"It's not theft. I'm staking a claim."
So says Harry Barrel, who for the last fifty years has been going round sticking flags into other people's stuff. At 76 years of age, Harry is a familiar sight around Doncaster and those outlying villages fortunate enough to be situated on a convenient bus route. Locals are used to seeing him thrusting flagpoles into things that don't belong to him, but which he thinks ought to. No one is clear about why he has chosen to terrorise Doncaster in particular, although it's fair to say that if he tried the same sort of nonsense in Glasgow, which is where he actually lives, the locals would most probably have sorted him out years ago.
His most recent spree saw him in court after he impaled a Volvo and then tried to make off with it - an enterprise destined for failure since, impressively, he managed to drive the flagpole straight through the engine block. The vehicle barely managed a cough and a splutter before the local rozzers arrived to effect an arrest.
In summing up, the judge congratulated Mr Barrel on his athleticism - such prodigious strength being especially impressive for someone in such an advanced state of decay - but suggested that perhaps his talents might be put to better use. It needs to be said that this feller was relatively new to the business of judging - he still had the price ticket in his wig - and had he been older and wiser he would have known that his advice would fall on stony ground. In this instance, as had happened so many times before, Mr Barrel was unrepentant and used the occasion of his trial to make his case.
"Putting flags in things is a perfectly legitimate way of legally transferring ownership of goods," Mr Barrel announced, much to the delight of the spectators and assembled media, who view him as a combination of folk hero and batty eccentric. He continued: "Whole empires have been founded on the principle of sticking flags in stuff. It is a noble tradition, which I intend to continue, no matter what the consequences."
Mr Barrel was led away, accompanied by loud cheers, and it is reported that the court usher requested his autograph.
Some of the items that Mr. Barrel has 'claimed' over the years.
Look at these fluffy kittens...
Doesn't this make you want to give us some money? These kittens are so cute and fluffy and helpless - could you really be so heartless as to not give us your cash?*
Send your money to:
Fluffy Kitten International Ltd.
Unit 4 Abattoir View
Remember, we need your money because... kittens.
*Fluffy Kitten International Ltd cannot guarantee that any of your money will be spent on kittens.
◻ Tick here if you do not want your name and contact details to be added to a sucker list and shared online.
In response to recent official scaremongering from the Environment Agency regarding dwindling water supplies, concerned member of the proletariat and know-it-all Noah Bubble has started a campaign asking for donations.
"As soon as I heard about the problem I said to myself, 'Well,' I said, 'This is a turnout. Those Environment people are saying they've got no water and where I am it's chucking it down.' So I thought, now then, I can do something about this, so I can. So I fills a couple of buckets and I sends them off. Yes sir, that's what I did."
Mr Bubble has been sending buckets of water to the environment agency for the past five weeks, some times as many as three a day, and now he's asking others to do the same.
"I can't solve the country's water supply problems all on my own, I can't, so that's why I have started the Splosh campaign. I thought up the name myself, I did. Thing is, we're on the verge of an environmental catastrophe, so I'm urging anyone who has access to water to make a donation. If you've got a spare pond, or a bird bath, or even just a puddle, then send it off right away. Some unkind folk might say that it's futile, that it's just spitting in the wind, but even that can make a difference, if we all gob together at the same time. And if you don't have any water, just fill a few bottles from the tap and send them off. It all helps, so it does. If we all pull together we can make the world a damper place."
Mr Bubble's well-intentioned efforts have been met with confusion at the Environment Agency, where staff have been wondering where all these empty buckets wrapped in soggy brown paper have been coming from.
"We appreciate the gesture," said spokeswoman Tracy Sponge. "But really, this is mental. So if you could please tell this gentleman to stop it, we'd be really grateful."
Instead, Miss Sponge has suggested that anyone who genuinely wants to help can do so by limiting the amount of water they use, thus making sure that there are adequate supplies for all whilst at the same time allowing water companies to maximise profits without any additional outlay on maintaining infrastructure. Thanks.
Ollie Packer has officially ceased to exist since accidentally shredding his birth certificate.
"I thought it was about time I decluttered," said Packer. "So I got rid of all the junk - old bank statements, expired insurance schedules, wage slips ... and also my birth certificate. I mean, I've already been born - here I am. I'm not planning on getting born again so I figure I don't need it."
Wrong. Packer has pulled off the legal equivalent of disappearing up his own hole, and here's the science: without proof of birth, this brainiac has become a zero-potential metaphysical concept with no real-time existence as an objective spacio-temporal event. Ha, that'll learn him. But you don't need to know that; all you need to know is that he can't get a passport and no one will serve him at the post office.
So far, all of Packer's attempts to establish his credentials as an actual human person have been a fat lot of no good at all. He cannot apply for a replacement certificate because he doesn't exist. He doesn't have a driving licence because he doesn't exist. He doesn't have a passport because... You can see how this 'not existing' lark is something of a pain in the padding. He has even attempted to get a letter of corporeality from his doctor but is unable to get past the dickhead of an automated booking system because it refuses to recognise him as a real entity.
But there is one last hope for Packer - because of some sort of legal doodah he can register himself as a racehorse.
"The British Horseracing Authority has welcomed me with open fetlocks," he told us, assuming we were interested. "Ok, so it means a diet of oats and I've got a visit to the vets tomorrow that I'm really not looking forward to, but none of that will matter when I'm waiting in the starting gate at Kempton Park next Saturday. And we're off!"
Spies vs Zombies and Space Aliens with Car Chases and Guns and Stuff may at first squint seem like just another mindless and formulaic action flick, but Hollywood might be teetering on the edge of a new age in cinema. I know, I know - every other film that comes out represents a new age in bleeding cinema, but that's just your standard promotional bull-plop. This could be the real deal since it's the first movie to be made with real performers in real locations, but with a completely computer generated crew.
Yep, the camera operators, the sound people, the folio artist, the horse wrangler, the caterers, the key grip and the assistant editor - especially the assistant editor - are all CGI. As you can imagine, this inevitably led to some hilarious misunderstandings. Well, keep imagining that because we couldn't think of any, so this particular paragraph ends on a bit of an anti-climax.
Anyhowever, soldiering on in the hope that we might come up with a punchline, we asked director Mario Pacman for his thoughts. Unfortunately he was unavailable for comment as he had just crashed and had to be rebooted.
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With Derek the Fact Crab
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of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2019, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of the author. All characters, companies and organisations are fictitious, and any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.