February 18, 2012

Scotland: 30 Fascinating Facts

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than three hundred years, but it is unlike anywhere else in Britain. Here are 30 facts you should know about the country:

1. Many phenomena traditionally regarded as Scottish were actually invented in England, such as the kilt, the haggis, alcoholism and domestic violence.

2. The Scots did, however, invent the television, the telephone and penicillin, thereby making Babestation a possibility.

3. They also invented tarmac, tyres and hollow pipe drainage, thereby making Top Gear a possibility.

4. The Clyde is the country's longest river. It is celebrated in the national anthem, "Flower of Scotland".

5. Famous Scottish thinkers include Adam Smith, David Hume, Alasdair MacIntyre and, of course, John Loch.

6. There are four different types of Scotch whisky: Single Malt, Double Malt, Blended and Hot. You can identify the so-called Hot whiskies by the word "Glen", the Scottish word for "hot", in their name: Glen Fiddich, Glen Farclas, Glen Campbell, Glen Dower and Glen Dimplex.

7. Built before the perfection of the arch, the longest Roman viaduct in the world links the Irish and North seas. Later Roman architects sarcastically referred to it as Hadrian's Wall and the name stuck.

8. The Glaswegian word for a girl's blouse is a "yin".

9. The national animal of Scotland is the moose, a "wee sleekit timorous beestie," in the words of the national poet, Maynard.

10. Saltire is the result of a poor Scots diet.

11. The sporran is named after the Scottish martyr Saint Sporran, who was hung by the goolies.

12. The title of the head of the Salvation Army in Scotland is the Right Reverend Captain Kirk.

13. Farmers in the west of Scotland who are overly fond of their sheep are known locally as "Arran Sweaters".

14. Edinburgh was the first British city to have its own fire brigade. And a Boys Brigade. Glasgow was the first to have a Red Brigade.

15. The correct way to serve haggis is with neaps and tatties. "Neaps" and "Tatties" are old Scots dialect for breasts.

16. It takes 20 years to paint the Forth Railway Bridge. However the first 10 years is spent arguing over the colour.

17. A spiky, poisonous and malicious plant, the thistle was traditionally used in Scotland as a mark of Cain, to stigmatise the outcast, the degenerate and the marginal. Remnants of the practice can be seen in such names as Partick Thistle, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and Scottish rugby. If you see a man wearing a thistle in his lapel today, he's probably a Conservative or a paedophile.

18. Football is a force that both unites and divides in Scotland. Every major conurbation has its own intense rivalry. In Edinburgh, it's between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian. In Dundee, it's between Dundee and Dundee United. And in Glasgow, of course, it's between Celtic and Partick.

19. People elope to Gretna Green to get married because of a loophole in The Acts of Union.

20. There is a tradition that at 1 o'clock everyday at Edinburgh Castle a Hearts manager is fired.

21. Temazepam is a savoury substance used to improve most Scottish fruitcakes.

22. Scotland Yard is the home of the famous "sniffer" dog, so-called because of its susceptibility to colds in Scotland's inclement climate. Indeed, a Scottie is both a breed of dog and the type of tissue used to blow its nose.

23. Many cynical smart-alecks think that an "Edinburgh Tattoo" refers to the track of needle marks in a heroin user's arm. In fact it is a colloquial nickname for a head-butt, usually accompanied by the phrase, "Stitch that, Jimmy."

24. The Scots are stereotypically depicted as mean, as exemplified by the tale of Greyfriars Bobby, a border collie who starved to death guarding his stash of bones.

25. The most second most popular phone network in Scotland is Orange, which comes close behind TiMobile.

26. During the 19th century, Scottish Shortbread was confusingly sold in England as "Ginger Biscuits".

27. A Shetland pony is £20.

28. The national sport of Scotland is Curly, the national hairstyle is Curly and the national dish is deep-fried Mars Bar.

29. It is a testament to the importance of literature and poetry in Scottish life that the majority of hospitals in the country have a Burns unit, named after Robert Burns. Many also have a Urology unit, named after Joan Ure, and some even have a Trauma unit, named after Thomas the Rhymer.

30. Many people mistakenly believe that the singer Ruby Murray is Scottish. In fact, she's an Indian.

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January 05, 2012

Mass Psychosis

Preliminary Report for the European Initiative on the Standardization of Emotional Response Measurement
(EUI #32549/P)

In an effort to further facilitate administrative alignment among the various members of the European Union, the Bureau of European Policy Advisers has initiated a process of defining and determining the full range of emotional and psychic attitudes exhibited by citizens of member states. It is hoped that such determinations will allow for the introduction and implementation of precise and targeted compensatory mechanisms to ensure a broadly similar habitus across the Union in lieu of other, more vulgar, quality-of-life measures such as leisure time and financial wealth. Initial attempts show some promise, but problems have arisen, particularly in the UK, because the full range of emotions are rarely encountered at a sufficient magnitude or frequency to be accurately assessed. This is reflected in the data below.

Unit of measurement: Goks (Gks)

Examples: According to the American Psychological Society, public speaking elicits the highest Gok rating, closely followed by walking along the edge of cliffs, holding a baby near heavy industrial machinery, and being spotted on CCTV exploring animals.

“Ever since I replaced milk in my porridge with Jack Daniel’s, presentations to the board of directors have been totally Gokless.”

1 Gok = the weight of accepting a dinner invitation ÷ the relief of turning it down

Unit of measurement: Twats (Twts)

Examples: “I was feeling relatively relaxed until I put on Jeremy Kyle, when my Twat rating went through the roof.”

In a control group of English males aged 18–35 and selected at random, Jedward’s inexplicable popularity elicited a level of anger that averaged 117 Twats.

Twats are measured by the number of junior executives on a golfing holiday pushing in ahead of you in the queue at the airport check-in.

Unit of measurement: Murrays (Mys)

Examples: The surliness level of Class 3G has increased by 15 Murrays since the French kid arrived.

According to Top Trumps, the back four of Liverpool’s reserve team has a surliness rating of 263 Murrays.

1 Murray = an adolescent driving and reversing his dad’s 4x4 over a sack of kittens for one hour. In the rain.

Unit of measurement: Baftas (Bfts)

Examples: “Cantona expressed his love for Leeds United in a Bafta-worthy speech.”

Nobody gave a fuck about anal fistulas in rural Mexico until Angelina Jolie got her Baftas out.

1 Bafta = 1 Alexander McQueen dress + hyperventilation
(not to be confused with Golden Globes [see Berry, Halle])

Unit of measurement: Loreals (Lols)

Examples: “I have no problem with Simon going to Benicassim with my daughter. The way he dealt with that interrogation by Special Branch showed me he’s a 10-Loreal bloke.”

“In order for you to qualify for a job as a journalist at News International, we require you to have a Loreal rating of 1/500.”

1 Loreal = the number of blonde Irish women ÷ the number of naturally blonde Irish women.

Unit of measurement: Mandelsons (Mdls)

Examples: “We have the cash to give the orphans a lovely trip to the seaside, but the national Mandelson level is at 16, so we'd better spend it on analysing their files to identify potential security threats.”

1 Mandelson = the energy required to beat ploughshares into swords.

Unit of measurement: Moomins (Mmns)

Examples: “Don’t put RTE News on, Susan. My Moomin rate is already at suicide-watch levels.”

“Franz! Stop moomin around in your room and get a job.” Mrs. Kafka, 1896

1 Moomin = the lack of energy required to get out of bed in the morning.

Unit of measurement: Ohms (Hms)

Examples: The rate of greed in Ireland peaked at over 90,000 Ohms in 2006, a clearly unsustainable level for the economy.

“How many Ohms do you have, Mr. Meacher?” Mark Thomas, 2001.

1 Ohm = 1 Heart.

Unit of measurement: Milibands (Mlbs)

Examples: The Labour Party’s current uselessness level stands at 2 Milibands.

1 Miliband = -1 Brown
1 Brown = -1 Blair
1,000 Milibands = 1 Foot

Units of measurement: Riens (apparent) and Kelvin (genuine)

Examples: In front of the government committee investigating phone hacking, Rupert Murdoch expressed 3,000 Riens of regret, but his actual level was 1 Kelvin.

1 Kelvin = an apology followed by apparent efforts to rectify the offence.
1 Rien = just the apology.

Unit of measurement: Silvios (Svos)

Examples: “I expected my knicker wetness to reach 30 Silvios when I met Johnny Depp, but all he could talk about was his sinusitis, so I only ended up with a milky 2-Silvio stain.”

It is an acknolwedged paradox that Tomb Raider the video game has a higher Silvio rating than Tomb Raider the movie, although some critics point to the greater realism of the former as an explanation.

1 Silvio = 2 Viagras + 1 defibrillator

Unit of measurement: Berbatovs (Bbtvs).

Examples: The phrases “I simply can’t be Berbatovvered,” “It’s too much Berbatovver,” and “Am I Berbatovvered?”

1 Berbatov = 94 minutes of inactivity, incorporating two minutes of mild interest.

Unit of measurement: Tories (Shts)

Examples: “I told the kids they couldn’t go on the Xbox after they beat me because I’d worn it out, but the truth is I had the Shts.”

Scotland is a Tory-free country. Notice how happy and generous the people are.

1 Tory = A festering miasma of unprincipled malevolence.

To be measured in Sepps (Sps)

Examples: “When the vicar caught me pissing in the shower, I hit 3 Sepps on the shameometer.”

After photocopies of her arse were hung up in the canteen, Amelia’s shame level went up by 16 Sepps.

Ironically, 1 Sepp = No shame whatsoever.

Unit of measurement: Carrs

Examples: Many people think that Gary Barlow is primarily motivated by vanity, but in fact he’s entirely Carr-driven.

Research has shown that attitudes towards immigrants and asylum-seekers in high-Carr societies correlate strongly with a propensity for erectile dysfunction and self-loathing.

1 Carr = 60 minutes of thoughtless, unjustifiable cruelty directed at the vulnerable and defenceless.

Pain (Subjective experience of)
Unit of measurement: Hurts (Hs) and Megahurts (MHs)

Example: Sitting on a bicycle saddle for a five-hour cycle ride generates bum soreness of 300 hurts. Sitting on a bicycle for a five-hour cycle ride without a saddle generates bum soreness of 3,000 megahurts.

See also: Cramps, the unit of measurement for feigned pain, as in “There’s Anelka rolling around on the floor with cramp again, the time-wasting bastard.”

Unit of measurement: Clarksons (Cksns) in boys and Twilights (Twghts) in girls

Examples: Any film featuring Seann William Scott automatically receives a film board rating of 18 Cksns.

Girls who find bastards attractive need to appreciate that said bastards regard them as nothing more than Twghts.

1 Clarkson = 1 Clarkson too many.
1 Twilight = Just a song.

An emotion that the assessors found almost impossible to standardize. They suggest that it be measured in Meaters (m.) [France], Inches (in.) [the United Kingdom], Siemens (Smns)[Germany] and Euros (€) [Holland].

Unit of measurement: Mickles (Mkls)

Examples. “Don’t worry about any default by the Irish government. Mick’ll do everything he can to please his European masters.”

85 billion Mickles =1 Merkel or, as they say in Brussels, “Many a mickle makes a merkel.”

Unit of measurement: American Imperial units

The assessors felt there was no need for a separate European measure.

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December 06, 2011

November 19, 2011

Wood I Lie to You?

Every year, the Société des Spectacles, France’s premier organization for stage performers, hoofers, actors, and thesps in general, presents its Estomac D’Or award to the individual or team nominated by their peers as the nation’s leading exponent of on-stage ventriloquism. We considered it to be in everybody’s interests to find out what has happened to those illustrious honorees over the years.

2010. Samira Guérin et Les Flics Monstrueux: Touring the provinces to nearly sold-out audiences.

2009. Yoann Bossis et “Flash”: Junior scriptwriter on Les Guignols.

2008. Franck Blanck et Macks Planck: Playing Obélix on Radio Canal Sud.

2007. Thierry Douis et Sonny: Dubbing Sunny Delight ads. Poorly.

2006. Zinedine Artelesa et Les Liaisons Onctueuses: PR adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy.

2005. Patrick Gondet et Phattseau: Presenter of the French version of The Antiques Roadsheau.

2004. Sylvain Bosquier et Tante Claudine: Timetable announcers at Gare de Lyon.

2003. Lilian Revelli et ses poupées ordinaires: Now performing as Liliane Revelli et ses poupées extraordinaires.

2002. Vincent Trésor et Paul le Doux: Successful career on French inland cruise ships and high-end canal barge holidays.

2001. Didier Carnus et Didier le Bois: On the run.

2000. Bernard Bereta avec son fils bavard: Police informer.

1999. David Guillou et Didier le Bois: Dead.

1998. Alain Platini et Kevin MacPherson: Self-employed Paris bus guides.

1997. Jean-Pierre Petit et Petit Jean-Pierre: The many voices of Garmin Français satellite navigation aids.

1996. Laurence Larios et Boule de Suif: Publicist for France’s Meat Marketing Board.

1995. Stéphane Tigana et Killer: Aisle Four, Carrefour Boulogne.

1994. Manuel Ribéry et Pipi: “Humourous” football commentators on Marseilles Radio Libre.

1993. Louise Zidane et Marie-Claire: Novelty Avon Lady.

1992. Jean-François Nasri et son Mec en Colère: Psychotic Offenders Wing, Saint Barthélemy’s Home for the Indigent and Murderous, Rennes.

1991. Jean-Marc Vieira et Héloise: Happily married to and living with Héloise.

1990. Hervé Henry et Suzi Wong: Offensive juggler.

1989. Emmanuel Gourcuff et Le Grand Oiseau Jaune: Sued by 5, Rue Sésame in 1991. Suicide.

1988. Marius Wiltord et Chocko: Retired carpenter. Living in the Ardennes.

1987. Philippe Ginola et Darkie: Touring the colonies.

1986. Marcel Des Champs et Charles de Gueule: Organizer of far right underground paramilitary group. Occasionally does benefit gigs in locations unknown.

1985. Yvette Thuram et Foulou: Still deceiving the blind.

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March 13, 2011

Evil Is as Evil Doves

British prime minister David Cameron recently received a lot of unjustified and unnecessary criticism from malevolent commentators in the media for inviting representatives from a number of arms manufacturers and dealers to accompany him on his tour of Middle Eastern countries. This criticism was the result of biased, selective and partial coverage of the prime minister's tour that deliberately neglected to mention or obscured from the British public's gaze the full and diverse range of invitees who accompany the PM on all overseas tours, thereby skewing the interpretation of the prime minister's motives. As a corrective, we here at Conservative Party Central Office have compiled a list and brief profile of the charities, NGOs, and various other humanitarian organizations that have a constant and trusted place in the prime minister's entourage:

Slave the Children: A long-established and much-respected charity that aims to encourage the untrammeled movement of free labour across international boundaries.

The Peace Sledge Union: Promoting self-esteem and unity among former colonies by teaching them cricket and then losing to them.

War on War on Want: "We believe that the best way to alleviate poverty is by stimulating competition between humanitarian agencies in a good-spirited race to the bottom."

UNICELF: Helping those who help themselves.

Oxfat: Thirty years of service dedicated to fighting Third World obesity.

The World Food Pogrom: The fewer the people, the more food there is to go round.

CAFODE: Enriching the Third World with used TVs from Essex.

GOAL: Hoping to rescue the next George Weah and give him a British passport.

Caratas: Promoting the importance of hygiene in daily life and transparency in business by washing the blood off blood diamonds.

Médecins Dans Frontières: A highly respected front organization committed to the shipping of generic drugs overseas at proprietary brand prices, thereby making everyone feel better.

Crócaire: Leading a ground-breaking initiative, inspired by the so-called Green Revolution, to help the sick, moribund, and already dead to lead useful afterlives (as fertilizer).

Hurt the Aged: Creating demographic space in countries with massive youth unemployment by giving them the economic space to flourish.

Amnasty International: Helping prisoners of conscience escape their conscience.

Comic Relief: Saving the careers of poverty-stricken comedians unable to secure voiceover jobs or work on gameshows.

and of course

The Young Conservatives: Looking for prospective wealthy donors with a penchant for horsey gals from the shires.

Anyone wishing to impugn the prime minister or cast aspersions upon the nobility of his actions need only consider the extent of his philanthropy, as implied by the above list, and draw their own conclusions.

Thank you.

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January 12, 2011

Reeling in the Ears: The Irish Top Ten 2010

The 2010 Irish Top Ten was somewhat delayed this year owing to the bad weather and the recession. Nevertheless, it has proved to be worth the wait, since all of this year's entries are home-grown, with the exception of the Thurles Male Voice Choir, most of whom are Welsh. There was some dismay expressed when this list appeared prematurely on Wikileaks at the absence of one or two of the nation's better-known and more widely acclaimed recording artists, but it's worth bearing in mind that this particular list comes courtesy of independent pirate station Raidio Siamsa (89.8 FM), whose listeners are nothing if not purists, and the slightest whiff of conglomerate approval or the imprimatur of the state broadcaster is enough to condemn any artist, in their eyes, to the Purgatory of corporate mediocrity, thereby disqualifying them from consideration. Thus, no Daniel O'Donnell, no Bono, no David McSavage. Here, instead, are the very best of last year's sea-green incorruptibles:

10: "Mommy, Drop the Gun," by Crystal Meth (Kimmage Music)

9: "Stop Calling Me Your Bird," by the Pigeon Holes (Phist the Lord Records)

8: "Smokeless Coalition," by Floorless Komplexxion (Hemi)

7: "Fuck Me, Fuck My Children," by Conditional Discharge (Xiao Long Bao)

6: "Hurling for Your Love," by The Thurles Male Voice Choir (GAA Official Audio Recordings)

5: "Nip Lip Bip, Nip Lip Bip Nip," by The Picky Eaters (Retro-Hetero-Metro)

4: "Dream Home in New England," by White Collar Clive and the Emigrant Solution (Drummbeat)

3: "Let Them Snort Coke," by Kill All Dee-jays (Deathrattle/Gerrymade)

2: "My Brown Trousers," by the Liquidity Problem (Loose)

and, by universal agreement,

1: "Death Before Bosco," by the Twittershit Spangles (Afternoon Wank)

You can find previous top tens here and here.

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December 01, 2010

Genealogy, by Kevin

Genealogy is brilliant. Some people think that it is not brilliant, but they are wrong. It is.

What genealogy is, is finding out who your real parents are. And then who their real parents are, or were, if they are dead now, and then who your real parents' real parents' real parents were, and so on ad infinitum until you get back to monkeys. Monkeys do not have the institution of marriage, so at that point it falls down. They did not keep records.

You are probably already reading this and being enthused. This is probably because you always wanted to find out who your real parents were. The scientific evidence is pretty clear that 75 percent of the British population is either adopted or the result of sexual intercourse. So the people you think of as your parents are almost definitely not. Or at least one of them. This does not mean they have been lying to you, only that one of them has. And even she might not know who your real father is if she put it about a lot.

One thing that puts people off the genealogy is all the research. Because, if you think about it, you have two parents, that you know of, and each of those parents also has at least two parents, which means that you already have at least a minimum of four grandparents, and you may not necessarily get on with all of them, and the one you loved the most is dead. Which means that, if you are going to make a video about it, like the television series Who Do They Think They Are?, you're going to have to interview the grandad you hate, the one who swears and has yellow hair from nicotine and smells of bonfires and fish. The one who calls you Keith. And then also, beyond that, you must then have had eight great grandparents, all of whom you will have to research to find the one who was interesting, and sixteen great great grandparents, and this is only three generations back and all your summer holiday is already wasted. But you'll be damned if you're going to give up before you find a better relative than Michael Williams's great great uncle, who was Sherlock Holmes.

Genealogy is particularly interesting if you are a man or interested in men, because most of our ancestors are men. It is a well-established fact that men have more sexual partners in their lifetimes than women do, and therefore it stands to reason that 1) men will have more descendants than women and 2) you are more likely to be related to a famous man than a famous woman. As well as this there is the additional fact that more women than men die in childbirth, which means that many of your female ancestors will have died prematurely, either as the mother or as the baby. This not only means that the fewer female ancestors are reduced in number even more, but also that a lot of women in the past had less of an opportunity to become famous because they either had children, or they died in childbirth, or their mother died during childbirth, leaving them as an orphan, or at the very least with no female role model to look up to. And even if they had a mother to look up to as a role model, she was unlikely to be famous because she had children to look after.

This is not to say that there is nothing in genealogy of interest to women. If you watched the TV series Who Do They Think They Are?, several women were in it. Usually it was a famous woman, which only proves my point, elaborated on above, but there were other women too, such as librarians and translators. Both librarians and translators are central to helping people trace their roots and find the famous men they were related to. Also, if you are a man, genealogy is a good way of meeting non-threatening women, such as librarians and translators. You have a ready-made excuse for talking to them and you can impress them with your knowledge of things.

What You Will Need

To do genealogy you will need a pen, a pencil, a notepad, a Thermos flask filled with hot chocolate or Bovril, a Tupperware box with sandwiches in, and a cagoule. My mother makes my sandwiches. Usually they are Marmite or peanut butter, but sometimes she gives me a surprise and puts luncheon meat on instead. You will also find that the library will not let you eat your sandwiches or open your Thermos flask in the library and you will have to stand outside or sit on a bench in the bus station. This is why you need the cagoule.

Next you will need the names of your relations, which you must look up in the local library. First, go to the library and see if they have any record of you. If they have not, then you are stumped, really. Unless you have a copy of your birth certificate, on which you will find who you are, where and when you were born, and who your parents are. You can get a copy of your birth certificate by going to the photocopy shop in town, where they will make a copy of it for you.

Once you know who your parents are, you must repeat the procedure again, and the same for their parents and their parents' parents and so on. Sometimes you will not be able to locate the identity of one of your ancestors from the library, so then you must go online and use the Census records, which is brilliant, because you can do that yourself without ever having to talk to anyone. I like to look up all the people in Great Britain called Hitler. Or Arsebandit. Once I found a man born in Stirchley in 1877 called Michael Bublé. This was seven years ago, though, before anyone knew who he was, so I didn't tell anybody. It's too late now.

If the Census or library is of no use, you must go to the relevant church authorities because a great many births, marriages, deaths, divorces, adulteries, and murders were recorded in the local parish registeries. In the olden days, the vicars were the main source of gossip and spying, so they could tell you everything about everyone. Most churches still have the vicars' diaries going back to the Middle Ages, but they won't admit to having them or show them to you unless you're willing to cough up a few hundred quid. But come back in a couple of weeks and the current incumbent will show them to you and you'll be amazed at the legibility of the typing. Even from 700 years ago.

Eventually you will discover that you were related to somebody famous, and your research will all have been worthwhile. If you do the mathematics, everyone in Britain is related to either a famous aristocrat or a famous murderer, or, in the case of the royal family, both. You have to be careful what conclusions people will draw from your relation though. It is no good being related to rich people from the past if you are now a pauper because it means somebody in your genes squandered the lot and you are now a degenerate downwardly mobile low-life. If, on the other hand, you are from a long line of plebs and peasants but are now very comfortable thank you very much, people will say you have ideas above your station. In the course of my research, I discovered that I am directly related to Robert Kilroy Silk. I told Michael Williams this, and he just said, "That figures." I assume he meant that we have the same rugged good looks and healthy pallor.

There. I hope that you will do genealogy now that I have shown you how good it is.

And that is the end.

Kevin MacPherson is the illegitimate king of France.

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November 18, 2010

Just Because It's Ship-Shape . . .

Bring on the Empty Forces

The British government recently announced that its latest aircraft carrier would not be carrying any aircraft, a decision that we here at Modern Pacifist magazine applaud as a courageous act that defies the global forces of death and destruction. We should now like to see the government take the next logical step in the process of shaping swords into ploughshares by turning the carrier into something valuable that can benefit the people of Britain as a whole, or perhaps even the peoples of the world, thereby truly embodying the "Big Society" philosophy that the government is so keen to promote. We therefore humbly offer these 50 suggestions, which we would like to have considered as our contribution to 101 Possible Uses of an Empty Aircraft Carrier. We would love it if our readers could come up with even better suggestions.

1: A children's petting zoo filled with military mascots.

2: A residential home for retired colonels.

3: A draught excluder for the Outer Hebrides.

4: A new headquarters for the Conservative Party.

5: An educational cruise ship visiting past colonial hotspots (Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Suez, Aden, the Falklands).

6: The site of the 2012 Olympics.

7: A mobile council estate to intimidate recalcitrant middle-class communities with lower house prices.

8: A floating prison for Ministry of Defence and Treasury officials.

9: The new National Theatre on Tour.

10: An offshore sweatshop (thereby reducing the transportation costs of imports and providing a home for illegal immigrants).

11: A mobile factory for the production of cars, ships, aircraft carriers, aircraft.

12: A cemetery for broken manifesto pledges.

13: A backdrop for Motorhead gigs.

14: A convention centre for Trekkies, Crufts, Ideal Home Exhibition, The Boat Show.

15: A combination church/synagogue/mosque/temple for all the nation's religious, allowing us to use their inland structures for libraries, schools, hospitals or other socially useful and non-divisive purposes.

16: A drag strip, just like in Rebel without a Cause.

17: Canal holidays on the Norfolk Broads.

18: A new comedy vehicle for Jim Davidson.

19: A catwalk for London Fashion Week.

20: A drive-in movie theatre.

21: A climbing frame.

22: A lifeboat on Roman Abramovich's yacht.

23: An Arms (and Legs) Bazaar, providing prosthetic limbs for war victims.

24: A replacement for Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.

25: A new roadbridge across the Tyne.

26: The Macclesfield bypass.

27: A mobile hairdressing salon-cum-icebreaker-cum-slum-clearance craft.

28: A barnacle farm.

29: A sun lounger for whales.

30: An aquarium.

31: A submarine.

32: A credit card swipe for the European Central Bank.

33: A percussion instrument for the Hallé Orchestra.

34: A walk-in wardrobe.

35: An ashtray.

36: A shoe for Godzilla.

37: A beermat.

38: A giant casserole dish.

39: A suitable topic for mid-term exams, a humourous blog post, or a Cambridge Entrance interview.

40: Curtains for the coalition government.

41: A nitelite.

42: The nation's ironing board.

43: Venue for the world Flight Deck championships.

44: The secret lair of the next Bond villain.

45: Blackpool illuminations.

46: As a decoy to deceive enemies trying to destroy our inflatable aircraft carriers.

47: Somewhere to keep the good crockery.

48: A table-top for life-size Escalado races.

49: A new home for Liverpool F.C.

and of course

50: A multi-storey carp Ark.

From the November issue of Modern Pacifist magazine.

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November 04, 2010

Wronging Writes


is an internationally known mass-media organization at the forefront of disseminating carefully selected pieces of data, on behalf of its customers, to the general public. It has both a traditional and longstanding outlook on the way the world is and the way it should be and is keen to both advocate for that worldview and ensure these traditions endure. As such, our client is currently on the lookout for someone possessing creative genius and no moral compass to fill their exciting vacancy for a



are most likely a once-idealistic journalist with thwarted ambitions happy at this point in your career to shill for government departments, private commercial enterprises, or foreign warlords looking for a European passport. You will be adept at identifying nonexistent social trends and spinning spurious evidence into indubitable proof. You can, with a few well-chosen weasel words, turn a celebrity's chemotherapy into speculations about anorexia, anti-establishment and non-conformist behaviour into mental instability or possible paedophilia, state-sanctioned execution by police marksmen into self-defence or protection of the public, and flight from torture and persecution into malevolent pursuit of the good life. Cynicism is not an absolute necessity for this job but a clear-sighted awareness of how the mass media works today will be essential in our successful candidate.


are a leading PR and opinion-forming marketing agency that has been supplying press releases and staff to the global mass media for generations. We count among our successes such bold examples of disinformation as the Zinoviev letter, the lone-assassin theory, private-sector efficiency/public-sector waste, anti-semitism, England's world cup chances, and the forthcoming death of Cheryl Cole. If you believe you have what it takes to thrive in the ever-demanding, cut-throat dogging-dog world of rumourmongery, please send examples of your work, a list of ten plausibly undeniable rumours you'd like to see in the papers, and a full-biography résumé (with birth certificate and qualifications)* to

Marc Yavelly
Personnel Recruitment
Illuminati & Mason Creative and Marketing Resources
Trashbat House
Canary Wharf

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October 28, 2010

Oh We of Little Faith

An extract from The Sceptics Bible. Part 518 of 666.

The Gospel Purportedly According to

St. John

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God.

2 Even though Ludwig Wittgenstein has demonstrated the impossibility of a private language.

3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.

4 Although that begs the question of where the matter came from that all the things that were made were made with.

5 Unless, that is, all things are also made of God. By God.

6 In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.

7 Life and light not being qualities separate or separable from God, you understand.

Anyway, there was a man sent from God, whose name was John (no relation).

9 At least, John claimed to have been sent by God. There was no objective way of verifying that he actually had been. Yes, the name "John" means "a gift from God," but that could just have been a coincidence.

10 Or because his mother, who had bestowed this name upon him, regarded him as a gift from God.

11 Or because his father often said of his son that he thought of himself as God's gift to humanity. His father being prone to sarcasm.

12 This man John came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.

12 ½ Men being used in the old, sexist sense, referring to all humanity. Lest women imagine that there's nothing in this Christianity lark for them.

13 And John's claim to bear witness having attached to it the caveat aforementioned in verse 9.

14 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

15 Which yields all sorts of metaphysical and ontological conundrums in light of verse 7.

16 Forgive the pun.

17 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

18 Presumably those born before the arrival of the Light being excluded.

19 It would have helped if John hadn't spoken in riddles, obviously.

20 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

21 We're supposed to be talking about Jesus here, I think. John wasn't exactly a master of clarity.

22 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

23 I'm not sure how they were expected to recognize him. It isn't every day you meet a bloke claiming to be the creator of the universe. I imagine they were just being polite and told one another to ignore him in the hope he'd go away. If he persisted, he'd only have himself to blame if they locked him up.

24 But as many as received him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

25 Seriously, it was that easy. No tests, no questionnaires to fill out. No fine print. Believe he was the son of God and you'd receive eternal life.

26 Well. Okay. The promise of eternal life. Not actually eternal life. And not even The promise of eternal life. Just his promise of eternal life. A nutter's.

27 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

28 See above provisos 1 thru 26.

29¶ And this is the record of John the Baptizer, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

30 And he said, I am not the Christ. You've got the wrong bloke altogether. He's much swarthier than me and good with his hands.

31 They asked him, Art thou a prophet? and he said No. So they said, well, we've got to go back and tell the Jews something. Do you have a CV we can take with us?

32 And John said, I am the voice of the one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

33 Art thou the prophet Esaias? asked the slower ones amongst them.

34 No, he said. Haven't you been listening? Not really, they mumbled, and hid their faces out of shame.

35 Are you the one crying in the wilderness, then? asked another. No, he replied. I am the voice of the one crying in the wilderness. Do pay attention.

36 Are you sure you don't have a CV? they asked him again. And those who were sent by the Pharisees said

37 Why baptizest thou then, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor that other one. Esaias. Hmmmm? Explain that.

38 And John said, I baptize with water: but there standeth one amongst you, whom ye know not; he it is who coming after me is preferred before me and whose shoes I am not fit to lace.

39 And they said, That doesn't really answer our question.

40¶ The next day, John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

41 This is the one of whom I spoke of whom I said After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

42 And the people there assembled said, When did you say that? For they were not the same people to whom John had been speaking the previous day.

43 Oh. Yesterday, said John. To somebody else.

44 Obviously, I was present on both occasions, otherwise this gospel would just be hearsay.

45 I thought I'd better clarify that.

46 And the people said, If this man is the Lamb of God and also His son, does this mean that God is a ram? Not an actual ram, but a Ram-God like the Egyptian god Auf, the ram-headed aspect of the Sun God. And his mother a sheep god?

47 No, said John. I was being metaphorical. I meant he will be slaughtered like a sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world.

48 Ah, they said. We were wondering. Although many of them still thought their interpretation made more sense. And then they said, Does he know about this?

49 He knows everything, said John. He is the Word made flesh.

50 So, then, what's the point? the people asked. If he knows it's going to happen, then it's destined to happen, so why bother? He could have spared himself a lot of pain and agony.

51 It's important, said John. God so loves mankind that he is willing to sacrifice his only son to take away their sins. And they will attain eternal life if they believe that he did so.

52 Wow, said the people. And also, Seriously? they said.

53 Yes, said John.

54 That is a massive sacrifice indeed, said the people. God must really love mankind very much. Tell us this, they said: This Lamb of God, Jesus, he will be sacrificed and die and take away all our sins and never be heard of again?

55 Yes indeed, said John. He will die, take away the sins of mankind, and then on the third day he will be resurrected and then sit at God's right hand in heaven for eternity.

56 Excuse me? said the people. Resurrected?

57 Yes, said John. To demonstrate that eternal life is genuine and that all who believe in him will receive it. Otherwise people would think it was some kind of scam.

58 And the people said, Whoa whoa whoa. Scroll back a minute, buddy boy. You said God so loved humanity he sacrificed his only son. Now you're saying he's going to bring him back from the dead and take him up to heaven for eternity. How's that a sacrifice? God hasn't given his son at all. This is a right crock.

59 ¶ Thereupon John bore witness and said, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Jesus.

60 And the people said, How did you know it wasn't just an ordinary dove? Was it wearing a halo? Did it crap gold?

61 And John said, Look, I just knew, right. You'll have to take my word for it.

62 And the people were sorely vexed.

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