Having lost all his fingers in a freak texting accident, amateur inventor Mat Porridge has recently patented a phone that he can use by repeatedly head-butting the interface. However, there seems to be little demand for 'cranial impact technology' and he has so far been unable to find a manufacturer who is interested in taking the device further.
Critics have, in particular, been sceptical of the commercial viability of a gadget which is both painful to operate and leaves an impression of itself in the user's forehead. Mr Porridge has tried to put a positive spin on these disadvantages, emphasising the potential of cross-selling complimentary products such as pain killers, bandages and crash helmets, but there are still no takers.
Sadly, things now look bleak for the inventor, who has had to remortgage his home to cover the development costs, and is now left with mounting debts, a backlog of missed calls and a splitting headache.
Is it possible to catch an eye infection just by looking at someone? We looked in on the visionary Dr Benjamin Van Goggles at the Amsterdam Institute for Ocular Research, who has a unique perspective on the matter, and we asked him to put us in the picture. Whereas he used to regard it as a possibility, these days his outlook has changed and he observes with hindsight that it is unlikely. In fact, he now takes a dim view of colleagues who continue to make spectacles of themselves, and thinks that if they watch out they will be a damn sight better off.
A new breed of subterranean elephant has been discovered by a team building an extension to the Paris Metro. The workers were first alerted to something unusual when they heard a distant, muffled trumpeting noise. Thinking that this was just the distorted sounds of traffic above ground, they were about to stop for lunch when they suddenly met up with the burrowing pachyderms digging in the opposite direction. Chief Engineer Claude Bêche says that his team were 'mildly alarmed' when the elephants broke through and started trampling all over their equipment, and 'slightly concerned' when the creatures stole all their sandwiches and disappeared back down the tunnel.
Professor Henri Ivoire, a lecturer in Crabs at the University of Bordeaux, is the closest thing to an elephant expert that could be found at short notice. He was extremely surprised to find wild elephants this far north. "We know that there were elephants in Europe in olden times, but it is believed that these all died out in the early seventies. It's thought that the rapidly changing climate caused their shells to shrivel up and their claws to drop off."
His theory is that a colony of elephants was driven underground as a result of human encroachment on their habitat, and believes that they survived on worms and beetles, and occasionally ventured up top to carry out lightening raids on bun shops. Local reports of extremely large molehills appear to support this theory.
Work on the extension has now been halted while experts evaluate the situation. At first it was hoped that the elephant tunnels could be incorporated into the network, speeding up the work considerably. However, it seems that they are not suitable. Elephants are industrious tunnellers but they know twat all about civil engineering, which is why many construction companies refuse to employ them. It seems that far from assisting the project, their presence is actually a hindrance and work is currently underway to design giant spring-loaded elephant traps to deal with the menace once and for all.
Not many people will be familiar with the name Gary 'Toe Cap' O'Reilly. Fewer still will be aware of his pivotal role in the history of music, but this may soon change following the publication of his autobiography.
"I wrote it myself," said Gary.
The book tells of his early life as a roadie, working for bands like Deep Purple, Free and Genesis. Clearly it wasn't always a glamorous life, as his more unsavoury anecdotes attest. In particular there is an unpleasant account of having to empty Ian Anderson's codpiece while on the road with Jethro Tull. And the chapter concerning the innumerable times that Gary had to sift through Keith Moon's vomit to try and find his car keys is enough to put you off noodles for life.
"I did all the words and everything. All on my own," Gary told us.
So it's understandable that every now and then, things just get a bit too much. That's certainly what happened when Gary was touring with the Bee Gees in 1975. Every night, before each gig, Barry Gibb insisted that his teeth needed to be buffed. One night Gary finally flipped and booted the bouffant Bee Gee in the nuts. Barry proceeded to perform that night's setlist in a falsetto, which not only went down great with the audience, but also made the band a hit with some of the local canine population. A whole new sound was born and henceforth Gary was employed to kick Barry in the testicles before every performance.
"The man from the publishers helped me with some of the spelling. But I did the rest all myself, and everything," Gary said proudly.
Over the years, Gary's talents have been in huge demand and he has helped some of the most iconic performers in the business to achieve their signature sounds. Everything from stamping on Freddie Mercury's fingers, to tickling the back of Prince's neck and giving Robbie Williams a Chinese burn. His autobiography, Kicking Barry Gibb in the Knackers, is published on Monday.
Dinner ladies at Manchester University have discovered a way of transmitting gravy via fibre optic cables. The process works by converting individual gravy granules into discrete packets of light and then streaming them down specially prepared cables, greased with goose fat. At present the technique works with most types of gravy, although the team hit a stumbling block when they tried to adapt the process to work with other foodstuffs.
"The possibilities are awesome, so we're determined to crack the problem," said Head of Carrots, Doris Maypole-Claypole. "Imagine being able to download custard from the internet, or faxing treacle. This kind of technology will change how we think about mealtimes forever."
In a separate project, caretakers at the Lincoln School of Performing Arts have been firing peas through a gap in the dance studio wall. They claim that they are trying to determine whether peas are particles or waves, but experts say that they're really not fooling anyone.
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An actor remembers
Relax with chickens
With Derek the Fact Crab
The XII Fish Olympiad
Across the Atlantic by land
"He coughs up something unpleasant..."
"Was North America once home to an advanced society..."
"When Zeppelin built the first motorbike..."
People looking for love now have a much better chance of finding their perfect partner, thanks to the latest craze of 'Speed Dating'. The new phenomenon currently sweeping the country involves men and women who are each introduced to a number of potential partners at speeds in excess of over 150 miles per hour. At these sorts of velocities most relationships progress at a greatly increased rate. The practical upshot of this is that couples can meet, get to know each other, argue, fall out and end up bitterly despising each other all in the space of approximately three minutes. The practice is an off-shoot of the slightly less romantic 'Pressure Dating' in which couples are trussed up in diving suits, thrown out of a motor launch and allowed to plummet to depths of over fifty fathoms as a test to see if they're really serious about this whole relationship business.
"...dedicated to St Jemima of the Holy Rock, the patron saint of gravel..."
"Quality Donkeys for Hire or Purchase..."
"A high altitude carrot cruising through the stratosphere..."
"Could you support a helpless pirate?"more...
All material Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2000-2013, 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.