April 0003



A Communication from Montreal, Jings, Early Lava Lamps, Marvin Gunk and Ms. Pimbleman.


With reference to the letter from Raoul of Cochabamba which you published last month, I would like to say that I don’t speak English at all, and Ropkind Scharf is a great deal more than OK with me.

Pierre, Montreal.

Translated by Euphemia Molders, Wonderful World Staff Interpreter.



This accolade surely belongs to “Jings” who was the astrologer of the London Daily Express from 1816 to 1946. The date of his earliest appearance is a little uncertain as no archive contains a complete run of this newspaper, and the earliest complete issue which has been preserved dates from the late nineteenth century. Also, it is probable that more than one astrologer contributed horoscopes under this name, as the timespan covered by the contributions appears too great for a single individual. It is probable that this work was left to whoever happened to be the most junior in the Express office at the time.

Be that as it may, Jings got off to a characteristic start with his 1816 contribution “The return of Bonaparte appears certain within the twelvemonth”. In fact, Napoleon remained on St. Helena until he was accidentaly poisoned by a British wallpaper hanger.

He was also convinced that Queen Victoria would be short-lived. Immediately after her coronation he foresaw “This filly will run a short course”, and on the announcement of her engagement to Albert “Her Majesty will not live to see her wedding day”. A few weeks later, he predicted “The death of her Majesty may be expected hourly”, and he became positively apocalyptic in 1882, when he stated “The establishment of a British republic may confidently be expected immediately pursuant to the death of our sovereign, which is certain within the week. She will be felled by an assassin’s bullet or an infernal device.” Needless to say, throughout 1901, when Victoria really did die, he made no mention of her imminent departure.

When the First World War started, he stated: “It will be a glorious triumph, and the British will beat the French in the race to Berlin, but unfortunately it will last no longer than early November.”

In a similar manner, he foresaw universal prosperity for twenty years the day before the Wall St. Crash, and was a extreme in his enthusiasm for Neville Chamberlain: “The towering genius from Birmingham has indeed brought us peace in our time, and indeed peace for all time”. It is characteristic that he failed to foresee his own death saying “though a trifle long in the tooth, I shall be with you a good many years yet” in his final column.



The first lava lamps were made in ancient China. They were operated by a little bed of charcoal. The poet Yu Hsi wrote one of his most famous three line poems about one:

It is dark,

I consider my lover.

Constantly, her face is changing colour

This was written about 600 BC.



Hey Dr. Scharf! How come you knew I was going to be unrusticated before anyone else?

Marvin Gunk, c/o Joe’s Diner, Hicksville

That was easy Marvin. I got told by Ms. Pimbleman. We were having a little thing going on, as a result of which she agreed to tell me everything that was going on at Hicksborough, so long as I didn’t tell anyone she was letting me know all this stuff. Anyway, there isn’t really much interesting at Hicksborough, so the thing came to an end. Sophie Kubrick, the Corporate Ethics Advisor here at the Ropkind Scharf Organisation told me this meant that any assurances of confidentiality I gave Ms. Pimbleman had lapsed, so I reckoned I had a profound professional responsibility to you Marvin, as a member of the public, to answer your question.



If you’ve been reading this column regularly, you probably know that Alphonsine Jared Pimbleman, the Secretary of the School of Blues Studies, at the University of Alabama in Hicksborough was supposed to be the Ropkind Scharf Organisation’s deep throat at the University. Unfortunately, her role came to the attention of the regents of the University, and they fired her! That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that the Ropkind Scharf organization had decided to employ Ms. Pimbleman as the secretary responsible for correspondence of Wonderful World! You can send contributions, comments, suggestions and even criticisms to her, and she will either answer them herself or, in serious cases, send them to me for action.

Another wonderful piece of news is that Ms. Pimbleman is going to receive almost half her previous salary in her new post!