The church bans the wearing of sandals
Reverse the 412 signs of aging
Books what we made up
Language skills for motorists
24-hour quality clown service
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."
Congratulations to Anthony Grease and his girlfriend Clara Goat who this week were recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for achieving the world's longest travelling argument. Anthony and Clara are well known characters in their home town of Newton-upon-Grime, where most of the inhabitants regularly hear them screaming obscenities at each other as they stagger home from the pub after closing time.
The distance from the local to their house is only about three quarters of a mile, but during particularly heated altercations they are able to greatly extend the ground they cover via various angry detours, backtracking or drunken meanderings. According to Guinness officials, retracing the route is a perfectly acceptable technique, but in order to qualify as a proper travelling argument the 'argue-ees' must maintain a constant stream of abuse, vitriol, angry outbursts and frustrated whining. Insults can be slurred but they must be shouted at a volume sufficient to wake residents at least three streets away.
Anthony and Clara are past masters at the form having been in a painful and acrimonious relationship for the past seven years. However, their record breaking effort was something special, clocking up an astonishing fourteen miles over the course of one evening as they wove erratically through the streets.
"Many of my friends concentrate on the ferocity of an argument," Anthony told us. "Either that or the duration. But with me it's all about the distance covered - it's a far greater challenge to clock up the miles. Many people think that weaving around in the middle of the night, hurling insults at your nearest and dearest is something that 'just happens' when you've had far too much to drink. But there's more to it than that. Take our last argument, for example - it all kicked off over the colour of our new bathroom carpet."
"No it bloody didn't," Clara interrupted.
"Yes it did, love."
"It chuffing well didn't," Clara insisted. "It was about what your friend Steve said at Abigail's wedding."
"Oh for crying out loud, not that again," Anthony protested. "Can't you just let it go, you dumb bitch?"
"Don't call me a dumb bitch, you dribbling sack of shite."
"Well don't call me a sack of shite, you donkey-faced excuse for a human being... You see, this is what happens. She always has to start something."
"Oh right, so this is all down to me, is it?" Clara asked.
"Jesus, give it a rest, why don't you."
And so it went for some time, or so we gather. This reporter left just as the phrase 'knock-kneed snotgobbling mutant' was being bandied about but our understanding is that at the time of writing Anthony and Clara are well on the way to beating their own record.
See the full list
The sound of fury
Courtesy of the ladies of Melton Mowbray
The National Sandwich Hotline
"He coughs up something unpleasant..."
A breakthrough in lunch technology.
The latest in laser eye surgery
"...boxes have been found to contain small canoes..."
"We provide flippers, facemasks, breathing apparatus..."
Banbury Gilbert and Sullivan Society will present Pirates of Penzance next Tuesday in the school hall, despite being asked not to. Members of the parish council have joined representatives of the local residents' committee in calling for a halt to the show, but the society has promised to press on regardless of opposition. When asked to comment, Society President Lawrence Castle said, "We're not all that bad."
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defence has made it quite plain that - should the concert go ahead as planned - it is prepared to use military force, in accordance with UN resolution 314. Rumour has it that they plan to cripple the performance in the first act by taking out the trombonist with a surgical air strike, but a spokesman for the RAF has been unable to confirm this, for operational reasons.
"What do you do when you find that your parrot's got jet lag..."
"You're a miserable old sourpuss..."
"It's always best to rest against something solid, such as a small horse..."
"...dedicated to St Jemima of the Holy Rock, the patron saint of gravel..."more...
21st century pest controlDid Dinosaurs Wear Trousers?
Prehistoric pantsGalactic Phrasebook
Spume pedals!Hollywood Sandwiches
Lunches of the rich & famousMore...
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.