Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Introducing the "Acme" Dog Spigot

Have a dog? Struggle with grooming and access during routine dog inspections? The you need the "Acme" Dog Spigot.

Features include:

* 360-degree rotation in all axes for thorough inspection and grooming

* Motorised version to allow all-round exhibition at dog shows, in your front window etc

* Fully lubricated bum spike

* Meat-flavoured nose-clamp

* Sturdy construction, but packs flat to suit any household

* Cow version available for safe grooming and inspection of cows and other bovine-style fauna

* Allow 28 days for delivery

* £250, comes with a free inflatable Barbara Woodhouse with functioning orifices

* Strictly no refunds

I am not mad.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another stupid Facebook fridge magnet, and a question

You've all seen these things bobbing around on your Facebook timeline. And we all know they're crap with their hokey sayings, awful poetry and pictures of minions. But I've got one question regarding this one:

Has anybody on this Earth who has advocated dancing in the rain actually ever tried dancing in the rain?

Dancing in the rain is cold and miserable, and once the wet stuff starts seeping down your neck, all you want to do is find that person who suggested that you should try dancing in the rain, and smash them over the head with your best dancing shoes.

Also, people will see you dad dancing and may probably call the police because only weird people dance in the rain that badly, and you're probably out to do something unspeakable to their kiddiewinks. You'll end up in a cell for the night, cold, wet and shivering, and accepting a police caution on account of your bad dancing disturbing the peace.

Dancing in the rain: Don't try it.

And it's "TOO short", you cretins.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not getting beaten up by the police in Tunis: A 10th anniversary special

"Run away!"
In the aftermath of this week's Parisian horror, the BBC News Magazine section asks What should you do in an attack? One of the options that people should consider, it says, is to run away - advice which has been met with mockery in some parts.

Those who laugh at this advice are very wrong, for running away from trouble in the face of heavily-armed goons has saved my bacon on at least one occasion. In fact, tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of my not getting beaten up by heavily-armed goons in Tunisia, who were at one stage charging straight for your humble author armed with big sticks and steel toe-capped boots.

When faced with hairy-arsed Tunisian police charging straight at you armed with big sticks and steel toe-capped boots, damn right I'm going to run away and not stick around to help them with their enquiries. And so should you.

So, here's what happened in Tunisia, and let this be a lesson in the art of surviving through cowardice to you all:

"Bollocks to this, I'm off"
My employers thought it would be a good idea to send me to a United Nations conference in Tunisia on the grounds that many important things might be happening there. I was enthused by the fact I might be in the same room as Colonel Qadaffi and Robert Mugabe, but in the end the not-lamented Colonel threw a hissy fit and decided to go home.

Tunisia, at the time, was under the cosh of a what one might call a government quite used to dealing very firmly with dissent. Though welcoming to tourists and their money, they weren't particularly open to such wacky ideas as "freedom of expression" and "democracy". So - of course - that made it the ideal place to hold a UN Conference on freedom of expression and democracy.

Some Tunisian freedom groups, fresh from having their heads stoved in by government heavies, decided it would be an ideal time to stage a demonstration asking if they could - if the President didn't mind - have a little bit of freedom and democracy to speak their minds regarding being oppressed and beaten up by government heavies all the time. The world's press, bored out of their skulls from being stuck in a press centre for three days with all the best world leaders failing to show up, thought they might like to get out, stretch their legs, and go and take a look at Tunisian street politics in action. Idiots.

This is what a typical conference media centre looks like. No wonder people try to escape
So, a fleet of taxis left the conference centre and headed to downtown Tunis where the demo was to take place. We disembarked to see a small crowd of demonstrators facing off with a larger mob of heavily-armed government heavies, all in riot gear. Before long, the heavily-armed government heavies in riot gear started hitting people over the head with their big sticks. When people fell over after being hit over the head with big sticks, the heavily-armed government heavies in riot gear then kicked them very hard with their steel-capped boots. Very effective tactics, not lost on the watching press upon whom the heavily-armed government heavies in riot gear then turned their attention.

I had recently been on the corporate Hazardous Environments Course - after which I had been presented with a nice certificate which said I knew what to do in a hazardous environment - and recognised that this could possibly be a hazardous environment. Remembering my classics (The Tale of Sir Robin in Money Python and the Holy Grail), I knew exactly what to do in the circumstances.


"Where to, bud?"

As heavily-armed government heavies in riot gear bore down on us, the taxi driver also knew exactly what to do, and floored it.

Time was a blur, but I was back at the conference centre within 20 minutes of leaving, clutching my precious taxi receipt. Over the next couple of hours, my colleagues in the world's Fourth Estate arrived back in various shades of agony, nursing bleeding heads and bruised limbs, our generous hosts having taught them a lesson in local values. The Discipline of the Baseball Bat, as scholars of Irvine Welsh might say.

The following morning's press briefing was a tense affair. Journalists, as a rule, don't like being in pain, especially at the hands of their otherwise generous hosts who had thoughtfully provided free air conditioning and a wireless network that was clearly being monitored by state goons. The puffy-faced minder sent to look after us was given both barrels, especially when it emerged that all the remaining seminars, meetings and press conferences on press freedom had somehow been double-booked and were now cancelled. And Qadaffi had cried off too, suddenly remembering as he crossed the border that he hated Tunisia and everybody in it.

To make matters worse, the man from the official state news agency, immediately recognisable in a cheap jacket stained with sweat (possibly not his own) with the word "PRESS" written across the shoulders - whose role up until then had been to wander round the press centre making sure nobody wrote anything that criticised our generous hosts - had tried to circulate an open letter for us all to sign. 

Imagine this, on a nylon suit jacket several times too small, worn by a sweaty man with a walrus moustache, clearly used to expenses-paid lunches

It declared "We, the undersigned, thank our generous Tunisian hosts for their wonderful hospitality, and I am completely uninjured". That went down like a cup of cold sick, as you can imagine, and as signing it seemed to be compulsory, most of the names appeared to be fictional. James Bond had signed it three times, all in different hands.

You could tell where Sweaty Ali (for that was his nickname) was in the room by the cries of "Look, just fuck off, will you?" I signed it "Lunchtime O'Booze of The Daily Gnome" just to make him go away, and he seemed well pleased. Luckily, it was the last day of the event, and we were able to retire to our luxurious beach-front hotels to write up the copy we would file just as soon as we left the country. And to get drunk, as well.

And if you think those were trying circumstances, the worst battle was yet to come. My editor turned down my expenses claim on the grounds that a phone call I had made back to base to say that I was alive could not be itemised. 

It's a hard life in the press. That's why I prefer to drive a desk.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The most hateful phrase in the English language

What's the most hateful phrase in the English language? I've had a long, hard think about this while on hold to an insurance company ("Your call is important to us, that's my we've failed to employ enough telephone operators"), but there are more hateful phrases than mere hold music platitudes,

For example:

"For your convenience..." --- Something that is supposedly done to help you, but is patently not.
For example: "For your convenience, all drinks at this bar are priced at £5"

"A replacement bus service is available"
Translation: "It's the weekend, the roads are rammed, and you thought you might like to travel by train. Think again sucker."

Or perhaps it's a portmanteau:

"For your convenience, a replacement bus service is available."

That's the bastard. And wait, there's another one:

"In order to improve customer service, we have found it necessary to..."


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guilty pleasures: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Call that a knife? THIS is a knife
I quite like Camilla, even though she's a living symbol of the landed gentry prolonging the hereditary system that places one person above another simply due to an accident of birth.

This is simply because of the number of fucks she gives: No fucks at all.

Lick me.
See this? Guess where it's going later.
Zero fucks. Duchess Camilla, we salute you.

Her husband, on the other hand...

...up to no good. Always.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Depressing Poetry Corner: U OK hun xx

Well, hark at me taking the piss out of other people's crappy poetry.

I sat in the car on Monday lunchtime and wrote this. And if you can't get a poem out of your head and onto paper in five minutes, you're doing it wrong.

It's called "U OK hun xx" and it's about the inevitability of time's march. Everybody who writes poems gets to this one sooner or later.

U OK hun xx

The days fall away like leaves
Because you can't stop the clock,
And every morning there's a pain
But it's only inside your head
Because you have nothing to do that's worth your while
So you sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep.
And then you wake up
And tomorrow you wake up
And the day after you wake up
And then one day
You don't wake up.
And that gives you something to look forward to, I suppose.
Somebody asks: U OK hun xx

I've done a version with a Minion, just in case you want to put it on Facebook to depress your friends. Minions are mandatory on Facebook, I gather.

I'm OK hun xx

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Why God of the Old Testament can dish out the bants, but can't take it

"Don't make me come down there"
Smiting. If I was a God, I'd be heavily into smiting. And if you're after a smiting role model, you can look no further than the Old Testament, which was Smite Central. Just ask the Midianites, whose run-in with Jehovah ended very badly for them*.

We all know that God of the Old Testament was a bit of an evil bastard. In fact, he's a character best described by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion thussly:

Basically, if you weren't on the right side, God had it in for you, often in the most painful way possible. As a matter of fact, he'd even do something vaguely unpleasant even if you were on the side of the righteous, which makes him - to us - an equal opportunities deity whose smiting record was second to none.

So, it comes as no surprise to find 2 Kings 2, vv23-24, and the story of the prophet Elisha, a biblical character known for his lack of hair:

"Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” 24 When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number."

I'll just leave that there. God had 42 kids killed for making fun of somebody's bald head. He had them torn apart by a bear, and probably thought that it was funny.

FORTY-TWO KIDS. Over what one might call "banter" these days.

God of the Old Testament - it turns out - can dish out the bants, but he can't take it.

And the kiddiewinks were right. Elisha was 60% forehead with a pate like a bowling ball.

Elisha in religious art: Slaphead
So the next time you take the mick out of The Rock or Bruce Willis or Paul Daniels for their lack of hair, remember this: They might have a vengeful deity on their side that will send wild animals to eat their way through a coachload of kiddiewinks to reach you.

And when you're inside of a bear, don't come running to me to say you haven't been warned.

* Other angry deities and their murderous human agents are available.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

I was wrong about that poem being the worst poem in the world

Confession time. The other day, I posted a poem I found on Facebook, claiming it is the worst poem in the history of the English language.

It has since been brought to my attention by a Twitter pal that I am wrong. Very very wrong.

I  am acutely aware that this is Remembrance weekend, but still, this piece of art cannot be ignored.

Click for full size
Poor Shakespeare. Did he die for nothing? Even local newspaper editors, always desperate for anything to fill their letters page, would balk at this horror.

And there is more by the author out there. In fact, she has three self-published books of poetry for sale on Amazon, so it might be worth a punt on a fiver just for shits and giggles.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The worst poem in the world, and this time I mean it

Hold the phone! Shit the bed! I've just stumbled across the worst poem in the world, which I found stinking up a remote corner of Facebook. They'll be posting this one to the literature faculty at the Vogon Unitiversity:

Click for full size
At this very moment, a team of top scientists are working to exhume William Shakespeare so that they may bring him back to life to hunt down the person responsible for this outrage. Will's going to be pissed, and will be determined to prove that the sword (or failing that, the cricket bat with a nail through the end) is mightier than the pen.

Facebook account holders: Leave poetry to the experts, because you'll never beat the winning couplet "Touch my bum // this is life".