Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anarchy in the U.K.

The Holy Prepuce finds himself in England this week, where his pseudo-Gen-Y smugness about posting to his blog via Blackberry is put to shame by the technological sophistication ported around by even the most Luddite of his British friends. Why, he wonders, coming from a country that not only put a man on the moon, but is considering a multi-billion dollar repeat of the stunt just to show the Chinese who's still boss, does his pocket not contain the music-playing, video-taking, stylus-writing, life-affirming toys that Vodaphone hands out like so much silicone candy to subscribers? Perhaps it is because England is that much closer to Finland, the godhead from which all mobile technology springs forth, fully formed in its mysterious beauty.

So here the H.P. is, rediscovering his sometime home of many years, and also rediscovering why a recent international public health effort on binge drinking had difficulty reconciling U.S. and U.K. statistics. (It turned out that the two countries were employing different definitions: U.S. officials defined binge drinking as "consuming five or more units of alcohol on a single occasion," whereas U.K. researchers defined it as "remaining intoxicated for a period of greater than 48 hours.")

On the first evening of his current jag, and in rare form owing to the transatlantic red-eye he had taken the previous night, the Holy Prepuce attended an anarchist beach party, held at low tide on the exposed Thames riverbed. Under a quirk of English law, tidewater land--including that of inland waters such as the Thames which nonetheless experience tide--are common land and (so the anarchists claimed) not subject to municipal regulation. Apparently, an anarchist beach party consists of setting alight a massive bonfire made of shipping pallets, and inhaling copious amounts of nitrous oxide. The latter activity the Holy Prepuce did not partake of, partly because a near-death childhood oral surgery experience has called into question the wisdom of his doing so, but also because, while not qualified as an English lawyer, H.P. is fairly certain that the "tidewater loophole" does not extend so far as to prohibit the government from proscribing the misuse of dental anesthesia.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.


  1. Not to be pedantic H.P., but I believe you mean silicon candy.

    Silcone candy usually comes in pairs.

  2. That is perhaps the most pedantic comment I have ever received. But well deserved, Ms. American Chemical Society. Yes, silicon is the element found in computer chips; silicone is an inorganic-organic polymer, consisting of an inorganic silicon-oxygen backbone with organic side groups attached to the silicon atoms.

  3. But did you see any mudlarkers? Surely the entire point of observing the Thames at low tide is to watch the trainspotter-y artifact collectors on their self-imposed missions.

    I had not considered the advantages (or lack thereof) of including nitrous oxide in such endeavors.

    While you're there, let me know if there's nice coverage of Ouija Board winning her two Cartier Awards.


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