Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sport Pull-out

It's Sunday, so it's logically time for a Sunday Sport pull out! As an added bonus, feel free to print this out, hide it in a newspaper of your choice, and then pull it out, so as to fully immerse yourself in the experience. I thought about also providing an unwanted "lifestyle" pull out for you, but if I did, the "New recipes" would be cheesey pasta and pie, the fashion segment would be a 400 word torrent of fawning affection for the humble chino and the Hollywood star we interviewed would be Nicolas Cage, who would tell us that his favourite character in Toy Story is Bo Peep.

We start with the UEFA Champions' League, for which the top four clubs in England qualify, technically making it the UEFA "Champions or quite close to being champions" league. If you don't want to know the score, forget how to read now. The biggest match for the neutral would have been Arsenal versus Barcelona. Who can forget the 2006 final between these two clubs? That finished 2-1, with two late goals from Barca to turn it around, but this time, it was Arsenal who turned the tables on the Catalans, knocking in two goals in the dying minutes to take away a victory. It was the biggest upset in terms of bookmakers since George successfully defeated the Dragon (Admittedly on points after 15 rounds. The dragon claimed that George's suit of armour was an unfair advantage, to which George replied "You what?! You can breathe fire and are a mythical flying lizard mate. People who live in glass houses and all that!" to which the Dragon replied "Did you just call me mythical?!" and George retorted in a surly manner "You heard what I said." before the Dragon stormed out of the press conference.) however, George V Dragon was not a two-legged home and away affair, more of a one-off cup final, so we'll see if Arsenal can hold their lead in the Nou Camp.

The other big result for an English club in Europe came at the San Siro, where Tottenham secured a vital away win with a 1-0 triumph over the Italian side AC Milan. A good performance at White Hart Lane could see them into the quarter finals, and hovering in the top 4 in the premier league. It could well end up being the most unforgettable season in Tottenham's history, excluding the brief period where they signed Moses on a 6 month loan from the Egyptians, whereupon he notched up 32 goals in 18 games with his trademark mix of creative flair and miraculous skill. The one-time Tablet Carrier of the year invigorated what was a flagging Tottenham side into an FA cup final appearance. Memorable stuff, I don't imagine you've forgotten it.

Nothing exciting happened in the premier league, so the whole world exploded with unbelievable fervour at the fact that Wayne Rooney scored a goal from open play. Everyone is shocked, since he's scored one other open play goal, against West Brom, that Rooney can still hit a ball into a net, despite the fact that for several months it appears some has been replacing his boots with ones made out of lead, coated in teflon, then tied the laces together surreptitiously.

Cricket world cup news now, and the 4000 match, 22 year tournament has been branded "Too long", by some players including England captain Andrew Strauss. "Please," he said at a press conference. "I just want to see my kids again.". I'm joking, of course, the tournament is 49 matches and 6 weeks long, despite the fact that only 14 teams are playing in the tournament. The FIFA World Cup had 64 matches, but had 32 teams in it. In a matches to teams ratio (The best way to judge any international sporting event, I find) the cricket world cup comes in at 3.5, whilst the football comes in at a mere 2. The rugby world cup, for comparative purposes, comes in with a 2.5 ratio. Clearly, the Cricket World Cup is preposterously long, and we could dedicate some of that time to playing proper, test cricket instead.

No time for Six Nations news, but since there are no games this week, I promise to consider devoting a large segment of the next sports pull out to it next week with update info from the games, one of which I shall actually be at.


Jesus v Judas at Madison Square Gardens, it's the fight Christians have been waiting nearly two thousand years for, killing their time with rather one-sided "lions versus humans" match-ups, lions having won 402387 to humans 2 or 3*! Plenty of bad blood between these two, the prize money for winning this fight was a very deliberately chosen 15 shekels. Both men are aged, both having had the small disadvantage of being dead for nearly two millenia (Prompting some to call this a publicity stunt for money, like the Holyfield comeback), but then again, Jesus never lets a nagging doubt like having died get to him. Who can forget his Easter bout with Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge having captured and killed Jesus several days prior to the fight, was caught off guard by him turning up to the fight at all, and was clearly rattled, ruining a good solid defensive game which saw him competing for Flyweight champion of Nazareth with Jesus, four-time bantamweight champion and undead boxer of the year, who had switched down weight classes following his 40 day starvation in the desert. Judas, of course, had put all his shekels on Pilate, also thinking Jesus' deadness might ruin his boxing skills. Judas is himself a good fighter, having been the de facto bouncer at all of Jesus' bigger gigs in his youth, but Judas is largely considered more of a dirty, street-fighter than Jesus' purist style. No bets on this bout, the fight being refereed by God's laws (An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, stoning to any woman who steps inside the ring, the usual stuff), so we're looking forward to the fight, Jesus "The Bearded Bruiser" Christ versus Judas "Flaming Chariot" Iscariot, it certainly promises to be a big one.

*A footnote! Oooh, get me. The 2 known victories are Daniel, most famously, then Androcles. You know. Of Androcles and the lion? Yeah, THAT Androcles. Disputed is Hercules versus the Nemean lion, in which Hercules technically won, however, he isn't really a human. Tough one to call, as the Nemean lion was apparently invulnerable, so perhaps it should be ruled a null and void contest. Lions are notoriously competitive, they won't let this sort of thing slide.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

It's like there's more News everyday!

Look out in the Middle East! In the midst of more violence, largely because of that whole ill-thought out "Shoot at the protesters! That'll make them like me more!" fallacy that dictators cling to more ferociously than a balding 50 year old clings to his youth by driving a bright red ferrari and sleeping with a trophy wife (Cindi, 22 from Essex.), William Hague has come out and said that he's... "Deeply concerned"! You tell 'em champ. Knock 'em dead. He then delivered the killer blow of condemning the genocide as "unacceptable violence" in his statement. Woomph! Take that! They're sure to stop now. Just give it a little time to let William Hague's fervent damnation of their actions to sink in (It's hard for them to pick things like this up, because their hands are slippy from all that blood on them). I think we can all surely rest easy knowing that William "The Haguester" Hague (Haguester was his school nickname, but at university he was correctly renicknamed "International criminal court", shortened to ICC.) is on the case. (As an actually politically important aside, internationally we've been cheerfully funding these nations whilst condemning them simultaneously. It's akin to giving a toddler a chocolate bar and telling he's being very naughty. But imagine your toddler was playing with nuclear warheads and committing genocide instead of smearing crayon on the walls.)

Sarah Brown has come out in support of her husband, former Prime minister Gordon Brown, whom she said was "Misunderstood", which I think is a fair representation of events. In fact, I'm pretty certain he would have done marginally better at the polls if he were, literally, constantly misunderstood, giving all of his speeches in a confusing, homemade dialect he liked to call "Broonian", of which there were no other competent speakers on planet Earth. At the very least, the time spent decoding his gibberish in post-speech analysis (Hosted by Andy Gray) would have distracted from his party's terrible decade of power. "I'm pretty certain "The cow piano giraffed the Yugoslavian princess" means he fully accepts some responsibility for the deregulation of the markets which allowed the catastrophic collapse of the economy, Karen. Over to Jim now for some analysis of the second paragraph." (As an aside, the economy collapsed more quickly and damningly than an Australian top order in the 2010/11 Ashes series. Bop. Take that, Australia). Still, it's nice to have someone come out in support of you, and I for one feel Gordon Brown was so tragically unlucky during his whole reign that he could have been in the middle of an empty field, taken one step, plunged his foot directly into a cow pat, sworn, then had a piano drop on his head. That's how unlucky he was. That said, he displayed the greatest putdown of the whole campaign with "you can't airbrush your policies like you airbrush your posters!". Bop! Take that David! He swiftly followed up with the old classic "I don't come down to YOUR work and tell you how to clean toilets!" (A frontbencher's traditional line of attack, having first been used by Gladstone against Disreali in 1892).

Prisoners have been demanding compensation for not being allowed to vote (Thank you, Brussels) but a high court judge ruled this week that none was forthcoming. As far as I can logically see, we give them every opportunity to vote, we set up a polling booth in their area, but did they BOTHER to turn up at their local primary school/ Church? I don't think so! Sure, they'll claim they were kept away by squadrons of guards and several thick, locked doors, but we've all had times we've been struck by voter apathy and it's easier to say we were locked behind bars for commiting crimes rather than openly admit to our disenfranchisement. If anyone asks me, I didn't vote in the last election because I was held hostage by the FARC group of South America. (I'm joking, I did actually vote, and by the looks of it, I was roughly one of about 40 people under the age of 20 who did).

Clegg versus Cameron, the highly awaited sequel to Alien Versus Predator, has kicked off this week, with Clegg urging people to vote for AV and Cameron urging people against it. Ridley Scott's latest venture was rated 18 for excessive political rhetoric by the BBFC who called some scenes "Distressing alterations of the truth" and in some cases "Disturbing scenes of outright lying". The unexpected third character, a highly-secret Hollywood addition, was Ed Milliband who defied his evil Labour overlord, Margaret Beckett, in coming out in favour of AV. "I know Margaret won't be happy about this" he said nervously at the press release, before Beckett swooped in from the roof and devoured his head before escaping into the ventilation systems. Labour should know better than to give press conferences on abandoned spaceships. I can only imagine this ending well for the coalition, with the winner (I'm hoping Clegg wins and we get at least the pretence of a fair voting system) will be at a press conference gloating, forming an L on his forehead with his finger and thumb, humming "Na-na-na-nana" and whispering "Loser says what?" so that Cameron doesn't hear him and says "What?".

Also in the news a while ago, which I've just remembered now, but it was funny at the time (And still is), and thus, I will link you to the story here, was that Ed Milliband admitted he was "A bit square" as a youth. In other news, the grass is green and the sky is blue. Yes, this was another incisive political interview with Piers Morgan, whereupon he asked such damning questions as "What's your scheme for evading the economic implosion that our system, which is wilfully and recklessly fuelled by borrowing, will inevitably cause in future? Surely you must agree tighter regulation of banking sectors and a separation of the riskier aspects of financial investment from the more traditional high street banks is required to help mitigate some of the risks involved in debt-trading?". Oh no. Wait, no, that wasn't what he asked. He asked "What would you do if you came on Britain's Got Talent?" and instead of responding "Use oratory rhetoric to sway a notoriously fickle public away from David Cameron's shiny face and onto my shiny policies", or the more stinging "Wonder where my life took such a disastrously wrong turn" he said "I used to be good at Rubik's Cube.". A real vote earner at the height of its popularity in the 1970s (Margaret Thatcher was elected on the back of her 4 successive UK Rubik's Cube speed championships) it seems almost outdated these days.

To those of you saying "Isn't America's deep south poverty stricken and largely neglected by politics? I remember how slowly Bush reacted to Hurricane Katrina" I've got good news! They get some things that other places would kill for. How often have you been wandering the hallways of your educational establishment and thought "This is nice, but I wish there were more airborne mammals in here."? Well, wish no more, for you could enroll at the school mentioned in this story which features bats flying round the 3rd story. Also in the original plans were Flying squirrels in every classroom which had a 1 in the number and sugar gliders on every second storey. Sadly however, these little spoilsports stopped the whole "Bats in school 2011!" campaign by protesting outside until the 3rd storey was closed off. Those monsters.

I will stress now, although technically the stories featured here are true, they may easily be shrouded in what can only be described as an intricate wicker basket of lies, holding the eggs of truth directly from the chickens of verisimilitude who reside in the coop of veracity.


David Cameron has proposed a radical shake-up of the NHS, suggesting that if Doctors could be accountants, then accountants could be doctors. "They can learn on the job" he said of the accountants, including that it would be a financial boon and that they would also keep their GP Surgeries fiscally sound. Confusingly, David Cameron responded to all questions from the press by doing nothing but quoting the 1998 Shania Twain single "That don't impress me much". On being asked if he really thought accountants could adequately do the job of doctors he replied "Okay, so you're a General Practitioner, that don't impress me much" seemingly deliberately misquoting the Canadian songstress. "So you've got the brains but have you got the touch?" he said. "Now don't get me wrong, yeah I think they're alright. But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night." he replied on being asked if he was deliberately setting up the NHS to fail. "You think you're a genius, you drive me up the wall!" he blasted at one press officer who queried his methods for the NHS, and in particular GPs, by quoting the ennobled Canadian (Order of Canada) back at the prime minister with "C'mon baby tell me, you must be jokin', right?". Mr Cameron then stormed out with a final retort, "Okay, so whatta you think, you're Elvis or something?".

Friday, 18 February 2011

My Life as a Debt Addict

I remember a time before I was in debt, a happier, carefree time. But then it all started. You know how it is, one night down the pub, with some friends, you run out of money and ask one of them to lend you a couple of quid for your drink. "Sure" he says. "Pay me back when you can." he adds. That sharp, illicit thrill of buying a drink on credit, that delicious mouthful of fiscal abdication. I was gone from the moment he agreed.

Of course it started out small, a few pounds for lunch here, a tenner for the train home, that sort of thing. But then, in only the space of a decade of increasing boom and without the awareness of the inevitable bust, I had become a debt addict.

I used to just get a hundred pounds or so from, say, Quickquid, "Just to tide me over till payday" I would say to myself as I accepted their exorbitant interest rates. They were only little loans, but the interest rates made it oh so thrilling to use. I couldn't resist the easy availability.

Later, I recieved a credit card from the bank, which was to be the last time I really considered what I was doing to be wrong. From then on, I was deemed fiscally responsible enough to maintain a credit card and the ensuing debt that comes with it.

Then it came to the big ones, a loan here, a loan there, then I remortgaged my house. I was continually hanging round outside the banks, looking for my debt fix.

Eventually though, the banks stopped giving me easy debt, the credit had started to dry up, but I'd become addicted, I couldn't live without the debt, so I had to find... Other methods of getting the debt. That's when I met Mark. Mark "the Shark" he was called. He could set you up with a little bit of debt, but it wouldn't come cheap, and you better pay him or you wouldn't just be refused service; you'd be refused use of your legs.

I started then to realise that I was in too deep, I needed out of the credit system, and that's when I thought it would be financially expedient to fake my own death and start life again in Panama.

As retold to me by John "Canoe Man" Darwin.

Admittedly, he didn't say any of this, but he might have done. So I feel I'm pre-emptively quoting him. But I cannot stress enough that I am not quoting him at all.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

More News (Might become regular)

Sorry, there's so much news I literally couldn't help but condense it into a series of meandering and ultimately uninformative paragraphs full of self-indulgent whimsy and no more than a teaspoonful of self-awareness. The perfect recipe for a blog post, then.

The Government backed down on its plan to sell off the forests. "It's what we've always said, we're not selling the forest." said a spokesperson. Being a leading politician losing a key issue is a lot like being on the wrong side of a marital argument, you have to endure a humiliating comedown and then pretend that it was what you wanted all along. "I've always wanted to see Warsaw in winter, and being with him/her gave me the chance to do that!". Although, to extend this metaphor, your partner would have to call you "out of touch" from the other side of the building built in the 11th century surrounded by armed guards. If you look out of touch to the people on the other side of that room, imagine how you look to voters.

In other news that will affect approximately 4% of Britain's 8 to 13 year olds and literally no-one else, Panda Pops are ceasing production (As an aside the 8-13 year old demographic is key to anyone looking to shift low quality carbonated beverages. Sadly, in recent years Barr has cornered this market quietly yet efficiently, closing Panda out of the market. Just the other day I was reminiscing on the fact I hadn't seen a Panda Pop in nigh on 5 years whilst walking past a selection of Barr's bottled beverages. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen Kia-Ora or Um Bungo in ages either. Bring back British childhoods. Starburst to go back to being called Opal Fruits for a start.

Of course, this was also the week of Valentine's day, a now traditional ritual of doubt in your own relationship combined with a nagging fear of being single. Particularly high selling cards this year were "You're the BEST! That I can do." and "Let's stick together! For economic reasons." compared with pre-bust era cards including "Let's have more kids: We can afford it" and "Let's get that new kitchen together on credit!". This only applies if you're in a relationship. If you are not, it is a time for quiet contemplation on why you're so desperately alone. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but you don't appear to be at the sea, you're in the middle of the desert holding a fishing rod and looking confused. Either way, it's a day of the extreme of desperately pretending you're happy with your relationship status.

I'm getting bored of the political upheavals and increasing protests in the middle east, so we can safely say that the following North African and Middle-Eastern countries are doing what I call "Pulling a Tunisia": All of them. Except Iraq. We brought democracy over there and handed it over ourselves. The whole region is wobblier than a drunkard unexpectedly finding himself on a treadmill without handles. Wait no, news JUST in, would you believe. If I had a reporter in Iraq, I'd be switching to him as he hurriedly threw on his tie and stepped in front of camera. But since we can safely assume I don't, I'll just tell you the northern region of Kurdistan appears to be undergoing similar strife to everywhere else, with the now traditional dictator-staple of firing on innocent protesters in order to quell dissent, rather than addressing your flaws as a leader (Firing on civilians is generally considered quite the world leader faux pas). I've said it before and I'll say it again, world dictators: Go big or go home. Stalin showed you have to rule with the iron fist (Cheerfully referred to as the "crushing boot of freedom" by absolutely no-one) from the get-go or be generally benevolent. Half-hearted genocide is worse than quietly leaving or instilling fear in a generation of citizens.

In news pretty much only applicable to people who pay attention to Scottish politics, Wendy Alexander, current holder of the much-coveted "Least successful Scottish Labour leader" (Only on a technicality, Gordon Brown put in a huge bid in 2010 only for judges to turn him away because he technically led the whole of the UK, not explicitly Scotland. The 10-time UK Chancellor of the year (1997 to 2007 unbeaten) is said to be appealing.) is retiring from active political service.

David Cameron also outlined his welfare reform, primarily resolving around making welfare a bare minimal punishment for having the misfortune to remain unemployed. That being said, career benefitees are now on the defensive with punishments for refusing work and a limit of a mere £26,000 of benefits (approximately average wage) for a household (Having had some ridiculous cumulative benefits like "Immigrants have 14 kids and can't fit in a normal house and thus have benefits of £4 million a year" - Daily Mail).

Obama is heading to the UK on a state visit. First presidential state visit since 2003. Perhaps under new leadership both nations can avoid celebrating the occasion by cheerfully invading a nation as they did in 2003. That being said, we've certainly sorted the Middle East now. Look at it now, a picture of stability, providing you think a wobbly table in a notorious earthquake zone is "Pretty solid".


The BBC have reacted angrily to cuts in their funding and have politically aspired to show nothing but reruns of the 1985-86 series of Only Fools and Horses (traditionally considered the worst season of the show), in retribution. BBC News reports "Whilst we cannot continue funding high quality programming, we can only show you highlights from yesteryear, including, but not necessarily limited to, Only Fools and Horses." but, when questioned further on what we could expect to see, a spokesperson added "You can expect to find several of our finer works in the TV schedules, but you might note a reliance on Only Fools and Horses." and later admitted under intense grilling from one intrepid reporter that "We found that the vast majority of people could relate to Derek "Del Boy" Trotter, as they too, are out of work and willing to do odd jobs".

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Good news, just as you thought I'd left this to die, I decided to revive it. Very cheerfully. In my new guise of "Sultan of Satire", I'm looking at the NEWS.

President Mubarak is gone from power in Egypt. On the plus side, this time popular opinion against an Egyptian leader didn't lead to the now-traditional 9 plagues and the death of the first-born, so we can be thankful for that. Thousands of people camped out in Tahrir Square to see Mubarak kicked out, but thousands of Egyptian cattle camped out in a field to oust their leader, President Moobarak.

Egypt, of course, has been in a state of emergency since 1967. That's quite the emergency. That's like your house burning down for 43 years. "That's about how long it would take the British police force to arrive nowadays! I bet they called in 1967 and they're only arriving now!" cry the Daily Mail fan-club. Egypt of course a former British colony. We really resorted to the Catholic method when we dismantled the empire: Just pull out and hope for the best.

President Mubarak must have found that was a gig that turned on him quickly. Don't open by introducing yourself to a nation in the midst of a national emergency and try to let your set be shorter than 30 years. It's that 30th year that'll kill you. Still, a lot of people have been wondering what ol' President Mubarak will get up now that he's been forcibly retired, and I for one am looking forward to his upcoming solo album, "Hosni Sings the Blues".

There's not been time for other news, so this story of the MP's wife who stole a kitten from his mistress has been cruelly underplayed in the media, despite the fact it's a cracking story. I should stress, she denies all claims against her, but if I were making up allegations against MP's spouses, I wouldn't immediately head towards kitten-theft so there is probably something in it. I can just imagine Westminster gently mewling as the tonnes of stolen loot play in the halls of power. "I thought you said this was the last time I had to hide a stolen kitten at work!" "You should have thought about that before you had the affair!".

This isn't the only animal-based news (Big week for animal-based stupid stories this week) because of this story, which is of course, a man smuggling 22 squirrels out of Thailand. But that wasn't enough of a challenge, so he also added in more than 37 snakes. 143 turtles of various descriptions. Oh, and a parrot. Obviously. Essentially he tried to smuggle a zoo through customs. "And if you'll look in this suitcase, you'll see the lion enclosure. Look out, though, Simba's a biter" he reportedly said to authorities. That report was from my imagination, sadly.

Sarah Palin, it was revealed, has tried to trademark her own name. Some people self-publish, some people name a yacht after themselves, but trademarking your own name has to be the ultimate act of vanity. I can only assume she's licensing it to Hasbro to release a limited run of "Political Barbie". Pull the string and watch as it spouts curiously folksy nonsense combined with propoganda so right-wing the only supporters of it died in Berlin in 1945.

David Cameron has been in the news saying state multiculturalism doesn't work, despite the fact he cheerfully admitted talking to a black man who, by David Cameron's numbers, joined the navy when he was 11. What could be more British than child labour and a strong navy? (This was a reference to the TV debates, if you can remember that far back). Hasn't he integrated well enough?

He also had spectacularly bad timing with this speech, choosing to do it on the same day as the English Defence League marched through Luton. The English Defence League, by the way, originally were named "Prematurely-Bald 40-60 year old divorcees Unite!" but found EDL rolled off the tongue better. Fortunately, the police always knew where they were, because the hundreds of bald heads created a shimmering mirror as bright as a million candles wherever they went. Lots of people were wondering why the EDL marched at all, but I suppose they have to practice their goose-stepping sometime.

David Cameron told us we needed a stronger British identity. Was this a coded reference to restarting the Empire? Egypt's looking dodgy, Sudan's just split, I reckon we could take them. I'll dig out my pith helmet. I think I left it here, under Britain's increasing obsolescence on the international stage and a growing sense of dissatisfaction with international politics.

David Cameron has also been preaching his Big Society ideal to us some more. He knows it's working, because people are literally paying to volunteer to work so libraries and stuff must be packed out. This, of course, is the news that people were paying for internships at the Tory Ball. It's like a slave auction in reverse. "I'll work for you for £2,000!" "Yeah, well, I'll pay £2,200 to work here!".

Last story, South Sudan has voted to secede from its northern partner. It's been an unnatural marriage from the start (Partially due to the fact the vicar who married them handcuffed them together. And was Britain.) but North Sudan must be wondering what went wrong. "all I did was occasionally beat her and steal her oil reserves!" he thinks. So the decades of civil war look sure to stop (Having ceased on the proviso of this secession election), and the South, hopefully, will start to develop based on the huge income it'll have due to its oilfields. Good luck, South Sudan!

Now that we've covered the real news, time for the made up stories!

Nick Griffin is releasing a new book entitled "Nick Griffin: Political Leper", inspired by how desperately both sides of the Alternative Vote campaigns are avoiding him. Featuring such quotes as "Blacks aren't under-represented in Parliament, they're over-represented in Society." and "I suppose if you asked me today, I would say the Holocaust happened, but I'm not totally convinced."

Russia's public broadcasting corporation has started production on its new countryside radio drama with the following preview leaflet '"The AЯCHEЯS", a New communist show about life in the comfortable countryside of Russia. "Dig comrades! Dig for Russia!"'

And that's the news. Saves reading the papers, doesn't it?