Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Peace-off and ill-will to all men!

Now that the festivities are well and truly over, we can all sit back on our big, hairy arses and reflect on the year gone by. Hmm… actually, did anyone else think that 2005 was probably the most whinging, scaremongering, nay-saying, fun-bashing, spoil-sporting year we’ve had in a long time? And that’s saying something!

We’ve had knee-jerk, reactionary panic-mongering from the Daily Mail, the undisputed masters of knee-jerk, reactionary panic-mongering, that this winter will be the worst for 20 years with “quite severe loss of life” (as opposed to merely mild loss of life, then). This comes just months after said rag told us not to flush our bogs due to predictions of the “worst drought in 30 years”. Like the scary winter, the mighty drought never transpired but, on the bright side, Daily Mail readers did end up with the stinkiest, most disease-ridden homes since records began. Which is something, I guess.

Then there were the doom-merchants wanting to ban Christmas turkey (and presumably Gordon Ramsey, by proxy) for fears of spreading avian flu. This shows such a profound lack of understanding that I’m almost speechless. Almost. My own theory is that this particular idiocy stems from news stories such as this one on CNN, showing a turkey (the bird) and the headline “Confirmed in Turkey” (the country). It’s easy to see how the more impetuous scaremonger might twist this into “Your turkey will kill you dead this Christmas!” Particularly if it sells newspapers.

And talking of bans, one London train is setting a dangerous precedent by banning 'coughing' in designated carriages. This follows bans on smoking, mobile phones, talking, breathing, living and being. Ironically this initiative is backed (i.e. 'sponsored') by Benylin. I say ironically as every scientific study thus far shows that cough mixtures simply do not work. You’re better off, medically and financially, eating chocolate during the day and taking a mild sedative at night, and let's face it, chocs and booze taste way better than Benylin (but let’s not tell the great unwashed in case the poor multinationals lose their bonuses next Crimbo).

So will 2006 be any better? Is this the year we become humanitarians, casting aside our petty differences and pride? Can we scrap all the hysteria about 'killer Christmas puds' and 'terror tinsel' and instead simply eat, drink and be merry? Will we actually enjoy ourselves this year rather than looking for sly ways to impede other's enjoyment? Well, the story I read today isn’t exactly promising, although it’s surely an early candidate for 'Jobsworth of the Year'. After long-time AA member, David Baker, died of a heart attack at the wheel of his car, his brother-in-law was told over the phone by the so-called 'Fourth Emergency Service' that they couldn’t help because “If he’s dead, he’s no longer a member.” Happy New Year to you too, mate.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sex, Lies and Bagpipes!

We've lost intelligence. Repeat, we have no intelligence!

Well… it’s been a funny old couple of weeks, hasn’t it? Let’s look at the ongoing ‘science vs. religion’ saga, for starters. Pennsylvania recently succeeded in ousting the idiots (or should that read ‘Republicans’?) who wanted Intelligent Design (ID) taught in schools, while at almost the exact same moment in time, the Kansas ‘Board of Obfuscation’ voted to bring ID back again. As Kang and Kodos, space aliens from ‘The Simpsons’, so aptly put it, “Holy flerking schnit!”

And another thing, if there is an ‘intelligent designer’ then they're clearly endowed with a towering sense of irony (i.e. not American). Why else would they twist fate so deviously to coincide this debate with the opening of the American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin exhibition last weekend? Oh how I love our sneaky, prankster Lord!

Spectacles, testicles, wallop and snatch!

Now this next bit is a few furlongs off the radar, I admit, but did you read about the Japanese geezer who had a fetish for spectacles? Not his own, mind you, but other people’s. He would ask them nicely, then punch them in the face, pinch their specs, nick off home and, although not strictly worded in the article, lock himself in a cupboard and furiously whack his bonobo (which explains the eyesight deficiency).

Now, in an extraordinary feat of tenuous linkage, you have to say there’s an intelligent designer at work here. A bloke with an eye-wear fetish... in Japan? I mean, come on. It must be like being an arsonist in Paris right now. Or that guy who’s just been crowned ‘Mr. Gay Universe’ who had to beat off (ahem) 12 other contestants. Stiff competition, indeed!


And last, but definitely least… remember the endless parade of useless tack touted by the likes of Ronco and, more recently, the Innovations Catalogue? Well it comes as a joyous relief (bit like the ‘Mr. Gay Universe’ runners-up) to see that Haversack have taken up the modern-day mantle as purveyors of ‘quality indoor and outdoor leisure products'. Which is just as well, seeing as I couldn’t lay my paws on a set of miniature bagpipes for neither love nor money. And as for that romantic double umbrella... well I’d almost gibbon up!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Of Sound Mind and Body!

Choosing My Religion!

If you’re a chimp like me, you’ll appreciate that science isn’t the answer to everything. It never claimed to be. Certainly, it’s the greatest method yet discovered for plucking the bananas of truth from the jungle of lies, delusion, superstition and prejudice. That’s a gibbon.

But what of beauty, art, ethics and love? What of the liberation of oneself from the animalistic and materialistic worlds? What of spirituality?

Now at this point you may realise I’m not talking about Christianity here. As far as I can see, there’s nothing liberating or aspirational about a bunch of miserable, repressed humans, stoically regurgitating words they don’t understand, in a vast, cold building. Oh, no. And is it me, or did someone swap all the words round in those ancient hymns?

“Begat thee o’er Him rejoice, thou dost proud stand Him lie.”

What the flock’s that about? I’m also not talking about your so-called ‘New Age’ movements, which ironically are all based on a load of very old hippy toss-buggery.

No, no… I’m talking of the spirituality envisioned by Einstein. The natural religion which denies a personal, humanlike God, dismisses the accuracy of sacred texts, and poo-poos the power of prayer as mere wishful thinking (did you know us apes like flinging poo?). There’s no soul, and no immortality. Instead you get a spirituality keyed to nature itself. The ultimate religion, if you like, connecting the world’s populace by advanced reasoning and logic, accepting only that which is scientifically explainable, resulting in a unity of belief that eliminates all differences and conflicts, allowing peaceful coexistence for all.

Yeah, yeah, it’s a tad idealistic and woolly at best, but if you want something a bit more orangu-tangible, then you could do a lot worse than Buddhism. A scientifically-minded review of the Dalai Lama’s latest book shows us that His Holiness sees Buddhism sitting squarely alongside science, both striving for an understanding of nature based on the sharing of knowledge and transcending of boundaries. Clearly, me being a primate and all, I’m hardly going to argue with a bloke named after a large, woolly South-American camelid!

Who’s For Dinner?

I intended to make only one entry today, the one above on science and spirituality, but there’s something I’ve just got to get off my hairy chest. And that thing is Hufu. For the uninitiated, ‘Hufu’ is a food product described by its inventor as “The healthy human flesh alternative”.

Yes, you heard right. ‘Hufu’, as in ‘human tofu’, has been designed to resemble, as humanly possible, the taste and texture of human flesh. Mmm, scrumptious! Its niche market (surely it is niche?) are those hungry for the experience of cannibalism, yet deterred by those pesky legal and logistical impediments that tend to get in the way. And get this, it’s also a great product for cannibals who want to quit. Brilliant! Maybe they’ll bring out gum and patches?

Lastly, in what can only be described as inspired marketing nous, you can also buy the Chuck Heston classic Soylent Green from the site too. Tasty!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Gods, Morons, and Europeans!

Burning Bush!

Now before I start, I must state that 'The Ape' never intended to be a political blog, nor a George 'Dubya' basher for that matter. There's too many of those as it is. That said, something's been rumblin' my jungle of late and, as you'll see, the subject matter is entirely relevant.

I refer to the shocking revelation that God told George W. Bush to invade Iraq. Actually, this makes a certain sense to me, seeing as the evidence was weak at best, falsified at worst, the UN was never behind the war... oops, sorry, I mean 'attack' (wars have two sides). Yes, the justification just wasn't there. However, when the Big Beardy Dude speaks to you directly... well that's a different kettle of fish and loaves.

"I'm driven with a mission from God", explains George. "God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did. And then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. And I did."

Hmm. Now it can't just be me who thinks this eerily reminiscent of every other crazy melon-farmer who's ever gone on a killing spree. What about the killer Swedish nanny who reckoned God instructed her via text messages? Or the US student whose defence was that God told him to kill through the TV (though this does happen to me when watching 'Property Ladder')? With this in mind, what George is really saying is, "God told me to kill all those foreigners and steal their oil!" Holy shoot (or something along those lines).

And just how long before the other revelations come out? "George, go and invade Iran. And maybe North Korea, while you're on. And George... burn things! Burn lots of things! Yee-haw! See the pretty fire, George! See it rage! Mwuhahahaha!"


Slightly off-topic, I hasten to add, but did you read about the EU's decision this week to stop anyone outside Greece calling their cheese 'Feta'? This follows in the hoof-prints of other protective food mandates such as Parma ham, Jersey Royals, and Brazil nuts (which, as anyone knows, are simply called "nuts" by Brazilians).

Now I love my cheese. Can't get enough. As 'Bear in the Big Blue House' once said, "Life seems so much better, when you smell the feta!" Wise words, indeed. Actually I did a bit of research into this and was surprised to discover how long feta's been around. Homer actually mentions it in his 'Odyssey', which goes some way to explain the cheesy stench you get watching 'Troy'.

But what of the impact? Well my first thought was, "My God, what will become of the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA)?" Having calmed down with a bourbon biscuit (do they come from Kentucky?), my concerns turned to Judy Bell, the woman behind 'Yorkshire Feta'. She now faces ruin if she doesn't re-brand quickly. You could say it's the end for Judy. Although, hang on... I'm no marketing guru but surely there's an opportunity to 're-frame' this into a positive. Anyone for "Bell's End Cheese"? I'd certainly buy a load. "The cheese on everyone's lips!"

And still on the subject, did you know that Denmark is the largest producer of Feta behind Greece? The Danish Dairy Board are beside themselves with worry. Their head man, Hans Bender, is looking for inspiration. Ahem... well, you can bet your arse I sent Hans an email or two with some fantastic naming suggestions. In fact, why don't you do the same.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

God-botherer makes 'tit' of himself!

Sorry for the pun, and indeed colourful vernacular, but there's been an interesting development in the crazy world of Intelligent Design. For those unfamiliar with ID, it's basically a bunch of Christian fundamentalists, unhappy with evolution, trying to wrap their fairy stories in pseudo-scientific swaddling. Got that? Cushty.

Well, the head creationist... oops, sorry, I mean 'Intelligent Design Scientist', Michael Behe, has amended his description of ID. The original text, from the dubious tome, 'Of Pandas and People', goes like this:

"Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact - fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."

While squirming in the dock for 3 days last week in Dover Pennsylvania, he said the description had now evolved (oh, the irony!) to the following:

"Sudden appearance means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact - fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, and mammals with fur and mammary glands, etc."

You'll spot a couple of differences here, but the main one for me has to be the perplexing, if not unwelcome, inclusion of 'mammary glands'. Excuse me? Are the 'bashers' trying to 'sex-up' their flacid theory using that tried-and-tested 'Carry On' stalwart... the comely bosom? As Kenneth Williams once told Hattie Jacques, "Ooh matron, there's a lot more meat on an older bird, probably because they descended from large, bipedal therapods!"

Anyhoo, the real shock came later when the attorney asked Behe whether the human body contained any examples of the 'beautiful structures' which ID proponents like to cite. Behe's answer... "I'm thinking of examples". Dude, you've just added breasts to your press release and you can't think of any beautiful structures?! Christ on a plate! You could almost hear the Pope himself screaming from the Vatican, "Boobies, man! Boobies! Just say it, you moron!" And to prove the Pontiff's point, click here for a lovely pair.