The World Has Gone Mad: Final Proof

April 7, 2011

What amazes me is that the following is taken as good news:

Banks set the pace in London as investors welcomed an end to uncertainty over debt-laden Portugal, which confirmed it had asked the European Union for financial help. Banks were also buoyed by signs that the impact of the UK’s tougher capital regime may no longer be such a disadvantage after two European banks announced plans to raise £11.5bn of fresh capital. [British Investment Digest, 07/04/2011]

Let’s break down this ‘good’ news, shall we?

  • We’re now absolutely certain that Portugal’s completely finished – terrific news. I’m sure all the Portuguese are delighted, along with every other citizen of the EU responsible for bailing them out (£250 from every Brit).
  • Everyone else is going to have to toughen up their capital regimes because they’re more lax than the UK’s. The process is going to suck up £11.5bn of capital, and take it out of circulation, when it could have been allocated to help real businesses grow. Instead, it will act as a cushion so that bonuses are paid to economically destructive bankers.

Yes, great news if you’re a banker, Eurocrat, or other assorted economic leech. The world would not pass a sanity test.


Pope Changes Guidance on Safe Drinking Water

November 22, 2010

Yesterday the Pope issued new guidance on drinking water in response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Previously, the Catholic Church had forbidden the boiling of water, on the basis that it was not taught in the Bible. Health advisers and aid workers had been frustrated by the Vatican’s hardline stance on safe drinking water for decades. “Cholera didn’t exist in the Palestine of Christ’s era,” said one doctor in Port-au-Prince. “We’ve always viewed it as absurd that an old man with a safe water supply and the best healthcare available should dictate sanitary practices to those in developing countries. Cholera is a preventable disease spread by poor hygiene and ignorance.”

But the doctrinal change is causing confusion amongst the clergy. “His Holiness seemed to imply that water should only be boiled when being sold to strangers. It doesn’t say whether water used within families should be boiled or not,” said one priest. “So I’m recommending that married couples continue to drink filthy water contaminated with raw sewage. Unlike Aids, death is often rapid – sometimes in as little as four hours – and excruciatingly painful. Far better for you and your children to die of cholera than to risk breaking Papal edicts and going to hell, or living long enough to think about using a condom during sex.”


Quantitative Easing Explained

November 16, 2010

Check out this brilliant video. It explains Ben Bernanke’s brilliant intervention strategy. Gut-wrenchingly funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTUY16CkS-k


Thanet Windfarm: it’s an ill wind

September 24, 2010

Yesterday saw the opening of the UK’s largest windfarm at Thanet off the Kent coast, capable of supplying up to 200,000 homes with electricity. “The key word is capable,” said an industry source. “On a normal day we expect the 100 turbines to supply enough electricity to recharge the batteries of a remote control, thus saving an unemployed person in nearby Margate from having to get up off his sofa to switch off Jeremy Kyle.”

“It’s a huge step forward for the UK,” said the minister for renewable soundbites, “with only 80% of the money spent on this going abroad, compared with 90% for the even bigger London Array, which will dwarf Thanet. When you add in government grants, subsidies and kickbacks, this is a huge boost to other European economies at a time when they’re struggling. It’s a win-win for the industry. The Swedish owners win with Thanet and the German owners win with the London Array. The advantage of this kind of offshore wind generation is that future profits from this venture go straight overseas without even landing in the UK. It’s great that we can provide a leg up to valuable R&D  jobs overseas.”

“The fact is that British windfarms are 50% more efficient than German ones,” said a wind-power lobby. “That’s because British politicians blow so much wind out of their arses. Concerns about noise are over-played,” he added. “Most of the time these turbines don’t even turn. And when the wind gets above about 30mph we have to turn them off anyway.”


Topical Material 19th July

July 25, 2010

Well excuse me for releasing this a week later, but this is material which was submitted to Newsjack last week. Sadly, none of it was used. Here it is:

Vox Pops

  • A group of adolescent gorillas have been observed playing tag by scientists. Shortly afterwards, they mugged a baboon, stole some coconuts and went joy-riding on a zebra.
  • Scientists have been giving popular names to endangered British species. A beetle which lurks in the darkness and feeds only off other beetles has been named the Mandelson.
  • American bank Goldman Sachs has been fined $550m for allegedly misleading clients over mortgage-backed securities. Senior managers at the bank played down the significance of the fine, assuring shareholders that they’ll earn it back by writing one letter to the US government about its overdraft facility.

Corrections and Clarifications

  • We wish to apologise to Premier Wen Jiabao of China. We reported that he said China would not flee the Euro. Of course, he actually said that China would not free the Euro.
  • The FBI have apologised to the so-called Barefoot Bandit, who spent two years stealing expensive yachts, cars and planes. They didn’t realise that he was, in fact, a trainee banker for Goldman Sachs.
  • Apple has issued a fresh denial that the iPhone 4 suffers from a loss of signal. A spokesman assured owners of the iPhone 4 that, if anything, other people can see even more clearly that they’re geeks.

BP Faces New Accusations

July 24, 2010

BP was once again under fire from US Senators last night over claims that it was responsible for the Challenger disaster on January 28th, 1986. “Those goddamned Limeys must have been responsible,” claimed Senator Ivor Price, whilst stuffing cash into his pockets from special interest groups.

“They almost certainly had a rig in the Gulf area at the time, and the Gulf’s just the other side of Florida. Only an incompetent British oil company could cause an explosion that large. American engineering and management is 100% cotton-pickin’ perfect.”

President Obama stepped into the furore, anxious for fair play and the rule of law to be upheld prior to November’s mid-term elections. “We’re now going to close down the entire US aerospace industry for six months and have BP pay the wages of all the workers,” he said. “I’m also going to hold a gun to the head of Prime Minister Cameron to get him to confess that Britain was responsible for the plan to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Clean-up costs

“America has 5% of the world’s population but uses 25% of the world’s energy and refuses to ratify any agreements on greenhouse gases,” admitted the President. “We therefore think it’s only fair that BP picks up the cost of America’s appalling record of pollution.”

Amongst the other American environmental crimes for which BP will be held responsible are:

  • Use of approximately 12,000,000 gallons (US) of Agent Orange from 1961-71 in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia by the United States military. The Vietnamese government estimates that some 400,000 deaths and disabilities were caused by direct spraying, and as many as a further 500,000 birth defects. The US government has not paid compensation, or attempted to clean up the pollution.
  • The 1982 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, India. Whilst 3,737 deaths have been confirmed by the government of Madhya Pradesh, other government agencies believe there were c.8,000 deaths in the weeks after the leak and an additional 8,000 in the years afterwards.  A government affidavit filed in the US Supreme Court in 2006 cited 558,125 cases of injuries resulting from the disaster. In 2008, 26 years after the disaster, sources said that 390 tonnes of chemicals abandoned at the site continued to leak into the local environment and ground water. In 1999, 17 years after the disaster (and presumably after many victims had died through lack of medical care, or died indirectly through injury-induced poverty) UCC agreed to $470m compensation, which was the sum for which they were insured, plus interest. Their generosity knows no bounds.

Breaking news: Transocean ‘Not to blame. Not.’

On July 23rd Mike Williams, a Transocean employee responsible for the electronic systems on the Deepwater Horizon rig told a federal investigation that the alarms had been ‘inhibited’ (i.e. turned off) to avoid interrupting the sleep of the crew. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/23/deepwater-horizon-oil-rig-alarms)

Newshounds may recall the Congressional lynch mob on 17th June trying to get BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, to admit BP’s liability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. He was accused of ‘stonewalling’ when he refused to apportion blame prior to an ongoing federal investigation. Last night the White House was quick not to ‘hold a boot to the throat’ of any American company which looked like its deliberate bypassing of safety procedures contributed to the disaster.


Newsjack Recording

July 16, 2010

Last night I had an email from Newsjack, the BBC7 satirical news show. Unknown to me, least one of my submissions had been performed the previous night in front of a studio audience. Unfortunately, my contribution(s) was/were cut from the final broadcast for reasons of time.

I felt that was a huge milestone in my writing life. Sure, I have no broadcast credit – but my writing was considered to be of a standard worthy of broadcast on the BBC. A writer-friend told me this evening that this is surely the highest accolade in the English-speaking world. Too kind, too kind.

I submitted some topical one-liners and a single sketch. I believe it was probably the sketch which made the grade because it was about Blair confessing to Pope Benedict XVI. Rather than let the writing go to waste, I thought I’d share it. You can view the sketch here: Tony Blair Confession. Here are the topical one-liners. I would imagine that in a few years these will be completely incomprehensible:

  • Zenna Atkins, Chair of Ofsted, said that schools could learn from private industry in the way they deal with bad teachers. Presumably they’ll be promoted and then given multi-million pound bonuses when pupils fail their exams.
  • European space probe Rosetta has flown past the asteroid Lutetia. The 75-mile long rock was easily identifiable because it has the word Lutetia on each end.
  • Botox has been approved for headaches. Scientists aren’t sure how effective the treatment is, but people look much better afterwards.
  • Roman Polanski is not going to be extradited for sentencing in the States. He’s now sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Switzerland. His lawyers may appeal against the decision.

Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire – A Message to the Sponsor

July 1, 2010

Imagine my delight this morning and saw that the Barclays Cycles had been ‘artistically enhanced’ overnight. This photo was taken at 08.25 outside my workplace in an arty area of London. You can see I had the whole intact flush – on every single cycle, both sides of the logo had been doctored. The colourmatching was pretty good, as was the font choice.

Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire

Fuck Barclays Cycle Hire - spoof logos

The first question in the office was ‘How many cycle bays across London had been affected?’ The second was ‘Who were the heroes behind this?’ The third was ‘Is that glue on your hands, Mark?’

Alas, I was clueless and glueless – but I doff my hat to the protestors for their ingenuity. Doubtless they did this in response to news of the recent promotion of Bob Diamond to President and Group Chief Executive. Poor chap’s given up an unlimited bonus for a salary of  a mere £1.35m per year and a bonus of up to £3.375m. But that’s forgetting the reported long-term share incentives worth £6.75m over the next year. It’s a hard life. Perhaps he’ll have to economise – may I suggest he cycles to work in future?

***STOP PRESS*** Police are looking for a man in his sixties answering to the nickname ‘Red Ken’.


Star Wars: No Hope

April 4, 2010

A new radio sketch is available. This one is Star Wars: No Hope.

Yoda’s lost hope and Luke’s confused… then Darth Vader turns up looking for a fight. Listen to this new episode of Star Wars here: http://markspeed.co.uk/Sketches.html


Apple iPad vs Blu-Tack – which is more useful?

January 28, 2010
iPad vs Blu-Tack

Which is more useful - iPad or Blu-Tack

I’m grateful to Halid Delkic, who sent me the above graphic earlier today. In fact, the above is incorrect – Blu-Tack will actually take a USB device. Indeed, it’s versatile enough to accept any connection.

Furthermore, Blu-Tack will work in most environments, won’t run out of power or crash just when it’s at its most useful, will fit any surface or space precisely, is compatible with PC, Mac or any other operating-system, is almost infinitely expandable, usable by young and old alike with no training, ultra lightweight and not cumbersome, won’t break and does not need to be turned off during take-off and landing. Although neither product will work underwater, Blu-Tack will work again when dry.

Oh, and for those who think the iPad is brilliant because the picture rotates to stay upright, let me just point out that it won’t work in zero-G. With Virgin Galaxy heralding in the age of space tourism later in 2010, Apple’s designers have at last shown themselves to be the has-been bunch of atavistic future-phobes that they really are.


Crisis in Teaching – Alleged Attempted Murder of British Pupil

July 10, 2009

I’m shocked and appalled by reports that a science teacher allegedly attempted to murder a 14-year-old pupil in Mansfield yesterday, writes Sir Victor Punchbag-Gribble. This is clear evidence that teaching standards have fallen to unacceptable levels in the last few decades. In my day, any teacher worth his salt would have been able to finish a child off with a single blow. Failing that, a coup de grâce with a pointer would have been delivered.

In the rare instances where a teacher had been incapacitated in the fracas, the form captain would have been expected to finish off the offending pupil. Of course, school rules would have demanded an immediate inquiry in such instances, since it’s normally the head boy who enjoys that privilege. However, the board of inquiry would almost certainly have found that the form captain was acting correctly in ensuring that justice must be seen to be both swift and final.

Discipline at St Mephisto’s was strictly enforced, with what are now deemed to be minor offences – such as walking on the grass, or the late return of a library book – punishable by the public amputation of a limb. Whilst it was not uncommon for some pupils to be reduced to mere torsos, the library was extremely well stocked, and the grass on the school lawns was much, much greener than its withered and trampled inner-city cousins of today. As for the most disobedient boys, let me assure you that they became much better behaved after the removal of the last of their limbs. The exception to that rule was Peter ‘Howler’ Thompson, who had his tongue cut out for the offence of screaming during the amputation of his left leg; the last of his appendages to be removed. Halcyon days…


Gordon Brown’s Candid Interview

June 20, 2009

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is all over the news this morning due to his frank interview in today’s Guardian. Apparently he wants to go into teaching after he leaves office. Not for him the high-flying job in charge of the World Bank he was apparently offered a few years ago. Not for him the dazzling array of high-profile international advisory roles of predecessor Tony Blair. Indeed, Gordy even goes on to say that he would happily give up the trappings of power. The poor man says that he’s been hurt by the personal attacks on him. How easily he sweeps away the personal attacks on others; most notably the Damian McBride affair earlier this year.

Am I being too cynical when I see this as yet another attempt by this unelected buffoon to ingratiate himself with the public? “Give me a chance,” is the whining undertone. “I’m not enjoying this. I’m only doing it because no one else wants the job, or is even up to it.” Don’t be taken in. This man spent ten years as Chancellor undermining Blair, finally ousting him in a coup. He wanted this job more than anything else in his life.

And how genuine is his claim that he’d like to teach? Think about it: what, exactly, is the man qualified to teach? He’s got a PhD in History. Here’s his thesis title: The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918-29. You’d not be far wrong if you were to accuse him of being up his own arse, then. Given that it was his economic policies that got us into this mess, you would have to presume that teaching Economics is certainly out the question.

Why doesn’t he ‘do the right thing ‘ (to use his well-worn phrase) and take himself up on his instinct to walk away from the trappings of power? It would be the greatest service he could do for his country.


Graffiti Puzzler

February 27, 2009

This photograph was taken not a hundred yards from my home. Was the person writing the graffiti dyslexic, or is this an example of just how far the standard of English has fallen — that your average vandal can’t spell the most basic of offensive words? What hope for society if the latter is the case?

Evidence of falling literacy standards

Evidence of falling literacy standards is evident in graffiti


Brixton Redevelopment an Amazing Success

December 6, 2008

ambeth Council is declaring its pavement-widening programme in Brixton an ‘amazing success’.

“The work, originally scheduled to take up to eight weeks, is now in its twelfth,” explained a delighted council spokesman. “Planning it for the winter was a stroke of genius, because it’s meant maximum discomfort and inconvenience to bus passengers, as well as car-users. Bus passengers now have to make a cold, wet journey on foot to a bleak and exposed nowhere place near Windrush Common to wait vainly for their delayed and over-crowded buses.”

The original plan was simply to widen the pavements in Brixton to give bus passengers coming out of the Underground station just about enough room to move. However, the council has claimed unexpected success in disrupting passenger journeys on the north-bound side of the A23. “As a traffic-control measure it’s a greater success than we’d ever dared to hope. Now that the width of the lanes has been restricted so severely, congestion is so bad that passengers have to disembark outside the Council offices and walk to the station to have any hope of getting to work on time.”

Meanwhile, there has been an unexpected boon to Brixton’s alternative economy. Drug-dealers outside the Underground station now have extra room to push skunk and weed. “Business ‘as never been better, man,” explained one dealer, who refused to give his name. “There’s so much room I and I was tinking of getting a stall for me skank.”


Brown Murder Plot – Police Have More Supsects

August 28, 2008

Police were last night seeking the arrest of a large number of people in the conspiracy to murder British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

“He’s the most unpopular man in Britain,” said a police spokesman. “Even his own party hates him. We therefore have to take threats to his life seriously.”

No shortage of suspects

Police believe they have a full list of suspects who want Brown dead. “We have a copy of the electoral roll,” said the police spokesperson. “We know where everyone lives.”


Street Drugs ‘Best Buy’ Guide Published by Government

October 17, 2006

 UK Street Drug prices as at 13-09-06Official UK Govt Street Drug prices, 13-09-06. Copyright Guardian Newspapers.

London, UK.  The British government has published a ‘best buy’ guide for street drugs in the UK.  The table above gives drug users a handy pocket-sized guide to drugs prices in the UK — an absolute must for addicts planning a weekend away, or for drugs tourists to the UK.

Wizarre Borld found a spaced-out junior health minister willing to talk.  “This official ‘list price’ for street drugs is part of our anti-crime initiative.  Many drugs users are hopeless negotiators, and often a dealer will overcharge them when they’re desperate for a fix.  This price comparison chart will enable users to drive down the costs of their substance abuse.  And lower costs means lower crime levels because addicts’ habits will be less expensive to feed.  This is a win-win situation because it absolves us from having to do anything long-term to support anyone.  This is free-market economics at its best.  In the future we envisage moving to a weekly price list, broken down by specific neighbourhoods.  Ultimately, we would move towards spot prices on each street corner.”


Bush Fails Turing Test

October 12, 2006

bushtwit.JPGBush – a twit?

Leading researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) at MIT were surprised today when George W Bush failed a Turing test.  The incident happened when the President was touring the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after making a speech hailing the technology.

British computer pioneer Alan Turing proposed that an independent observer would observe a conversation between a computer and a human.  If the observer can’t tell which one is the computer, then the computer must appear to have the same intelligence as the human.

“It was quite embarrassing,” said one observer.  “We set him up at a terminal with our latest AI programme.  The President asked a few basic questions of the software, beginning with ‘How are you?’ Within a few questions, President Bush was hopelessly lost.”
Here is the transcript of the interaction:
Bush: How are you today?
Computer: I’m fine, thank you.  How are you?
Bush: I’m totalisingly fine.
Computer: I beg your pardon?
Bush: There will be no pardonifications.  Justice will be done.
Computer: I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Bush: I said there will be no pardonifications.  Executise everyone on death row!
Computer: Help!  Someone get me away from this maniac!


Bizarre Search Terms Part I: Grammar and the Alphabet

October 2, 2006

The first 3-4 months of this blog have been a revelation.  It’s provided me with an insight into the searches people conduct on the internet.  You wouldn’t believe some of the search terms that have led people here.  I’ve categorised them into several parts.  Here are the first few, with some comments:

Crimes that start with the letter D  This is reminiscent of the AOL user who was caught searching for the means to murder his wife.  But what’ this user up to — planning on starting an alphabetical crime spree?  Note that this would-be criminal mastermind was methodical enough to capitalise ‘Crimes’ and the letter D.  Furthermore, he’s almost written a sentence  — be very afraid.

cartoon character letter h  This user is possibly related to the nutter in the previous search.  But his lack of capitalisation and laziness in not forming a sentence shows this one to be quite harmless.

english language becoming worse satire  Oh dear.  This dimwit bemoaning the deterioration of the English language is too lazy even to have bothered to capitalised the proper noun.  The irony of his search for a satire on the subject ending up as the object of mirth is probably lost on him.

male slang usage letter H  What is it with the letter H?  This query is almost certainly by someone who isn’t hip to the lingo, but is desperate to catch up because his position depends on it.  How do I know?  He’s doing it methodically.  If he had any sense he’d go to an online slang dictionary, so he’s obviously someone who isn’t that in touch with the way search engines work — someone familiar with technology but who has yet to master it.  Given that this query was done on October 1st, the day the Conservative Party’s conference opened in Bournemouth, I’d sugest it must be none other than David Cameron, Conservative Party Leader, desperately seeking a bon mot for his speech.


Islamic World Runs Out of Effigies, Flags, to Burn

September 16, 2006

There was widespread panic across the Muslim world yesterday after Friday prayers as stockpiles of effigies ran out following the Pope’s apparently anti-Islamic speech in Germany last month.

“It’s been a vintage year for effigy-burning,” explained one Islamic agent provocateur. “The publication of cartoons of Mohammed in Europe earlier this year gave us several weeks’ worth of burning as each country’s press dared to publish the pictures. There’s continuous burning due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has created a constant demand for effigies. Then the Pope came right out of left-field with his remarks from a fourteenth-century scholar, accusing the Prophet of spreading Islam by the sword. Now we’re out of stock and hoping that there’s not another incident like this before we’ve had a chance to get more supplies. It would be a severe embarrassment if there was another insult to Islam and we didn’t have any decent effigies to burn.”

Prices on the Islamabad Effigy Exchange peaked on Friday morning before afternoon prayers, with the spot price for grade-A flammable effigies nearly 50% above that for December delivery effigies.

In related markets, December contract Stars and Stripes are up 11% in the last week, whilst the pending retirement of Tony Blair as British Prime Minister has caused a 20% fall in the price of Union Jacks for delivery in May 2007.


Turkey ‘Should be at heart of EU’ says Sarkozy

September 12, 2006

In an apparent about-turn, French would-be 2007 presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to endorse Turkey’s entry into the European Union.

“Zis turkey ‘as always been at the ‘eart of Europe, and I want to keep eet there,” said the right-winger in an impassioned speech in Paris.

It was only later that it became clear that the turkey he was talking about was France. “Eet’s a disgrace that a country like ours with its low growth, high unemployment, crippling budget crisis, and a backward-looking agrarian population can stand in the way of progress by ‘aving a veto,” he said with a Gallic shrug.  “Mais, c’est la vie.”


Humans ’Not as smart as we thought’, Conclude Dolphins

September 7, 2006

Latest research by dolphin scientists shows that human beings may not be as smart as had always been assumed.  “The human brain is much larger than we would expect for a mammal that size, so we had always thought that the spare capacity might be given over to sentience,” said Herbert Bottlenose, of the Aquatic University’s Terrestrial Science department.  “After all, they don’t face the complex three-dimensional world that we do, nor do they have to give over so much of their brains to interpreting sonar signals.

“We’ve been able to train them to give us fish for doing simple tricks like jumping through hoops.  But every time we try to talk with them they just assume we want more fish.  If they were really intelligent, then they’d figure out that we were actually trying to tell them something important.  We’ve been trying to warn them about global warming for years.  It’s their loss — after all, warmer and larger seas are great for us.  The only human who ever got it right was the late, great Douglas Adams.  It really won’t be that long before we have to say ‘So long, and thanks for all the fish’.”

This story is a riposte to this article about South African researcher Paul Manger’s work.


Blair To ‘Go With The Crowds Wanting More’

September 5, 2006

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s closest allies yesterday said that he is to ‘go with the crowds wanting more’.  Wizarre Borld‘s opinion pollsters solicited the following suggestions this evening from our readership:

  • The United States
  • The Moon
  • The guillotine
  • The Planet Mongo
  • Being fed to the lions
  • Back beneath the stone he crawled out from under
  • Swimming with the fishes (former Italian PM Berlusconi to help)

And, contrary to his allies’ opinions, definitely not:

  • The House of Lords
  • The United Nations
  • Talk shows

It is interesting to note that Blair’s allies and our readership did agree on one destination: the Chris Evans Show on Radio 2.  Presumably our readership believed it would be interesting car-crash radio to listen to two self-obsessed has-beens toadying to each other.


Autism — Are Matzos To Blame?

September 5, 2006

On Radio 4 this morning I heard that men over the age of 40 are six times more likely to have autistic children.  The study was carried out by studying 100,000 births in Israel.

Here at Wizarre Borld, we regard it as our job to question the logic of apparently clear conclusions.  For example, we think it more interesting to reverse the argument and state that if you have autism, your father is six times more likely to be aged over 40.  So the question is not whether a man’s sperm degenerates with age, but what habits — dietary, lifestyle and even relationships — does a 40-year-old man have which makes autism more prevalent in his offspring?

And Lo!  On page 10 of today’s Guardian — i.e. just an hour after I heard the news on the radio — I saw that another study had linked autism to bacteria in the gut.  Glenn Gibson from the University of Reading studied the faeces of 50 autistic and 50 normal children.  He found raised levels of the bacterium clostridium in the faeces of the autistic children.  Gibson has now set up a study giving autistic children probiotic treatment.

The question here at Wizarre Borld is whether men over the age of 40 fathering children have dietary habits which cause raised levels of clostridium.  The only population where this age-related correlation has been proven to occur is Israel.  Could Matzos be to blame?


Man Stops at Red Light in South London

September 4, 2006

A man was arrested last night after stopping at a red traffic light on Streatham High Road.

“It was a shocking piece of driving,” said local pedestrian Ed Fuller.  “The light went amber and he braked slowly to a stop just a second after it had gone red.  He showed a careless disregard for his own street cred.”

Local police confirmed that a man in his early thirties had been cautioned in relation to the incident.  “He had stopped in the correct lane to turn left up into Leigham Court Road and was even indicating.  He didn’t think of the impact this would have on the shoppers waiting to risk life and limb to sprint across to the Somerfield supermarket on the other side. Many required treatment for shock.”

“If only he’d been the South Londoner driving the Smart-1 probe at the weekend,” said Wizarre Borld’s source at ESA.

Related news:

South London Cyclist Seen Using Road
‘Mistake’ as European Probe Crashes into Moon, Admit Scientists


‘Mistake’ as European Probe Crashes Into Earth, Admit Scientists

September 3, 2006

The European Space Agency (ESA) crashed the Smart-1 probe into the moon at 4,500mph in the early hours of this morning.  The plume of dust thrown up will enable scientists to analyse the chemistry of the surface material more accurately.

It was the first ion-powered motor ever used in the history of space flight.  Charged xenon atoms are expelled from the back, using electricity from solar panels.  The thrust produced is slower but steadier than conventional rockets, which give short, sharp thrusts that expend large amounts of fuel at a lower velocity.  The ion drive proved highly efficient and lightweight in powering the dishwasher-sized probe.

“Actually, the story about analysing the dust was bullshit,” said a spokesman for the ESA, speaking on condition of anonymity.  “We named it Smart-1 with our tongues firmly in our cheeks.  The trouble is that the steering’s a bitch.  And it didn’t help that the guy piloting it remotely was from South London.  If we’d known what reckless drivers these guys are, we’d never have let him near it.  Of course, he’s laughing his arse off and talking about meeting Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear.

“And the other thing is that it’s not just a dishwasher-sized probe, as referred to in our press releases,” said our source.  “It was, in fact, an actual dishwasher.  Europe has a dishwasher-mountain and this is the first phase in testing extra-terrestrial dumping of white electrical goods like dishwashers, fridge-freezers and washing-machines.”

There was further consternation at ESA’s headquarters this evening as scientists discovered that the absorption spectrum of the dust was identical with that of dehydrated blue cheese.

Related news:

Galileo Wrong, Church Right, Admit Scientists

Earth Not Really a Planet, Say Scientists

Lost Moon Shot Tapes Found


South London Cyclist Seen Using Road

September 3, 2006

Breaking news, Streatham Hill
Reports are coming through that a cyclist was seen using Streatham High Road, rather than the pavement.

“It was incredible,” said local resident Brian Stead. “He was perfectly polite to other motorists and didn’t swear once. But if he was hoping to knock pedestrians down, he was going about it the wrong way. And quite how he was supposed to steal goods displayed outside shops, or snatch mobile phones or handbags, I have no idea. The man’s clearly a maniac and has to be stopped.”


The Design Museum, London — Review

August 26, 2006

I was hoping for an education in the contribution of good design to the ease of modern living.  What I got for my £7 was what design gurus would hail as landmarks or classics – chairs not designed for humans to sit in, and an aeroplane that wasn’t even designed to fly.  The Design Museum is so up itself as to be almost inaccessible to ordinary members of the public.  Indeed, the other visitors were mostly themselves design victims – their spiky haircuts and angular black-framed glasses made them dead ringers for the two much-ridiculed luvvies of the It’s Grim Up North London cartoon in Private Eye.

It’s little wonder that James Dyson resigned as chairman of the museum’s board of trustees after a few months, saying that it had become a ‘style showcase’, when it should be ‘upholding its mission to encourage serious design of the manufactured object’.

If you’re in London and you want to see stylish contemporary design with functionality in mind, my advice is to stick to the top end of Tottenham Court Road.  You’ll find Habitat and Purves & Purves don’t charge admission, the seating’s very comfortable and they’re not full of nerds.

This article was originally developed for Britain’s Most Disappointing Tourist Attractions in the G2 section of The Guardian.


Galileo Wrong, Church Right, Admit Scientists

August 19, 2006

This week’s downgrading of Pluto from its status as a planet was only a foretaste of today’s shocking revelation that astronomers have finally admitted that the universe outside of planet Earth is actually fake.

“Copernicus and Galileo were actually well-known hoaxers,” admitted Prof. Lowell of the Institute of Historical Astronomy — the only scientist willing to talk to Mark Speed’s Wizarre Borld last night.  “Of course, when the church authorities placed him under house arrest, conspiracy theorists seized on this as proof that he was right.  It all just snowballed from there.  Scientists — and particularly astronomers — realised they were onto a good thing.  There were grants, university chairs, then Nobel Laureates.  It was greed.  We kept having to feed the public’s imagination with ever-more weird and wonderful facts.  Our theories got ever more elaborate — eventually we ended up inventing preposterous things like ‘dark matter’ to try to make our theories work.”

Galileo - bit of a joker

Galileo – ‘Bit of a joker’

In fact, the ancient theories with their over-complicated movements of the planets were correct: everything does in fact revolve around the Earth.  After the astronomers admitted their hoax, NASA came clean about the structure of the heavens.  “It’s all crystal spheres, each one inside the other,” admitted a spokesman.  “The Russians were never in any danger of hitting the innermost sphere with Sputnik in 1957 because it was in a very shallow orbit.  But we did begin to suspect something was up with the first manned missions when some of the crew reported seeing what they thought were reflections.  You have to remember that this was at the height of the Cold War and neither side could blink first, although each side knew that the other must know the truth.  The Russians were the first to send a spacecraft round the back of the Moon.  It came perilously close to breaking the sphere which the Moon is attached to — if the craft had been any larger then they might have cracked it.  Both sides then worked together to produce fake photographs of the other side of the Moon.  There’s a reason you can only ever see that one side of the Moon that faces us — it’s stuck to its own crystal sphere.”

Copernican and Galilean theories had apparently proved that the complex movements performed by the planets could best be explained by the Earth and the other planets orbiting the Sun.  Scientists now concede that each of the planets is planted on its own crystal sphere, revolving around the Earth in an erratic manner.  “The only thing the ancients got wrong were the distances,” said a NASA spokesman.  “The Moon is quarter of a million miles away, the stars are just over three million miles away and the furthest crystal sphere containing the galaxies is about five million miles from the Earth’s surface.  In order to send probes to other planets we’ve had to use hi-tech glass-cutting equipment.  It’s only a matter of time before we reach the outermost sphere.  Who knows what we’ll find lies beyond that?”

Moon landing Moon landings ‘Not fake’

NASA was keen to point out that the lunar landings by the Apollo teams were real.  “Oh, we sent them there alright,” said the spokesman.  “But the whole one-sixth gravity is bullshit.  The guys would have fallen off under the Earth’s gravity but for the centrifugal force keeping them in place.  For the sake of the nation’s morale we couldn’t reveal that the whole triumphant space programme was only a partial success, so we had to continue to pump more federal dollars into it.  It was great for this country’s technological development, and provided employment to many highly qualified scientists and engineers.”

This publication understands that the stable nature of the spheres has been a boon for telecommunications and satellite navigation.  “It’s easy,” said a spokesman from the European Space Agency.  “You just have to get a rocket up there and then stick the satellites onto the inside of the sphere.  It’s a piece of cake.”

See also: Earth ‘Not Really A Planet’, Say Scientists and Lost Moon Shot Tapes Found

‘Mistake’ as European Probe Crashes into Moon, Admit Scientists


Passengers Found On Flight — Shock

August 17, 2006

A transatlantic flight from Heathrow was diverted today in a dramatic security scare.  “Somehow some passengers were able to get on board in spite of all the security measures and queues,” said an airline spokesman.  “Shocked cabin staff followed the correct procedure and ordered the plane to turn back.  Passengers are becoming harder to outwit — buying tickets, ditching hand baggage and subjecting themselves to body searches. But we will not let these people succeed.”


Harry Potter Better Known Than Parents

August 16, 2006

According to shock research just published by Bozgy International, 87% of American children could identify the boy-wizard Harry Potter — but just 50% could correctly identify both of their parents.  “Shift work and long hours are partly to blame,” announced Prof. Paula Fibber of the Institute of Fatuous Studies, which commissioned the research.  “However, we discovered that the real problem was that the children simply found their parents uninteresting.  It wasn’t just Harry Potter who beat parents in terms of recognition.  We found that pretty much every fictional character — including Mickey Mouse, Scooby-Doo, Family Guy and the entire cast of Friends and Seinfeld — had higher recognition than parents.  This is a damning indictment of modern American parents, who fail to capture their children’s imaginations.  95% of kids correctly identified that milk came from cows, but just 32% identified that it was their parents provided basic shelter, as well as luxuries like TV.”

In a parallel survey, only 11% of Britons could correctly identify Tony Blair as Prime Minister, with 93% saying that they would prefer Harry Potter to be Premier.  “We think this may be due to that British trait of being easily embarrassed,” said Prof. Fibber.  “What rational person would admit to having Tony Blair as their leader?”


Terrorism Latest — Government Clamps Down on Cocktail Bars

August 12, 2006

Police raided premises in several areas of London last night.  “Intelligence indicated that people at these addresses were mixing dangerous hydrocarbon liquids,” said a spokesperson for Scotland Yard.  “Our investigations are focusing on the notorious postcodes of SW1, W1 and E1.  The suspects conformed to the usual racial stereotype: they were mostly in their early twenties and mainly white in origin.  All were born in Britain.”

“What is particularly sick about these places of worship is that the young people are drawn in by so-called ‘happy hours’,” said the spokesperson.  “Young people are targeted particularly hard on Friday and Saturday nights, when they are likely to be feeling lonely and perhaps exhausted after a week at work, making them more vulnerable to peer pressure.  Once in the premises, it’s very easy for these people to come under the influence.  They are made to feel part of a crowd and brainwashed with loud music.  They are encouraged to mix volatile liquids, with potentially explosive results.  The contents of these ‘drinks’ can be made to taste sweet in order to avoid detection, whereas conventional drinks often have a bitter taste.”


Threat Level on London Underground Critical

August 10, 2006

Today’s foiled terrorist attack on transatlantic flights, saw the UK move to a ‘Critical’ terror alert state.  London Underground, also managed to move its alert state to Critical — down from the Lethal state it has been operating at over the last few weeks.  “The fresher weather finally brought temperatures down below 120F on the Tube’s deep lines,” said a company spokesidiot.  “Customers are no longer facing imminent death when travelling on the system — at least not by being boiled alive.  By making the commute so unpleasant for millions of hard-working members of the public, we have managed to reduce the waiting time to get on platforms to a maximum of an hour during peak hours, with trains sometimes as frequent as one every 30 minutes.”

See previous story on nuclear waste being stored on London Underground trains.


Thames Water Claims Leaks ‘Beneficial to Environment’

August 2, 2006

In a surprise announcement last night, Thames Water claimed that chronic leaks resulting in a loss of 894 million litres of water per day were part of a planned environmental care programme.

“Thousands of trees are dying out all over London due to the drought,” said a spokesperson.  “With six million trees in the Greater London area, 894 million litres of leaking water works out at 149 litres of water per tree per day.  That’s just 33 gallons.  A mature oak can easily respirate 200 gallons per day.  If anything, we should be making these leaks worse.”

Thames Water’s latest announcement comes off the back of an earlier claim that, since water from leaking pipes goes back into the groundwater from which Thames takes some of its supply, the leaks are somehow not a problem.  “We’re thinking of asking London Underground to turn up the heat in the tunnels,” added the spokesperson.  “All that perspiration going deep into the earth can only be a good thing for groundwater levels.”

STOP PRESS:  In a surprise move, Thames Water has announced that it is to dynamite large tracts of London’s Victorian sewage system.  “Sewage is great fertiliser,” said the spokesperson.  “This will be hugely beneficial to the environment.  And it will save us a huge amount on the costs of restoration.”


Nuclear Energy Programme Receives Boost from Blair

July 8, 2006

London, UK.  In a surprise move yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that nuclear waste will be stored on London Underground trains.

“Concerns for the proposed new British nuclear energy programme have centred around the disposal of hazardous nuclear waste,” explained Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks.  “Successive governments have been unable to find safe burial sites.  They have to be monitored closely, and there’s always the risk of leakage into the water table.  This solves the problem at a stroke because the tunnels are constantly monitored by PFI contractors and the containers are always available for inspection.”

Details of the scheme have yet to be finalised, but it is envisaged that an extra half-carriage would be added to all trains on ‘deep’ lines, such as the Northern, Piccadilly and Bakerloo.  Additional benefits would include the eradication of mice and rat populations through exposure to radiation.

“It only seems fair that Londoners foot the risk,” added Environment Minister David Miliband.  “After all, the South East is where we will see most population growth and electricity consumption until 2020.  My own constituency of South Shields is such a long way away and I have a ministerial car.”

London Mayor Ken Livingstone was a surprise backer of the scheme.  “I’ve always been a staunch anti-nuclear campaigner,” he said, speaking from the back of a gravy train.  “But if you wave a bit of cash at me, I’m happy to sell out.”


States to be Renamed in Anti-Crime Drive

July 3, 2006

Washington, D.C.  A controversial new law looks set to be passed by Congress this week.  The Anti-Crime State Consonant Act proposes that all state names will hereafter begin with a consonant, with states currently beginning with a vowel being forced to rename themselves by the addition of a consonant at the beginning of their name.

“Night after night on Court TV we see video footage of crimes being committed in the so-called ‘Vowel States’ of the Mid-West, with Idaho, Oklahoma and Ohio being the most featured,” said Congressman David Ribble (R., NJ), who proposed the act.  “The solution is obvious when you figure it out.  The simple addition of a consonant to the beginning of the name would see an immediate diminution of crime to levels seen in more law-abiding states like Maine and Vermont.  There are 21 consonants to choose from, so they’re not spoilt for choice.”

However, there is still disagreement about the detail of the act because some languages vary in their treatment of vowels.  “Most instances of the letter H and all instances of Y at the front of words are treated as vowels in French,” explained Carl Vorderman, Professor of Modern Linguistics at Maryland State University.  “You wouldn’t want to go through a name-change, only for the problem to surface again through the inadvertent use of a non-English language vowel.  Between H and Y, I would see Y as posing the biggest problem,” he continued.  “For example, the newly-named state of Yoklahoma or Yohio could become a magnet for gang-crime if they were to attempt to market themselves as ‘Yo! Klahoma’ or ‘Yo! Hio’ in an attempt to increase tourism or to encourage businesses to relocate there.  Indeed, with Oklahoma, you can see the precedence has already been set with the hit musical Oklahoma!  You already have the exclamation mark there, and the opening song emphasises the letter O at the start of each of the first two lines.”

However, even disallowing H and Y as vowels leaves some room for dangerous misnomers.  The DEA is advising the Oklahoma state legislature against adopting the letter T at the start, fearing that Toklahoma would see its cornfields replaced by acres of marijuana.  There is widespread unease at the prospect of Illinois fronting its name with the letter K, with Chicago’s image still blemished from the mafia killings of the Prohibition era.  Elsewhere, Fox Television has already threatened a lawsuit if Ohio adopts the letter D, seeing a potential infringement of copyright with Homer Simpson’s famous “D’oh!” catchphrase.  “They already have a town called Springfield in Ohio,” said a Fox executive.  “If they went for Springfield D’Ohio — with or without the apostrophe — we would see them in court.”


Welcome to Great America

June 26, 2006

I went to Paramount’s Great America amusement park yesterday with my girlfriend, her daughter and her friend.  After the Top Gun rollercoaster and the Raging Rapids rafting ride, Shannon and I decided to tackle a couple of the more challenging rides whilst the kids cooled off in the water park.  Invertigo was to be our finale – a heartstopping loop-and-twist forward and reverse screamer with your feet dangling in the air.

“See? This is America,” she told me.

“What, queuing?” I asked.

“No, going out to a theme park at the weekend and having a blast.”

After half an hour of waiting, we were next in line.  We watched as the cars hurtled past us three times before stopping to let the passengers off.  We waited.  And waited.  Then waited some more.  The passengers were stuck on the ride for ten minutes before the staff could free them.  The manager – in a barely intelligible announcement – told us that the ride was out of commission, and that the engineers couldn’t even give an estimate of when it would be back in action.

“Yeah,” I said.  “This is America right now: a broken promise.”


Interstellar Intelligence?

June 21, 2006

“I doubt whether there is any intelligent life within range of Earth. If there were, why haven’t they visited us?” opines Professor Stephen Hawking in a trailer for a CNN special on him.  (My excuse for watching CNN is that I’m in an hotel in Athens and there’s no BBC.)

Sometimes I doubt that there’s even truly intelligent life on Earth, Professor. And if there were intelligent life within range of us advanced enough to have developed interstellar travel, then surely they would also be intelligent enough to stay well away from us — at least until the Bush Presidency has run its course.