Google+ A Tangled Rope: 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Son of God

Well.... You know what kids are like. All that idealistic nonsense he used to come out with; 'the meek will inherit the earth' and all that idealistic bollocks. I didn't work my arse off for six days separating the sodding firmaments just so that he could give the whole place away to some sandal-wearing pinko time-wasters without the gumption to get themselves a decent standard of living. I bet they are all vegetarians too.

I had high hopes for that boy too. When he did the thing with the loaves and the fishes, I thought - that's my boy! Imagine the mark-up on something like that? But the dozy sod just gave them all away. Did the idea of a fast food franchise even enter that hippy head of his? Did it buggery.

I thought - y'know, get the lad in there early, start him at the bottom, get him to know the business. Then an aeon or two down the line the missus and I can bugger off to Bournemouth, nice little bungalow on the coast while we are still young enough to enjoy our immortality.

But I was buggered if I was going to leave the place in his hands - 'love your neighbour' - bloody unnatural I call it. Smite the bastards mightily - that's what I say. I mean what is the point of having an almighty wrath if you are just going to pat the miserable sinners on the head and let them go?

So, I fetched him back. Sent him around to visit the wife's relatives in Valhalla - that put the cat amongst the pigeons. I'd like to see the soft sod try to forgive a thunder god for a malleting around the earhole.

Do him good. I think.

[Taken from here – because… well, I can]

Monday, March 30, 2009

Get A Grip

With the recent rapid increase in the number of self-aggrandising people and groups finding more and more things 'offensive', Lambda Stoatwinkle, the famous celebrity goat-impersonator, has decided to form her own counter-group called Get A Grip (GAG).

'GAG,' she explained, while drinking a cup of fashionable ice-cold Badger Widdle tea at London's trendy Animal Urine Café, 'is here to take to task all these groups that have help create this whole pathetic grievance industry. People who - it seems - cannot let a book, play, TV programme, advert, film, cartoon, junk food carton, or even piece of fresh fruit or vegetable go by without finding something 'offensive' about it. Even if that whole 'offence' is only some minor slight to their own over-inflated sense of self-importance and serves as little more than a way of increasing their standing in the victimhood hierarchy.'

'GAG', Stoatwinkle continued, 'wants to put a stop to all this nonsense by calling on all these groups to Get A Grip! Rather than getting any sympathy for their plight - real, or more often, imagined - all this constant claiming of outrage just makes them look like self-pitying whiners and sore losers who demand that the rules be changed to only suit them. Although, while this does make them feel even more justified, as it - in their own eyes - increases their sense of persecution and victimhood, in the long run all it does is make things worse for the very people these groups purport to represent. All we in GAG want them to do is to Get A Grip, and to realise that this constant obsessing over triviality - in the end - only ends up trivialising them.'

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Great Age Of Exploration

Esperanto Hepatitis is probably one of the most famous gentleman explorers of the Victorian era. It was an era of great explorers, of course, but few could match the exploits of Hepatitis. The pinnacle of his career came in 1888, when he set out to discover the then mysterious source of the Digestive Biscuit, somewhere deep in the heart of unexplored Africa.

Only five years previously, Hepatitis had won worldwide fame and notoriety when he had discovered the origin of the chocolate chip cookie in a small Mayan corner shop deep in the heart of the South American jungle. Although, during that expedition, tragedy struck when Hepatitis lost seventeen bearers, the whole of his expedition's supply of tea and cucumber sandwiches, and his loyal old school-chum Catamite Bedwetter-Spanking, when the expedition team unwittingly crossed a very busy Peruvian main road without looking both ways.

Despite those setbacks, the expedition itself had been a major success, finally proving the Out of the Jungle Cookie Thesis once and for all.

So, when Hepatitis announced his plan to search for the source of the Digestive Biscuit, it made headline news all around the world.

Some years previously, another of the great Victorian explorers, Dysentery Trailblazer, had managed to trace the source of the Digestive Biscuit back to an area just inside present-day Zimbabwe before he mysteriously disappeared into a tobacconist's shop at the edge of a small jungle clearing. Trailblazer was never seen alive again.

However, Hepatitis vowed not only to find the source of the Digestive Biscuit, he also planned to discover what had actually happened to Trailblazer, but only if he could pick up Trailblazer's original route and - therefore - locate that actual tobacconist's shop.

Unfortunately, although Hepatitis eventually located the correct tobacconist shop, he was unable to resolve the mystery of Trailblazer's whereabouts as it was half-day closing and the tobacconist was shut for the rest of that afternoon.

Undaunted by this setback, which would have certainly severely tested a lesser man's resolve, Hepatitis took his expedition deeper into the bush.

As the expedition continued, Hepatitis lost several of his native bearers, each offering a spurious excuse such as "I need to do some shopping", "the mother-in-law is coming for dinner", and so on. Once the expedition lost five bearers who all claimed they had tickets for the theatre that evening.

So, five months into the expedition, there was only Hepatitis, his brother in law Pungent Bowel-Disease and their native guide, Steve, left from the original expedition. They were also down to their last bottle of hair shampoo. It seemed that disaster was only a few days away.

Suddenly, rounding a bend on the local native ring-road they were traversing they came upon the fabled lost supermarket, T-Heshchko, source of the Digestive Biscuit!

But then, less than half an hour later, just as the three remaining members of the expedition were congratulating themselves on their good fortune as they began to unload their trolley full of Digestive Biscuits onto the checkout conveyer belt, Hepatitis realised that he had left his wallet at home, containing both his debit card and his store loyalty card.

Crestfallen, the expedition members sneaked out of the supermarket empty-handed and made their long slow weary way back home.

Hepatitis never spoke publicly about the expedition and died a broken recluse three years later. When his butler discovered his body, Hepatitis was found to be clutching an empty Digestive Biscuit wrapper in his cold stiff hand.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Co-incidence? I think not

Is all of this all a bit too co-incidental?

First, Tony Blair becomes a Catholic, while Peter Mandelson is ennobled and returns to the government. Now we find that ‘the scrapping of the ban on heirs to the throne marrying Roman Catholics was also discussed’ in a palace meeting between the PM and the Palace.

Also, Prince William should be getting married soon – so now there is no reason at all why he should marry a catholic, and now, with same-sex couples allowed to form civil partnerships, there is no reason why Prince William and Tony Blair, the world’s most eligible and famous Catholic, should not marry*.

Now, after William and Tony do get married, events start to get very interesting. Just consider, as the current Queen and the next in line to the throne, Charles, are both Colonels in chief of various regiments – and therefore (theoretically) have access to weapons of mass destruction then surely, the government will have to heed Princess Tony’s call for regime change.

Once the Queen and Prince Charles have been deposed and found guilty, and sentenced to death for treason against themselves, then it will only be a matter of time before Brown’s government, responsible both for the severity of the UK’s credit crunch and yet another unpopular war, this time a civil war against Britain’s own monarchy, falls.

A distraught, grieving, Prince William, and a resolute Princess Tony can then call for the abolition of ’this traitorous government, led by the evil dictator Brown and his cronies’ and call for a return to absolute monarchy in loving memory of William’s father and much-lamented grandmother.

A grateful nation rejoices.

Then, a few days later Gordon and Ed balls are found, one morning, hanging from lampposts near Downing Street.

In an attempt to bring the fractured nation together in a display of national unity Prince William and Queen Tony are then crowned in a sumptuous Westminster Abbey coronation. There are flags and parties in streets throughout the UK.

Then, suddenly, only a few weeks later Prince William dies in a mysterious helicopter crash. ‘He was the people’s King,’ a seemingly distraught Queen Tony gushes through his tears. ‘And as a mark of respect for King William’s memory, I will now myself become King Tony, instead of Queen Tony, as he would have wanted.’

Then after the statutory six months of mourning King Tony announces that he will marry Lord Mandelson and they will rule the UK together as absolute monarchs. Then everyone lives happily ever after**

*Except Cherie, of course, but… if the compensation fee were large enough to interest her, who can say?

**Or else***

***well the friends and hangers-on of King Tony and Queen Peter do live happily ever after, anyway, as for the rest of us… well, who really gives a shit?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Major Scientific Breakthrough

Implication Venndiagram will probably go down in history (even if it is only as a footnote) as the person who truly discovered the full implications of the branch of modern physics known as Weasel Theory. Following on from the groundbreaking experimental work reported on earlier, Venndiagram came up with the theoretical formula that can predict with uncanny accuracy just when the weasel will - in fact - go 'pop'.

Although, the post-Newtonian formula of half a pound of rice and half a pound of treacle was accurate enough in earlier times, today's high precision scientific weasel experiments require far more accurate measurements. For many a weasel has been wasted by exploding far too early, at least according to the old theories. Conversely, some weasels have not exploded at all, even when over half a pound of rice and/or treacle have been added to the mixture. Sometimes several pounds of rice and treacle have been wasted trying to get a weasel to self-ignite.

Venndiagram has taken the original rough theory (2dR* 0.5) + (T*0.5) +W=P (where W=weasel, P=pop, R=rice and T=treacle) and added several adjustments and refinements. These refinements, according to Venndiagram are mainly to take account of, for example, the weight of the weasel, the prevailing weather conditions, the quality of the rice, the viscosity of the treacle, and of course - the volatility of the weasel itself.

For, as experiments at CERN's high-speed weasel acceleration facility have shown, the volatility of a weasel, either at rest or accelerating at anything up to two-thirds of the speed of light is subject to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, where either only the velocity or only the mass of the weasel can be known with any great accuracy.

This, obviously, led to Venndiagram's great breakthrough. He reasoned that the application of precise quantise of rice and treacle - mixed up and made nice - would have a significant effect on the velocity of the weasel when the two (the rice/treacle mixture and the weasel) are brought together.

So, after hundreds of experiments with various rices, treacles and weasels of varying weights and speeds, Venndiagram has - after many years of painstaking study - finally come up with his new equation.

Consequently, Venndiagram will unveil this new equation early next month when he presents the keynote paper at this year's Annual International Experimental Weasel Convention in Hawaii.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thanne Longen Folk To Goon On Pilgrimages*

And so it came to pass on the nineteenth day after Anti-Weasel Mass Eve that Spinnaker Dobbindong the Inexcusable recalculated his business expenses for the first time that month. To his surprise and consternation, he found that his mileage allowance would be seriously short for that month, so he decided to go on a pilgrimage.

The most Holy place to the strict Uttabolluxer wishing to make his peace with the Skhighhibhoss is – of course – Tourhisttrhap However, after checking the brochures; Dobbindong concluded that the facilities on offer at most of the nearby hotels did not quite fill his material needs. So, after a brisk web search he discovered the 23rd most Holy Uttabollux site, Cameldrhoppinges, the place where – it is said – the Great Prophet Nhigel (May His Plums Dangle Mightily) first played Strip Scrabble with his seventeenth wife, Gladys the Strumpet.

It was here that Dobbindong came across a cave in a fortuitously inaccessible place**

Some weeks later Dobbindong claimed to have discovered deep within the cave several otherwise unknown Post-It notes made by the Great Prophet Nhigel (May His Plums Dangle Mightily) about how his ministry – and its very lucrative tourist trinket and Holy relic retail subsidiaries – would henceforth pass down the line of descent from his 43rd wife Gertrude the Filthy-Minded. Dobbindong also claimed that he had found a tattered family-tree in the cave which showed unambiguously that he was indeed the only living descendant of the aforesaid Gertrude, and therefore the true spiritual leader, and – more significantly – the owner of all the lucrative subsidiaries and franchises throughout all the Uttabollux holy places.

This – of course – led to a schism in the Uttabollux community with a great deal of very wide-ranging and in-depth theological debate, including the use of heavy artillery.

At the end of this most enlightening debate, a badly-wounded Dobbindong and those few of his followers still alive fled the country and set up a new community deep in the most boring part of America. Here their community survived and prospered, becoming one of the richest, unenlightened and most scientifically-backward cities in the Midwest – where even mentioning the word ‘evolution’ in mixed company results in a ten year hard labour sentence. In fact, so removed are the members of this community from the rest of the society that surrounds them, there is strong talk of them putting forward a presidential contender for the next US election. Many experienced commentators on the presidential system believe that such a contender’s utter ignorance of the world beyond Dobbindong City would give enough edge over his opponents to enable him to win.

*The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400)

**Luckily Dobbindong was able to acquire the title deeds to the plot of land containing the caves, which – in order to preserve the spiritual purity of the place – he fenced off, planted land mines and employed the world’s most psychotic and well-armed security guards to patrol.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Small Woodland Creatures On Ice

Hard to credit it now, I know, but that first pilot of what became Small Woodland Creatures On Ice did point the way to the future of television.

In an age when even the most sautéed couch potato was growing weary of the vainglorious and talentless gawps that infested the reality shows, and the self-obsessed vacuity of those that the media proclaimed as ‘celebrities’ it seemed – for a while that the TV schedules would never recover from their doldrums.

However, one day a TV executive – filling time in his office in a gap between lunches - noticed that despite being so unfashionable, nature documentaries still managed to pull in respectable viewing figures. Burt without the – then essential – need for audience participation and the income from telephone voting, it seemed that nature documentaries would not survive in the cut-throat (and rather self-destructively stupid) world of modern multi-channel TV.

So, at first they tried Strictly Ballroom Badgers, but there were some badgers which did not have the necessary terpsichorean abilities to perform a solo dance routine to even the mediocre standard necessary to enthral an early evening TV audience enough for those viewers to start making the necessary lucrative phone calls to the TV station. Therefore, it was the fortunate discovery of the natural exuberance and innate ice-skating talent of water voles and other similar woodland rodents which managed to transform Small Woodland Creatures On Ice into the ratings success it is today with the format now sold to over 2 other countries.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brussels Sprouts And Their Role In History

Now, it is common knowledge these days that Hitler's final great offensive in the last years of WWII was the Ardennes Offensive of 1944/45, also known as the battle of the Bulge. What was not appreciated at the time by the Allied high command was just how desperately short of vital supplies the Third Reich armies actually were. The Ardennes Offensive was Hitler's bold attempt to capture and hold the Allied army's massive supply of Brussels sprouts, vital - of course - for the full functioning of any army.

German intelligence were aware that the American army was - in particular - massing huge quantities of the vital Brussels sprouts just behind their frontlines in preparedness for their own massive push - and - of course - in time for Christmas.

The German's audacious plan would have succeeded if the Allies had not quickly worked out that it was their stockpiles of Brussels sprouts that were under immediate threat. The bold plan put forward by the Allied Generals was a heavy gamble, but it paid off. They ordered their front-line chefs to begin boiling their entire stocks of Brussels sprouts, and - most importantly - to keep them boiling well past a state of fully preparedness.

So, when the weather altered and the wind direction changed, it blew the smell of over-cooked Brussels sprouts straight into the faces of the advancing Germans. Then the Reich troops knew that they would not be able to replenish their stocks of Brussels sprouts and any sprouts that they did capture from the Allied frontline kitchens would be overcooked to the point of inedibility.

Later in this series, we will discuss the major strategic role that Brussels sprouts have played in world history, such as Hadrian building a wall to protect the Roman Empire's most northern supplies of Brussels sprouts from the northern barbarians, thus thwarting the barbarian's fiendish plan to deep-fry the Roman's entire stockpiles of sprouts.

Then there was, also, Napoleon's retreat from Moscow when his over-long supply line of Brussels sprouts direct from France broke down. Even when his troops could get sprouts, they were of poor quality - dry, wizened and frozen solid. Of course, this led to a massive collapse of morale. Eventually, the lack of good quality sprouts forced a massive retreat where thousands of French troops died from a pitiful lack of sprouts.

And, of course, not forgetting - of course - how the Spanish conquest of the Americas was a result of the Spaniards overwhelming sprout superiority.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hernia von Volenipples - A Chronology

1912 - June 13th Hernia von Volenipples born in Hasslehoff - a small Bavarian mining village - to Doorhinge and Stigmata von Volenipples.

1924 - Hernia discovered 'singing' to the family's chicken flock. It is later discovered that - due to the power of Hernia's voice - several of the chickens have died from shattered skulls.

1926 - Hernia expelled from the Hasslehoff school choir when her solo rendition of Silent Night shatters all the windows in the village.

1927 - Hernia moves to Spunk - a small industrial town near Düsseldorf - where she finds work as a Streetzenshoutenzeshreiker, a person who goes from street to street early in the morning to wake the factory workers in time for their shift. Three days later, she is sacked when all the town's dogs run away, their sensitive ears seemingly unable to stand the pain of Hernia's voice.

1930 - Hernia gets a job during the winter months causing avalanches in the Alps by 'singing a song [the mountains] have sung for a thousand years'. This system of deliberate avalanche making was a traditional method used by the villages in the area to entrap tourists in the district until they spent all their money.

1934 - Germany's leading Wagner conductor of the age, Wilhelm Dongwankler, on a visit to the Alps, is struck by the potential of von Volenipples’ voice. He persuades her to return to Berlin with him.

1936 - Hernia von Volenipples, after some training to limit the power of her voice, becomes The Wagnerian female lead, acclaimed throughout the world for her portrayal of Brunnhilde in the Ring Cycle.

1937 - At a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin at the Berlin Opera house, Volenipples pokes Reichschancellor Adolf Hitler with a banana during the interval. To escape retribution from an enraged Nazi party, she has to flee to Wales.

1939 -1945 - Due to wartime restrictions there is very little opera in Wales, during this period. In-between roles, Von Volenipples works as the air-raid siren for the whole of Wales.

1946 - von Volenipples marries the Wagnerian tenor Splunge Pavingslabbi. On their wedding night police are called to the honeymoon suite of the Dorchester in London when, half an hour after the newly-weds retire for the night all the windows in the hotel suddenly shatter.

1947 - 1958 - Volenipples returns in triumph to post-war Germany, becoming the leading Wagnerian female lead once again at Wagner's own Bayreuth theatre as well as touring the world performing a number of leading operatic roles.

1959 - At the recording of her first stereo LP (a selection of Verdi arias), the power of von Volenipples voice shatters all the valves in the recording equipment as well as the soundproof glass in the recording studio.

1960 - 1971 - Von Volenipples alternates between performing at the New York Met, Covent Garden and the Bayreuth festival to great critical acclaim, but her demands for increasing fees, and such dressing room luxuries as golden stoats, Southern-fried hamster testicles, vintage champagne and hot-buttered rugby teams causes great resentment among the rest of the operatic casts.

1972 - Volenipples announces her retirement when at a recital, her performance of Mozart arias mysteriously leaves all the windows in the locality unbroken.

1978 - Splunge Pavingslabbi dies suddenly after exploding while eating a wafer thin mint at the fashionable Monty Python Reference restaurant.

1985 - Hernia von Volenipples dies at the age of 73, apparently from exhaustion, after an intimate evening with her local amateur rugby team.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lamb casserole at Forty Fathoms

Tollbooth Floodplain is probably the world's most famous master of the underwater culinary arts. His Lamb Casserole at Forty Fathoms is now - according to the Jacques Cousteau Aquatic Gastronomy Institute - one of the most common dishes served at sub-aqua dinner parties in the whole of Western Europe.

By late 2007, Cookery programmes had reached an all-time low on British television with barely two or three cookery programmes per evening on each of the four major terrestrial channels. In desperation, fearing that - if the supply of new culinary gimmicks dried up - they would be forced into making really worthwhile television programmes instead - the producers began to look around for a new 'TV Chef'.

After many, many, expense-account lunches in as many London restaurants as they could find, the cookery programme producers were trying to build up the necessary courage to venture outside London when - after a particularly well-researched lunch, in late spring 2008 - one of their researchers accidentally fell into the Thames.

After all the producers (well, the heterosexual ones) had given her the kiss of life (some taking several attempts), the researcher pointed out that she had fell into the river just above The Bends, London's first underwater restaurant. The Bends was the only London restaurant they had - as yet - not sampled, as scuba gear had not - at that time - become the 'must-have' urban fashion accessory it has since become as sub-aqua dining has grown in popularity.

Of course, everyone must now know how Floodplain took the then moribund culinary world by storm with his Ratatouille in a Puddle, first served to those TV executives and researchers at The Bends. From that point onward, sub-aqua dining became almost de-rigueur for the British capital's gourmands. Then, after the success of Floodplain's debut cookery series the idea of underwater dining soon spread until every town with a river, lake or canal nearby had at least one own sub-aqua restaurant of its own.

Nowadays, of course, a night out seems incomplete without donning the scuba gear to sample such culinary wonders as Moistened Stroganoff, Damp-Course Lasagne, Saturated Pork in Flippers and other such delights. For all of these gastronomic joys we have to thank one man - Tollbooth Floodplain - for the sheer genius of his culinary vision.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doormat's Penultimate Theorem

Still the most outstanding problem currently left unresolved in mathematics must be Doormat's Penultimate Theorem. Just before he died, in a tragic chip-butty related accident, Conjugate Doormat jotted down an incomplete outline of his now-infamous theorem on the ample left breast of the Miss July centrefold in the issue of Playboy he was perusing at the time. He meant to go back to the theorem at a later date and transfer it to his working journals. But, only five days later, Doormat was found dead, a still-warm chip-butty in his hand and his penultimate theorem left unresolved.

In this, his penultimate theorem, Doormat claimed that he had - at least theoretically - resolved one of the greatest quandaries in applied mathematics. A quandary that has puzzled applied mathematicians and physicists for several hundred years: namely, just how long do you have to dunk a biscuit in a cup of tea to obtain a perfectly-dunked biscuit?

Too short a time and the biscuit absorbs too little tea and is still hard. But, dunk even slightly too long and disaster strikes as the over-dunked portion of biscuit is irretrievably lost in the depths of the tea cup.

One of the major difficulties of this problem has been to find a universal law of biscuits that will apply across the range of all biscuits, from, for example, Rich Tea right through to the thickest of shortbread fingers. It is possible to create a rule for a virtual biscuit under strict laboratory tea-dunking conditions, but this is of little practical use outside of the laboratory.

It is this real world applicability that Doormat claimed for his theorem that makes the quest to resolve it so intriguing for applied mathematicians. If a mathematician could just work out the - of necessity - complex maths that would turn biscuit-dunking from an art into an exact science the rewards from a grateful world freed forever from the heart-rending trauma of over-dunked biscuit loss could be immense.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Siege Warfare

As the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has it:

Well, it came to pass that Ethelbert the Underwired came forth into the lands of the Stikibakplastik and laid waste to all the kitchen utensils he could find in the small outlying villages, hamlets and out-of-town shopping malls of that land. Only then did he lay siege to the castle of his sworn enemy Nigel the Unmemorable.

The castle, known locally as 'That Bloody Great Eyesore on the Hill', was regarded by the experts of the day as impregnable, and deemed well capable of lasting through any possible siege, due to its own internal supply of fresh water, large grain stores and its own integral cornershop and newsagent.

However, Ethelbert was nothing if not a master tactician. He knew that an ordinary siege of such an impregnable fortress would be at best counter-productive. He knew that his army would slowly bleed away as his soldiers left a long siege to 'check if I turned the gas off,' or to 'see if the wife remembered how to set the video' and other such pressing reasons for an immediate return home.

In order to forestall such a long siege, therefore, Ethelbert the Underwired had ordered his siege engineers to produce many new engines of war to his own design. Amongst these new siege engines was the now infamous Telephone Directory Lobber, a huge catapult that needed over twenty soldiers to operate it, that could lob as many as two telephone directories at once deep into the heart of the castle, causing severe loss of life and damage to the structure of the castle and the buildings inside it.

However, the Stikibakplastik defenders were equal to this, as the telephone directories hurtled earthwards inside the castle they sent out squads of soldiers to catch the directories in green boxes and bins, which they later put out for recycling, thereby rendering Ethelbert's plan useless.

Next, Ethelbert's engineers constructed the hyper-deadly Wossname, a siege machine without equal in its sheer destructiveness, at least until the invention of the Town Planner in the 1960s.

The Wossname with its crew of thirty-two could produce, at a rate of 200 a day, enough new rules and regulations, government directives and initiatives, to paralyse completely a small city by forcing all its officials to comply with so many - often-contradictory - new regulations that normal life became impossible for the citizens.

So, after only a week of being deluged with new rules and regulations the Stikibakplastik had to sue for peace, and so - after magnanimously putting Nigel the Unmemorable and all his family to the sword - Ethelbert the Underwired became the new Lord of the Stikibakplastik.

However, the Pope was outraged by the use of the Wossname, feeling that the making of arbitrary and often contradictory petty new rules and regulations should be the sole prerogative of the church. So, Pope Nancy XXIII.5 issued a Papal Bullshit declaring the Wossname illegal. Consequently such a device was not seen again in Christendom until one was secretly built from Ethelbert's original plans by the, then, EEC (later the EU) in the late 20th Century.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Experimental Mishaps

These days, it takes only one small and insignificant explosion to run your weasel experiments.

We all know that irritating little nursery rhyme about the weasel going pop, but what it fails to mention is the necessity of having to clean it all up afterwards. Weasels may be relatively small, but when they do 'pop' they do tend to 'pop' rather messily, everywhere and over everything, especially with the quantities of rice and treacle involved.

Of course, it doesn't help when you are forced to employ some rather incompetent laboratory assistants due to the restrictive nature of the Nursery Rhyme Employment Continuity Act. I sent both of them off up the hill to fetch a pail of water, in order to wash off some of the more stubborn weasel fragments, but - inevitably - on the way back down they both fell down. Jack now - apparently - has concussion and has to stay in hospital at least overnight. Jill is off work for the next two weeks, at least, suffering from multiple contusions and serious bruising.

I had enough problems with this sort of thing with my previous lab assistant. It took ages - and many exchanges of letters and accident notification reports - for me to convince the Health ands Safety Executive that Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall at the rear of the laboratory complex had nothing at all with inadequate safety procedures in the lab and a great deal to do with him drinking eight pints of Old Hubbard's at lunch time.

As for all the king's horses and all the king's men… well. All I can say is the sooner we get some competent and professional emergency services in this place, the better for all concerned.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Government Claims Recycling Success!

The British government announced today that one of its longest re-cycling schemes had been an out and out success, but that it was now appropriate to 'call time on it' as it was 'all starting to look a bit silly'.
'For well over thirty years now,' The minister for Claiming Dubious Government Successes, Julia Brown-Tongue, claimed, 'the government, in partnership with record companies radio DJs and others in the industry, have been very successfully recycling pop and rock music for the British consumer. In fact, we have been so successful for so long now that no-one can remember when there were any really decent and original albums released.'
Although the music industry is trying its best to put that day off for as long as possible, according to industry insiders, it will not be long before the great British public realises that contemporary pop and rock music is a pale bland and insipid shadow of its former glory.
'Because the so-called 'new stuff' is so insipid after being constantly recycled to the point where there is nothing of any worth or originality left,' said a record company spokeswoman, Trendi Braindead, 'we have been trying to get old bands to reform in order to keep up the cash flo… er… music scene vibrant. However, as these groups age we are left with fewer and fewer original members. Soon, unfortunately, there will be no-one left capable of even penning a halfway decent tune.'
However, there has been a strong and robust response from the green movement. Petal Flowerbrain, spokeschick for GreenDrivel, wibbled, 'just recycling the old tunes is not enough, man. We need more tribute bands. They are the most eco-friendly option available to us. For not only do they recycle the original band's tunes, but adopt the style, look, feel and even - the all-important - hairstyles of the original bands. They offer the only sustainable option for the future of pop music as they can just go on and on and on without wasting any of the precious, and now very rare, resources of actual talent and ability.'

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The First Computer

Entwhistle Mantelpiece was yet another eminent Victorian without whom a good many of the entries in this… this… whatever it is would not exist. In fact, as inventor of the Slightly Altered Engine, it is unlikely that today’s computer-saturated world would exist as it now does. For undoubtedly, it is Mantelpiece’s contribution that was a vital first step on the long road towards our contemporary computer infested world of desktop and laptop machines.

For centuries Britain had a massively wealthy wool trade, but no-one – especially those in government keen on collecting as much tax as possible – knew precisely how many sheep there actually were in Britain, because at the time no-one could stay awake long enough to count all of them.

What they needed, some bright spark* decided, was a machine to count the sheep for them. A machine it was soon realised - even by those in government who had it explained to them – did not need or want to sleep and could count continuously without a break until every sheep was counted.

The government, therefore, organised a competition for the leading inventors of the day to submit their designs for a sheep-counting machine. Mantelpiece’s design won hands down as soon as the commissioning MPs were shown the etchings of themselves in compromising situations at various brothels in the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament that Mantelpiece had acquired through his contacts in the secret service.

Sadly, though, Mantelpiece’s great machine was never actually completed in his lifetime as the budget for the whole enterprise was used up by those very commissioning MPs that had granted him the contract in the first place. In order to see for themselves the scale of the problem the MPs had organised a fact-finding trip to the heart of sheep country. Once the farmers had been paid for the sheep ‘caught in the company’ of the MPs, the remainder of their budget was used to pay hush money to various shepherds, to bribe the local police and pay off the reporters from the local newspapers who discovered what this fact finding mission by the MPs really entailed.

In the end there wasn’t even enough money left for Mantelpiece to buy a box of bolts to fasten the various parts of his great machine together. He died, some said of a broken heart, others that he died walking off the side of London Bridge during one of London’s notorious pea-soup fogs. Whatever the truth of his demise though, his machine remained un-built and remains so to this day, even though a box of spare bolts, enough to complete the machine was found at the rear of Mantelpiece’s workshop the day after his funeral.

*Hard to believe, I know, that there should be someone of reasonable intelligence in government service – but these were very different times indeed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Police Announce New Crime Hotline Number

Today, the several police forces of the UK joined together to announce the formation of a new crime hotline. They did, however, make it quite clear that they will be keeping the traditional 999 number for what they called 'old-fashioned, out of style' crimes such as robbery, murder, burglary, rape and so on. The new hotline will be exclusively for people to report any form of abuse that they feel could damage their self-esteem in any way whatsoever.

As the Chief Constable for Someplace-Nowhere-Near-London said, "It is vital that we get officers out to deal with damage to someone's self-esteem as soon as possible. So, we feel that if this hotline could save many people from getting a bit upset, then it will all be worthwhile."

With the burgeoning number of 'hate-crimes' seemingly always on the increase any form of abuse from sexual, racial or religious right up to the several new laws the government have outlined outlawing such things as ageism, size-ism, smell-ism, hairstyle-ism, looking-a-bit-funny-ism, soft-southern-poof-ism and many more such hateful acts, it seems the need for some new police response is now overwhelming.

At the press conference, the Home Secretary said, "We feel that it is only right and proper that these crimes get the police resources and attention to deal with them properly."

"As soon as we get a call on the new hotline," a police spokesman said, "we will immediately dispatch a crack squad of specially-trained officers in full-body anti-personal abuse armour to deal with the miscreant, or miscreants."

There were rumours, hastily dismissed as tittle-tattle by the senior officers present at the press briefing, that the anti-personal abuse armour had to be expensively redesigned. A Chief Constable said, in an off-the-record briefing, "There's absolutely no truth in the rumour that the armour was redesigned because one female member of an anti-personal abuse team rushed off in tears when she was told the body armour made her bum look too big." However, if such a claim were found to be true, then whoever made the remark would, under the new laws against abusive personal remarks, be facing a prison sentence of up to seven years.

Henceforth, not only will a squad of highly trained anti-personal abuse officers be sent to track down the perpetrators of the abuse, the police will also - on receiving a hotline call - dispatch a specially-trained team of personal self-esteem counsellors to try to boost the shattered self-esteem of the victim. "It is important that the feelings of the victim are recognised and sensitively dealt with," said yet another Chief Constable from somewhere probably a long way away from London. "Especially with the chance that the police could end up facing law suits ourselves. So we have instigated a scheme where any victim of a self-esteem attack can call on 24-hour support in case of sudden self-doubt, depression or, even, 'just feeling a bit sad and tearful, really.'"

An almost orgasmic Home Secretary enthused, "These high-speed squads will be on the scene within minutes of any form of personal disparagement, feeling offended, feelings of outrage, abuse to personal feelings or even just a general sense of slight unease or unpleasantness. The modern police force must be prepared to defend the feelings of ordinary citizens - especially vocal minorities in marginal constituencies - from anything thy feel they might be offended by in the modern hurtful environment that often seems to have no regard for delicacy of feeling, no matter how trivial or insignificant."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Romeo & Juliet – The Real First Folio Edition

‘But soft, what light through yonder window breaks and is it that time already, I’ll bet the pubs are open and the footy is about to start. Typical bloody woman.’

We are all – of course – familiar with this first folio edition of Romeo and Juliet and how it differs significantly from the more usually performed edition. In this First Folio version Romeo and Juliet do not fall in love, for at the most tender moment of the balcony scene we have these immortal lines. ‘…would a rose by any other name smell as sweet…. Actually thinking about it I could just fancy a kebab and chips. Hang on, love, I’ll be back in a bit.’

But, of course Romeo never does return. Instead he meets his mates down at the kebab shop and by the time they have managed a swift pint or twelve it is far too late for Romeo too call back on Juliet. Although, to give Romeo credit, he does try, but on the way to Juliet, he walks into a lamppost, knocking himself unconscious. Juliet hearing of this adventure decides to give up on men altogether and begins a lesbian love affair with her nurse. They flee to Droitwich together where they set up home with several cats and open a refuge for fallen women.

Meanwhile, Romeo is selected for AC Montague, the Montague family football team, for their match against Inter Capulet. Halfway through the second half, with Inter Capulet winning 1-nil, Romeo is brought down in the penalty area by Tybalt. However, the Prince of Verona refuses to give the penalty and so Inter Capulet go through to the semi-final where they will meet the ship’s crew from The Tempest.

In a fit of pique, Romeo vows to give up football forever and sets off to seek a new life in the Takeaway Pizza industry.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Extreme Sports

Sopwith Coathanger became interested in extreme dangerous sports at quite a young age. However, it was only after witnessing the utter pointlessness of a ludicrously be-shorted Antipodean poking wild animals into a state of irritable frenzy with a stick on some cheap and tacky cable TV station, that Coathanger first acquired his taste for the utterly stupid waste of a life that is putting yourself into needless peril in order to entertain the world’s couch potatoes.

He began by mastering the art of Nude Blindfolded Cheese-Grating, where one slip with the cheddar (or for the more advanced student – Parmesan), can ruin an entire career. The next stage was – of course – All-Nude Sausage Barbecuing, a dangerous ‘Extreme Sport’ that has been known to bring tears to the eyes of most male spectators.

Coathanger was nothing if not ambitious, he realised that if he wanted to move into the mainstream of TV show Extreme Pointlessness, he would – even in this age of the tacky, sordid and blatantly exploitative TV - have to compromise his integrity and put some clothes on; at least, if he wanted to break into the mainstream schedules.

In addition, realising that the TV market in poking wild animals with a stick, and even the eating of live insects, had become overexposed, he began to cast around for some aspect of Extreme Pointlessness that he could make his own.

Then one day, by complete accident, he discovered the Extreme Sport he was to make his own when startled from his reverie by hundreds of camera flashes going off in his immediate vicinity. Up to that moment Coathanger had not realised that he was standing outside a cinema where the world’s most famous film actress, Spoon Llamagasket was about to attend yet another film premiere, and that he, Coathanger, was about to be savagely beaten by her bodyguards for not paying her the required attention necessitated by her celebrity status.

It was then, as the first of the bodyguards’ punches landed on him, that Coathanger realised he had just invented the Extreme Sport of Celebrity Ignoring. From that moment on, with his own camera crew concealed in a nearby hide, Coathanger would surreptitiously sidle up to a celebrity – the more famous the better – and then, quite pointedly, and daringly, completely ignore them.

The fact of such a celebrity being ignored by what seemed to be just an ordinary member of the public soon became unbearable for the celebrity and his or her entourage. En masse, the PAs, Wardrobe Managers, Personal Managers, Exercise Coaches, Bodyguards and all the other dogsbodies that make up the contemporary celebrity entourage would descend on Coathanger and demand that he begin fawning over ‘their’ celebrity. Of course, the more the entourage prodded and poked at him, the more Coathanger would feign indifference to the celebrity, right up until the point where the entourage began to get violent towards him. Then, Coathanger would turn to the celebrity, pretend not to know who the celebrity was*, say something derogatory about them and then flee, usually chased by outraged members of the celebrity’s entourage.

The resulting footage of these escapades made Sopwith Coathanger’s Celebrity Ignoring show the most popular Extreme Sports television show in the world. Unfortunately, this turned Coathanger himself into a celebrity, which – as the number of celebrities left for him to ignore dwindled, meant that he was left with no option but to ignore himself. Consequently, as he was unable to run away from himself in time, his own entourage - enraged by the blatant way he was ignoring himself - savagely beat him to death.

The coroner recorded a verdict of Death By Accidental Paradox, and Coathanger’s entire entourage was sentenced to each serve 12 years of Hard Philosophy at a maximum security Symposium.

Coathanger’s death was a tragic loss to the field of Extreme Pointlessness, but many of his admirers are already exploring ways of doing extremely pointless and dangerous things in his memory, so, maybe the name of Sopwith Coathanger will not be just another footnote in entertainment history.

*These days, not as hard as you may think.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Perverts In Our Schools Shock!

In a world exclusive, the DAILY SCUM newspaper today revealed that thousands of unsuitable adults have been discovered working in our children's schools. In a strong editorial, the DAILY SCUM says that These so-called 'teachers' are inflicting all sorts of horrors on our innocent young children.

One mother, Slattern Pondlife, said 'My kids, Flightpath (12) and Thingy (14), have told me that one of these 'teachers' tried to teach them about something called biology - it was absolutely disgusting. Why can't our kids find out about sex by fooling about behind the bikesheds, like we did? If it was good enough for us, then it's good enough for them.'

The DAILY SCUM editorial thunders: We don't need perverts like this interfering with our kid's minds! If these perverts go around teaching our kids about things like maths or science how are they ever going to get the time to text all their mates about that night's party and what was on telly the evening before?

'My kids go to school to deal drugs and bully the weaker kids, not to learn stuff," said one angry father, quoted in the article. 'If they don't bring home any money for me to nick off them, then what is the point of them going to school? The landlord at my local is not going to be pleased if I offer to pay for my pint with some geography homework, is he?'

A government Education spokesman promised our reporter, 'We are looking into this very serious problem. There is a concern - if this so-called 'teaching' continues unabated - that some school pupils could begin to think for themselves, and that could prove to be a great danger to the government of this country, as well as a serious threat to the jobs of all you who work in the tabloid media. But working together, as usual, I strongly believe that between us the government, and the media can put a stop to any learning that may go on in what, we must hope and pray, is a very limited number of schools.'

Friday, March 06, 2009


One of the holiest documents in the Uttabollux religion is the Sacred Shopping List that the Holy Prophet Nhigel was - according to the Uttabollux Holy book The Madeupstuff - clutching in his hand while in the post office queue when Skhighhibhoss first spoke to him.

Every year thousands of Uttabolluxers make the pilgrimage to the holy city of Tourhisttrhap, deep in the deserts of Alfiesgoatstain, to pray at the Holy Filing Cabinet of Nhigel, which contains - as legend has it - that original shopping list.

So when the writer, Hackwork Easydosh, was commissioned to write a biography of Nhigel, he was very surprised to find no-one willing to speculate on what was on that so-crucial shopping list that led Nhigel to be in the Post office at that particular time on that particular day. So, when Easydosh later mentioned this in an interview with the Northumbrian magazine Die Stoat Die, the magazine produced an article asking a dozen newspaper columnists to speculate on what might have been on Nhigel's shopping list.

The article appeared several months ago and was - by and large - ignored by the rest of the world. That was until a few days ago when suddenly a large number of newspapers, TV channels, internet sites and other media outlets in several strict Uttabollux countries began publishing shocked and outraged editorials denouncing the magazine's shopping lists as heretical, blasphemous and signs of a Western plot to make the Uttabolluxers 'look a bit silly'.

Nohbrahin Re-Actshunahri, the Hibossmahn (High priest) Dhaftghit said, 'A couple of these heinous, blasphemous so-called Shopping Lists claim that Marmite was on the Holy One's Shopping List. This is just outrageous. Every Uttabolluxer knows that Marmite is Nhastistuhff, something that no devout Uttabolluxer should ever touch. Just for that I have issued a Fatghit demanding that the devil composers of these horrific lists should be stoned to death, slowly - with very small pebbles - so they suffer for insulting the merciful, wise and kind Skhighhibhoss and his Holy Prophet in such an outrageous manner.'

However, the rumour that one of the Blasphemous' Shopping Lists contained a reference to 'A Jar Of peanut Butter' caused several days of rioting, which resulted in over fifty deaths, in several of the stricter Uttabollux countries. Re-Actshunahri explained, 'Not only is peanut butter very Nhastistuff indeed, it is a product of the evil American imperialist warmongers for use as a chemical weapon in their crusade against the Uttabollux people. The American's claim it really is a food, but every Uttabolluxer who has ever tried it has felt very sick indeed.'

Asked what will happen next, Re-Actshunahri said, "We are reasonable people, all we want is an abject apology from the perpetrators of this blasphemy and a promise to never be disrespectful to the Uttabolluxers, the Skihighhibhoss or Nhigel ever again.'

Our reporter then asked, respectfully (from inside her cardboard box worn especially as a mark of reverence during this interview). 'Will that then be the end of the matter?'

'Oh, no,' Re-Actshunarhi replied. 'As the peaceful religion, The Ladhifeah demands that we still kill the blasphemous list makers in a nasty and painful way as possible, as a loving Skihighhibhoss would want us to. But, at least this way the evil list-makers can burn in hell for all eternity with a clear conscience.'

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Anti-Terror Legislation

It now seems that the government's anti-terror legislation has - as many (now-imprisoned) critics said at the time - been somewhat over-zealous. Not of course - I hasten to add - that I am in any way at all criticising it myself, or course. I know that under the Government (Slight) Disparagement act of 2008, I could face up to 15 years in prison without trial for even daring to criticise a serving Government Minister's tie, let alone daring to question any legislation the government may feel like enacting on any particular day.

After all, we all remember the TV pictures from a few months ago, when the whole of the opposition benches in the House of Commons were carried off to 7 years precautionary detention. This, of course, happened when the Opposition Spokesman on School Turkey Twizzler Procurement mentioned that the Education Secretary had made a slight grammatical error in his statement to the house. Where, on the disputed claim by the Government of a 12% increase in the number of school pupils who may have actually seen a copy of a textbook at some point in their school career, claiming he used a semi-colon instead of a coma.

Shortly after that, of course, the TV team involved in filming the proceedings of the house were also arrested and imprisoned 'purely as a precaution' under the Acts Glorifying Terrorism ( By Making The Government Or Its Officials Look A Bit Crap) Legislation of 2007.

I know too that now, in turn, I will soon face a visit from Special Branch for merely mentioning the above episode in this article and that you too, for reading it will also face….

"Oh, hello… er… officer…. I was… er… just…. But wouldn't hitting me with that be regarded as police bru………………"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Philosophy And Waterfowl

Salmonella Transponder is often regarded as the first female philosopher to engage openly in Socratic dialogue with waterfowl. Her Dialogue Concerning Existentialism With Various Mallard Ducks is - quite rightly - regarded as a classic of philosophical literature, especially in its relation to waterfowl. The book is credited with revolutionising the whole question of what stance to adopt when throwing bread crusts to ducks, at least - that is - in the modern western world.

However, Transponder's later work, such as A Treatise On The Mind/Body/Eider Duck Problem, did - according to many commentators - stray too far down a rather esoteric path, accessible only to philosophy professionals and the more erudite of mute swans.

Although, in her latter years, when Emeritus Professor of Embden Geese And Symbolic Logic at Cambridge High Street Fish and Chip shop, Transponder did return to her earlier, more straightforward, philosophical position. This was after she concluded that Saussarian linguistics was woefully inadequate in its inability to successful resolve the Two Mandarin Ducks And A Trumpeter Swan Paradox that has so bedevilled post-Husserlian phenomenology.

Unfortunately, her inability to reconcile post-modern relativity with a metaphysics of Aylesbury ducks led to the depression that caused her to take her own life, in late 1998, with a fatal overdose of goose-liver paté.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Notes and Comments: 03/03/2009

Apparently, there are some people out there who – according to the Torygraph anyway – actually choose to dunk chocolate-coated biscuits in their tea and/or coffee. No wonder the country is going to the dogs. Pah.

“Narrative tension is primarily about….” A fascinating interview with the spiffing Ian McEwan in the New Yorker. It is very long though.

“This looks like another case where the news media opted for making an emotional connection with their audience rather than enlightening anybody, where emoting took precedence over analysing important events or explaining the world – a symptom of the trends in journalism which some of us have criticised for more than decade.” Mick Hume at Sp!ked on the press coverage of the sad death of Ivan Cameron.

Learning To Love Big Brother

Somewhere in my folder of unfinished short stories is a short fragment, which is the very beginning of a sort of …. Confession, I suppose, by a torturer for some unspecified regime. The fragment is years old and I’ve never really returned to it – maybe out of some sort of fear. Fear that I might – as you do when writing stories – find some part of yourself in it that you don’t really like, or fear that I couldn’t get it right, or just fear of the subject matter.

Anyway, I wanted to show – and this also made me nervous of returning to the story in case I couldn’t get this tone right – that this torturer did what he did out of love, not of hate. That he did what he did out of love for his country, out of love for his leader, his party and – even – out of a sort of love for those he tortured.

He saw those he tortured as a kind of errant children, people who he had to attempt to return to the fold. Unfortunately, he felt that he had to be a very strict parent, but it seemed the only way to make them understand the error of their ways and how they had upset everyone in the state apparatus through their mistaken lives, views and acts. These errant children of the state had to be made to understand – the torturer believed – that the state only wanted the best for them.

It was to be an exploration of the ‘love’ the authoritarian has for those under their control.

I was reminded of this putative story of mine, when I read this at the excellent Heresy Corner a while ago, which – in turn - also reminded me of something Blair said around the time of the F1/Ecclestone affair, summed up by his “I am a pretty straight sort of guy” attitude. Blair seemed genuinely incredulous that anyone could ever accuse him of doing wrong because he was “one of the good guys”. There has been – at least since the days of Thatcher – this belief on the Left that they are the ‘good guys’, the men people in the white hats battling selflessly against the evil Right, Tories, capitalists and other wrongdoers and ideological miscreants. This is why Labour folk such as Straw and Blunkett cannot see that the ‘good things’ that they do as ‘good people’ from the ‘good side’ of the ideological divide for the ‘good of the populace’ can be anything other than ‘good for the country and its people’.

They do these authoritarian things out of love for us, for our own good. These people mostly come from the post-60s ideological Left, where they were always the good guys, against Vietnam, Watergate, cruise missiles, Northern Ireland, Thatcher, Monetarism, yuppies and so on. The Left has always liked to believe it has right, morality on its side, that it is leading us all – no matter how unwilling and ungrateful - to some promised land.

However, as the physicist Steven Weinberg once said, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” As I said in another piece here there is a lot of overlap between religion and ideology. Just a glance at Fascism, Nazism, communism, even the French and other revolutions shows that nominally ‘good’ people can do evil in the name of ideology too.

So, even when they are out there – on the line – saving us from the naughty terrorists and other evil-doers, even saving us from ourselves by creating the perfect society where all of us will live long, healthy, fulfilled lives and all we can do is respond with small-minded nit-picking and carping.

Instead, all we have to do is trust them, see they are doing it all for our own good, and – in time - we will learn finally how to love Big Brother.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Notes and Comments: 02/03/2009

Yes, it is the return of Notes & Comments, but without… er… the Comments today.


Via Stephen Law, Amanda Gefter the New Scientist book review editor on how to spot a hidden religious agenda in ‘so-called science books’.

The excellent as usual Heresy Corner on the Goodwin pension business.

“Blasphemy Day International is an international campaign seeking to establish September 30th as a national day to promote free speech and stand up in a show of solidarity for the freedom to mock and insult religion without fear of murder, violence, and reprisal.” Join the Farcebook group here (via The Freethinker).

Monday Poem: Haunted

The house will haunt you long after
you leave it. Opening the doors
of all your dreams, to take
possession, never let you go.

The night, once more, will find you there,
back walking dusty passageways
and living in cold, ancient rooms,
peering through clouded windowpanes.

The time will come for you to walk
away from yesterdays. Although,
it's harder than you think to close
the doors of all those memories.


[See here for an explanation of these posts labelled as Monday Poem]

Monday Poem: An Explanation

Every Monday (until I run out of them), I’m posting a poem of mine that has fallen out from the submission process for some reason. In most cases, it will be one where I’ve received no response to my submission for at well over a year or more. Maybe the magazine I submitted them to has folded, the submission was lost in the post, or whatever. So, these poems can be seen as lost, orphans, of uncertain status, or something like that.

These poems are also posted to ABCTales.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Tragic Death of the World's Greatest Film Actress

Despite the tragic accident than claimed her life at the relatively young age of 35, Spoon Llamagasket will - most likely - be regarded as the greatest film actress of our age.

While only appearing in a bit part in a single almost insignificant scene in the 1990's biggest box-office flop Return of the Clone of the Terminator Wars IV: The Revenge of The Stoats, where she played a night-club barmaid, Llamagasket's star quality shone through. Although she didn't have a single line of dialogue and only had to raise a single quizzical eyebrow, her appearance in this one scene shot her to mega-stardom almost overnight. That scene, despite the 137 takes it took for her to get her eyebrow to rise at just the right moment that the script demanded, is indelibly etched in the memory of so many film fans worldwide. You only have to mention the topless bar scene in Return of the Clone of the Terminator Wars IV: the Revenge of the Stoats for many a film fan's eyes to glaze over in reverie.

Llamagasket's fame seemed to grow exponentially from the moment of that film's release, especially from its premier night where Spoon discovered her one true great talent, the art of falling out of her dress right in front of the hordes of press cameramen. Consequently, she secured invitations to all the major film premieres worldwide, and at each one managed to fall out of her dress at precisely the right moment and with such studied casual artistry, earning not only lots of media attention for her, but for the film she was there, at least nominally, to watch.

However, yesterday evening, when stepping out of her limousine at the world premier of All My Tax Returns II at The glamorous Wigan Movie Multiplex, tragedy struck. With only one leg out of the car, Spoon Llamagasket's designer dress collapsed around her a moment too soon, forcing her to stumble as she left the car, hitting her head hard on a slightly-too eager cameraman's zoom lens, rendering her immediately unconscious.

Unfortunately, the press of photographers surged forward, in their understandable public duty to get as many photographs as they could of Llamagasket naked in a puddle, which meant that the barriers holding them back from the red carpet gave way under the pressure from so many heavily-built middle-aged men struggling with unwieldy camera equipment.

Unfortunately, just as she was regaining consciousness and beginning to smile through the blizzard of strobe-light camera flashes, all the photographers fell in a heap on top of her. So, at the tender age of just 35, Spoon Llamagasket was crushed to death under a massive avalanche of excessively-corpulent press photographers.

The funeral will take place in three days time at the Wigan Crematorium, where Spoon Llamagasket's casket will be slid under the crematorium's door at 3:30 PM GMT.