Public Health and Bottoms

November 29, 2008 -

John Heald

This is going to be a blog that includes stuff about my bottom….and for those with a weak disposition…….I suggest you log on to and read the brilliant and more serious non blogs that have absolutely no mention of bottoms. For those still with me I have to tell you I am not feeling well………I have the galloping trots…….or diarrhea to give it its scientific name and to tell you just how bad it is……well…….let’s just say I could poo through a straw…………and it’s America’s fault. Last night I decided to take Heidi and the Thingy out for dinner……..just the three of us.

We decided to drive a few miles away from where we live to a place called Basildon where there is a recently opened area called Festival Park. This is a little version of America. Sitting in diamond formation are a group of restaurants dedicated to the Good Old US of A. The Stars and Stripes are everywhere ………on flag poles and in the windows of a huge multiplex cinema and bowling alley……’s known locally as Bas Vegas……… Our choices of restaurants included:ChilisChiquita MexicanMacaroni GrilleOutbackTGI Fridays.

Now, I have to be careful here because I don’t want to cast dispersion’s on the World Wide Web thingy that one of the above gave me the shits………….so I will disguise which one it was. There came a point in the UK a few years ago when all restaurants were suddenly themed with waiters in hats, where the pictures, the music and the napkins were matched like Abba costumes. It was childish and attractive. I suppose we all spent so long thinking that restaurants were either French, Italian, Chinese or British (Indian), that brash, bright, jolly American ones looked fun, and everything had to be fun. Fun and fab. Fab and fun.

This was one of those. The waitress looked like she was 16 years old and was overly cheerful. She had an annoying habit of saying the word “yourselves” in every sentence. “Would you like to order a drink for yourselves at all while you look at the menu? Would you like garlic bread for yourselves? Have you decided what you are having for yourselves.”

Anyway, she was nice and pleasant and apart from the overuse of the word “yourselves,” the only other thing that annoyed me was the size of her pen. I am not kidding you it was 2 feet long………pink……with a huge fluffy pink mousy type thing on the top ………….. proving she was probably 12 years old.

However, the service was not the problem. As soon as we sat down, I touched the stickiness of the table that we had seen being wiped with a dirty cloth, and I should have known there and then that this place might be trouble. Like history, food repeats itself — once is comedy, twice is vomit. I had eaten at another restaurant of the same name a few years ago in London and had not been impressed then. It was just as I remembered it, scooped out baked potatoes stuffed with sour cream and chives, away from the combo platter with two inches of boiled sweet corn that tasted like I was chewing on sandpaper and the coleslaw that was slimy glue, and the potato salad that was coleslaw but without the sophistication, and an onion loaf that looked like and tasted like old rope, held together by oil that they’re now turning into an alternative fuel. The ribs tasted as if they’d been cooked in an ashtray.

A manager man came up to the table and asked if everything was OK……I wanted to shove his face in the coleslaw and insert one of the ribs in his bottom….but, of course, I told him it was excellent ……what a coward I am. I should have known that the food would be bad…….it was bad last time and it was worse this time around…….why do I go again this time?

It’s like having your mum come out with photographs of your 1980s girlfriend, and you have a look and you think, “Oh, my God, how could kissed that? And this blog is taking much longer to write as well because I need to keep running to the bathroom …………….. bugger. Of course, this wasn’t a five-star restaurant and, to be fair, you can get sick from everywhere from McDonald’s to Michelin Star restaurants owned by famous TV chefs. Cruise lines like restaurants are subject to frequent checks by the United States Public Health organization. These brilliant team of men and women make unannounced inspections not just in homeports but in any American ports such as St. Thomas. It is there job to make sure that the industry continues to set the standard in public health issues. Now, this includes food storage and preparation, service, chlorine levels in swimming pools and drinking water plus much, much more.

This inspection takes hours and after it is completed the ship is given a score. The pass mark is 86 and anything below that is failing. The ship then will be tested the following week and if it fails again………well…..lets just say it’s not good and the F&B manager will be packing his bags and looking for work at Denny’s. I am so proud of the standard that our ships achieve and I wanted to share the site that allows you all to look at scores and read the reports on what improvements were suggested. Have a look at this and you will notice the many 100 perfect scores the industry achieves ……… including many ships from Carnival Corporation brands

So, today, I want to salute all the brilliant crew members who keep the galleys, the restaurants and indeed the entire ship clean and tidy under the necessarily strict rules and regulations of USPH.

Hello everyone and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed the following day shopping. I see I have lots of comments waiting to be answered and those will be on Tuesday so please hang on to then and I promise to reply to each and everyone who asked me to. What a brilliant blog from Peter Shanks yesterday and how about those photos?……………..What an experience it must have been and what a incomparable life the Queen Elizabeth 2 has had.

Next week we will have some great interviews to look forward to. Now, let’s bring you up to date with Mrs. S Nob. For those of you who don’t know who she is…….she is an ass. ………….well, actually she is a donkey but as this blog seems to be all about bottoms I thought I would write “ass.” Anyway, I had a guest on-board the Carnival Splendor who I nicknamed Mrs. S Nob and I suggest that if you are a newcomer to the blog thingy, then you may want to put her name in the blog thingies search engine thingy and read all about her. Anyway, a few days after she left Heidi and I were invited to adopt a donkey at a sanctuary here in the UK and next week we will be visiting her for the first ever time.

Now, I love animals, especially with potatoes …….and have no problem paying a few pounds a week so Mrs. S Nob can spend her final days in a field with other donkeys rather than in a tube of glue or a restaurant in Paris. However, my Saturday newspaper tells me that some people can take their love of animals much, much further.

This is the story of Joyce and John Gill, who left their £2.34 million estate to the RSPCA, instead of the daughter who spent 30 years looking after them and their farm. Then there was Leona Helmsley, the billionaire who left a large slice of her fortune to her poodle instead of her grandchildren, or Kalu the chimpanzee, who will inherit £40 million when its owner, Patricia O’Neill, dies.

Of course, the dead are free to do as they please with their money. They’ve earned it; if they want to spend it on caviar for their goldfish, so be it. It’s not animals I have a problem with: its people who like animals more than other people. Let me explain ………..a few years ago I visited the home of someone who works in the Carnival Cruise Lines office. He had just bought a dog……..a bull terrier…………which during the time I was there chewed a hole in my Air Jordan’s, consumed my cell phone and vomited on the floor as we were eating dinner.

“I hate that dog,” I said jokingly. My friend looked at me sternly. “You really need to learn to be nicer to other people’s animals,” he said, when I felt, really, that it was the animal that needed to learn to be nicer to me. “It would be like turning up at your family home and declaring I hate your sister.” But my sister would not destroy your possessions and hump your leg …………. well…….not unless she had drunk lots of vodka.

Not only am I spending the day helping the company that makes Charmin Ultra Strong beat the credit crunch but I am doing so feeling very sad. And that’s because my comedy hero John Cleese whom I interviewed last year has turned his back on comedy. He announced this on a chat show last night saying that he wanted to concentrate on writing ……….and politics……..and that makes me very sad. No more brilliant Cleese comedy.

One minute he’s strutting about in a Torquay hotel and the audience is reduced to hysterics. The next he’s in an advertisement for the Democratic Party advert and everyone is behind their sofas quietly dying of embarrassment. As I careen toward old age, there are many things which frighten me. All the hair on my head will start to grow out of my nose. My ear lobes will swell up. My bladder will cease to function. I will become even more baffled by new technology. And then there will be the inevitable onset of cancer.

But the greatest fear I face is not that I might lose my sense of sight, touch or smell. No, it’s that people, once they reach the age of 50; seem to lose their sense of humor. …….. and it’s not just Cleese…….it’s the rest of the Monty Python team as well. Michael Palin is charming and friendly, but as PBS show him mincing through India on yet another old train does he make you laugh? Terry Jones is wrapped up in 14 layers of Chaucer and we haven’t heard a squeak from Graham Chapman for years. Though this might have something to do with the fact that he’s dead. ……only Eric Idle is still trying to make us laugh with Split………I only hope Mr. Cleese changes his mind because he is simply …….. the best.

Now I mentioned the “C” word just now and I did so not in jest………….and that’s because I have heard that someone I worked with on-board and who is three years younger than me was recently diagnosed with the biggest killer of young men. ………………prostrate cancer. Being a man, I am fairly convinced most of the time that I have a fatal disease and currently because of some dodgy barbecued ribs I am suffering from symptoms which, according to the Internet, mean I have diphtheria.

Prostate cancer, however, is the scariest. To avoid skin cancer, you don’t sit in the sunshine. And to avoid Ebola, you don’t go to Botswana and eat deep fried monkey. But the only way you can avoid dying from prostate cancer is to regularly put a finger up your bottom. Now, as some of you may know I recently had to try a bit of pot-holing up my own poo-chute. For 43 years, my bottom has been a one-way street and I would be very happy for things to stay that way.

Unfortunately however, I recently noticed that I had passed red stools and that I must be bleeding “down there.” Obviously, the prostate people are forever telling us chaps to check ourselves but they are never specific. Where in your bottom is your prostate? And how big is it? The size of a goat’s toe or more enormous than the Queen Mary 2’s smokestack? And how, if we find it, are we supposed to know whether it’s fine or completely cancerous?

Happily, in my case, the story has a happy ending because later that day, while washing my hands for the 117th time, my wife breezed into the kitchen and said: “Wow. That beetroot we had for supper last night doesn’t half make your poo red.” The thing is, though, that I don’t want prostate cancer. I don’t want to end up like my colleague who I wish a speedy recovery. And more to the point, I don’t want to go up my own bottom again. Nor do I want a doctor climbing in there with a head-torch and a shovel. So the best thing, I figure, is to stop myself getting it in the first place. So, I am going for a check up next week and promise to share the experience with all of you, its something I should have done already.

And it was therefore with great glee and happiness that I read today in the London Times that a team of American scientists with beards stated that their research proved that if you eat lots of sun-dried tomatoes, your bottom will remain healthy and pure and you will live to be 99. I celebrated the news with by buying a big can of them from my local deli. And on the way, I had a nice big cigar.

Your friends
John, Heidi and The Thingy

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.