Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On alien invasion

On alien invasion

Let's face it - we're not alone in the universe, and it is a cruel, cruel galaxy for small, defenceless blue planets.

Sooner or later, a bunch of heavily-armed ne'er-do-wells from the Planet Tharg is going to turn up to beat the living crap out of us, enslave humanity, eat our brains and force us to take part in televised gaditorial combat.

Whatever the scenario, it's not going to be pretty.

Like inter-galactic Boy Scouts, we've got to be prepared.

And with the planet still in a relatively backward state with hardly a jetpack or phased plasma rifle to be had, we've got to devise some sort of alternative planetary defence strategy that is not based on force.

In short, when your average tyrannical, brain-eating, gladiator-fetish space alien regards our planet with envious eyes, we've got to make the place look like it's not worth invading.

Therefore, I propose that the UN adopts the following for the sake of mankind.

- Pump the landmasses, atmosphere and seas with pollution and radioactivity

- Beam 'Snog, Marry, Avoid' and Katie Price reality shows into space

- Poison intellectual discourse and discussion by allowing a) Richard Littlejohn, b)Sarah Palin and c) Australian politicians

- Worship an invisible, all-powerful sky zombie who will save us all, providing we are worthy of his mercy

- The creation of a Earth Invasion Information Hotline where the operators are permanently too busy to take calls ("Press one to invade Earth, Press two to set up a lunar colony")

On closer inspection, it appears we are doing these things already. As you were.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Official Notice for Your Safety and Guidance

Official Notice for Your Safety and Guidance

"In the event of a fire in this building, please do not use the elevators.

"I mean - for the love of God - have you not learned anything from Towering Inferno?

"On the discovery of a fire, make every attempt to put out the flames. DO NOT Call the fire brigade, as this will only increase our insurance premiums.

"However, if some plank should activate the fire alarm, please evacuate the building using the stairs, death slide, or the Scaryduck Labs Building Evacuation Catapault.

"Executive staff: Please make your way to the roof and use the jet packs provided.

"Staff Assembly Point: Spearmint Rhino."

Monday, March 29, 2010

On positive staff relations outcomes

On positive staff relations outcomes

Yeah, I've been on another motivational course. Great way to catch up on sleep.

"So – you want to manage your staff effectively.

"But what do you do when you encounter problems? How – for example – do you handle a colleague that is consistently late for work without good reason?

"The solution, of course, is to undertake a simple process which steers them toward accepting desired outcomes as a result of their behaviour.

"Luckily, there's an easy-to-remember acronym that you should follow in this very circumstance.

"Avoid Confrontation By Telling The Lollygaggers To Get A Grip, There Being Plenty Of Space For Another Grave Behind The Despatch Office

"ACBTTLTGAGTBPOSFAGBTDO. Get ACBTTLTGAGTBPOSFAGBTDO into your daily routine, and you'll never have staff problems again.

"Unless, of course, it's a girl, and it should be ACBTTLTGAGTBPOSFAGBTDOS.

"The S standing for 'sweetlips' as per accepted norms.

"Remember: ACBTTLTGAGTBPOSFAGBTDO. You know it makes sense."

Friday, March 26, 2010

On Judas Nationality

On Judas Nationality

Another one that made it onto the Danny Baker Show. I'm *such* a media whore.

Some years ago I was working for the government out in the Far East. I ended up staying for a week on the US Air Force base on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

This looked a cushy little number right up to the moment I tried to get hold of something to eat --- I piled up my tray in the canteen and walked to the till.

"What's your social security number?" asked the girl on the till.

I told her. My British one, and her eyes lit up with the words "Does not compute."

"Sorry sir," she said, the word 'sir' telling me all I need to know, "We can't serve you without a valid US social security number."

I went back to the boss and told him of my ordeal, and he gave me a fake number on the spot on the proviso that I be American for the week.

I balked, but the alternative being starved amongst the *cough* well-built US servicemen, I caved in.

"And I'm making you a captain in the Air Force" he said by way of a bonus.

Nobody has told me I no longer hold this rank, so as far as I'm concerned I still am a captain in the US Air Force. In fact, I think after ten years, I'm due a promotion.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On The Budget

On The Budget

That Alistair Darling, eh?

Not only has he shamelessly stolen my name, but he's been running around spending our money, pretending he's some sort of grand fromage.

Yesterday, as you might have heard, the unofficial Alistair Darling unleashed his pre-election Budget on the people of our once-proud nation, smacking - as is his prerogative - a 10p-in-the-pound tax on the noble drink of Cider.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: At last he's decided to tax the one part of society that's managed to escape the wrath of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Tramps are now going to have to pay their way.

Add to that 300% tax increases on hairy string, cardboard and Salvation Army soup on top of the Tramp Fuel duty, and you can see he's squeezing the influential vagrant vote until the pips squeak.

A few other Budget measures you might have missed in all the noise about stamp duty and millionaire hobos:

- Tax doubled on three-ply toilet paper and Hobnob biscuits. THE GIT

- £10m one-off payment to all Alistairs, funded by a £10m windfall tax on all Alastairs. RESULT!

- In an effort to shut down the Daily Star, an 80p punative tax on all mentions of Katie Price in the media

- A £500m scientific fund to explore ways of launching Michael Winner into space. BLATANT ELECTIONEERING

- £30m to be set aside to allow the teabagging of Conservative leader David Cameron and the motorboating of Nigella Lawson on Sundays

And finally, in a move that has been rightly condemned for its rampant self interest: Duty abolished on Just For Men Eyebrows and Nasal Hair

So, as a public service, why not try our Budget 2010 ready reckoner, and see how you've fared in this year's financial shake-up.

Are you better off in 2010?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On traffic chaos

On traffic chaos

It took me four hours to drive home from work the other night. Four hours. Something had to be done.

"Hi, you're through to Salisbury's Spire FM."

"Yeah, just an update on your traffic news."

"Go on..."

"The hour-long queue by Porton Down you've been reporting - it's been caused by some plank who's coned off a lane for no reason at all, set up the temporary lights so they only stay green for six seconds every five minutes and cleared off home for the weekend. It's every man for himself out here."

"Right...sounds bad. Is there anything anybody can do?"

"Yeah, as a matter of fact - you could make an on-air appeal to get the man in charge to come back and sort it out, pronto."

"Sounds like a plan."

"Then we can tie him to a tree, smear him in jam and leave him for the ants."


"Or, we can follow him home, wait until he's asleep, then swap his shoes for an identical pair two sizes too small."


"Or, we can follow him home, befriend him, cook him his favourite meal and put ground-up toe-nail clippings in the salt cellar. Or..."


What? What did I say?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On the countryside

On the countryside

Pic credit: ScarysisterI went and visited the countryside recently, and it was excellent. It's got animals, trees, things growing in the fields and lots of dead stuff lying by the side of the road.

I would recommend it to anyone.

While I was there, a gentleman in a smock leaning on a five-bar gate told me a few interesting facts about the countryside. Oh yes.

When I eventually regained consciousness, I immediately wrote these closely-guarded secrets of the Agricultural Illumianti down in my Big Stolen Bob Monkhouse Book of Gags to put on the internets:

- The best way to tell the age of a horse is to cut it in two and count the rings

- Every year civil servants are allowed a two week skiing holiday on the European Butter Mountain in the French Alps, paid for by YOU the British taxpayer. While they are away, their jobs are filled by lazy foreign immigrants who spend their working hours – paid for by YOU the British taxpayer – pushing donkeys out of church towers

- All farm tractors are capable of 0-60mph in less than ten seconds and have a top speed that makes the Bugatti Veyron look like a broken wheelbarrow. It's just that your average farmer is a complete bastard

- Correction: The best way to tell the age of a horse is to wait for its birthday and take a peek at his cards

- The full scientific name for the dreaded Foot & Mouth disease is 'Foot, Mouth, Tits, Arses, Fannies and Things' and is most notable for finishing off poor, dead Jim Davidson

- The concept of the so-called 'countryside' is simply an excuse to get Kate Humble and Julia Bradbury wrestling in a paddling pool full of slurry. This is yet to happen

- The well-known countryside phrase "Ooh-Arrrr" is short for "Ooh Arrrr a complete twunt"

Monday, March 22, 2010

On peddle stools

On peddle stools

We're talking about football. Again.

"You know the trouble with your John Terry an' all your millionaire footballers?"

"No. But I suppose you're going to tell us anyway."

"It's kids. They just put them up on a peddle stool."

"A what?"

"A peddle stool. The overpaid, under-achieving See You Next Tuesdays."

"And then what do they do? Ride away on it?"

"Sorry mate, you've lost me."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Google Street View

On Google Street View

YaaY! for Google Street View finally coming to the streets of Britain. The web is already filled to the brim with the best that the service that has to offer.

But here's our own little gem:

The lovely old bloke who stands on a local street corner in Weymouth, dawn-to-dusk, waving at passing cars. Staring, utterly agog at the Street View camera. Bless.

And yes, our house is on Street View. And no, I'm not going to link to it. You wouldn't be interested, we've since demolished the old shed and Street View is now completely out of date.

Sort it out, Google.

Friday, March 19, 2010

On scammers

On scammers

To a cheap clip joint in Caversham to have my flowing locks shorn from my head.

As I sat in the barber's chair to order my Number Four buzz-cut, a couple of scruffy types amble in off the street. You know the type: Oozing guilty and the owners of a thousand watts of moron, broadcast straight into the fillings in your teeth.

"You'll have to pay up front," says the barber-euse to the ne'er-do-wells as they take a seat in the waiting area, "You've been in here before an' you did a runner."

"Who - us?" one of them protests, playing the victim to the hilt, "It was ...err... somebody else what looks like me. Honest. I never done no runner or nuffin'."

"And," she said, clearly on a roll, "You did the same at the last place I worked. In fact – fuck off."

"Yeah? You goin' to make us?" they demand, clearly ignorant of the fact that they are not the ones in possession of a healthy supply of freshly-stropped Wilkinsons.

"No, but my husband is."

Enter a huge, muscled gentleman, his arms bearing tattoos reading "I [heart] barbering" and "I also [heart] breaking people's legs when they run off without paying."

They fucked off, without even waiting for their something for the weekend.

Not ten minutes previously, I was at the cash machine, withdrawing funds for my forthcoming Number Four buzz-cut.

"Excuse me," says a not unattractive young lady, "But the machine's eaten my card, and I haven't got enough money for food and the bus fare home. Can you lend me ten pounds?"

I looked her up and down, then back up again, remembering the hideous ordeal an online pal endured recently, when faced with an equally alluring cleavage.

Two words: "Heard it."

Her reply is equally to the point: "Fair cop."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On pointing and laughing at our island neighbours

On pointing and laughing at our island neighbours

They recently held an emergency planning exercise up on the island, just in case there's a nuclear leak.

Portland is often host to nuclear submarines – being the first port of call of the USS Nautilus after it made its historic first trip under the Arctic icecap – and the easily scared are forever carking themselves should one of these underwater menaces blow up whilst its crew are away enjoying the fleshpots of sunny Weymouth.

So, they held another hand-out-iodine-pills-and-a-leaflet-bearing-the-words-Don't-Panic on Portland recently.

Result: Actual blind panic from the cousin-licking residents of Fortuneswell, running in the streets, dogs and cats living together, the whole nine yards.

And, naturally, the Outragederati ran to the local paper, so the rest of the district can point and laugh at them. And now, thanks to the magic of the electric internets, so can you.

Far be it from me to stoke the flames as the Dorset Echo ran no less than two stories on the affair, the paper's comments were left wide open for rampant flame stoking:

I can confirm there was no panic at all in Wyke. In fact, I led an orderly procession to Ferrybridge, and was ready to blow the charges in order to keep the irradiated hordes on the island when the authorities had me stand down.

All in a day's work.
I am not mad.

I understand next month's exercise will deal with the threat of a fifty-foot tall radiation-mutated rabbit rising from the harbour, demanding carrots with menaces from the terrified residents of Castletown.

But there will be NO NEED TO PANIC. The chances of this actually happening in real life are no more than fifty-fifty.
Not to mention one from the mind of poor, dead Benny Hill:

Was it a dirty bomb? The only dirty bombs were the ones in Portland residents' underpants

Also in the news: Weymouth demonstrates to the outside world the fate that befalls rowdy stag parties

Warned, you have been.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On David Beckham

On David Beckham

New Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy wrote a poem about poor, dead David Beckham's ruptured Achilles Tendon, being the kind on calamity that brings this once-proud nation to its knees.

Naturally, it's the kind of poncy classical allegory that doesn't even rhyme you'd come to expect from these wallahs who have never in their lives directed a chant of "You're going home in a Red Cross ambulance" toward the opposing team's elderly season ticket holders.

So - having experienced Wembley Stadium's legendary river of piss and the jolly old welcome you expect on away trips to northern grounds, I wrote one from the heart:

Ode to David Beckham's Foot-Knack

David Beckham gave his foes the willies
But now he's ruptured his Achilles
England's World Cup chances are in the dock
Thanks to Beckham's foot
And John Terry's cock.

Have at that, Duffy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On little victories

On little victories

Dear Mr Duck

Thank you for the final payment on your account, which is now cleared. Thank you for being a customer with us.

Please note you have been charged £1.25 for a paper copy of this notice.

Send payment of the balance to us within 14 working days.

Yours etc,

Bastard Corp

So I reply...

Dear Bastard Corp

Thank you for your letter advising me that my account was fully paid.

I also note your demand for £1.25, being your company's fee for telling me my account balance is now clear, which I am happy to pay.

Please note that you have been charged £1.26 for a paper copy of this notice.

Send payment of the balance of £0.01 to us within 14 working days.

Your move.

S Duck, BSc (Hons)

Monday, March 15, 2010

On vacuum packaging

On vacuum packaging

Great excitement at the Duck household as my new shed arrives, the old one being removed due to entirely unfounded fears of contamination.

Imagine my surprise, then, as I find that my new out building has been delivered to me encased in vac-pack.

You couldn't even get through the door for use as an emergency latrine without negotiating the impenetrable wall of plastic with a variety of kitchen implements.

At least – looking on the bright side – it'll never get wet, even when the next sou'wester comes roaring over Chesil Beach.

Other things which shouldn't arrive in vac-pack:

- Vaccum cleaners
- Bubble wrap
- Vac-pack
- Elephants (unless you are catering for a particularly large barbecue and wish to keep the steaks fresh)
- Relatives (ditto)

Can't wait to see how the new greenhouse arrives. Filled to the brim with those little polystyrene balls, I should imagine.

Or deep-fried. Who can tell these days?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On jumping onto bandwagons

On jumping onto bandwagons

Yeah, I've signed up to online Ask-me-a-pointless-question service Formspring.

Go on - ask me a pointless question.

Friday, March 12, 2010

On not being good at flirting

On not being good at flirting

See that film "The 40-year-old Virgin?"

No, me neither. But that could have been me.

You see, youthful experience showed that I was no good at flirting with the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, having the social skills of a SuBo, I'm not good at people, full stop.

How, you ask, did this manifest itself in a way that is both confessional and amusing? Like this…

After an exceedingly expensive evening with college mates in a particularly lively pub in Farnborough, we spilled out into the car park rather the worse for wear.

John put his arm around my shoulder and offered me the following observation regarding the events of the previous hours: "You utter, utter, utter twat!"

"W... what?"

"Did you not see the way that bird was flirting with you?"

No. No, I did not.

No, because I was too busy with my pint and the tenth retelling of an amusing tale on how I had nearly wiped out the SAS single-handed, armed only with a spoon; while a chap in our group had our full attention as he ate an entire potted geranium - including the pot - as part of a drunken bet that earned him upwards of two pounds.

"Come on, you oaf, surely you must have noticed. We did."

"How so?"

"The way she sat on your lap, skirt up to her waist, pushing her tits in your face for a start."

"Oh, THAT? I thought there weren't enough seats."

"You utter, utter, utter twat!"

Then I was sick in a hedge.

Just call me Faily McFailson, world champion of FAIL.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On call centre hell

On call centre hell

Don't you just love automated call centres? Automated, of course, for your convenience.

"Please tell us the fifth letter of your password"


"Was that P for Papa?"


"Please tell us the fifth letter of your password"


"Was that E for Echo?"

"NO! It was C. C for... C for Crappy Fucking Lloyds Bastard TSB."

"Was that B for Bravo?"


"Unexpected item in bagging area."

"Fuck it, I'll go down the branch."

"Was that R?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On a day in the life of the Grim Reaper

On a day in the life of the Grim Reaper

BBC News: Stirling Moss, 80, survives 30-foot plunge down lift shaft


Stirling Moss: Why, yes. As a matter of fact I am.

Death: (Consults large, dusty book entitled 'Aaron A. Moses - Zachary Z. Most') RIGHT YOU ARE. I'VE GOT YOU DOWN FOR ANOTHER LAP OF HONOUR. OFF YOU GO, AND DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU'RE DONE.

Stirling Moss: Yoinks!


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On killing another joke completely to death

On killing another joke completely to death

Someone passed this doozy on to me:

Q. What's Sherlock Holmes' favourite magazine?

A. What's On

Now wait just one cotton-pickin' moment. Are you sure?

As they say in the adverts "Other magazines are available". Let's see what's on the news stand for the world's greatest sleuth.

- Horse and Hound of the Baskervilles

- More iarty!

- Cocaine Enthusiast

- Something something bizarre citrus fruit up the wrong hole something. Weekly.

People with jokes: Think about your alternative punchlines and the danger they bring.

Monday, March 08, 2010

On landscape gardening

On landscape gardening


"Hello - I wonder if you've heard the Good News about Our Lord Jesus Chr..."


And that is why our front garden now looks like this. Where is your magic sky zombie now, eh?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

On Mark Linkous

On Mark Linkous

I always meant to do a post on Sparklehorse, the band of US-based multi-intrumentalist Mark Linkous, and in particular his album Good Morning Spider, which ranks among my all-time favourites.

Then I awake this morning to hear that Mark has ended his own life.


A couple of my favourite tracks from "Spider":

RIP, musical genius fella.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Neither Mirth nor woe: On being told off by grown-ups

Neither Mirth nor woe: On being told off by grown-ups

To London with my charming wife for a visit to the theatre.

Theatre! Our greatest thesps treading the boards for the delight of the paying masses, the cultural pinnacle of our society.

Starlight Express, then.

Bless my poor, dead mother, but every year we would receive a pair of theatre tickets for Christmas, and we would make a day of it up it the Smoke. A bit of shopping, some tourist attractions, something to eat, then we'd hit the theatre.

So, come early afternoon, and things are not going particularly well as we toured the National Gallery.

My charming wife was unencumbered by heavy shopping, but I found myself weighed down by a large Chinese vase purchased from Mr Fayed's Knightsbridge Emporium of Tat.

We had taken a shining to the thing as soon as we had laid eyes on it, and the assistants fell over themselves to encase it in plastic bags and pass it to me looking like a gift-wrapped torpedo. With nothing to do but carry the thing around with us all day, it was beginning to look like one of our least inspired purchases.

Our attention is drawn to John Constable's 1816 painting of Weymouth Bay. Of course, when you see a picture of your local area, you are drawn to it like flies to a recently deceased colleague strapped to a radiator, just so you can see how the great artist captured where you live.

"Look – see that?" I say, pointing, "That's the area where our house was going to be built."

Except, as I was pointing, The Great Vase weight me down, and I found myself toppling forward, finger outstretched directly at Constable's priceless painting.

There was a "Noooooooooo!" from the curator, roused from her sleep as I plunged toward Weymouth Bay in slow motion.

At the last moment, I managed to twist my body, and I instead prodded the wall half a centimetre away from the frame.

The curator looked at me and said one word: "OUT".

We left, pausing only to defecate on Van Gogh's crappy picture of a bunch of flowers.

Our day was not over, not by any shot.

I still had to get our torpedo into Starlight Express, and sit with it through a two-hour performance of roller-staking, train-related high-jinks.

Not so simple. We were in the second row.

I was – it must be said – amazed at the ease in which I got the monster into the auditorium.

It was only as the performance started, and I sat with the thing between my legs like an enormous green phallus that things got difficult.

One of the performers, in his full dressed-as-a-train fig, skated out to stage front, clocked my throbbing bell jar and performed a manoeuvre that can only be described as "the baby owl". That train, I am certain, went on to become The Cat of Red Dwarf.

Other performers gave me worried looks as they staked past. It's not as if a man hasn't brought large pottery to a theatre before. Or something.

Half-time: "Excuse me, sir…"

They were very nice. I was allowed to store my bell-end in the manager's office until the end of the show, and hardly lectured me at all except the the words, through gritted teeth: "This is the third one this week. Don't. Do. It. Again."

And then, to Victoria Bus Station.

"There's no way THAT'S coming on my effing bus."


Then I was sick inna jar.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

On being called a tool

On being called a tool

"I'm going up to my place in Fakenham for the weekend. Is there anything you might want?"

"Yes. Yes there is"

"And what might that be?"

"Find out if there's a town nearby called Genuinenham."

"You tool."

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Great Lost Albums of the 1990s

Great Lost Albums of the 1990s

Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix

Following up the indie classic Bandwagonesque (much loved of Match of the Day clip compilers) and Thirteen, came the stupidly brilliant Grand Prix, chock full of storming songs from your favourite Scotch guitar outfit.

I could wax lyrical about how much I love this album. But look:

And this, for the love of Cliff:

Sadly, the Fannies don't have a tribute act. They'd be called Teenage Fanclub Fanclub, and that would be ace.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On breaking the ice

On breaking the ice

Another day, another industry event which has snuck up behind me, clobbered me over the head and dragged me aboard like a pressed man into the Royal Navy. Only without all the rum, sodomy and whatnot.

"And welcome - all of you - to this conference and networking event. We DO hope your day will be an enjoyable one.

"We'll kick-off with the usual ice-breaking exercise so we can all get to know one another."

Oh joy.

"So, if you'd be so kind as to leave by the fire door, go down to the lake and jump in.

"It's been a bit chilly overnight, so please try not to die.

"Any questions?"

We have no questions. I am the only delegate to return.

After that, there are many, many questions.

Monday, March 01, 2010

On staging medical trials for fun, vengeance and profit

On staging medical trials for fun, vengeance and profit

Our pals at the Speak Your Brains website have prodded me towards the website of a gentleman who is very active on discussion boards around the net. People might call him eccentric - or worse - but I prefer to think of him as an enlightened visionary.

Pioneering inventor of Economy 7, the man whose personal intervention ended the Cold War, opinion former and medical theorist, our man postulates that his Kadir-Buxton Method can cure the nation's myriad mental health problems at a saving of £100bn. Per year. Wow.

And Andrew Kadir-Buxton's method is - as far as I can see - this:

- Stand facing the patient

- Clench fists

- Aim for a point just below the ears

- Beat them unconscious

- When the patient comes round, you will find that he is cured
According to the inventor, this cure also works for Alzheimer's (which he claims is a loss of IQ linked with curable mania that can be addressed to a good punch in the head), and muggers.

As far as I can tell from his informative website, he is absolutely serious in his claims and is not a nutter at all.

And who – I ask – can argue with this calibre of research into the heart-rending problem of fertility?

"All [fallopian tube] blockages that I have found have been dead bacteria, or sometimes lemonade which is a result of a country wide practice of lesbians at Universities."

Tell me more about these lesbian students. This is a branch of science that has been criminally under-funded.

The cure, our man says, appears to be a practice known as "fisting". Whatever that is, but I am sure that there are lemonade-drinking students who are able to provide an explanation.

Alas for medical science, Mr Kadir-Buxton is yet to find a psychiatrist or medical practitioner who is willing to subject his claims to the rigours of peer review.

It was sitting in a long, frustrating meeting just the other day that I realised that I AM THE MAN FOR THIS JOB.

The list of names I was compiling were - it dawned on me - not people marked for death the moment I find myself in a middle management position with access to firearms, but a list of potential subjects to take part in Kadir-Buxton Method medical trials.

And the law says they have to sign consent forms first. Where's the justice?