Gentlemen! Are you suffering from the embarrassment of anosmia? A declining sense of smell is just one of the signs of aging, along with male pattern baldness, failing sight and creaking knees. But unlike memory loss, hairy ears and memory loss - which are universally understood to be signs of increasing virility - lacking the ability to smell is not likely to make you popular with ladies.
Consider the shame in being unable to identify a pungent cheese, detect the cloying odour of rotting fruit or pinpoint the location of a partially concealed trout. Anyone deprived of such basic social skills runs the risk of being branded a pariah, an outcast or a knob. Can you afford to take that risk?
Well thankfully, you don't have to. Webbley's Patent Electric Aromatron is here to do your smelling for you. Fitting snuggly over the nose, around the ears, over the head and hanging halfway down your back, the Aromatron is virtually undetectable, and its on-board fan-assisted stink pistons are capable of differentiating between five different smells, including liquid paraffin!
Still not convinced? Here's what some of our satisfied customers have had to say:
"I bought an Aromatron on the advice of my physician. And I'm glad I did! It was only when I strapped it on and fired it up that I realised the drains were backed up."
The Earl of Lancaster
"I was placed in a very difficult situation when Lady Philomena Trussock let one rip at a dinner party I was attending in Kensingon. All eyes were, of course, on me, but thanks to the Aromatron's built-in guff tracking system I was able to prove that although I may have smelt it, I certainly hadn't dealt it."
General Sir George Pottymouth
"I don't usually go in for gadgets. A lot of silly old pish and nonsense, if you ask me. However, since havin' one of these here Aromatron gizmos on approval for the last week, I find that I've been up to me damn epaulettes in buxom young fillies. So tally ho and damn the blasted torpedoes, that's what I say! In fact, I'm now seriously considerin' havin' me back waxed and gettin' a revolving wig."
Bertram 'Fruity' Mountbatten, esq.
And coming soon, the Aromatron for horses!
"He sounded so genuine on the phone," says concerned microwave owner Christian Pyle. "He used all sorts of technical expressions. To be honest, I couldn't really follow it all but he seemed to know what he was talking about."
Mr Pyle is just one of many unsuspecting victims of a novel new scam that allows criminals to take control of your microwave. Typically the scammer will phone up out of the blue, claiming to be from the manufacturer. They will tell you that they have detected problems and that you need to input a series of instructions in order to resolve the problem. In reality, the instructions allow the scammer to gain remote access to your microwave, usually so that they can install malicious foodstuffs and virus-laden ready meals.
"We've come across a lot of cases like this just lately," says Ray Turing, a freelance kitchen security consultant. "In many cases users won't notice much difference. You might find that your Cup-a-Soup is a slightly different shade, or that there's a rogue carrot in your shepherd's pie. But on some occasions the results are more dramatic."
As an example of one of these more 'dramatic' incidents, Mr Turing informs us about a man in Halifax who returned home from work to find a bright green potato slowly revolving in his microwave, fizzing and sparking and glaring at him with its one baleful eye.
"It's a growing problem, but the advice is simple," Mr Turing tells us. "If you get one of these calls, just put the phone down straight away, else the consequences could be severe. Although, thankfully, you'll be pleased to learn that reports of electric death potatoes are quite rare."
Ever wondered what to do with all that spare bellybutton fluff?
Bellybutton fluff, as we all know, appears spontaneously overnight and, if left untreated, can build up to the point where you're carrying three times your normal weight. In such extreme cases it has to be surgically removed. Happily, it rarely gets to this stage, as most bellybutton fluff becomes dislodged through everyday weathering or random gastric turbulence. The residue which remains can easily be removed by hooking it out with your little finger, a cotton bud or a Phillips screwdriver.
But where to put it? That's the issue. Most local authorities will not take it with the household waste, nor do they provide a bin for fluff recycling. The problem has led some people to resort to fly-tipping, and sadly there is now many a rural beauty spot that has been despoiled by great quivering mounds of belly button fluff. Not only is it an eyesore, but it can pollute watercourses and confuse sheep.
A more environmentally-friendly option is to donate it to charity. For the last few years a Red Cross shop in Norwich has been fortunate enough to receive three bin bags full of bellybutton fluff every week. Despite extensive enquiries, they have not been able to find out who is sending it, nor why their shop should have been singled out for this particular honour, but they are keen to get in touch with their anonymous benefactor so that they can ask him to stop it. It's disgusting, they say, and now that their storerooms, kitchen and staff toilet are filled floor to ceiling with the stuff, they have nowhere left to put it.
Fortunately we can now point the phantom Red Cross belly-fluffer to a more grateful recipient of his downy offerings. Fluff for Famine is a new charity which aims to bring relief to famine-struck areas by raising cash from discarded bellybutton fluff. The organisation is barely three months old, and yet it already has four warehouses full of fluff and is anxiously looking to acquire more storage space.
The charity's board of trustees are delighted with progress and have praised the generosity of the public, without whom none of their work would be possible. All that remains is for them to find some way of monetising this bounty and they'll be in business. They've been in touch with the people who collect bottle tops and old stamps, but have drawn a blank. In the meantime they ask the public to be patient and keep sending in their unwanted fluff.
See the full list
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.
With Derek the Fact Crab
Keyreading for beginners
Rise of the machines
A catalogue of catastrophic failure
Quality beards for busy professionals
"We speak to Maurice Pencil, a wind tunnel technician..."
"We can't sleep at night and it frightens the dog..."
When a supermarket robbed her of two pence that she believed was rightfully hers, Mrs Renee Phallus was driven to take the law into her own hands. Cheapomart in Dronsfield promised customers that if they found goods being sold cheaper within a five mile radius they would refund the difference. So when Mrs Phallus discovered tinned peas being sold two pence cheaper at her local convenience store, she went along to Cheapomart to claim her cashback. However, it wasn't going to be that simple. Using the latest laser-calibrated range-finding equipment, in conjunction with satellite reconnaissance photographs, Cheapomart bosses demonstrated that the convenience store was actually about three and a half feet outside the catchment area.
Mrs Phallus was greatly disappointed and, feeling that she had been swindled, she determined to get her revenge. This she did by waging a protracted campaign of disruption against the supermarket, visiting the store up to four or five times a week to commit acts of minor sabotage. One of her favourite tricks was to take bottles of full cream milk and place them in the semi-skimmed section. She also wrecked the fresh fruit and veg display by surreptitiously placing potatoes in with the fresh peaches and concealing small aubergines amongst the leeks. Eventually she went too far and was spotted gobbing into the fresh fish display. Security were alerted but before they could swoop Mrs Phallus legged it down the toiletries aisle and made a break for the fire exit. Unfortunately, she wasn't quite quick enough. Store detectives cut off her escape, forced her through sauces and pickles and eventually cornered her up the pharmacy. Even when it was obvious the game was up, Mrs Phallus still refused to come quietly and tried to fight off her pursuers with an elasticated bandage and a packet of ibuprofen. But there was no hope of escape and she was eventually subdued by a glancing blow from a bottle of antiseptic.
Speaking at her trial, Mrs Phallus was unrepentant. "I'm standing up for the little people," she declared defiantly. "All too often these big businesses think that they can ride roughshod over our inalienable rights. And that is precisely what they will continue to do, just as long as we let them. Well I'm here to teach them a lesson that they'll never forget; to make them understand that they can no longer treat us with disregard and disdain... And if I ever find out which of those bastards bottled me, I'll rip his kidneys out."
"You can call me Snuggles..."
"Welcome to today's edition of Diagnosis..."
"The police haven't always taken such a proactive approach to enlistment..."
"It's always best to rest against something solid, such as a small horse..."more...
of the Bleeding Obvious
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2014, 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.