Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On Cookery Week: Part II

On Cookery Week: Part II

Continuing my journey into the culinary arts in a desperate attempt to become a popular, award-winning food blog.

Today's attempt to curry – geddit? CURRY? EH? GEDDIT? - favour with the cognoscenti of the online world is a trip to the mystical East (for eg Weymouth Balti House down by the harbour where the BLACK DEATH got into the country) for a taste of the sub-continent as we attempt:

Chicken Madras

Cooking Indian style is a test for any chef as they find the perfect mix of herbs and spices to make the perfect curry. Too little, and it's hardly worth the effort. Too much, and you might as well point a WWII vintage flame-thrower down your throat. Luckily, there's a quick-and-simple method to getting this right.

Method: Pierce the film lid six times

Place tray in the oven at 200C for 25 minutes, or 5 minutes in the microwave.

Ensure the food is piping hot throughout.


Leave the washing-up for somebody else.

Alternatively, call the very excellent Weymouth Balti House (01305 766347) and order the set meal for two.

Leave the washing-up for somebody else.


The sommelier recommends: Four pack of Stella, out of the fridge

Monday, March 30, 2009

On Cookery Week

On Cookery Week

After a period of introspection over the truck full of FAIL that was my inability to walk away with a Bloggie Award, in which I have hardly kicked the dog at all, I have come to the conclusion that the reason for my defeat at the hands of a popular food blog is that this site is not a popular food blog.

Not any more it isn't.

With my Gordon Ramsay swearing, Jamie Oliver comedy speech defect and the chiselled good looks of Anthony Worrall-Thompson, I feel I have finally found my calling.

I hereby rename these pages:

Scarychef: Not Scary. Not E.Coli.

And for my first recipe of the week, that perennial favourite of top class chefs everywhere:

Cheese on Toast

Ingredients: Breads, Cheeses

Method: Toast the breads.

Add the cheeses.

Grill until it has the consistency and appearance of napalm.

Warning: Under no circumstances should you use tomatoes, pepper, Worcester Sauce or any other condiment, for this is entering Welsh Rarebit territory and verging on poncery.

In fact, any cheese more expensive than Tesco Value Cheddar (featuring milk fats from at least one named ungulate) may be deemed BLASPHEMY.


Then eat the reconstituted cheeses at the bottom of the grill pan.

Leave the washing up for somebody else.

The sommelier recommends: Four pack of Fosters, room temperature

More kitchen fun tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Beefs

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Beefs

It is a typical day in the Duck household, and I'm doing a bit of admin...

"Have you got your car insurance certificate?"

"Yes – it's in my handbag"

"Mind if I take a photocopy for the file?"

"Go right ahead. Front pocket."

"Good God --- what's that.... ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!"

Three weeks earlier, The Pulpit Inn on Portland Bill

"Mmmm..." I say, "Cracking good place to come for a Sunday carvery. Saves cooking."

"The beef's fantastic – eat yours up Scaryduck Jr"

The boy slumps back in his seat. In reality, his stomach is full of gas from three glasses of Coke, and his eyes wonder to the adventure playground outside.

"I can't, mum – I'm full."

Being the tightest man in Dorset, I make the perfect money-saving suggestion:

"Just wrap in up in a few paper napkins. We can take it home and give it to the dog. She won't turn her nose up at that."

One thing leads to another, a guided tour up and down the lighthouse, a walk round the Portland Museum and down to Church Ope Cove, and before you know it, we're back home, exhausted, and the kids are beating seven bells out of each other.

You just sort of... well... forget the minor details.

Like, for example, Lucy Minogue's doggy bag. For three weeks.


"Good God --- what's that.... ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!"




"Yeah, you've got a point: YAAAAAAAAARCH!"

Then, the seagulls came.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On LOL Theory

On LOL Theory

A new, exciting branch of science has just reared up before mankind.

LOL Theory.

The premise is simple:

The gravitas of any serious statement can be completely removed by adding the word "LOL"
Examples of LOL Theory in the wild:

- "I'm afraid to say, Mr Smith, we're going to have to amputate both your legs LOL"

- On 1st September 1939, German tanks swept over the border into Poland, starting a World War that would result in the deaths of over 70 million people. LOLOLOL

- "LOL - It's worse than that, he'd dead Jim!"

- "I'm sorry Jade. We got your diagnosis completely wrong. ROFL"

LOL Theory is excellent, and I shall use it in everyday conversation from now on. Particularly when I wish to annoy the wife for no apparent reason.

"Yes. Yes, of course I love you. I love you more than anything in the world. LOL"

This can end in nothing but WIN.

Please add your own individual proofs of LOL Theory as 100% scientific proof, PMSL

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On hot nuns

On hot nuns

"Nobody's ever faithful these days" a good friend of mine said recently, noting the lack of morals in society.

Hardly being one to talk, I agreed, before noting that the rot has come down from the very top of our value system:

"When I went on holiday to Spain," I said, "We visited a nunnery, and we were shocked – SHOCKED - to discover that it was FULL of brides of Christ."

"How full?"

"To the brim. Piles of 'em. Stacked to the very rafters with brides of Christ singing selections from The Sound of Music."

"Bloody Hell's teeth."

"That's what I said," I said, "You can't all be brides of Christ. That's what I told 'em. You can't ALL be brides of Christ, goin' round singing selections from The Sound of Music after telling us that anything other than monogamy is a mortal sin. You brazen hussies."

"It's a disgrace. No wonder He only ever wore a bed sheet. Didn't have time for clothes, what with all the nuns demanding... you know... wifely attention."

"I said that to the Mother Superior an' all, lounging aroun' in her peek-a-boo wimple. An' then they laid into me. The lot of 'em."

"Well, I warned you."

"Yeah, I know you told me all nuns are fully ninja-trained."

"But you didn't listen, you dreadful blasphemer."

"No. No I didn't. Still got a bit of a limp."

"But hot nuns, eh?"

"Yeah... hot nuns."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On adding lyrics to popular TV themes

On adding lyrics to popular TV themes

I done a letter to BBC London's Danny Baker on the subject of adding lyrics to popular TV themes:

Ahoy hoy Dan!

A propos of your long-running thread on People Who Add Words To Popular TV Themes, I feel it is my duty to inform you that I have been walking around these last twenty-two years with the lyrics to Hawaii 5-0 bouncing around my head.

I will be the first to admit that I did not write these lyrics. They were passed down to me by a colleague at the Ministry of Cow Counting as we passed time at junior civil service desks before he became a familiar face on television news and I a familiar face to the local bookies.

The result of a bizarre phone-in from Familiar-face-on-TV-news's days on student radio in the US, there were once a whole two verses to the Hawaii 5-0 tune, the second sadly lost to the mists of time and a failing memory.

Lost second verse aside, not to mention the mouthful that is the penultimate line, I'm sure you will consider this The Best Thing Ever in the long and respected history of adding lyrics to popular TV themes, especially when sung in a high-pitched nasal twang as The Good Lord intended:

The Theme Tune to Hawaii 5-0 by Familiar Face on TV News

[Cue music]

Dum-diddy-dum-diddy dum-dum-de-DUM
Dum-diddy-dum-diddy dum-dum-de-DUM

In Hawaii there is lots of crime
And Steve McGarrett gets 'em every time
Steve, Jim, Danno and the boys in the lab
Makes sure anyone who commits crime in Hawaii is nabbed
In Hawaii
Hawaii 5-0.
Just sing along twice through and I guarantee nobody will notice the difference.

I am not mad.

Your pal

Albert O'Balsam, Weymouth

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Bad Gag Monday

On Bad Gag Monday

Q. Why did the penguin join the mafia?

A. He wanted to go swimming with the fishes.

Your bad jokes, plz, which will be added to this page as the day progresses.

You cutting-edge Twitterers might want to share your worst with the rest of the world by posting with the #badgag tag - I'll pick them up from there.

Pseudonymph: What's a shi-tzu? One with no animals in it.

Dr Fidelius: Why are pirates so cool? Because they arrrr!

Dean: What do call a fly with no wings? A walk.

Misty: What do you call a female moth? A myth.

Rik: My front door's made of sponges. Hey, don't knock it.

Tokarev: What do you do with a dog that has no legs? Take it for a drag.

Tzonar: Why did Jade cross the road? Her pall bearers got lost... (Oooh - too soon)

Mystic Mog: What do you call an Aardvark that won a fight ? A Well'ard Vark

Bella Foxx: Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist, he wondered if there really was a dog.

Mr Angry: My girlfriend suggested using toys in the bedroom. The sex is still rubbish, but now I'm much better at Scalextric.

Ian Appleby: was, I was a devotee of the pantomime, but now all that's behind me.

Steve Nixon: What did the Spanish farmer say to his chickens? Oh-lay

MrFarty: Why was Shakespeare thrown out of the pub? Because he was bard.

BarnsleySime: I'm not saying the mother in law is fat, but her blood type is Ragu

Gert: Hear about the dyslexic alcoholic - he choked on his own Vimto

Fantastically awful, all of you. Same again next Monday?

Friday, March 20, 2009

On throwing fish at celebrities

On throwing fish at celebrities

I ran into an old friend of mine recently. A chap who once had gainful employ in the staff canteen and BBC Television Centre, escaping before the casualties mounted to unacceptable figures.

Having worked up immunity to his own cooking, he is somehow still alive, and able to add an epilogue to a story that I told – several years ago – on these pages.

Anything, then, to re-tell The Sorry Tale Of The Time Rich Threw A Fish At Omar Sharif

Imagine, if you will, early evening in the BBC Staff Canteen. Hardly anyone has been killed TO DEATH on young Rich's shift, of which he is immensely proud.

Suddenly, the doors swing open, and in flounces star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif and his retinue of hangers-on and fellow act-ORs. Eschewing the tried-and-tested take-a-tray-and-order-over-the-counter, Sharif and friends take a window seat and await service.

Rich: Good afternoon, star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif. Although you appear to be dressed in the manner of a man who sends midgets into Salvation Army clothes banks, welcome to the infamous BBC staff restaurant. What would be your pleasure?

O. Sharif: I will have the fish. Please prepare it in a manner I will not immediately divulge, whilst I show these disinterested souls how to play bridge and hold court over my cinematic triumphs.

Five minutes later

Rich: Et voila!

O. Sharif: ...and hearts are trumps, whatever that means. What is this blasphemy against the culinary arts?

Rich: Er... your fish. You ordered it.

O. Sharif: You insult me, sir! It is undercooked! Take it away! Take it away!

Rich: As you wish, O. Sharif. The customer, as they say, is always right. Unless, of course, it is Michael Winner

Another five minutes later

Rich: There you go, mush.

O. Sharif: ...and the rubber is mine! Gah! What is the meaning of this outrage! It is still undercooked! Are you trying to poison me? Take it away, and get me fresh sauce.

Rich: Grrrrr... Of course, sir. I shall return momentarily with gastronomic delight to enrapture your taste buds

Somewhat more than five minutes later

Rich: Oi! Tosspot! Your fish!

O. Sharif: ...and that is why we call it the Picard Manouevre. What is this... this... THING?

Rich: YOUR. bloody. FISH!

O. Sharif: I do not want it. It is burned. I shall have the chicken instead.

Imagine, dear reader, the sound of fish in a delicate parsley-and-butter sauce hitting star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, O. Sharif across the head, dripping off his finely-kept moustache and onto a hand of cards containing far too many aces

Rich: I'll get me coat.

O. Sharif: You. Will. Never. Work. In. This. Town. Again.

Epilogue - Three months later

O. Sharif: ...and that's a funny thing because Zhivago wasn't a real Doctor at all! And that's why I am EXCELLENT A-ha ha ha!

Hangers-on: Oh yes. Very drole, Mr Sharif, very drole. Come, let us eat in this fine establishment. We hear it comes highly recommended in Zagat

Maitre d': Welcome, star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif. Can I help you, sir?

O. Sharif: Why yes. I shall have the Big Mac Meal and a Filet-o-Fish with large f.... YOU!

Rich (for it is he): LOLOLOL. 'Coming' right up, with chef's special sauce!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On not being able to get rid of Bongo

On not being able to get rid of Bongo

As you know, I'm a sensitive, understanding kind of person. The kind of person who is only too willing to pass on advice based on my own life experience to the benefit of friends, family, colleague and complete strangers. I see it as my duty to offer an elegant solution to any problem that would – in the long run – benefit the whole of society.

Take this little episode as an example:

For some reason that eludes me, others seem to think that I am some sort of authority on the safe disposal of Bongo. A sort of pornographic version of the people who decommission nuclear power stations without millions of people getting killed TO DEATH.

And so it happens again as a friend sidles up to me with a practiced sidle and says: "Scary – what's the best way to get rid of Bongo?"

That old chestnut.

"I've got a large quantity of Bongo – of a highly specialised nature that I need to get rid of. It seems such a shame to let it all go to waste."

Also: That old chestnut.

"How specialist," I ask, "is this Bongo?"


"And how much – in terms of metric shedloads - of this Bongo do you need to get rid of?"


I mull the issue for a while, trying to strike a balance between the volume of Bongo to be discarded; its scud rating based on the Scaryduckworth-Lewis method; and of course, the likelihood that the filth may fall into the hands of the easily corrupted.

The guru of Bongo disposal, I reach a decision.

"My advice to you, then –"


"Would be to purchase a hold-all from a charity shop, jumble sale or market stall -"


"Place the Bongo inside – "


"And leave it in the grounds of your nearest Scout Hut."

"Dyb dyb dyb"

"Also, I promise NEVER to report this conversation in my blog."

"You're a gent."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On people who deserve a good, hard slap again

On people who deserve a good, hard slap again

Part III of a continuing series listing people who deserve a good, hard slap:

- People who speak Esperanto when a perfectly good global language already exists, thanks to several centuries of colonial conquest

- People who say 'ppl'

- People who make desperate, shameless pleas on their blogs to cajole readers into joining their less-than-successful team in online games

- Estate agents

- Mortgage lenders

- Sexually deviant estate agents

- The bastard who put a 40 mph limit on the A35, at the exact point you're looking for a decent racing line

- Creationists

People who do not deserve a good, hard slap

- The person at the Co-op who thought "I know, let's do three Yorkies for a pound this week, that'll be EXCELLENT"

- People who photoshop images of well-known orange-skinned media figures to make them appear even more orange

A public appeal

Please make a short list of people who you think deserve (or do not deserve) a good, hard slap, and we'll get round to them

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On not being bitter, at all

On not being bitter, at all

March 16th came and went, and I am neither excited nor disappointed to report that I did not win Best European Weblog in the 2009 Bloggie Awards.

Congratulations should go to the very excellent Chocolate and Zucchini, but, in this all inclusive New World Order, are we not all winners?

Hang on... just getting clarification on that...

Right. Fine. No, we are not all winners.

In fact, the man will be around later to tattoo a great big capital "L" on my forehead, pour encourager les autres.

All I have left now is "Owner that looks most like their dog" in the village fete, and I'm pretty hopeful. Beat THAT, Chocolate and Zucchini woman!

By the way - I could do with some help with the new tagline over on the left. Any ideas?

Note to passing publishers and literary agents: Look, I'm EXCELLENT. I've also got three (count 'em) EXCELLENT book drafts all within touching distance of completion based on the EXCELLENT contents of this site, which is, as you might already have gathered, one of the five most EXCELLENT in Europe.

If you're only interested in engaging celebrities (as is the fashion in today's cut-and-thrust world of publishing), it is my duty to point out that I am almost - but not quite - a blood relative of the second funniest man in the universe and would be only too willing to pass myself off as same right up to the moment the game is rumbled.

What - apart from your entire profit margin - have you got to lose?

Monday, March 16, 2009

On sticking your nose into pile-em-high-retail where it's not wanted

On sticking your nose into pile-em-high-retail where it's not wanted

I went to IKEA in Southampton the other week. By incredible coincidence, so did the Leader of the Not Free World. And he's not pleased.

Fact: You never see Kim Jong-Il and Keanu Reeves togetherDear Mr Ikea

Taking time off from by duties as Dear Leader to the triumphant Military-First Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, I had the unpleasant – yes, the UNpleasant – experience of visiting your new store in Southampton recently.

Such was my anger that I am sorely tempted to train each and every one of the nuclear devices we are not developing in my Peoples Kim Il-Sung Memorial Juche Bicycle Factory near Pyongyang on the FASCIST state of Sweden unless you rectify the matter instantly.

Although everything in your store was brand new, and we gorged ourselves on meatballs and cheap coat-hangers, I wish to complain in the strongest terms about one aspect of your business that left a bad taste in my mouth, and an itching to unleash the contents of the germ warfare agents that are not stored at the Mount Paeku Glorious Revolution Baby Milk Concern that is next door to the Peoples Kim Il-Sung Memorial Juche Bicycle Factory.

It's the pencils, man. What, in the name of capitalist running-dog fuckery have you done to the pencils?

I remember the time I used to frequent your formerly excellent store in the glorious socialist republic of Bristol. Your pencils used to be marvellous sharp, chunky items. A tribute to the hard-working patriotic North Korean workers who produced them.

This weekend, I found to my dismay, that you have replaced them with awful, spindly cheap things that insult not only my intelligence, but those of every Dear Leader of a Democratic Socialist Military-First Utopia that I know. And there are a lot of us. And we VOTE (mostly for ourselves).

It's embarrassing. I left your store, my pockets weighed down with these sorry excuses for writing implements, and I find myself quite unable to swap them for biros in Argos.

Mrs Kim was equally scathing, and she says it's the last time she ever shop-lifts under your roof, so that's TWO customers lost already.

I predict a time when your meatball factory will no longer accept our gifts of dog and recently-liquidated political prisoner, and that will be a sorry day indeed.

Sort it out.

Your pal

Kim Jong-Il

PS The SLATTORN 300-foot Kylie Minogue statue I purchased in your store on Saturday appears to be lacking a couple of screws. Could you send some spares by return of post so her buttocks remain attached? Soz, I've lost the receipt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Neither Mirth nor Woe: The Old Devil

Neither Mirth nor Woe: The Old Devil

Here's another from my ongoing project to excerpt the best bits of my bloated catalogue and republish them as short, sharp something-else-beginning-with-s stories. In fact, it's two stories, hacked into pieces and nailed back together again with painful DEATH and exactly 135% more LOLZ and a free dose of LUL.

"What'll it be-aaaaaargh!"

My regular used to be The Old Devil near Maidenhead. Alas, it is now an upmarket gastro-pub, where the only attractions are an interesting help-yourself bookshelf and a manageress with a cracking pair of norks.

But back in the day it was a den of drunken debauchery, where a round would be six pints of strong, strong bitter, half a dozen servings of cardiac-inducing gateau and a Top Shelf.

The Top Shelf Рfor those of you not in the know Рis a measure from every optic on the bar's top shelf in a pint class. A pint glass takes 18 of these measures, and, if you can stand the taste of cr̬me du menthe, it is a quick route to extreme drunkenness, projectile vomiting and DEATH.

As anybody who works in a pub knows, the done thing when somebody says "And have one yourself" to the barman is to add a quid to the bill and sip something non-alcoholic throughout the evening. Not so Paul, our drunken Mein Host, who, on offered "And have one yourself" would down a shot of the hard stuff on the spot.

And every evening, around ten o'clock, he would reach that point where he forgot where the stairs down to the cellar started.

A punter would come up to the bar, and Paul would stride over to serve them, before falling into the deathly grip of Newton's Law of Gravitational Attraction.

"Yes cock, what'll it be-aaaaaaaaargh!" THUD-THUD-THUD-CRUMP, followed by the sound of landlord skittling into the CO2 tanks that powered the fizzy drinks.

There would invariably be a short, tense pause, before Paul would emerge, blood, spit and vomit down his shirt, his arm hanging at a funny angle and not entirely sure of the day of the week.

"So, that's three pints of Oak, a Fosters and a packet of crisps then?"

"Yeah, an' have one yourself."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On things you shouldn't do when you've got an in-growing toe-nail

On things you shouldn't do when you've got an in-growing toe-nail

A short list of things you shouldn't do when you've got an in-growing toe-nail

No.1: Go shopping in a supermarket on pension day, where every trolley has at least one wonky wheel, laser-guided directly onto your poor, aching foot.

"Oh, sorry duck. Didn't see you there."

No.2: Take part in an impromptu lunchtime kick-about in the car park for a) shits and b) giggles

"I hardly touched him ref!"

No.3: Spend a day in those high heels you knew would be agony the moment you clapped your eyes on them in Dolcis

Err... said too much

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the never-ending Battle of the Sexes

On the never-ending Battle of the Sexes

"Never trust a woman," a woman told me recently.

Although slightly side-swiped by this obvious feminine double-bluff, I rallied and replied "Au contraire", impressing nobody with my mastery of the French language.

"Au contraire! Never trust a man."

If she was going to try and bluff her way to a girly victory – well, two can play at that game.

"That's true," she replied "You lot are only ever after one thing."

Ah ha ha ha! Fallen RIGHT into my trap!

What the Queen of wrong doesn't realise is that we're only ever after four five things, and – models of chastity that we are – none of the obvious:

- Carpet slippers
- Sky Sports and/or Men & Motors
- Shed (A man's castle)
- A selection of quality reading material for the toilet
- A little less of your rabbit
Oh yes, and some of your pink, wobbly stuff. For eg: Blancmange. Us blokes like a nice bit of blancmange.

Now, go and wash your mind out with bleach, you filthy cur.

On chickens, again

Mrs Kenn has spoken. The winner of the Name Kenn's Chicken Competition - and the owner of a brand spanking new internet - is Kaptain Von with Princess Layer

Honourable mention: BalmainBoy's Margaret Hatcher

So mote it be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On chickens

On chickens

Every once in a while, readers of these pages are faced with issues of such great import and solemnity, they are left with a whole new way of dealing with the world around them and the everyday politick that sums up their lives.

This is, you will be sickened pleased to hear, is not one of those days.

My good pal Kenn – gentleman of this parish - has a problem.

And his problem arrives in the size and shape of a chicken. For it is: a chicken.

He already owns two – Colonel Sanders and Nando – and is stuck for the name of a third.

Like a complete damn fool he has turned to me for advice, and found that my entirely EXCELLENT suggestions – Fang, Henzilla and Harry Egg-knapp – are somewhat wanting.

And this is where you come in, as we announce the Suggest a Name for Kenn's Chicken Competition.

The rules are simple:

1. Suggest a name for Kenn's chicken

2. Err...

3. ...That's it
The winner gets:

1. Naming rights on Kenn's chicken

2. Salmonella
I know of at least one fellow blogger who never wants to see another chicken as long as he lives, so don't say we never offer the best prizes on this site.

Extra marks for style, control, damage and aggression, not to mention a convincing back-story. Get in!

On the death of your namesake

RIP Ali Bongo

Being an Alistair, I went through school as "Bongo" for obvious reasons.

Also, because I was MAGIC, and NOT because of my enormous collection of bongo magazines.

Monday, March 09, 2009

On sticking one's nose into the catering business where it's not welcome

On sticking one's nose into the catering business where it's not welcome

It was only a matter of time. Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il has gone corporate, and he's after the United States Yankee Imperialist dollar. This cannot end well.

Dear McDonalds,

Congratulations on becoming the largest restaurant chain in the world! Your ability to give the people what they want at a low price and with only moderate long-term damage to health is an example that all corporations should aspire to.

I expect you are somewhat surprised to be receiving this letter from me, the Dear Leader of the Military-First Juche revolutionary ideology-based Democratic People's Republic of Korea where, I am sure you already know, you do not operate a single branch of your fine, fine restaurants.

Also, you appear to have the bad taste to have opened many outlets in the Capitalist Puppet State of South Korea, thus making your corporation an Enemy of the People, fit only for firey death at the hands of the nuclear weapons we are most certainly not building at the Top Secret Kim Il-Sung Memorial Firey Death To The Capitalist Dogs Nuclear Weapons Facility thirty miles north-east of P'yongyang.

We are, however, ready to bury the hatchet with your organization and its lovely, lovely hard US currency and invite you to open a restaurant at the heart of our glorious capital city. We do insist that you make one or two changes to your format before we will allow you to operate:

- Due to a shortage of bread and cows in North Korea - reserved as they are for our proud, heroic, victorious armed forces - we insist that you serve meals consisting of readily available alternatives, such as stray dogs and manhole covers

- The double stray dog and manhole cover sandwich MUST be marketed as the 'McKim'. No McKim, no deal

- Ronald McKim to replace that symbol of Western fear and ignorance, Ronald McDonald. Please tailor his outfit to indicate to the casual observer that he is fantastically well hung

- There will be no need for your so-called 'Happy Meals' in the glorious DPRK, because our citizens are already blissfully happy under my benevolent guidance and the firm leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea. Instead, we suggest 'Military-First Self Defence Meals', in which each child receives a clip of AK47 ammunition along with their scabby dog and manhole cover

- A ban on the use of the 'Golden Arches' logo. Instead, we insist that all branded products should feature Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Beeny smeared in chicken fat

- Kirstie Allsopp and Sarah Beeny smeared in chicken fat

- Floodlit, 300 foot statues of brave Kylie Minogue and her wonky-eyed sister Dannii, mounted on rotating plinths so their peachy, firm buttocks always face the rays of the sun as it rises over sacred Mount Paektu. Undraped for preference, to remind our hardworking citizens of the naked aggression of the Capitalist West

I hope that these conditions are not too onerous, and that we can - one day - do business without the need to resort to the firey destruction of downtown Seoul at the hands of the nuclear weapons we are most certainly not building.

Your pal,

Kim Jong-Il, People's Military-First Revolutionary Secret Underground Bunker and Burger King Concession, P'yongyang, DPRK

Friday, March 06, 2009

Neither mirth nor woe: Macca

Neither mirth nor woe: Macca

It was an August Saturday, the sun already belting down, that we packed the trailer with the camping gear, hooked it up to the back of the car and headed off for a two week holiday under canvas.

As usual, the old man had kept our destination a closely-guarded secret, except for the fact that to make up for the previous year's disappointing wash-out Somerset's rain-soaked Mendip Hills, we were going 'overseas'.


We headed south through Berkshire and Hampshire, and before long we were queuing for the ferry. The Isle of Wight ferry. Oh, ha bloody ha.

Making the most of the short crossing, I wondered round the deck and took in the views of the Solent and the looming bulk of the island as we steamed toward our destination. Standing just to my right was a vaguely familiar figure doing exactly the same.

Well screw me sideways with a scaffolding pole, if it wasn't former Beatle Paul McCartney, getting away from it all for a couple of weeks in a motor home on the Isle of Wight with poor, dead Linda, who at that time was neither poor nor dead.

He seemed quite open about the whole adventure, and said it was a relief to be able to get out and do things on his own without record company gophers doing everything up to and including wiping his bottom for him.

"Look," he said, producing a scrap of paper out of his pocket, "I even paid my own way – with me own MONEY!"

And so he had.

In his hand he held his most prized possession at that moment, a symbol of his independence from the mad, mad world of mega-stardom: A ticket for the ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight.

His Ticket to Ryde.

And that, my friends, is how you do a pun.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On killing celebrities TO DEATH

On killing celebrities TO DEATH

Lance Armstrong. What a guy.

A real-life Ace Rimmer of a man, given a five per cent chance of surviving testicular cancer, he came back to become the world's greatest living sportsman and charity fundraiser.

And let's not forget the fact that he writes a decent book, runs marathons, rides bikes up mountains really quickly, gets to do squirmy business with some of the most beautiful women on the planet and if you smoke him a kipper, he'll be home for breakfast.

What a guy.

Then, cutting-edge new-media time-waster Twitter reveals this tragic train of events reporting a coming together of car and cyclist in central Reading the other night:

lancearmstrong: Done training on tt bike.About to start a photo shoot with Platon. Love his work
about 15 hours ago from Twitterberry

duckorange: To the arsecake who I nearly ran over tonight: Do not cycle and text at the same time. You will die. TO DEATH
about 15 hours ago from web

Twitter: It's not just for finding out what Stephen Fry had for breakfast. It's for killing celebrity micro-bloggers TO DEATH.

Sorry Lance. If I'd had known, I would have swerved. Really.

What a guy.

Thanks to jimbog1 for the spot

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

On avoiding the End of the World

On avoiding the End of the World

My advice to you - should you stumble across signage such as this, and you don't want to accidentally trigger a global apocalypse in which all mankind in consumed in an inferno of death, destruction and sarcasm - is not to turn right.

Sadly, I turned right the other week, and it took them days to get all the wing-ed and hideously tentacled creatures back through the dimension rift. Let that be a warning to you all.

Actually, The Worlds End - despite the dreadful apostrophe abuse - is a rather nice pub in Almer in Dorset. Just don't ask for the Shoggoth's Old Peculiar. It's off.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

On Twittering politicians

On Twittering politicians

One of the people I stalk follow on Twitter is my Member of Parliament Jim Knight, who is also the Minister for Schools. You may remember him from a recent believe-it-or-not news story where it was revealed that his website was chock full of spelling mistakes which caused the Daily Mail's Outrage-o-Meter to explode.

So, it comes as no surprise at all to read this (and I shudder to use the word) tweet from the man himself:

jimknightmp has finished his homework
Good grief. I bet he wouldn't have taken the schools gig if he had known about the homework. Further digging through Jim's Twitter feed unveils the following revealing messages which prove Jim's 'total immersion' in the job, and confirms that the Palace of Westminster – as many had feared - is indeed the largest school in the country:

jimknightmp: Caught smoking in the bogs by Chief Whip. Detention :(

jimknightmp: Totally skiving off today LOL. Told Black Rod I have a free period and hung around the shops with Blears even though she is a girl

jimknightmp: faked a note to get out of cross country, PM fell for it. Done the Blue Goldfish on the new boy from the LibDems

jimknightmp: Wm Hague iz a wet and a weed who skip along and sa helo clouds helo sky chiz chiz chiz
Of course, Jim's not the only Member of Parliament who has opened up to the New Media possibilities offered by Twitter:

AlistairDarling: Just got my pocket money up to £5/week by holding my breath until I was sick. EPIC WIN!!!

JHuttonMP: What's the point of being defence secretary if I can't drive a tank to work? EPIC EPIC FAIL

TessaJowell: @GordonBrownPM Rate my pic on HOT or NOT!!! Raawwr! http://bit.ly/aiUXF

GordonBrownPM: @TessaJowell I put on my robe and wizard hat...
Despite the encouraging use of LOLspeak by our elders and betters, I have a suspicion that this cannot end well.

Monday, March 02, 2009

On pointless woo

On pointless woo

The excellent PZ Myers points me toward this pile of bunkum: The Faith of Britain dot com

At 11am on 6th March, a group of grown people will sit in a room and think nice thoughts in the hope that their positive energies will somehow make our once-proud ZaNu Lie-Bore Gordon Clown Britain (© Daily Mail) a better place to live.

And good luck to 'em, I say. They are perfectly entitled to waste their own time in any way they see fit, though judging from the biography page this appears to be a dreadful waste of perfectly good MILF.

I believe our old pal Uri Geller tried this stunt a few years ago - with the help of a national newspaper that ought to have known better - and look at the state we're in now.

To quote their own pulled-straight-out-of-their-arse publicity:

It is a proven scientific fact that thinking about something often causes it to happen. Some call this quantum physics. Others simply call it "faith."
I don't know about you, but I prefer to call it "complete bollocks".

Some of the most boring years of my life were spent learning about Quantum Theory, and despite thinking "I hope this lecture ends soon" on a constant basis, the lectures never did. And that's a proven scientific FACT.

So, to counter this pointless woo, I propose my own little experiment in the name of SCIENCE.

At 11am on 6th March, I shall be sitting in a darkened room contemplating women with extremely large breasts. If enough of us do the same thing at the same time, who knows what might happen?*

Are you with me? ARE YOU?

* I should imagine we'd all lose our jobs.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

On vowing I'd never get addicted to Mafia Wars on Facebook

On vowing I'd never get addicted to Mafia Wars on Facebook

It's no good, I'm addicted to Mafia Wars.

Up until this week, the word "whack" was always followed with "off". No longer. See you when I'm Godfather.