Cooking al fresco

The Phoenix lander’s first dig into the Martian soil for scientific study has been delayed by several technical glitches.

Phoenix had planned to dig the first of three shallow pits north of where it landed this week. It would then shovel the soil into a tiny oven to be baked. The resulting gases would be analysed by a variety of scientific instruments. Unfortunately, a sticky oven door and a bombardment of space particles have stopped Nasa’s experiments.


“What is the little metal Alien invader doing now, Fruitella 521?”

“He was scratching around in the mud earlier, Spangle 10, but now he’s just resting quietly.”


“Has he been cooking any soil today, Fruitella 521?”

“No, nothing today.”

“No mud pies or tiny rock cakes?”
“Don’t be cruel Spangle 10, I don’t think the little fella knows what he’s doing.”


“I don’t think he’s all there.  He’s been sitting blinking to himself since his tiny oven door jammed.”

“Jammed?  You wedged it with a stick!”


“Yeah, well, who asked him to invade us anyway?”

“He’s not doing any damage.”

“He’s a thief, Fruitella 521, he’s stealing mud, cooking it and then shoving it into that ventral orifice which I sincerely hope is his mouth.”


“What if he tries to leave without putting it back?”

“I’ll set the cat on him, like we did with all the others.”


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Cool for Cats

If today is your birthday you share it with famous explorer Felix ‘Cats’ Tibbit.

During the summer of 1908, Felix was part of an expedition striving to reach the North Pole.  All but Felix were lost in a terrible storm, but somehow he arrived at a small village of survival buildings set up by previous expeditions, his backpack and most of his clothes torn from his body by the cruel Artic.  The only inhabitants of the group of ramshackle huts were a colony of cats who were the descendants of pets left by other explorers.


After a few days in which he regained his strength, Felix realised that he had to get out of there and back to civilisation before the storms returned, and before he ran out of food.  But how would he survive outside of the shelter without full protective clothing?


He gathered as many of the stray cats as he could into the main hut where he blunted their claws and quickly strapped them to his body, four up each leg and each arm, one across his groin and six others around his torso.  Then he left the cabin and headed south.  At first, his passengers struggled and tried to scratch and bite but after a few days they settled down, hanging quietly as he trudged through the snow and eating dried fish and polar bear with him when he rested in the evening.


Eventually, on the edge of exhaustion, Felix staggered into the bar of a small town populated only by hunters, prospectors and whalers. 
“Aargh, uuugh, mmmmm!” he shouted through frost bitten lips, his wild eyes peering from under the belly of his snow encrusted cat hat.

“Bloody Hell it’s the Abominable Snowman!” shouted the barman and grabbing his shotgun from under the counter, shot Felix dead.


“It was when the cat tied to his groin lifted its head and looked at me, that I started shooting,” the barman stated later.
How ironic that those who at first ensured Felix’s survival finally sealed his fate.


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Set back

Firefighters have contained a large fire which ravaged a theme park at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

A King Kong exhibit and a set from Back to the Future were destroyed and parts of a video library damaged.


The fire was found to be smaller than original estimates after fire crews discovered that they had been trying to extinguish film sets from ‘The Towering Inferno’ and ‘Backdraft’.


“It’s an easy error to make,” said Fire Chief Mike Lackson, “those sets are very realistic.  One of my men mistakenly gave the kiss-of-life to a cardboard cut out of Fay Wray before we dragged him off.  At least, I think that’s what he was doing.”


“We’d have put the fire out earlier but as quick as we were dragging out archive boxes of ‘The Waltons’ and ‘The Dukes of Hazard’, people were throwing them back in.” 

 A riot broke out amongst disappointed film fans when studio bosses announced that the fire will not delay the production of Bruce Willis’s latest film ‘The A Team’.

Fire engine

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Age Stimulation Simulation

Healthcare students at Southbank University are trying out an “age simulation suit” to gain an insight into the conditions older people have to cope with.

The suit is heavy to simulate weariness, there are ear defenders and special glasses to simulate degradation of the senses and electronic pulses cause twitching in the arms and hands.

“It’s an interesting experience,” said 20 year old Hebe Dorian, “but it was unkind of my colleagues to put me in it whilst I was asleep.”

In a similar move students from the Open University have developed a “student simulation experience” for oldies to try.
Injections of hormones make the subject unable to get out of bed much before 2pm, several spliffs and a bottle of Jagermeister degrade their senses and electronic pulses cause them to speak utter gibberish.

“Now I really understand why young people are so crap,” stated 80 year old Albert Ackley. “They have no money and the sex ain’t so good.”


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The world of entertainment was bored to hear that David Beckham has bought his wife a vineyard and bottles of Chateau Posh will soon be gracing the Beckham’s table.


“I fink yool be amused by the impertinence of this one, Victoria.”


“Yes, David  It’s lightweight but sophisticated.  Very fashionable and not out of place at any social gathering.”


“Hardly wot you’d call ‘full-bodied’ though darling.  Not much depth or substance.”


“I was trying to make an analogy between me and the wine, David!”


“So was I luv, so was I.”


“You’re so funny David.”

“Yeah.  Funny.”



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Fighting talk

The new series of ‘Gladiators’ is back after eight years, and how we’ve missed it!

We sent roving reporter, Tim Flaps, behind the scenes to meet the injury prone stars.


“Here outside the stage door we have one of the biggest female stars; Conflagration.  What are you up to Conflagration?”

“I’m not up to anything Tim; I’m just having a quiet cigar in between bouts.  And who are you calling big, anyway?”

“Sorry, I meant big as in popular.”

“Okay, as long as you’re not insinuating that I’m fat.  I’m actually big boned which helps on the platform games.  I’m the only girl who has survived a whole series without getting knocked off by Swordsman.”

“Yes, I can see why.  Which other Gladiator Stars can I interview today?”


“Well, Uproar isn’t available; she’s got the decorators in again.  Hellhole is injured with gusset friction burn from these bloody costumes and Frost is having her eyes tested after that incident where she picked up a vacuum cleaner instead of the pugilist stick.”

“What happened?”

“Instead of knocking her opponent down from the platform she sucked them off.”
“They didn’t complain, Tim.”


“So, are there any male Gladiators around?”
“You could try Oblivious, if he’s not high on glue.  Tornado is off sick after a bad curry, but Marauder should be here.  You might find him hanging around the girls changing rooms.  Or the boys.”

“One last question, Conflagration, If I was a Gladiator what stage-name would I use?”
“I think you could use your real name.”

Gladiator Tim, you mean?”

“No.  Gladiator Flaps.  Flaps as in ‘a flat thin piece used as cover for an orifice’.”




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