When will the leader of the free world sort out his rapidly thinning hair ?

Firstly, here in the ethereal realm we do not like to offend powerful people so we take the view that Vladimir Putin does not have thinning hair.

Of course there is a possibility that the question refers instead to Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America. If so, the answer may be more complex.

First, for someone to take action on such a matter, they would have to be bothered by it. President Trump does not seem concerned and so is either so at peace with his physical appearance that he has no concerns (well done him) or so self-absorbed that he thinks his hair looks thick and lustrous. There can be no way to know for sure.

Second, people are often guided by those around them, however it is just possible that Mr Trump has surrounded himself with such a coterie of “yes men” that none dare suggest there is an issue, let alone suggest a means for resolving it.

But the third possibility, the one favoured by academics who whisper behind closed doors for fear of being overheard, is that the poor chap may have no choice because it is a symptom of a serious medical illness, as yet undisclosed to the American public. That is the possibility I think should be examined further.

A compelling theory is that President Trump may be suffering from the symptoms of late-stage Neurosyphilis, a third-stage symptom of untreated syphilis, the sexually-transmitted disease. Symptoms of such an illness commonly include :

  • Irritability
  • Loss of ability to concentrate
  • Delusional thinking
  • Grandiosity
  • Impairment of judgement
  • Squinting
  • Patchy hair loss

Now it would be wrong to try and diagnose someone at a distance and as an ethereal being, The Conduit has no medical training. But this theory is one put forward by Dr Steven Beutler for your consideration.

And consider it, you should.

When is now ?

There was a TV programme about it presented by that scientist. You know, the one that all the ladies like and who talks in the voice that’s been wrapped in velvet and dipped in chocolate and then vaguely flown up north. The one that was in that band. Him.

Anyway, it wasted an hour, perhaps ironically yet appropriately, making the point that there really is no meaning to such questions. From a mathematical point of view it is pretty hard to separate “now” from the moment just before or just after. That’s what continuous is.

And if you want a date or a day or a year then you can make up your own. Any system is as arbitrary as the next and none of them copes very well with the fact that our measures of time change. The day gets longer or shorter with things such as earthquakes or even with a lot of bad weather. No, it’s true. Look it up on a proper website.

I guess therefore subjectivity is all we have. Here, in the ethereal realm in which The Conduit dwells, it has just become Monday. This has significance to all with a standard working pattern as the working week looms. It matters also to anyone who has to be up early as it is clearly past their bedtime. It matters to anyone who has an appointment or meeting or planned phone call – Monday could be a day of big news and life-changing information. And it matters to Garfield. He’s not a fan.

Now is neither good nor bad yet often seems entirely one or the other. Now is possibly the beginning but probably not the end. Now is transient. Now is gone.
I miss now. I was happy then. I think.

What will dying be like in the future ?

A screen will apologise to you and tell you that you have got your password wrong and answered your security question incorrectly. You are being given one more chance.

You know that to fail again will mean that the machine will take your life from you (or fail to sustain your life, more likely). You will grope around in your addled brain for pets’ names or memorable phrases or girls you might have had a crush on when you set the damned thing up thirty years earlier.

Finally, you just try your usual password with a 1 on the end and press <return>…

What is “anhedonia” ?

For some it is supporting Oxford United. For others it might be reading the front cover of The Daily Mail. In truth anhedonia is a bit more serious than that.

An anhedonic person feels no joy, or at least struggles to experience it in the same way that most do. It appears to be a break down of the brain’s reward pathways so that a person does not get the pleasure that is typical from certain experiences.

What difference would it make to your day or week if you didn’t enjoy the nice things that you do ? Perhaps you feel that way already. Or maybe you are able to find infinite joy in the little things in life – everybody is put together very differently.

What is a “Wowchuk” ?


The Wowchuk (Pudenda Magnifiosa) is one of the Northern American continent’s least-known mammals but is a creature worthy of greater study. It’s common name (The Na-nee) is a reference to its strong maternal characteristics. It is a small, friendly, social creature generally found in the North-Western region of the United States of America.

It ranges in height from five feet to five feet five inches and astonishingly is always perfectly weighted for its height. Many have remarked on its beautiful proportions, in particular its famed amply-sized chest. Contrary to popular belief this is not a device solely for attracting the male but rather one to house its large heart. Those that say that the Wowchuk has a bushy tail have clearly never been able to get close enough to stroke it for it is actually remarkably smooth and pleasant to the touch. The Wowchuk is a sensual animal and can be greatly pleasured by having its tail stimulated in this manner.

The Wowchuk is often mistaken for other animals which may explain why it’s appearance is often heralded with a cry of “Nice Beaver”. The Wowchuk Breeding season begins in January and lasts until December. It is perhaps this extended “active” period combined with its natural shyness that makes the Wowchuk such a fascinating creature to watch whilst mating. Many a scientist fantasises about being able to see the Wowchuk in action and video footage of this passes amongst the cognoscenti rapidly – the Internet is probably a good source of this sort of material.

Many humans have commented on how nice it might be to spend life as a Wowchuk. So where can one find the largest Wowchuk concentration at this time ? Well figures are notoriously hard to compile but the map below shows the believed location of the largest American Wowchuk warren. So if you want to find one of these wonderful, friendly, cuddly creatures – head here.



What is iatrogenesis ?

Learning new words is fun and so I bring you one that has become pertinent of late :


Of or relating to illness caused by medical examination or treatment.

So if you go into a doctor’s office with a sore foot and he pokes you in the eye with a spoon, that would be an iatrogenic injury. Similarly if you pick up a hospital-acquired infection or fall off an operating table or go in to have a wisdom tooth removed and end up with a broken jaw…

Why would anyone want to post a question here ?

There are many reasons –

  • people might want to learn something new,
  • they might want to hear something funny,
  • they might want to read something daft,
  • they might be embarrassed they do not know something,
  • they might want to ask something awkward,
  • they might want to ask something ridiculous,
  • they might want to play along with the fun,
  • they might be bored,
  • they might value creativity and find it lacking in the everyday.

Or not. The joy is that people are free to interact with The Conduit in a manner that suits them. I just hope they enjoy doing so.

What is a “double entendre” ?

Something which has a double meaning, usually where the second meaning is a bit rude. I have never used this grammatical device because I feel it is a little beneath me. However sometimes people misinterpret things that are said and read a second meaning into them where perhaps one never existed.

Take my days as a courier – “Madam, I have a large package for you.”

Or as a car mechanic – “Madam, are you ready for your service now ?”

Or as a computer technician – “Madam, please insert the dongle.”

When a person says something that could be interpreted a second way, it is often hilarious beyond belief to draw attention to that fact. In the UK people might say “As the actress said to the bishop…” and in the US people often say “That’s what she said…”

The simplest thing to do when someone wants to understand the concept is to tell the following :

A woman walked into a bar and asked for a double entendre.

So I gave her one.

What is pancake day ?

Pancake day is celebrated in the UK (and in other, largely former colonial, countries) every spring. The date varies because of Jesus. He was a big fan of pancakes I think, so he got to decide when the day would be. This was ironic because some scholars believe that shortly after he rose from the dead and rolled away the stone of his tomb, it rolled back on him, flattening him like a pancake.

The tradition is based in Britain’s wonderful theatrical heritage when actors and actresses would put on excessive amounts of facepaint (or pancake) and act out scenes from Jesus’s life. These farcical performances would often result in the throwing of eggs and flour and it was from these ingredients that the artistes began to make the signature dish of pancake day, Yorkshire Pudding.

Americans wanted in on a celebration based around the eating of high-carb foods but needed to distance themselves from the traditions of the English, so they simply called the day “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras. Sadly in some areas a typographical error in early calendars meant that instead of the day being marked for one Tuesday, it was actually marked for every day except one Tuesday, explaining the rampant and morbid obesity.

Today, in the best traditions of the religious festival that started it all, Pancake Day is widely celebrated by giving women strings of beads in exchange for them baring their breasts. This crucifixion symbolism is reinforced by the shouting of “Woo Hoo”, believed to be the last words of Christ on the cross.

Pancake Day 2013 is on the 12th of February.

Update : this important information brought to you via the wonderful people at The Poke