Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Silvio BerlusClooney

Silvio Berlusconi (2 time winner of most alarmingly lecherous world leader, voted for by readers of Heat. Don't say their political commentary isn't incisive) is standing trial (Despite having spent most of his presidency evading the inevitable) for sleeping with an under-age prostitute (A common theme with historically insignificant world leaders, for example, William Taft was under investigation for the same crime when he died, as was Edmund Ironside (11th century English king, successor to Ethelred) so we can only assume there's some sort of Napolean complex going on with these people. I should stress, I made both of those up, to the best of my knowledge, which is limited, neither broke any sort of prostitution laws). As if to point out how cool Berlusconi is, one of his 78 defence witnesses is Hollywood actor George Clooney. Lends a new meaning to the phrase "star witness". I can imagine his lawyers talking to him in the witness stand. "Mr Clooney, big fan of your work, by the way, did the defendant sleep with the claimant and pay her for the act? And will there be an Ocean's 14? Remember you're under oath not to lie." Perhaps every major trial should feature popular stars delivering prepared statements by the actual witnesses. If David Attenborough told me that someone was guilty, I would believe it even if I was the defendant. "I don't remember doing it... But I guess I must have. Take me away, officer."

Nick Clegg has hailed the "new Axis of Openness" (I cannot openly say such a stupid phrase without quotes indicating someone else said it) in global affairs. Axes are generally bad politically (The world war 2 Axis basically reads like a who's-who of nations who would go on to be the bad guys in a hackneyed and obvious American world war film, and the other famous axis was the "Axis of Evil", presumably used to lend some of the righteousness of World War 2 to the rather less morally upstanding Bush presidency) so to actively place yourself in an axis is usually something politicians try to avoid. Still Nick Clegg, and seemingly, ONLY Nick Clegg, is calling us the "Axis of Openness", on the basis we dropped bombs on someone else's country with UN backing instead of just going it alone again. See, it's the opposite to the Axis of Evil, because this is new and we've all changed! Iran is totally tickety-boo now. And we've fixed Afghanistan (In the same way as electroshock therapy fixes mental illness) so you know, CHANGE. "Just me, then. Oh." said Nick Clegg at his lonely get together for the unveiling of the Axis, before popping the loneliest party popper ever and watching the confetti float down.

New Christian books have been found in Jordan, excitingly. I saw new. Exceptionally old Christian books. Possibly written just after the crucifixion. Given the church's quick uptake of everything science produces, I'm sure the church will totally be on board with this sometime in the 24th century, after torturing the person who found them. Still, exciting. I'm curious to see what they say. "Hey guys, I know Jesus told us to be good to everyone, but I think we should follow the bible literally, ignore that weirdo.", I'd like to imagine it says. Perhaps it says "Thou shalt hide institutionalised paedophilia to preserve the church's moral authority" somewhere. ZING.

Made Up News

David Cameron recently revealed parliament's latest measure, an act passed in the last few days, which states "David Cameron is too sexy for his shirt, too sexy for his shirt, so sexy it hurts". The bill passed, despite some impassioned debate, which saw Eric Pickles accuse Ed Miliband of insecurities over his own "lanky form" calling him a "Stick insect" in a heated moment, to which Miliband shot back "If I'm a stick insect, you must be an entire tree." after which Osborne accused Margaret Beckett of having a face "So disturbingly equine that if she broke her leg, the doctor would shoot her instead of giving her a cast.". After a full day's debating, the vote narrowly passed by one vote whilst Margaret Beckett was crying in the toilets, looking at the mirror, with fellow MP Harriet Harman consoling her, and Diane Abbott saying "I look GREAT in purple. Gove doesn't know crap about colour theory". Meanwhile, Nick Clegg told his Libdem colleagues that "I'm, too sexy for your party, too sexy for your party, No way I'm dancing" to which Charles Kennedy took affront, accusing Clegg of blatant misleading of the public, and demanding that Lynne Featherstone compare their six packs. Right Said Fred were not available for comment, but a close friend said "This has gone too far. We all thought this ended in 1992 with Kinnock's Labour Conference striptease".

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Libyance Libyance Revolution (Or Dance Dance Execution)

You'll NEVER guess which northern African nation has plunged into civil war. No, not Algeria. No, it's not Morocco. I'll give you a clue, it's been in the news a lot recently. That's right, it's Libya! Yes, Colonel Maddafi (Copyright every tabloid headline writer, and if they haven't used it, they're FOOLS) has lived up to his pun and gone all dictatory. The former public enemy number 1, who slipped from menace to world society to valuable oil-rich trade partner with alarming ease (He's been bombed before, in 1986. What is it with us, and bombing a nation without deposing of the leader properly? 1990s, Iraq, 1980s, Gaddafi. Always comes back to bite us.) has had a UN no-fly zone enforced over his country. I'm pretty certain this is the political equivalent of a bad boy at school being forced to stay indoors over break, by all the bigger boys hanging outside his door, and then punching him in the face if he even looks at the door wistfully. It's been enforced pretty strongly, with the US military saying they fired at least 110 missiles. Perhaps a better analogy would be to have the bigger boys outside the door kick in the door and start shooting at the boy.

Better news! Conservatives have revealed that they will back pensioners! and that is entirely true, just part of a longer sentence, the end part of which they mumbled. The full phrase was "The Conservatives will back Pensioners! Into an economic corner in the kitchen of capitalist ideals, from which there is no hope of escape with current financial methods, probably because we've greased the floor with lax rules on the fiscally irresponsible banking industry and left the lion of corporate tax avoidance and increasingly right-wing corporatism in there with her and told it not to let her out." (For those of you asking, that lion is called Trevor the Lobbyist Lion). Admittedly this was the Scottish Tories (Despite Thatcher's best efforts, such a thing still exists. I was as shocked as you to find this out) in the build up to the highly anticipated Scottish Elections, but still, they said it.

Some people are calling the Scottish Elections a two horse race between Labour and SNP, but I think that's unfair. It's a 5 horse race, but the Blue horse, "Helen of Tory" was put down in 1990 during the poll tax riots, and hasn't been running the same since. Not so much a dark horse as "Blacker than the deepest black imaginable on the fringes of a giant black hole...horse". The Orange horse, "Leggy Cleggy", was caught in the crossfire of a political battle outside Westminster, and got shot in the foot. It won't say who did it, but no-one remembers seeing it get hit and its gun was suspiciously absent one bullet, so all logic points to it shooting itself. An outside chance, provided the inside chances contain every possible combination of events, including apocalypse, that are more likely than the Orange horse winning. The Green horse, "We Keep Harpering on about the Environment" only has one leg, brays endlessly about ecological disaster, and remembers the pasture being greener than it is now. Worth a punt, provided you don't like winning when you gamble. The Red horse, "Brown But Not Out" is still recovering from being ridden by a jockey who crashed it into a fence, tragically killing 10 spectators, and then falling at the third fence, avoid economic armageddon. Could do well under the new jockey. Last one now, the Yellow horse, "Leap like a Salmond", good at crossing political hurdles, very poor on the flat, likes soft turf, doesn't like keeping promises. Firm favourite for this race, odds-on at the bookies, but largely through default at the other horses being terrible.

Expect no more of these, and you might not be disappointed, but if you raise your expectations a little more, I might do another one of these with other sports before the actual election. Or after it. Whatever. Who am I to be constrained by political dates?!

Made Up News/books

No made up news today. If I ever find time to finish "Brave New World", there will be a made up bit about that. See how literary I am? Fear me. Fun fact, a large number of my books point towards a dystopian future in one form or another. In fact, I can pretty accurately sum up any dystopian future book here. I will DO THAT instead of made up news. I call this section "Made Up Books".

Ironic Title, possibly referencing earlier works of literary importance, perhaps, "The Elephant's Nose*" from the Just so stories.

Brief description of the dystopia humanity has descended into (Unless it's HG Wells, in which case, brief monologue by the main character to an assembled crowd of astonished, but largely incredulous bystanders, told by the perspective of one of the attendees, who is merely "Laying out the facts, as it were" introduces the book/story) which will pick an aspect of the current life, either real (Oppression by governments: 1984, Orwell) or allegorical (Class distinction separating the Eloi and Morlocks into workers and do-nothings**: Time Machine, HG Wells) and amplify it to such an extent that humanity ceases to function in a manner we can really recognise, making it seem alien and unknown. Introduction of main character, who can see through the flaws of the dystopia, making him human and relatable to the reader, but ultimately ostracised and unusual (Perhaps freakish) to the other characters in the book, from whom he will increasingly find a sense of detachment. This character will increasingly become misanthropic, before finding someone he feels he can trust, all with the backdrop of the dystopia looking increasingly unusual to the reader.This will motivate the character to do something about the circumstances he finds himself, but his partner will inevitably betray him in some manner (provided we include dying to be emotional betrayal, robbing a man of his support). The character will then look to leave the dystopia in some manner, in 1984, by sacrificing Julia and himself to believe the "truth", in Time Machine by going home, etc. There the book will end, a bleak, blunt awareness of the dangers these ideas hold, and how we must rally against them, whilst we can. The dystopia must defeat the protagonist, how else will the reader grasp how dangerous this is? Anyways. There we are, the perfect dystopian novel. Just add water.

*No, it doesn't also have to sound like the name of a vaguely modern bistro on a quiet city street, but it helps. In fact, all the Just So stories could be pubs. The Whale's Throat, The Camel's Hump, The Rhinoceros' Skin etc. Maybe I'll start up "Just So" pubs, one day.

**It's worth noting, the Time Machine was written in 1895, when the upper class was pretty prevalent, and thus this dystopia made sense at the time. Nowadays, the much wider middle-class would have trouble seeing themselves as the Eloi, I imagine. Exciting FACTOID, there.

St Factrick's Day (Lies about St Patrick's Day)

St Patrick was invented in 1811 by the then little-known Guinness company, based in Ireland. St Patrick himself wasn't officially deemed a saint until over 100 years later, when he cured former chief executive of Guinness and brief "prisoner-who-was-released-on-wildly-suspicious-medical-reasons" Ernest Saunders of the Alzheimer's disease which so crippled him during the 10 months he spent in jail on fraud charges to complete the set of "Become a Saint: the Stickerbook"* with that elusive "Perform a miracle" sticker. You have to collect two of these, so they made something up about running the snakes out of Ireland to push it through. You know how it is with the Catholic church.

Politically, St Patrick's day was deemed so important by the 1951-55 Churchill government that in 1952, they declared St Patrick's day and the following working day to be bank holidays, Churchill saying to the house "Esteemed lords, right honourable gentlemen, let's get BLADDERED! Four day weekend, who's with me?!", which was met with an almighty cheer, for in that year, St Patrick's fell on a Monday, and under the rule, both Monday and Tuesday were taken off. This rule lived with us for more than 50 years, until in late 2003, amidst the furore about the Iraq war, the Labour government quietly removed these bank holidays. The Chilcott Inquiry found that the whole war was merely a cover up for the removal of these rules, Tony saying at the time "Why couldn't Thatcher have done this during the miner's strikes?! St Patrick's costs our economy £450 million a year. Something HAD to be done."

*"Become a Saint: the Stickerbook" was the brief, but unsuccessful attempt by the Catholic church to regain the youth market (I could make the joke you're expecting about their modern attempts being worse than that, but I won't) in the early 80s. Patrick was the only person who even attempted to collect all 42 Biblical parables (double page centre), so it was in the church's best interests to help him finish it. Patrick frequently wrote to the Pope, asking for other stickers, including "being exhumed" and "Having relics taken".

All of that, obviously, is not true.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Terrible Puns. Terrible. Cataclysmically Bad.

At least, semi-bad news. I just found a full page of job-related puns I appear to have written (It's my handwriting, but I don't remember doing it. Logically I either merely forgot it, or, more likely, was briefly possessed.) so I shall type them out for your eyes now. These really are terrible.

The geology industry rocks! The bakery industry rolls. (Additional point: This joke was actually the moment of inspiration for the "rock cake". True story.)

I tried to break into the padlock industry.

I was going to get an ice cream van, but I thought the business plan was a little too flakey.

I was going to be a plumber, but I heard it's going down the drain, but I hear you could be flushed with success if you manage to tap into the market, but I didn't want to sink any more money into the idea. (Another pun, I had two plumbers working in my room, and they were making a lot of noise, so I asked them if they could "Pipe down". They did not see that as funny. True story.)

I wanted to be a gardner, because I hear they're raking it in. (I hear they're living a leaf of luxury. No? Too bad. Alright.)

I had a new idea for a conical shoe which I thought would take off if only I could get my foot in the door.

I invested heavily in space travel, but it never really took off.

I thought about being a funeral director before someone told me it's a dying trade.

I wanted to learn how to cook, but I didn't have enough Thyme. (Yes, we're nearly at the end now.)

The last one is just a confusing "Rabbit salesman - hare-brained scheme?" and then, curiously, a drawing of a guy sitting at a desk with an eyepatch with the phrase "Retired pirate gets an office job". And also, the pun "ebooleant algebra".

If you thought these were bad I've been sitting on a wealth of "nan" puns for nearly a week now, so look out for that bad boy some time in the future.

I was going to write some jokes about Japan, but I thought I'd be met with a ... wave of disapproval. I mean, everyone else is doing it, it's hardly earth-shattering stuff, but you know, it might have brought the house down. I asked a friend and he said "I hope you Tokyo time writing this stuff. Are you going to Sendai relief package?" and I thought "Maybe I'll wait, it's too Tsu-n. Alright, I Gifu-p.".

Monday, 14 March 2011

Lib-Dems do some Soul Searching

Ed Miliband, Labour leader, pro-AV and "Alright at the Rubik's cube when he was younger", has said the Yes2AV campaign would be better off without Nick Clegg's involvement. Ed Miliband calling you unpopular amongst the electorate must be a brutal experience, akin, one only imagines, to being called a womanising philanderer by Silvio Berlusconi, or accused of vote rigging by Robert Mugabe. Miliband explicitly used the phrase "The best thing Nick Clegg can do... is lie low for a bit.", and giving Miliband credit where he's due, I'm pretty certain the use of "Lie low" like a criminal is intended. "No officer, I know I explicitly promised not to break into that house and steal all of their possessions, but then I met my good friend David and he told me it'd be tickety-boo.". Perhaps the best part of this phrase is the imagery that Clegg is on the run from the electorate, as we storm into his house in a night-time raid, he's holed up with his cousin's friend Timmy "till the heat wears off", whilst outside, posters with pictures of his face under "Wanted" flutter around the streets like the paper promises that fluttered behind him in his campaign based on not breaking promises.

Speak of the Devil, Nick Clegg has told the Lib Dem conference that "we will not lose our soul". Before later adding "Sell it, maybe, but we would never lose it. That would just be careless.". Of course, the Liberals pawned their soul in 1988 to some dodgy dealers, and have been saving up to buy it back since then (Boom, take that, SDP!). Some of the crowd were confused by Nick Clegg's words, saying afterwards "Of course we'll never lose our Soul, we keep it next to our smooth jazz and Electronica sections. I can't get enough of Kraftwerk's 1981 album Computer World, so I see our Soul section often.", with another crowd member adding "It's all very well saying we won't lose our sole, but other fish numbers are depleting rapidly and to focus on a fairly unpopular dish at the expense of cod and haddock is to give in to Brussels!", before muttering something too obscene to recreate here in front of your delicate eyes about European fishing quotas.

Also at the conference this week, Nick Clegg, so used to being in opposition as a Lib Dem, has forgotten the golden rules of being in government: Don't make promises you can't keep, unlike in opposition, where make outlandish promises to make the current incumbents look incompetent for failing to deliver tax cuts and a golden-egg laying goose in every household. The promise he's going to fail to keep this week is NHS reform. "Yes to NHS reform, no to privatisation". The Tories, well known for their opposition to privatisation, provided you missed their previous forays into government by being particularly poorly informed, or in my case, 5 when they were kicked out, are surprisingly keen on making money at the expense of the poor. Privatisation, of course, is a runaway success, provided that the runaway in question is a four year old who has been denied her sweets, so has stormed out of the house, and is now cold and wet in the park, possibly crying, with British Rail (Just one example, off the top of my head), but perhaps we should hold off with the NHS. Still, Nick Clegg has vowed not to let it happen, so I'll see you in our new privatised NHS next year, possibly bleeding heavily and being ignored.

Iris Robinson, most famous for having an affair, and then using political advantage to help her (Uh... apparently the closest male equivalent of a mistress, and I can't believe I have to type this word) gigolo, is not to be charged by people in power. Lesson learnt, if you want to get undeserved advantage, sleep with a leading politician. David Blunkett proved it with the whole "visa application for the nanny of his lover" fiasco. That's when I started to have an affair with Margaret Thatcher, which is how I can afford my luxurious lifestyle, where I dine on nothing but pheasant and veal cutlets. I should stress, I'm not actually having an affair with Margaret Thatcher. Unlike Edwina Currie, I'm not a big fan of having affairs with leaders of the conservative party of the last 30 years for political gain. ZING. (More research turns out, this should be "members", because she also had an affair with the hilariously misnamed "Right Honourable" Lord Cecil Parkinson. She must have a captivating personality. Or Conservative MPs are terrible husbands. Probably the latter.)

Since this has been in the news, STILL, to my constant bemusement. Couple get married. Entire world explodes in jubilation for unfathomable reasons. Two strangers you don't know are getting married. It happens every weekend and no-one cares, unless it's Will and Kate. To go with the inexplicable nature of the public delight at the marriage, William has his name shortened to "Wills", in a manner with is completely perplexing. Will, I could understand, perhaps, at a push, Willy. But Wills MAKES NO SENSE. Why would you throw that final "s" on there? WHY?! To go with other pointless nicknames that bear little resemblance to the actual names, Charles has announced he wishes the press would refer to him as "Chocolate Thunder". "It's the nickname I had at school and was going to be my name on the pro-wrestling circuit before I was cruelly snatched away and forced to be next in line to the throne." whilst Eugene and Beatrice have demanded to be called "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" after the characters from The Cat in the Hat. Likewise, Prince Andrew wishes to be called "The Cat" in the tabloids from now on, finding "Randy Andy" a tad old. The Queen has asked to be nicknamed "Q" after the character from modern Bond films, adding "I think Judi Dench is so positively marvellous!", whilst Prince Philip wants to be called "Adonis" after his classical Greek roots. I could take the easy shot of suggesting Harry be called "Der Fuhrer!", but that's cheap and lazy, and I'm better than that. Instead I'll leave that blank.

Made Up News

No made up news today. Consider the nicknames I gave to royals as the made up news. And the bit about me having an affair with Thatcher. Basically consider everything I impart to you as 4 parts news to one part lies, at BEST.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cricket world Cupsets! And News for non-cricket fans

There's been a few intriguing sporting upsets over the past month. I say that; there's been so many unpredictable wins that one of my nan's is considering having a crack at the WBO Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Miranda, (She's got a good left hook, very much a counter-attacking boxer, solid defensive game but has a tendency to leave her right side exposed in later rounds, especially if she's recently been on the offensive) and my other nan is going to the Lakeside to have a go at the world darts championships (She's got two 9-dart finishes to her name, averages 94 for three darts in practice, has a bit of trouble hitting her doubles to seal the win).

First off, the world of cricket. To say Ireland beating England at cricket was a mere upset would be the understatement of, at the very least, the entire history of mankind. This was an upset of such staggering proportions I would have put my money on a biblical plague striking the field of play before I'd have put money on the Irish side. England had looked semi-competent (Then in this game, they fielded like 4 year olds with some sort of hand-eye co-ordination deficiency, possibly called "England Test Player in the 90s" syndrome), whilst Ireland had already lost to Bangladesh, so Ireland should have played the role of good little associate nation, and been roundly thumped by the test team of England. However, Ireland's Kevin O'Brien forgot his script, and instead of asking for his lines, decided to wing it with a remarkable test century. Certainly one of the better international centuries by someone with pink-dyed hair, along with Jack Hobbs' test centuries (3) in the 1911-12 Ashes tour where he got a pink rinse for a dare on the boat across, and Mrs Slocombe's marvellous test century which she ground out with her opening partner Geoffrey Boycott in 1977 against a formidable Australian bowling attack. O'Brien's was the quickest world cup century ever, and pretty exciting to watch. To put this victory into perspective, thus far, no other associate nation has beaten a test nation. Another associate nation, Kenya, haven't just been hammered by the test nations, they've been glued, nailed, screwed onto a wall and used as a spice rack.

Then, still reeling from the shock of this upset, I watched the rugby this afternoon, fully expecting to see the French stuff the Italians like they were preparing a chicken for a family of 4 and wanted to add a delicious accompaniment for the meal, when another sporting upset of a magnitude I can barely fathom stepped in. The Italians won by a solitary, defiant point, causing what may well be the biggest six nations upset in history. In fairness, they deserved it and France spent the whole game playing fairly poorly. They pulled off a comeback of Lazarus-esque proportions (Or perhaps I should say Kenny Dalglish, since I'm in a sporting mood) to win from 18-6 down. I haven't really got anything else to say. Well done Italy, this is a reward, which I am going to award solely to Sergio Parisse's preposterous passing out of tackles.

The world of non-sporting upsets now, and good news! David Cameron's "Happiness Index" plan is going to go ahead at a cost of £2 million. He said to a packed crowd of reporters outside number 10 "We'll see how happy this nation REALLY is. At a cost of £2 million, they better be happy." and, after some questions he added "No, I don't think nurses should be paid more, not till we know how happy they are.". He says we should focus on how happy we are as a nation, rather than how much we produce (GDP). Coincidentally, this would be the first year a happiness record was taken, guaranteeing that the happiest Britain since records began would be the Cameron government. Also, focusing on happiness instead of GDP sounds sneakily like something someone who's GDP is falling at the fastest rate since 1830 (Possibly longer, earliest records I could find were then) would do.

This is too small to make a big deal of, but Aaron Porter (NUS President) is to stand for the candidacy in Leicester south. For Labour. I'm surprised he didn't elect to try and stand for the Lib Dems, given that they share so much in common, like making promises to students, then reneging on those explicit promises. His campaign thus far has included guarantees of a unicorn in every back garden of his constituents by 2017, greater public transport by griffin, and that Leicester City will win the premier league within 3 years of his candidacy being announced, so inspired shall they be. I look forward to seeing how this pans out.

Made up news

Brian May (Of Queen fame, not any other Brian May you may know of. Don't question any local elderly neighbours who happen to be called Brian May about this) recently finished his Ph.D. in astrophysics. The 13-time Perm-wearer of the year (Between 1974 and 1990. Kevin Keegan won it twice, 75 and 76) said to an adoring crowd "I should never have turned my back on physics. Sure, being a rock god had it's upside, but I feel the world of astrophysics called to me all the time I was in Queen. You could say I'm going from stardom to star-gazing.".

And finally, the light-hearted piece of news that most news shows insist on adding as relief from the never-ending onslaught of disaster that makes up the news, a man has started reading books from the very beginning, in chronological order. He said to the local news, "I've only just started, I'm about halfway through the Epic of Gilgamesh, hopefully I'll be able to get to the early 18th century before I die. I'm looking forward to Homer's works and Virgil's Aeneid, and of course, the Grecian god Kronos, to whom I dedicate my deed." and, later, when he was asked if he pursued everything with such a bizarre chronological bent, he refused to comment, but did say that Duck Soup was a tremendous film and that he once watched all 13 televised World Cup Finals back to back in an epic marathon, and could categorically state that the 1990 final was the worst ever for the neutral.

Stickin' it to the Man!

This week, I take on large multinational companies who have clearly, to some extent, gone out of their way to infuriate me.

Beginning with my local Tesco, which, aside from only stocking mince in 500 gram packets (That's too much for one person to eat in a single serving of loneliness, thus meaning you must let half of it go off in the fridge before you use it to eat the same meal twice in two days) have decided to stock Orange Squash. "Orange Squash!" thought I, naive to the wily ways of the Tesco empire. "Yum yum." I mumbled to myself, much to the great confusion and general alarm of passing shoppers. But as I reached down to the glowing bastion of orange delight, I recoiled in horror as I saw they had only non-sugar versions of the cordial I so craved. Now, I'm a man for the choice of sugar-free squash, as history shows, but I'm not a fan of the juice itself. Sell the sugary stuff. LET ME LIVE MY OWN LIFE, TESCO.

Then later this week, Google decided to come out to offend me. Now, you may not recall this, but several weeks ago, I wrote a selection of Jew puns. This, surprisingly garnered me some actual traffic from Google, so with a quick google search, I found I come second for the search "Jew Pun". However, if you are to alter that search to "Funny Jew Pun", I get relegated to impossibly far down the list. What are you trying to say Google?! You think my puns aren't funny!? Say it to my face instead of behind the veil of selective search rejection. You make me sick, Google.

That's all who have gone after me THIS week. Stay tuned to see if any more multinational companies take the bait (We're cheerfully glossing over my bank since if I were to begin to describe how far they step out of line to repeatedly kick me in the crotch I would end up with a litany of brutal overdraft charges that would make even Stalin mumble "Steady on, mate, he's only gone overdrawn by a pound. Ease up.").

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Home Alone

Home Alone is a socio-political satire about the fall of the Iron curtain and the collapse of communism: Discuss.

The robbers are clearly the imperialist forces of the late 20th century America, marauding into communist controlled lands, whilst Kevin represents the ill-prepared and poorly educated but wily guerilla forces of the Vietnam conflict.
The frequent checking of the house by the robbers was the political awareness of the situation in Vietnam by American intelligence. The Robbers repeatedly try to break into the house to no avail, representing the frequent attempts to conquer Vietnam and Korea that the Americans had. Ultimately, they eventually manage to make their way in, but are frequently caught by rudimentary traps, laid by Kevin. Eventually, of course, the Americans pulled out of Vietnam, but in this alternate reality set up in the film, the criminals are ultimately held accountable for their despicable actions and communism reigns on in the McCallister household. You could also suggest that the stupidity of the robbers and, in particular, Daniel Stern's character's unwillingness to go through with it, as a critique of the draft conscription America enforced for the Vietnam war in the latter stages, collecting untrained and unmotivated troops.

Or perhaps we could say that Kevin himself represents communism, whilst the rest of the household represent the capitalist forces working against him (One notable scene at the start is where Kevin pushes Buzz, and the whole family erupts into chaos, eventually calling him a stupid idiot and sending him to the room upstairs (clearly a reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the fact that Buzz started it also points to the fact that America had weapons on the Soviet border for years prior to the crisis). Kevin also wishes his whole family would just "disappear", an allusion to the desire to spread communism worldwide) but ultimately, the forces of communism are required to protect the household, which could represent the working man, from the corruption of criminals, which capitalism does not defend adequately against. Kevin spends much of the film in a red sweatshirt. Coincidence? I think not. The film was released just after the end of the cold war, so it could suggest to the world that capitalism needs communism and that communism needs capitalism. "The political bird cannot fly with one wing, he needs both a left and a right to remain afloat" as Mikhail Gorbachev notably, did not say.

In both these examples, though, we could suggest that the Mother, initially portrayed as an uncaring beast who left her child to die, is ultimately a mythical, god-like character, who betrays her children and abandons them, but is appreciated by them regardless. Towards the end of the film, although Kevin, representing humanity in this example, is doing all the struggling and hard work, she swoops in and "Saves the day", earning praise from bystanders whilst Kevin's work goes ultimately ignored by the rest of the family. This is further reinforced by Kevin keeping a picture of his mother under his pillow as a good luck charm, equivalent to the Bible on the bedstand or a Torah on the table. This message is reinforced by the dogmatic nature of the mother towards Kevin, scolding and punishing him severely for a relatively minor offence, perhaps a crude attack on the nature of our own God. You could argue that the fact the mother is absent whilst Kevin is alone is to represent the relative atheism of the communist states compared to the capitalists. The whole film is set to the backdrop of Christmas, whereupon our "God" character returns to us to welcome is in a loving embrace, and we immediately forget that she is responsible for this calamity.

All in all, I think Home Alone is a very thoughtful and moving allegory for the downfall of communism in the early 90s, well-constructed, but with a little room for ambiguity (Some people only perceive it as a light-hearted cheerful holiday film, the philistines) that has left film critics up and down the land bamboozled. I think it's fair to say none of them truly "understand" this film in any real regard. 9.5/10

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tripoli-tical Animal

The story of Libya rumbles on like the hungry stomach of a malnourished child is one of Africa's sub-Saharan nations this week. Colonel Gaddafi, current leader of the "Worst falling despot 2011" league tables and voted "Most Melty Face (UN-edition)" for three years running, has taken to being toppled from power with all the good grace of a professional footballer who has been caught by the referee. "What do you mean, I was offside!? I was yards onside! Ref, come on! You're just taking this out on me because of that bad tackle and the mass genocide I have wreaked upon the rebel forces! You could have booked me instead of all this!" I imagine he would say. Libya has descended into what is essentially a civil war, with Gaddafi hurling airstrikes at the problem, hoping it'll go away, whilst the rebel forces have started arming themselves to deal with the threat. Gaddafi, of course, has been masterminding his attack from his fortress at Mount Doom in Mordor, sending his Orc army out to attack under the leadership of Saruman. Wait no, sorry, I've just been told that was in fact Lord Sauron of Lord of the Rings fame. Very similar characters, those two. Gaddafi has been attacking from his only marginally bombed stronghold in Tripoli, whilst insisting like a police officer at a murder scene at the passing media: "Move along, move along, nothing to see here.", when in fact, there is, quite a lot to see. Some of which the Chief Prosecutor at the ICC (International Criminal Court, not the other ICC, the cricketing body.) is interested in, saying "No one has the right to massacre civilians". Good to see he's on the ball. That being said, one of Gaddafi's sons said to Sky that the bombs were "just to frighten them". Blimey. Imagine what they'd do if they wanted to kill them.

In a similarly 80's vibe (Hating Gaddafi was all the rage back then, I hear/know because he was bombed in '86), making a strong comeback, wearing his "I love the 80's!" t-shirt and leather jacket, it's football hooliganism and sectarian violence! Glasgow witnessed one of the worst tempered football matches in a long line of bad tempered football matches. 3 red cards, 13 yellows, and a touchline fight between Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist. Neil Lennon, only on the touchline because he was appealing his touchline ban, and Ally McCoist, normally fairly mild-mannered, went head to head at the end of the game, because, clearly, the result of a football tie between two clubs in a nation renowned for being crap at football is THAT important. Oh, wait, this is the most I've heard about Scottish football all year, and only because of the fighting. No-one said "Oh, well, it was a good game, plenty of free-flowing attacking football", everyone said "There was a FIGHT!". Basically, Scotland clearly wants and needs a "Have a fight" league. Rangers and Celtic will still be the two biggest clubs, but there's more of a chance for the smaller clubs to get a big cup win.

Other improbably large news, for no real reason, US TV star goes a little bit crazy, world explodes into chaotic madness, not so much blowing Libya off the front pages as kicking Libya in the face, laying dynamite under it, and exploding it directly into next week. Yes, it's Charlie Sheen, star of a US sitcom, who did some drugs and hired some prostitutes. Not normally a story of proportions as epic as this, but the man is churning out golden quotes like a magic goose churns out golden eggs. I'll give you a brief list of my favourites:
"I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body." is my personal favourite. It may well be my favourite thing anyone has ever said out loud, purely for how silly it is. But he tries to trump it with:
"I got tiger blood, man. My brain...fires in a way that is - I don't know, maybe not from this particular terrestrial realm.". Perhaps he is a tiger-blooded alien. I guess we'll never know.

In other TV news, Bargain Hunt (BBC) has taken on a new slant, as this week two teams gather together to try and corrupt influential culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, but who will do it at the lowest price? On the red team, we have Rupert Murdoch and his son, who have gone in with the surprisingly low bid of splitting Sky news from BSkyB, so as to keep Sky News' peerless editorial integrity that it had when Murdoch owned a mere 39% of it, and his son was Chairman. On the other side, the British public have offered critical disapproval of the red team whilst demanding a stronger BBC (Or at least, they should be). Corporation versus Proletariat, I wonder which way lifelong-Tory, Jeremy Hunt will go. IT IS A MYSTERY.

Made Up News

David Cameron has revealed his newest promise to the people, saying "I have a team of our best researchers working day and night to help me craft one ring to rule them all. Sorry, did I say "Me"? I meant "Us". So that we can do it. Together.". The pledge, not featured until late in the manifesto ("Lower taxes for the middle class, greater distribution of wealth amongst the nation, craft one ring to rule them all, better housing, benefit cuts") is said to be a personal ambition of the prime minister's. "If you lot won't bother to be a Big Society, I guess I'll have to carve the Uruk-hai out of the Earth itself in order to get these libraries run properly. Say what you like about them getting mud on the books, those orcs certainly know how to organise a good Dewey Decimal system" said the Witney MP. Cameron waved aside any comparisons between him and Lord Sauron, saying that it was "Outlandish" and "Derisory" to slur him with such an association. Nick Clegg, upon hearing the news, said "I know we promised to fight the forces of evil, doing what is right and good and bringing sunshine into an otherwise dark and pitiless world, but times change, and we have to move with those times, and I for one, welcome our new Overlord. All hail Lord Cameron!" before fleeing under the penetrating gaze of the might "Eye of Cameron".

It has recently been revealed that the real reason Elvis Presley got the nickname "The King" was not because of his status as "King of Rock and Roll", but because of his illicit love affair with the Queen. This is also thought to be the location of his nickname "the Pelvis", but thus far reports of his enthusiastic sexual technique have been unsubstantiated. With the release of the news, the Queen released a short statement saying "He certainly took me to Heartbreak Hotel every night, and I let him be my Teddy bear, but when it turned out he was nothing but a hounddog, he got me all shook up, and so I HAD to be cruel, I said "It's now or never for us", and, though he accused me of being the devil in disguise, I said "It's Too much", and now I'm lonesome every night". (Feel free to go look up Elvis' list of singles. I'll wait here).

More musical news from the 1960s now, as Bob Dylan released the real reason he wrote the song "Like a rolling stone", as he had recently fired backing drummer Floyd Moss, and he said to then back-up drummer Redondo Chimara, "We're like a rolling stone: We gather no moss". Highly amused by his own witty persiflage, he wrote the entire song in one afternoon. When quizzed about it earlier this week after the release of Redondo's autobiography, he said "Yeah, it's true, me and Redondo shared some clever badinage, but I swear it's a socio-political political love song! I swear!" before being corrected and saying "Sorry, I meant "Redondo and I", not Redondo and me.".

All of that, made up fresh this week in my bakery of creative whimsy, number 45, Lie Street. Fun fact: Because of the heavy false content today, I was going to title this "Lie, Lie, Lie, Delilah" but the repetition of "Lie" in Delilah made me change my mind.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Swan of the Dead

Biggest story of the week? Forget revolutions in foreign nations, forget the Union issue in America! Someone has been killing swans in Somerset. First off, this is a heinous and horrid crime, but having remembered swans being the most vicious of all birds I have thus far encountered (Several harrowing trips to a local pond attest to this fact) I'm not entirely surprised someone has taken to shooting them with an airgun. The Queen, legally owner of all unmarked Mute swans, is said to have taken a very Victorian attitude, having declared to press "One is not amused.", in a nod to her predecessor, before adding "Shooting MY bloody swans?! I'm the QUEEN! I'm going to get that mo'fo and pop a cap in his ass" she exclaimed, but later apologised, saying "Sorry, I let my emotions carry me away and I lost my temper. This man shall be tried to the full extent of the law. Then hanged.". Royal aides were quick to inform Her Majesty that she wasn't legally entitled to hang him, to wish she responded "He's not legally allowed to shoot my bloody swans!" loud enough that it was picked up by the microphones. Prince Philip, for his part, has come out strongly in defence of his wife saying "If anyone's going to shoot those swans, it should be me! Who does this pleb think he is?!" to the crowd of journalists. The other royals have kept quiet, excluding Prince William who said he was very happy to be getting married, and no, he didn't know about the swan tragedy.

Second biggest news, in bizarro world, is the news of Governor Scott Walker, who originally wanted to be a Texas Ranger, after his namesake, saying in pre-governor interviews that "He felt the Wild West calling" and that "Us Walkers are bred for it, you know?". He later rescinded these statements, saying "All my life I've wanted to take away the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin's unions." immediately after his election. Curiously, the man is a confusing mix of enigmatic and disarmingly honest. At times, you feel his mind accidentally lets something really stupid slip, like, say, admitting to criminal acts in a prank phone call that was recorded. Or, perhaps, claiming this is about budget balancing whilst handing huge tax breaks to people. Then worse, saying, even if the union agreed to all of his budgetary demands, he wouldn't accept unless they rescinded the ability to collectively bargain, making it almost completely NOT about budgets. Still, typical American understatement came to the fore as always, comparing him to Hosni Mubarak and Gaddafi on the news. To us Brits, this is roughly the same as accusing Boris Johnson of being Stalin or Saddam Hussein because of his dictatorial ideas on congestion charge. First off, Wisconsin voted this man in, which is notably different to most dictatorships where either [a] there are no elections, [b] the elections are rigged, or [c] You are Mugabe, and you lose a rigged election (Graveyards in Zimbabwe are called Robert Mugabe Appreciation Centres, admittedly only by me, but it'll catch on) and just claim to have won, give the loser a nominal position and let him not be dead. Next up, notably, they aren't being shot and killed for political dissidence. Now this may seem a small thing, but being able to march against someone without being killed is fairly cool, so please don't pretend you are like people who risked their own life against oppression. Finally, these people were against DECADES of political control, your man Scott has been in for less than 2 months (Impressive level of hate generated in that brief a time period though). This sort of RIDICULOUS comparison detracts from the argument at hand, that is to say, the removal of union rights to try and get a better deal. It's stupid. I know it's stupid. But fight that, not the idiot in charge. This is a stupid policy, by a stupid man.

On a side-note, American Politics is almost appallingly confusing and terrifyingly bad. Several of your key men are barely coherent at public speaking (Far less political rhetoric). At least, I assume they're your key men, they could be the lowest of the low. I have no idea how that system works. Get yourselves a proper parliament. You could probably buy ours off us (Corruption joke! Booyah.) if the tabloid "exposes" are to be believed. But having watched footage of debates, I'm genuinely scared to admit that George Bush wasn't actually "bad" by the standards of your Houses, merely over-promoted.

Another news story now, the media plutocracy has taken a big hit with the news that Rupert Murdoch is selling off Sky News to allay fears he might control too much news by Ofcom. He already owns the Sun, the News of the World, the Times and the Sunday Times, but wants to buy Sky. Fortunately for him, they're looking likely to sell Sky to him. Coincidentally, Rupert Murdoch's son is a former CEO and current Chairman of BSkyB, having been given the job whilst his father's company owned 39% of the company. For some reason this prompted calls of nepotism. I don't want to be mean, but hey, they may have a point. Nepotism is all the rage, everyone's doing it, I mean, I'm not saying Jesus wasn't the best man for the role of Messiah, but all I'm saying is I put in a CV and never even heard back. Maybe Rupert Murdoch genuinely thinks he's God now. On the plus side, that means at some stage we all get to crucify James Murdoch. Anyways, they've ruled that a 100% ownership of Sky News is too much (As opposed to the reasonable and not at all output-affecting 39% they own just now. I think it's just coincidental they adopt a right-wing position similar to Murdoch's other media outlets) so Sky will split Sky News and sell everything else to Murdoch. Simple.

German news now, and a senior minister in Germany, having initially taken an extended leave of absence, has now resigned. The reason? He's had his doctorate stripped for plagiarism. There's a good moral lesson for anyone there, if you intend to cheat in a test, either do it so brilliantly you never get caught, or try to avoid becoming a high-ranking government official. What astonishes me most about this it that it's a doctorate, a pretty high-level qualification. Seems to me you must feel pretty bizarre about having to cheat your way through your own "field of expertise". If I were in that position, I'd think about picking a new field to be an expert in, perhaps one I wasn't so crap at. Also, Colonel Gaddafi's son is having HIS doctorate thesis questioned. You know, if we can't trust the son of a leader who took his nation in a coup, managed to collapse it and rebuild it and is now killing protesters, who CAN we trust? I'd suggest "Not Sky News" based on the previous story.

It's been a bad week for animals as a whole, with the news that, following an argument with his sister, 54-year-old Darrell Duffill (there's your first mistake: People with alliterative names should be completely fictional. Anyone who gives a real child alliteration in their name needs to rethink. Only exception is marrying into alliteration), from Cornwall, opted to shoot dead her pet donkey. I normally wouldn't mention this sort of thing other than to comment on the deplorable nature of this, but for the fact his solicitor claimed he was an "Animal lover". Now, solicitors, of course, have to bend the truth a little at times, perhaps boost a client's good points a tad, but claiming a man who shot an innocent donkey to death is an animal lover is a stretch too far. She actually represented Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic at the Hague, claiming both were "Huge fans of the Bosnians" before adding "They love the traditional Bosnian culture and way of life". (That's a joke for all you fans of International Crimes against Humanity).

No time for sports news! A shame! Possibly a Cricket World Cup special coming up later, if I can bother to come up with suitable similes and metaphors to describe the stellar event. I've already got something about Indian crowds roaring like the tigers, except they are both more numerous, and less frequently killed for the Chinese medicine market. Flipside of this, British imperialists killed them in roughly equal numbers so, you know, third umpire rules that the metaphor stands, just got back to his crease in time, close one though, good dive by the metaphor, can he take this lifeline and notch up a big innings for the Literary Constructs? They rely very heavily on him and Simile at the top of the order, good all rounders those two, same with Pathetic Fallacy coming in at number 3 and Allegorical Tales coming in at 4. He's a big hitter. Expect all this and more. I may list the entire Literary Constructs XI, coached by any aspiring writer.

That's the news. We're done here.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Muammar Gaddafi, head of Libya and one-time coup d'etat champion of the world (1969, refuses to rule out a comeback) has spoken out against attempts to overthrow him (This would be less deeply ironic if he himself were not in power because of a regime change in Libya.) with dread warnings of civil war or US occupation. For starters, if the US wanted to invade Libya, they would have done it when Libya was voted "Most Mental Regime" at the annual UN vote (Most likely to succeed: India. America was the Prom Queen and Britain was the elder headmaster who ruled an empire of nations that all graduated in the 20th century), and, you know, bombed and stopped any planes flying into its airspace, rather than now, where Libya is "Most likeable trade partner, with a regime we despise but cannot do anything about." (Close seconds included Egypt and Tunisia. Seeing a pattern?). Secondly, if there were a civil war, people would be dying on the streets, killed by soldiers implementing orders, with soldiers who refuse burned in their barracks. Can you imagine such horrors in Libya? "What do you mean that's exactly what's happening now?" replied Colonel Gaddafi at a press conference. "Lalalala I can't hear you!" he sang. I swear, the middle east is in such a mess I'm afraid to click the Mid-East tab on cnn.com. Recently, Gaddafi has come out fighting, by completely denying that the protests are happening. He is genuinely going with a little-known dictatorial tactic "Ignore it and hope it goes away". Never used successfully by any dictator, but Gaddafi is a maverick like that. He's genuinely said he's loved by all of his people, except those ones protesting on the streets, and spreading rumours of his death. If there is a rumour you were shot, you are not well-liked (Unless it's just a light-hearted practical joke, but that sort of died out when that whole "We've assassinated the Archduke!" jape panned out so badly in 1914). The defence of "they all love me" is weaker than a lawyer at a court case going "You know he, uh, he don't look like he done it. The defence rests." whilst pointing at the accused in the face of a four day testimonial from the victim, a DNA expert and a witness all saying he did it.

Iran, jealous of the attention being fostered on mental world leaders, has hit back strongly in their bid to be "Most easily offended nation 2011" (If that Top Gear bit about Mexico was funny, I would have added in a joke about Mexico being strong contenders, but since it wasn't, we can knacker that joke off) with the revelation that the 2012 Olympics logo is racist. If you're wondering "How is that racist?!" then you're not mental. Well done. If you think "It spells Zion! LOOK AT IT! Of COURSE that's racist!" then you are hereby promoted to Iran's think tank on unusually mental acts (Including the recent gem to ban all foreign food television programmes (Real) and also to declare Coca-Cola an enemy of the state (Made up)) and given the role of "Executive director of insanity". The fact it's taken 4 years for them to spot it suggests that's it not a massively overt racism (Unlike the 1936 Berlin Olympics which had the logo of a persecuted minority being gassed and the 1904 St Louis games, owner of the iconic logo featuring a lynching) so we can assume it's unlikely to have been deliberate.

Traditional, home-grown good news story now (None of the high transfer price foreign news imported from other leagues) with the discovery of a new Enid Blyton book. It's not a continuation of her other series, including "Famous Five", slightly less successful "Secret Seven" and the almost unheard of "Nonchalant Nine*". All of which revolved almost exclusively around smugglers being quite bad. Enid Blyton actually infiltrated and stopped a heroin trafficking ring in 1922 under the assumed alias of Pete "White Heat" Jackson (She also infiltrated a heroine trafficking ring in 1924, from where she took Anne and George into safety). The recently found story is called "Mr Tumpy's Caravan" and, surprisingly for a book which revolves around a magic caravan, was not published, unlike the 1972 novel "Sprite", about a caravan which turned into a magic pixie at night and had adventures with little Tommy Elddis around the campsite, of course a allegorical tale to demonstrate that two large caravan manufacturers need not war over the fickle caravanner-market, which eventually won the author a Man Booker prize for stunning market insights relayed through a children's tale. (This is dependent on you knowing Sprite is a brand of caravan. I fully understand if you don't. However if you don't know Elddis is a make of caravan, shame on you)

There has been another legal appeal launched to get prisoners the vote. Britain, historically against giving prisoners the vote (Possibly on the basis that convicted rapists (The man appealing IS a convicted rapist, I'm not generalising) aren't best placed to decide the government of a nation) so this UN ruling is pretty against what we do round here, and how we roll. Fundamentally speaking, prison is a punishment. You don't get sent to your room for getting extra good grades and not punching people in the face. Rehabilitation and the associated efforts are nice (Although 40.1% reoffended as of 2008 Q1) that's not why they are there. If someone cannot make good decisions, and they have PROVED they cannot by virtue of being in jail, I don't want them voting. It's why the insane aren't allowed to vote. And Lords (Bop. That's what you get for trying to filibuster a bill to make it miss its deadline, you nonces. Feel that? That's the burn of righteous retribution). Also, this paper on reoffending rates has the alarming statistic on "Violence (Non-serious)". What's that, when you stab someone in a jokey manner? Jeez.

Non-news list of nun puns based around music. Don't say I'm not catering to a wide market.

Finally, I just watched Nuns Aloud, and, excluding the fact that it was terrible, I'm surprised the BBC didn't take a more creative pun over their simplistic wordplay. Perhaps "Nun Direction" to appeal to the youth? "Nun DMC" to appeal to the older hip-hop fans? Perhaps to appeal to the older mods, they should have gone with "The Nunkees"? Perhaps they want the 1990's Nirvana staple genre, Nunge music. Perhaps Nuns 'n' Roses would do a cover of their famous song, "Welcome to the Nungle". When do monks have their dinner? Nunchtime. Perhaps they should do a series about grammar? Call it System of a Noun! God, I'm on fire today. I feel like Attila the Pun.

*Another Footnote! The Nonchalant Nine was my particular favourite crime fighting team. "We've uncovered a smuggling ring Timmy!" "Tsk, whatever. I mean, so what, right?" and other gems including "We have you trapped!" "I guess you do. What do you expect us to do now, eh?" "Scream for help?" "You really thought we'd do that?" "...I guess not.". But only because they were more alliterative than the Apathetic Eight. Speaking of alliteration, I liked her Sibilant Six novels, in which every word began with s. For your own pleasure and delectation I have provided a list of alternative alliterative titles for future books about groups of kids.

Egregious Eight, who fail spectacularly in every book.
Disdainful Duo, a pairing who laugh in the face of the criminals. Literally. And chastise them for eating with the fork in the right hand.
Furtive Five, five people who solve crimes in increasingly secretive and complex ways.
Tricksy Trio, a group of young magicians foiling prison escapes with sleight of hand.
Fabulous Four, a group of excessively camp men solving crimes... of FASHION.
Spurious Seven, who just make up stories about them infiltrating smuggling rings, and waste police time.
Neglected Nine, who go out in their rags and accidentally discover a drug ring, but become "Mules" for money.