Saturday, 30 December 2006

Xmas TV Review

Traditionally in the UK, Christmas is the time for watching a lot of telly. NewsElephant reviews some of the season's TV highlights.

The Railway Children
Three children are given ASBOs for trespassing on the railway, their parents countersue the train operator for not making the train sufficiently rubbery to bounce harmlessly off trespassers.

The Sound of Music
The Eurovision Song Contest reaches its climax. Who will win? Liverpool's baby-faced boy, London's US-style female clone or Austria's Von Trapp family?

Doctor Whom
Father Christmas has been kidnapped by the daleks. Ricky Gervais helps Doctor Whom to do battle with killer Christmas trees, exploding baubles and somnific Christmas TV. In the end, Doctor Who goes back in time to just before the kidnap attempt and rescues Santa.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Top Books to buy for Chrsitmas 2006

China: the Kraken Awakes (Hank Hankski and Suzie Wang)
Now that China is building enormous space cities on the Moon, and all the world's manufacturing is done in China, the authors look back to how it all began in 1980 with the introduction of fire and stone tools, as the Communist regime slowly allowed Westen technology to filter in.

Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? (Newt Psientist)
A fascinating review of the many different ways to eat penguin and how to store their hacked up carcasses. With fish stocks running out around the globe, attention is turning to the as yet untapped source of protein in the vast penguin flocks of Antarctica.

Dangerous Book for Boys (Alfred Noble)
A hollow, hardback book filled with gelignite and edged with razors, this is indeed a very dangerous book for boys.

Flanimal Lector (Ricky Gervais)
In the latest outing for flanimals, a serial killer is on the loose and the FBI must enlist the help of the flanimals in order to track him down.

The God Delusion (Dichard Rawkins)
In his angry, no-holds-barred, review of secular atheism versus organised religion and the sheer lunancy of the modern world, Rawkins firmly concludes that God had a bang on the head and imagined the whole thing.

Friday, 15 December 2006

when constabulary duty's to be done

When the Saudi royal family buys some arms
(Buys some arms)
Of corruption there is often allegation,
One expects a little money to grease palms
(To grease palms)
But foremost there comes the interests of the nation.
(Of the nation)

Our enquiries we with difficulty smother
('Culty smother)
With them wanting us to stop what we've begun.
(We've begun)
Taking one consideration with another,
(With another)
A policeman's job is not seen to be done.

Not wanting our commercial deals undone,
A policeman's job is not seen to be done,
(to be done)

With electioneering costing more and more,
(More and more)
And when lordships and the honours can be sold,
(Can be sold)
After all that's what they were invented for,
('Vented for)
By Lloyd George and the Prime Ministers of old.
('Sters of old)

When the PM's finished talking to the Police,
(To the Police)
With politicians counting each and every vote,
(Every vote)
Investigating slowly piece by piece,
(Piece by piece)
A policeman's job is not to rock the boat.

When the PM must be 'purer than the pure', quote unquote,
A policeman's job is not to rock the boat,
(rock the boat)

{with apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan}

Prince William passes out

In today's news, we hear that Prince William has taken part in the 'passing out' ceremony at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst after a 44-week course to become an officer in the British Army.

General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett described the passing out ceremony:
"The passing out ceremony has been a tradition at Sandhurst since the Battle of Waterloo. After a night of reckless binge-drinking, if the trainee hasn't managed to throw up in his hat, assault an officer of the Military Police and get himself tied stark-naked to an enormous artillery piece before he passes out, then he simply isn't the sort of person we want in the British Army."

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Nostradamus and his remarkably accurate predictions

On this day in 1503, that remarkably, accurate clairvoyant, Michel Nostradamus, was born in Notre Dame, the son of Esmeralda and Quasimodo.

Even in the 21st Century, people are still astounded by the remarkableness and accuracy of his remarkably accurate predictions. For example, the following three quatrains are held up as the most remarkable for their accurateness.

Quatrain X.72
L'an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois
Du ciel viendra grand Roy deffrayeur
Resusciter le grand Roy d'Angoumois.
Avant après Mars régner par bonheur.

This is widely believed to be a remarkably accurate prediction of Liverpool's victory in the 2005 UEFA Champion's League Final in Istanbul, it translates into English as:
Trailing AC Milan by three goals at half-time,
Liverpool storm back to take the game into extra-time,
And eventually beat the Italians 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out.

Quatrain I.81
D'humain troupeau neuf seront mis à part,
De jugement & conseil separés:
Leur sort sera divisé en départ,
Kappa, Thita, Lambda mors bannis égarés.
This is often seen as a prediction of the Cold War, translating into English as:
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,
an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.

Quatrain II.24
Bêtes farouches de faim fleuves tranner;
Plus part du champ encore Hister sera,
En caige de fer le grand sera treisner,
Quand rien enfant de Germain observa.
Possibly the most remarkable, this is said to predict a landmark in children's television; the English translation is as follows:
Tinkywinky. Dipsy. Laalaa. Po. Teletubbies. Teletubbies! Say, Hello!

EU Enlargement

In today's news, EU leaders are gathering in Brussels to discuss European enlargement.

The summit has been called in response to research showing that the average European is overweight. Amid calls for pan-European co-operation to tackle the obesity epidemic, European leaders lamented the fact that it would no longer be possible to differentiate between a European and an American tourist by sight alone.

Individual nations have started to take steps of their own. Malta, home to the tubbiest Europeans, has introduced restrictions on the sale and distribution of their national dish: Maltesers; Hungary has changed it's name to Replete; and in the UK, a controversial Government campaign to encourage schoolchildren to eat a healthier diet has been condemned as 'the Nanny state gone mad' by parents passing chips and burgers through school fences to their ravenous children.

Saturday, 9 December 2006


Today in History, 9 Dec 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Change of the Light Bulb" was published in England.

Set in the Crimean War (1854-56), this poem is, of course, famous for the joke: "How many soldiers of the Light Brigade does it take to change a light bulb: 600"

Top Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale was dubbed 'The Lady of the Lamp' because she could change a light bulb single-handed.

Friday, 8 December 2006

Immigrants must integrate

In today's news, Tony Blair has said that integration is vital for immigrant communities in the UK.

Condemning the current bias towards differentiation, the Prime Minister has ordered that questions about integration be added to the new UK Citizenship tests.

The new Citizenship test will look something like this:
1) Where are the Geordie, Cockney, and Scouse dialects spoken?
2) What are MPs?
3) What is the Church of England and what is it for?
4) Who was Henry the Eighth and his six wives?
5) Work out the following differentiation: find dy/dx where (x-y)^4 = x + y + 5
6) Work out the following integration: calculatexcos(x) dx

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Gordon Brown's Ancestry: First World War

The story so far:

Dour Scot, Captain Gordon Brownadder, a professional soldier in the British Army, has been in the trenches since the start of the Great War. Aided by his batman, the babbling Private Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in the army and is continually frustrating the orders he receives from General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Blair's HQ.

The Dug-Out (phone rings)

Brownadder: Hello? Ah, Alistair, darling, how can I help? Hmm, I'll be there in forty minutes.

Ballsrick: Who was that, sir?

Brownadder: This is all we need: some pen-pushing, wet-behind-the-ears, know-all, straight out of Staff College, trying to tell us how to run the army.

Ballsrick: Who's that, sir?

Brownadder: There's a big hoohah in the press about the so-called 'Shells Scandal'. Blair's in a panic because that complete arse, General Cameron, is asking awkward questions.

Ballsrick: But didn't General Blair tell the press the war was a big disaster?

Brownadder: It will be a big disaster if General Cameron gets promoted and distributes all the old Etonian toffs to cushy desk jobs - there won't be any for us!

Ballsrick: I see, yes, I wish they'd distribute toffees to our desk.

Brownadder: Not toffees, toffs. General Cameron's staff officers are all old Etonians.

Ballsrick: Estonians? Shouldn't they be in the Russian Army?

Brownadder: No, Ballsrick, they all went to Eton: typical Tory toffs to a man.

Ballsrick: So these Estonian immigrants have eaten all the toffees and left nothing to go to the humble privates?

Brownadder: Ballsrick, I'd suggest you go and clean out the trench before you find my foot going to your humble privates. I'm off to HQ.

Staff HQ

Blair: Alistair, darling, is Brownadder here yet?

Darling: Captain Brownadder has just arrived now, sir.

Blair: Ah, Brownadder! General Cameron's aide-de-camp, Osborne, is saying that, compared to US forces, our privates are missing vital equipment.

Brownadder: But this is nonsense, sir, the honest British Tommy in the trenches is as well-endowed as any American soldier.

Blair: I'm glad to hear it, Brownadder. It's vital that we're fully prepared for the next big push and I don't want our boys caught with their trousers round their ankles when the US forces come up from the rear.

Brownadder: Sorry, sir, are we talking about the same thing?

Blair: People are getting tired of this war, Brownadder.

Brownadder: Well, they were told it would all be over by Christmas. The press are asking whether we really had any plan for what happens when we win.

Blair: The American President is promoting a strategy for national self-determination to spread freedom and democracy around Europe. He's confident that by 1940 Germany will be a beacon of democracy in the heart of Europe.

Darling: Sorry, to interrupt, sir, but what are we going to do about these questions from Cameron and his man, Osborne?

Blair: Alistair, darling, I'm not sure there's much we can do except brazen it out.

Brownadder: May I suggest that we leak a story to the Times about Cameron and Osborne's privileged backgrounds? You know the sort of thing: public school education and aristocratic relations. I'm sure we could dig up stories of embarrassing hi-jinks - they are Tories after all.

Blair: I see, Brownadder. We show them for the two-faced Tory fat cats that they are!

Brownadder: Indeed, sir, I think that would be the prudent strategy.

Later, In the Dug-Out

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, when the Press reveal the silver spoon in Cameron's mouth, they'll be a lot less interested in what he has to say.

Ballsrick: Didn't General Blair go to an elite public school?

Brownadder: Yes, Ballsrick?

Ballsrick: If you get people talking about Cameron's privileged background, won't they start thinking about Blair's privileged background?

Brownadder: They might Ballsrick. In which case it would be prudent for him to resign and allow the promotion of a more competent person.

The End

Turkey will open port to Cyprus

In today's news, we hear of Turkey's 'open port' offer to Cyprus.

In a move to reduce the rancour in the dispute over the divided island of Cyprus and Turko-Greeko-Cypriot relations, the Turkish Government has suggested that they will open a bottle of 1997 Vintage Cockburn's Port and share a glass or two with their Greek Cypriot counterparts.

A spokesman for Finland, which, as the current holder the Presidency of the European Union, is negotiating with Turkey and Cyprus, said:
"Cockburns? Oh, that's alright now - the clinic gave me some special ointment

A spokespoultry for Turkeys Against Christmas said:
"Any port in a storm."

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Neanderthal Poem

Forty thousand years ago,
When Europe was a land of snow,
And mammoths roamed the permafrost,
Two Stone Age hominids got lost.

With ease (both being broad and stocky),
They scrambled over ice all rocky.
A blizzard worse than they could brave,
Made them shelter in a cave.

They'd failed to find a scrap to eat,
The howling snow had got them beat.
They set a fire and sat all day,
Their tummies rumbling in dismay.

'Twas then that one Neanderthal
Looked with hunger at his pal.
Slavering as he licked his lips,
He gazed upon those meaty hips.

Picking up a piece of rock,
He gave his mate a mighty knock.
He cut off slices from the bum,
And on the fire he cooked his chum.

Finishing off the meat he'd served,
He thought a moment and observed:
"No greater love has friend for me,
Who lays his life down for my tea."

(Did starving Neanderthals eat each other?)

Monday, 4 December 2006

Army 'targeting poorer schools'

In today's news, we hear that the British Army is targeting poorer schools.

A spokesman for Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education) may have said:
"This will help to improve the overall standard of education by eliminating the weakest performers (both students and teachers) without the expense of setting up new academies or indeed educating anyone."

When asked about this, the Ministry of Defence, said:
"We think you may have misunderstood this particular news item, the British Army has hardly ever engaged in military operations against schools in this country."

David Cameron (Conservative Party leader) said:
"Whilst we originally supported the Government's invasion of
St Trinians, now that it has turned pear-shaped, we'd like to change our minds."

Friday, 1 December 2006

GM potato trials given go-ahead

In today's news, we hear that the GM potato trials are given the go-ahead.

DEFRA, the UK Department of the Environment, Food, Ribena and Apples, is expected to release a statement later today explaining that the matter is being brought to trial to prosecute manufacturers of potato crisps for their part in the plague of obesity that currently besets us.

A spokesman for General Motors said:
"This isn't anything to do with us."

The Soil Association's policy director, Lord Peter Melchett, said:
"Now then, Blackadder, nobody thinks that potatoes will seriously be used by British consumers or bought by them. Sir Walter Raleigh might as well take them back to the Americas"

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Gordon Brown's Ancestry: Regency England

The story so far:
Dour Scot, Gordon Brownadder, is butler to the Prince of Wales in Regency England. Aided by the babbling Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in society and resents having to work for his dimwit master who seems only to be concerned with his legacy to the nation.

The Prince's Chambers

Prince: Ah, there you are Brownadder. I've got an interview with the Times later, they're sending along a man to do an etching - which trousers do you think I should wear? The trim, understated pair to indicate a sober, worldly statesman or the enormous pantaloons to show I'm a modern, relevant, man of fashion?

Brownadder: The pantaloons, I think, sir, to give them an impression of who you really are.

Prince: You know, Brownadder, I think you're right!

Brownadder: I'm afraid, sir, that I have some distinctly bad news.

Prince: Oh no, has another buyer pulled out of purchasing the Brighton Pavilion?

Brownadder: Well, sir, we haven't actually had any offers for that particular white elephant, but that is not the subject of our bad news.

Prince: Well, come on Brownadder, what is it?

Brownadder: The Tories are revolting.

Prince: Well, I know that - the Liberals are a disgrace too - but why is that bad news for us?

Brownadder: You misunderstand, sir. The Tories are refusing to support our bill in Parliament against Sedition.

Prince: But that's a key part of our war on terror!

Brownadder: They are saying that we're using the threat of French Jacobinism to ride rough-shod over the rights of Englishmen.

Prince: But I thought they supported the war?

Brownadder: Their new leader, Cameron the Younger, claims that we sexed up the report on the Terror in France.

Prince: Well, damn his eyes, Brownadder! I thought the Tories were supposed to be on the side of law and order!

Brownadder: Well, sir, they are more concerned about the increase in highway robbery. They are also asking questions about the sale of peerages.

Prince: Surely they're not against that, Brownadder; it's what they're for - an age-old English tradition.

Brownadder: They're not against it, sir. They say you're not getting enough for them and the shortfall has to be made up by increased customs duties.

Prince: Damn it all, Brownadder, what are we going to do?

Brrownadder: This Cameron is trying to move his party away from the reactionary, eighteenth-century landowner caricature of aristocratic wealth and privilege to a more modern, forward-looking, nineteenth-century image - more in tune with the common man.

Prince: Doesn't sound like any of the fat, bigoted Tories that I know and love.

Brownadder: Ah, but Cameron is a typical Tory toff, he attended an elite public school and his grandfather was a baronet. He is about as common as a lesser spotted woodpecker at a barnacle goose convention.

Prince: How does that help us?

Brownadder: May I suggest that before your interview with the Times, I have a quiet, off-the-record word with the reporter about Cameron's privileged background?

Prince: I see, Brownadder. We show him for the two-faced Tory fat cat that he is!

Brownadder: Indeed, sir, I think that would be the prudent strategy.

Later, In the Kitchen

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, when the reporter from the Times turns up show him straight in to me. Once the British public notice the silver spoon in his mouth, they'll be a lot less interested in what he has to say.

Ballsrick: Didn't the Prince go to an elite public school?

Brownadder: Yes, Ballsrick?

Ballsrick: If you get people talking about Cameron's privileged background, won't they start thinking about the Prince's privileged background?

Brownadder: They might Ballsrick. In which case it would be prudent for the Prince to step into the background and let a more competent person manage his affairs.

The End

Royal editor admits phone tapping

In today's news, the royal editor of the News of the World newspaper has pleaded guilty to phone tapping.

A spokesflunkey for Prince Charles allegedly said:
'We would get these phone calls out of the blue and all you could hear was this tap-tap-tap noise. We thought that it was possibly Morse Code but why would someone send a message consisting of the letter E repeated over and over again? Turns out it was the royal editor of the News of the World.'

A Government spokesman said:
'Although we can confirm that the editor is not actually a member of the Royal Family, we cannot stop him calling himself Royal Editor any more than we can prevent people referring to Royal Jelly, Queen Bees, King Prawns or Emperor Penguins.'

The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers stressed that telephones should not be attached to household plumbing.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Pope begins landmark turkey visit

Pope Benedict XVI begins landmark turkey visit on his first trip to a poultry farm since acceding to the papacy.

The visit has been overshadowed by anger among many turkeys, enraged by comments the Pontiff made about what to have for dinner on Christmas Day.

A spokesturkey for the political organisation Turkeys Against Christmas said of the Roman Pontiff:

'What have the Romans ever done for us?'

Meanwhile, the Vatican released the following statement:

'His holiness the Pope wholeheartedly condemns the massacres of innocent Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians that were perpetrated during the medieval crusades, but notes that no turkeys were actually killed at the time as they did not reach Europe until after the discovery and conquest of the Americas (for which he also apologises). Sorry.'

Friday, 10 November 2006

Shy Bladder, Bashful Bowel

There was an obsessive compulsive,
With bowels in spasms convulsive,
But they just couldn't do,
A poo on the loo,
'Cause they found public toilets repulsive.

In today's
news, we learn that the UK National Phobics Society is launching a campaign to help the estimated 4 million UK people who suffer from toilet phobia.

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Dumpty Rumpty

Donald Rumsfeld was set on a war.
Donald Rumsfeld was terribly sure.
But American forces and American men,
Couldn't put Iraq together again.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Three Blind Mice

In today's news we hear that UK scientists have restored sight to a few blind mice by transplanting precursor retinal cells into their damaged eyes.

When questioned as to how they can be sure that the mice can now see, the scientists retorted: "See how they run, they all ran after the farmer's wife; before this, they just use to blunder around bumping into things!"

However, doctors announced that they had been unable to reattach the blind mice's severed tails: "If they had been packed in a wet tea-towel with a packet of frozen peas we might have had a chance."

Later, police raided Old MacDonald's farm and a woman was taken into custody; a spokesman said, "We are awaiting the results of forensic tests on a carving knife found at the scene."

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Today in History: Writing Invented

History, of course, began exactly 5000 years ago today, when writing was invented in ancient Sumer (modern day Iraq).

Those first pieces of writing, made by poking the end of a reed into a clay tablet, will have long since decayed into dust; but we can guess with reasonable certainty that the very first words written were:
'You ain't read nothing yet!'

The rest, as they say, is history.