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Anti-Death Movement 2 December, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The room was quite spacious, but everyone was sitting in a neat circle in the middle of the room on uncomfortable chairs. Melissa leant forward, brushed some stray hairs behind her ears and started.

“Thank you all for coming, I think we all know why we’re here, gathered in this circle of understanding. The death rate in this country is frankly unacceptable.

“The statistics speak for themselves, as recently as 100 years ago, 100% of people in this country suffered from death. We must act.

“We’ve created an anti-death movement for people to sign a pledge that they won’t die. You see, we’ve identified the leading cause of death as people dying, and if we can tackle this issue on an individual level, then we can start seeing the results on a larger scale.

“Now, we’ve had few designs for t-shirts with slogans on them, ‘If I don’t die today, then it’s another victory over death’, that one is pointing out the flowing of time, you see, that tomorrow becomes today, so if you say you won’t die today, then it means that tomorrow you won’t die, because by the time tomorrow becomes today then it will be today and you’re saying you won’t die today. Do you understand? I thought that was, rather clever. ”

A few people nodded that they understood, the idea, if not what Melissa just said.

“We’ve also got ‘Kill Death’, which is a bit confrontational for my liking, but the design guys like it and it seems to have some traction.

“My personal favourite is ‘Die another day’, but I’ve been told there may be copyright issues with that one.

“We’ve also created a Death Awareness Month. A single month of the year where we get people to make a special effort not to die, and our projections show that if we can get 75% of our ‘at risk’ groups to participate, then we can reduce the rates of Death by a twelfth which is a massive impact.

“I’d like to open this up to the group, we’ve put a lot of brain storming, and banging our heads together in the back room, and would like to see if anyone has any other ideas to bring into the group. ”

Dave pipped up.

“Don’t you think the pledge to not die is futile?”

“Not at all,” continued Melissa, “so far we’ve had a 98% success rate, only a few people have fallen off the boat and died. It’s hard work, but if we can keep up numbers like that, then we’ve got a chance. ”

Erica was slightly more enthused with the ideas on show then Dave, and decided to speak up.

“Wow, I’m really excited by this and think that we really need to focus on the root causes and get to the bottom of WHY people die.”

“Thank you, that’s a really interesting avenue. We’ve found that people right across society are at risk of dying, but the people who are older seem to have an increased risk. We haven’t identified why this is yet, but numerous volunteers have been spending time with this at risk group, and their personal experiences have revealed that a large majority of these dyings happen in hospital. ”

Erica gasped.

“Yes, I know. Our own health establishments being paid for with our tax payers money, are among the worst offenders. Our team have thrown together some numbers, and find that one in fifteen cases of people dying could be avoided by shutting down the hospitals. ”

“You’re an idiot.” said Denise.

“Okay, we’ll take that on board, but I think it’s important to keep things positive in your contributions, so we can really tackle this issue. ”

“She’s right, you are a complete idiot.” said Dave.

About half the people mumbled their agreement and started to walk out.

“Hang on, don’t leave, I haven’t shown you the bumper stickers yet!”


Santa’s Image 18 November, 2013 at 2:42 pm

In a statement from a leading health agency, the new European Regulation regarding the healthy body shape in merchandise is to be strictly enforced.

This regulation means that the officials can force retailers to remove any product or display which shows or encourages bad health.

Some campaigners have welcomed the news in a bid to get rid of anorexic promotion in clothes shops, but others are more sceptical about how it’s started to be taken.

Numerous stores in local High Streets have been forced to remove Santa Claus merchandise and Christmas displays due to him be clinically obese.

With an average estimated BMI (Body Mass Index) 5 times about the threshold to be a health issue, it is clear that most representations are unfit for public display.

A spokesman said “It is clear that the lifestyle chosen by Santa, spending most of the year with very little exercise, is something that has caused massive health issues, and it’s something we don’t want to to be seen as a positive image. When there’s an image of Santa at a sensible weight, we will be more then happy.”

It is thought that people displaying Santa as part of their festive decorations, either outside their houses or visible through the windows, are infringing the regulation and liable to fines which could be in the thousands per representation.

Church groups have welcomed the developments.


Santa 10 December, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The task was to write something with a festive theme to be read out at a Christmas party. This is about as festive as I get.

The Santa that you know has abandoned you!

Nay! The Santa you know has never existed!

Let yourself not weep for this political creation, and mourn over something that was so invented. But let us strive to remember what Santa once was, what he should be, and lets hope that he can still exist for us once more.

Of all the sources in which he appears, not one depicts the man you know. Not one is what you believe in. Not one is the fat jovial demon glaring at you today. Instead you must go back, go back to the origins for your belief. Let us not mix stories and once more create a monster to be shaped by the consumerism that has engulfed us. Instead, let us rise above that, and clutch a legend, a myth, a story, which is honest and true. Something that is complete enough to survive. Something that we can turn to and say, “This is our Santa, and this is no lie”.

A Santa that no faceless entity can twist least we say “nay, that is not my Santa. For my Santa is the Santa of old. The Santa of truth, the Santa of honesty”

Be it Odin the Norse God, or be it Saint Nicolas of long ago, or be it a myth from any of a thousand sources, as long as it be something true, and then, perhaps, we can all believe in Santa once more.


What I Hate About The Mail 7 March, 2012 at 12:00 pm

So when I picked up the mail this morning, there was something about pensions in there.

I don’t know exactly what, some summary or suchlike. All I know is my pension is in hand. I signed on some random dotted line, so I don’t need to worry. I’ve got the guilt policy I think. The one you sign when you feel bad about not having a pension.

Do I object to getting mail about my pension? Yes. Why? Because I don’t really care about it. My previous policy would send me one letter a year. That was good. It reminded me that I had one to take care of the guilt, and would give me funky numbers to nod at and pass a couple of comments about how bad things are getting and how they’ve got to pick up. But recently I’ve signed to a new pension, and this is the fifth letter in two weeks. Seriously? Five letters for one (okay, quite a few) signatures?

The first was a welcome letter. Thank you. I am now welcomed. Now shut up and leave me alone.

The second was a welcome pack. Erm. It’s quite okay, I’m welcomed enough thank you, but it’s nice of them to give me a little folder to put all the nonsense they give me into.

The third was my online access number. Who checks there pension online? Is it now a critical service? Should I be setting my homepage to my pension account so I can check daily how much my pension is going down and wishing I just put that money into an ISA? Surely savings of that time scale are quite happy to be managed yearly rather then instant 24 hour access? Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact they have things online so I can access it, but do they really need to sign me up automatically? Can’t they wait until I’m 55 and I start showing a vague interest/panic? Then I’d go to them, they don’t need to shove it in my face!

The forth was quite naturally the pin for online access. As you might have gathered, I don’t care. So I won’t be logging in, so I won’t be changing the pin. So the pin will sit with the online access number, because that’s a logical place to put it. Right next to the piece of paper it shouldn’t be stored with, because where else am I going to store it other then in the folder that came with the welcome pack? They really expect me to remember the code, or somewhere else I put it? That’s just asking for trouble. So now they two numbers are sitting together for someone to steal, log into my account, and find there’s only one button which starts my pension payments. If they go missing, I’ll be expecting to become the youngest person claiming a pension.

The fifth was a summary. I have money in it. Very good. I know I have money in it, because I signed the piece of paper the consultant said would put my money into it. I don’t need a constant reminder that I’m out of pocket by quite that much and have to hope that the pound and pension will still exist when I want to retire.

So please, don’t keep reminding me.

But it isn’t just pensions. It’s also Mr Branson. Please Richard. Please stop. Not only is it junk mail. Not only is it annoying crap. It’s also blatantly insulting. Yes, insulting. Why? Because he charges me £1.75 per bill by post, and yet he sends me a couple of letters every month anyway. Not in the same envelope because that wouldn’t help save the environment. But not getting my bills posted will save the world. So even though he sends me e-mails saying my bills are ready, he can’t send the other letters through e-mail, because then I wouldn’t get the marketing wow factor. And then the postman may not know every house which has Virgin Media. Serious, does he not know what envelopes are for? I’m ashamed enough to be supporting the beard, please don’t let my neighbours know when they see the bright red letters go through my letter box.

It’s not just physical mail, and not just junk mail. Have you tried to book a hotel? Try with Travelodge, not only do you get to stay in a substandard youth hostel, and get the inherent joys of a barely functioning shower, fixtures hanging off or inside walls, switches which don’t switch, TV boxes which have had the wires cut, desks without desk chairs, lack of power plugs by the beds and bar TVs that get changed away from anything you might have been watching even if you’re the only one in the bar. Not only all that. You also get a Welcome to Travelodge e-mail (why is everyone welcoming me? I’m still at home!), a thank you e-mail, and an e-mail invoice. Then you get the survey e-mail. Four e-mails for one night at a crappy hotel, and they still expect you to pay on top of that nonsense? Luckily they’re too much into cost cutting to send letters, but I’m surprised they don’t automatically send you four letters in the mail and charge you £2 for each of them unless you untick that small tick box that you have to untick to unlock another option you can tick to confirm that you’re not committing to the possibility of not getting a confirmation letter. Only they’d squeeze in another couple of triple negatives.

So, I thought we were moving away from junk mail to e-mail spam, but no. We’re getting flooded by paper from companies who can’t even get organised enough to send two items in the same envelope. If they don’t have that organisation, then why on earth am I trusting them with my money? Well, apart from because I’m really not interested in my pension.


Admission Notice 16 May, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Dear Sir/Madam,

We regret to inform you that your application for admittance into the human race has been rejected.

As such, you are still not allowed to use phrases like “I’m one of those people who…” or “People like me are…..”. You also should not be assuming that your opinion reflects the majority – it doesn’t.

Also, we would ask you to refrain from appearing on television. This may cause the wrong impression to gullible people who may mistake you for part of the human race. Radio phone ins should also be avoided, your ideas are likely to be idiotic, obnoxious, and plain wrong.

Possible causes for this rejection could be an insistence of wearing white track suit bottoms with no intention of doing any sport, reading The Sun, mistaking The Daily Mail for a work of fact and not a work of fiction, claiming benefits for no good reason aside from “because you can”, excessive use of government expenses, or being creepy.

If you would like to re-apply for admission into the human race, feel free to complete the form on the reverse of this notice and submit it once the 12 month cooling off period has elapsed. Be sure to highlight how your behavior has changed since your last application.

Many Thanks,

Department of Constitutional Affairs


Salmon of Foreboding 25 April, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Allow me to focus on a religion. I don’t think enough is known of this one eternal truth, and I think you should know more about it, and in time, you will become a follower.

Somewhere in space there is many great Fish, and they swim though space on a scale we cannot comprehend. Not only do they swim, they also control all below them. It has been theorised that there are greater things then the Salmon flying above us, but these things are not for us to know, and we are not capable of comprehending.

This world is not as we expect, but it is an Egg. It was laid by the Salmon of Foreboding, and is inexorably linked with the great father Fish of our world. He alone can control life and death, peace and war, sickness and health. It is only by his grace that we exist. In time, the Egg will hatch and the Salmon of Despair will come into the world, but until that time, the Egg is our responsibility to nurture and protect.

These words have been passed down from the original man who walked the Egg. Having come from the Fish himself, he was the concentration of purity, and the model of perfection. Since he came, that purity has been spread over an ever rising population, and so the faith is getting weak.

However, when many people are in the same place, traces of the original thoughts can be found. For example, these days the younger generation have started saying “for sure”, however, they don’t pronounce it as one would pronounce those words, instead it’s nearer “fui shuu” which is very near to “Fish”. This is just one of the many signs of the faith trying to come to the surface once more. Many people theorise that the growth of faith whilst the population is at its largest, is a sign that the Salmon of Foreboding is approaching and the Salmon of Despair is about to hatch.

The recent earthquakes are also signs that the child of the great Foreboding is almost ready to hatch, and soon the earth will be ripped apart and the marvel of a new God will be born. This will be a great honour for anyone alive in that period, and it is said that all believers, and keepers of the Egg will forever ride upon the Salmon of Despairs back and part of each of us will then become the first man on the next Egg in the chain of Eggstars. However, those who reject the word of the Fish, who damage the egg, and drill into it seeking its wealth for themselves, will be punished with an eternity in the belly of the Bear of Reasonable Size, and be eternally showered with bits of Fish.

Coming up is the festival of the Bear of Death. It marks the part of the journey every great Fish must face before rising to full divinity. In this festival we bless the Salmon of Despair to help him pass the Bear of Death unharmed, and thus ensuring our ride through eternity will be free from Death forever. We will be meeting at the lowest point in each country, and here we will be closest to our blessed Fish which we must protect. We will be showering fish food on the ground whilst chanting in the ancient Fiseian tongue of the great things that our Fish will do.

I hope to see many of you there this year.


Internet Audit 28 February, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Dear Sir,

You are due an Internet Audit. It has been seen in our records, that your Internet usage has never been audited, and in random spot checks brought in, you have been selected for investigation.

It is no need to be alarmed if you are a law abiding Internet user.

Kindly submit complete traffic dumps of all Internet data for the last 6 years in files marked Year-Month-Day-Hour-Minute and we’ll ensure your usage adherers to the rules and regulations.

Should any inconsistencies be discovered, a full investigation will be launched, during which time all your accounts will be suspended, and you will be required to reveal your passwords for all sites, up to and including banking sites.

In the unlikely event you are unable to submit the required dumps electronically, you can print them out and mail them to the address on the reverse of this e-mail.

If you have destroyed/lost records from this period, it will be taken as a inconsistency and a full investigation will be launched immediately.

Thanks you for your co-operation,

The Global Internet Commission


Desperate for attention 24 October, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Please note, below is merely fiction. It is not real. There is no Ralf, and it’s not a subconscious cry. It’s just a cool idea from a misheard snippet of conversation overheard on a random train journey.


You have tormented me for years, I can’t take it any more. Each day you walk past me, and pretend I don’t exist. How can you not notice me? Every day for two years! Surely you should know that I’m here by now? I should be a part of your daily routine, not just an observer.

I sit watching you go about your business. Sometime I can see you sitting watching TV. When I see you just sitting there, it drives me insane, as I know I should be me that has your attention.

Sometimes I think I should just break free and make a clean break, but we both know that’s not possible. You’ve locked me in. I’m locked into this relationship of dependency.

As much as it pains me to say it, we both know that it is a relationship of dependency. I depend on you in every way, but you keep on torturing me, denying me.

Sometimes I want to just attack you, and leave you for dead. But I can’t. I’ll never be able to do it, because you’re so much bigger and stronger then me, I’d only break if I tried. You seem impenetrable.

All I can do is see you relaxing add home as I stare through the glass, all I can do is try and find some way for you to notice me.

So I beg off you, please, please pay me some attention and clean out my cage once in a while.


Ralf The Hamster


Joy of Shopping 1 October, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Doesn’t shopping annoy you? It does with me. After a single shop I become indecisive and then depressed. My partner used to try to drag me around the shops, but after the last hour in TK Max I almost launched into a killing spree. I ended up punching another customer, but he was out of line. I was just sitting in the coat isle and people kept purposely tripping over my feet, in other words, kicking me. So eventually I got fed up of it, and when he came round and kicked my feet, I got up and decked him. Of course my other half threw up such a fuss and hasn’t dragged me round the shops since. I occasionally have to go of course, but the experience hasn’t improved any.

But it’s nearly Christmas, so she brings it all up and claims I have to go and buy presents for everyone. I don’t see why, it’d be the first time they get anything from me. Don’t like the season you see, too much compulsory jolliness. Nothing was more depressing then arriving in sunny Singapore at 9am after a 13 hour flight, with 2 hours sleep in the last 30 hours, and a full days work to look forward to, only to see everyone wearing Santa hats and wishing you a merry Christmas. Excuse me, but what have red hats got to do with the birthday of Jesus? That they’re both invented from no where? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t totally disbelieve Christianity, but I certainly trust that they got the date right or where Santa comes into it.

So there it is, I’m forced to go shopping against my will for Christmas presents, and it was nearly a complete disaster.

First up was a couple of shoe shops, nothing went too badly, but could feel my ire rising with every shoe.

Next we had to go in Next. It was okay, but some idiot kept looking at me. No matter what I did the ugly five year old just starred at me. In the end it took a clip round the back of the head for his mother to take him away. Some people just have no consideration.

I was dragged in shop after shop, each time my patience was getting thinner and thinner. Each time there was something trying to make me snap, from the customers bashing me with their bags, to sales assistants with squeaky voices. Sales assistants trying to assist me in leaving the sales. I’ve never had a sales assistant leave a positive impression you see. Every time they get involved it either ends up with a fight, me walking out, them throwing me out, or the police getting involved. Makes you wonder why they bother employing them. They should just stay behind the counter and process the sales. But even then they can get grumpy. Or even worse, jolly. Nothing worse then an over enthusiastic cashier.

“Hope you have a lovely day” they squeak.

If it was such a lovely day I wouldn’t be shopping!

So eventually I had to go in Homebase. This was okay, a few nice plants. But of the two nice plants we decided on, they both attacked me. A quick tip, always quit when you start getting attacked by plants or inanimate objects. So as this cactus jabbed my finger, I obviously wasn’t going to keep a grip on it, so it flies out of my hand and lands on an old woman. The old woman started screaming at me, and once she hit me with her hand bag, I snapped and saw red.

I’m now banned from Homebase.

They managed to get the paint pot off the old womans head eventually, and the fire was put out, so I think they’re over reacting somewhat.

But anyway, this is a plea to all fellow shoppers, and the poor shop staff, have mercy on the reluctant shopper. You may love shopping, but don’t forget it’s not for everyone, and can cause a lot of pain and suffering.


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