normal could even see the death of the musical, which is excellent news for all fans of culture. Apparently, singing spreads viruses because it’s usually accompanied by dollops of gob.

Religious fearties won’t even be able to sing their usual dirges in church where, in the unlikely event that Jehovah the Merciless is paying the least bit of attention, He won’t be able to hear His supporters chanting His name.

Indeed, He’ll need to deploy a celestial ear trumpet if He wants to check that the minister or priest is sticking to the script.

Happy, quieter days.

On me ’ead, Sun

WHAT planet is the Sun on? It’s becoming a right pain in the cuticles.

Here are some things we’re tellt aboot it: it diminishes brain power, kills viruses, boosts our immune system, gives us cancer. Ruddy burning sphere should make up its mind what it wants to do. Pick a side, bud: useful or harmful.

The brain angle is a new one, with research showing that prolonged exposure to the Sun affects the controversial organ’s ability to function.

Not sure about that one as Scotland gets (or got; ruddy global warming) relatively few rays and has the world’s highest ratio of nutters per head of population.

Other research this week claimed the Sun could kill the virus in 30 minutes. Well, here’s an idea: get on with it.

Mind you, our governments telling everybody to stay indoors over the past few months can’t have helped matters.

God knows what’s going to happen now that we’re being let loose for holidays and the like. However, addled by the Sun and made high on fresh air, I’m sure the lieges will behave responsibly and not go about tanning each other.

Aye, that’ll be shining bright.

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