An inflated slug is a happy slug
Teaching carrots to fly
Major General Barmy-Phipps Discusses Operation Growbag
The dark side of interior decorating
At 46 years of age, most people would assume that Jeremy P. Moffat had outgrown his schoolboy obsession with a mildly entertaining but ultimately lightweight and throwaway kids programme. But with a cringeworthy lack of self-consciousness, Moffat continued, until recently, to proclaim himself a lifelong fan of the BBC programme Doctor Who and was proud of the fact that he could crowbar some pathetic reference to the show into every single conversation he had.
Whether he was likening the turbulent situation in the Middle East to an invasion of Cybermen, drawing comparisons between right wing politicians and Davros or commenting on current education policy with reference to the inhuman mind control experiments of the Crapulons from the Deltoid Magma system - or something - Moffat remained incapable of expressing an opinion other than through the prism of his soul-destroying fixation with a piece of frivolous Saturday night bullshit that deserves little more attention than the mindless gameshows and celebrity gurn-a-thons with which it shares a schedule.
But last Saturday something happened which completely changed his outlook: whilst writing a Facebook post in which he gave his opinions on climate change, Moffat entirely failed to mention the classic 1974 episode Terror of the Swamp Goblins.
"I don't know what came over me," he told us. "Before I knew what I was doing I hit 'publish' and it was out there. I felt empty inside. I felt sick. Would I have to hand in my membership card of The Doctor Who Appreciation Society? Would I be shunned by my fellow Whovians? Would people point at me in the street and shout 'dickhead'? Still?
"My immediate thought was to edit the post and hope that no one had seen it. But just as I was about to do this, a weird sensation came over me. It felt okay. It seemed... normal. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and I suddenly realised that for the past thirty years everybody must have thought I was a proper knob."
Moffat still watches Doctor Who but he no longer allows it to dominate his life. He has stopped frittering away all of his disposable income on merchandise that never gets taken out of its original packaging. He has stopped creating perfectly executed but ultimately purposeless fan artwork which most people are too polite to tell him they're not interested in. And, most importantly, he can converse perfectly normally without even hinting at police boxes, time travel or screwdrivers, sonic or otherwise. As he says himself, he's a completely new person.
"I feel so much better now that I no longer have this terrible burden," he said. "I'd recommend anyone in my position to do the same. It's changed my life. In fact, if I had to sum up how I feel now, I'd say it's pretty much exactly how Captain Kirk must have felt in the Season 2 opener, when Sulu rescued him from the Klingons who had imprisoned him in the Zytum Mines of Rolodex 4. It really is that good."
Astrologers from all over the world have joined together to call for restrictions on the number of man-made objects launched into space. Satellites, orbital platforms and space debris are having a profound effect on their sensitive calculations meaning that many seers are making predictions which are wildly incorrect.
"Everyone knows that astrology is a reliable and trustworthy art form, perfected over many years and basking in an unparalleled reputation for accuracy," said professional soothsayer the Great Visionista, alias Mrs Doreen Bucknall from Blackpool. "But science, in its brutal quest for knowledge, has ruined our livelihoods by filling the skies with hardware. Just recently, whenever I've tried to cast a chart for someone, I either get Sputnik rising in Capricorn or two communication satellites and a spent rocket booster interfering with the cusp of Sagittarius. No wonder I keep getting the lottery numbers wrong."
Such problems are now common with many practitioners, who claim that casting a horoscope in the twenty-first century is less about the vast cosmological clockwork that drives the planets on their infinite stately journey through the zodiac and more about what some bloke on the international space station has had for breakfast that morning. They are asking governments to agree to limit the amount of hardware they put into orbit in order to mitigate the damage that is being caused to the delicate strands of celestial influence which shape all our ends.
"If action isn't taken immediately there is a very real possibility that we could lose the ancient power of revelation once and for all," said Mrs Bucknall, who is offering a special two-for-one deal on prophesies this weekend. "And while we're about it," she added. "Can something be done about my neighbour's Wi-Fi? It's playing merry hell with my tarot readings."
A Norfolk man is seeking to sue the local ambulance service after they took nearly three quarters of an hour to respond to a violent outbreak of wind. Dennis Findus was at home one Sunday afternoon when a ferocious and prolonged belch knocked him off his feet and startled the dog.
"It came out of nowhere," Mr Findus said. "One minute I was leaning over to switch on the TV for Countryfile, the next I was flat on my back behind the coffee table, staring up at the cobwebs around the light fitting and wondering why one of my slippers was on top of the bookcase."
Mr Findus puts the episode down to a combination of a heavy lunch, four cans of lager and unusually high air pressure for the time of year. "It was a perfect storm," he said. "But I knew that there was more to come and I had to get help as quickly as possible. I remembered from my basic first aid training that it's best to avoid any sudden movements or changes in altitude, so I remained on my back and inched over to the phone."
Official records show that the ambulance took 42 minutes to respond. To Mr Findus, lying in mortal peril on his living room floor, it seemed much longer. "The operator stayed on the line and tried to keep me calm," he said. "But there wasn't much she could really do. After all, she was safe and cosy in some operations room somewhere, whereas I was at the epicentre of a terrific outpouring of noxious gas and in constant fear that more was on its way. It was a nightmare."
In a statement yesterday, ambulance service bosses say that they regret any distress that Mr Findus may have experienced, but at the time all their units were attending a fart on the other side of town.
Chris Fingers, who rose to fame two years ago when he invented the first thought-controlled washing machine, has been admitted to hospital after experiencing what doctors believe to be an entirely new form of mental illness.
We spoke to Mr Fingers in 2013 when news of his new invention was just emerging. At the time he told us of the inspiration for his idea. "Nobody has ever looked at the controls on a washing machine and not been intimidated by the stupid number of entirely unnecessary options," he told us. "It makes you want to scream 'just wash my bloody shirt' at the damn thing. In fact, I've spent many an evening doing just that and it was to save my vocal chords and rescue my rapidly deteriorating rapport with the next door neighbours that I invented the thought-controlled washing machine. Now I don't have to shout at it, I just need to think it."
Mr Fingers' washing machine was set to become the first of a whole new generation of thought-controlled appliances but over the last few months one or two issues have come to light. The first indication that there might be a problem came at a technology conference last year when Mr Fingers attempted to rinse one of his fellow delegates and put him on a fast spin.
"We wondered whether Mr Fingers' mind control process might be a two way process," said Senior Consultant Dr Chas Suffix. "Instead of him controlling his washing machine, is he himself being controlled by the device. Our theory was confirmed when we later found him wandering the streets going 'chugga chugga chugga chugga', sloshing soapy water around his mouth and spitting it out at passing strangers.
"We now have him safe and sound at our secure unit, where we are working very hard to cure him of his delusion," Dr Suffix continued. "Mr Fingers is responding well and we are confident that he will make a full recovery. Good news for Mr Fingers, of course, but it's nevertheless a bit of a blow for us, since we're currently saving a fortune on our laundry bills."
This year's Queen's Award for Bastardry has been awarded to Chiseler and Rogue Ltd, a small company based in Clifton-under-Duress, Hertfordshire. The company, whose main business is using local government funding to buy new carpet for its offices, was nominated by former employee Christian Pyle.
Mr Pyle was dismissed for asking a lot of 'silly stupid questions' about where all this public money was going, and was stunned to receive a parting shot from the company in the form of a leaving card which was sent to him with insufficient postage.
"As far as dick moves go, this was a doozy," said Mr Pyle. "Not content with lying, cheating, robbing me of my pension and generally treating me with absolute contempt throughout my entire time at the company, they then make me pay the excess postage on my own leaving card. The bastards are still robbing me after I've gone. You've got to admire that kind of dedication."
See the full list
The sound of fury
Stealing horses to order
We quiz a famous celebrity
Courtesy of the ladies of Melton Mowbray
"Quentin Tote has discovered a new smell..."
"Targeted motivational short-term direction objectives..."
Paul Mayhew, 16, from Halifax is delighted to have reached the national finals of this year's Young Waiter of the Year Competition. The competition, set up six years ago to encourage youngsters to enter the profession, is considered most prestigious within the catering trade.
"Paul is a natural," says his trainer, Candice Bulwater. "Being surly and ill-mannered is something that comes very easily to him and, when called for, he can fling some pretty devastating insults. Oh, make no mistake - a gobful of abuse from young Paul certainly strikes home."
Ms Bulwater is taking particular care over Paul's 'thumb technique', the delicate art of surreptitiously placing the thumb into a bowl of soup. It is important that only the very tip of the digit is submerged, as any waiter observed to be up to his knuckle in minestrone shows clumsiness and lack of control.
Paul is considerably more confident about his spitting technique and he boasts about his ability to hurl phlegm into a pan of mashed potatoes with military precision. His personal best is fifteen feet, but Ms Bulwater believes he can beat this with a favourable wind. If he succeeds it will not only be a triumph for Paul, but also a poignant moment for his trainer. Thirty years ago the young Candice was herself the proud holder of the East Riddings Amateur Gobbing Championship for three years running - before an accident with a runaway stapler destroyed her lips and brought her glittering career to a tragic end.
"It's always best to rest against something solid, such as a small horse..."
"...madcap antics ..."
"What do you do when you find that your parrot's got jet lag..."
"...dedicated to St Jemima of the Holy Rock, the patron saint of gravel..."more...
with Dick SmidginHistoric Knees
Knees of national importanceA Fistful of Sausages
Reappraising a classicFields of Gold
Fergus farms financiersMore...
Stuffed with new material and old favourites, Recalled to Life is 280 pages of plumptiousness and very probably exactly what you need to prop up that wonky old table in the kitchen.
Find out more here.
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2015, 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.