Wednesday, May 18, 2016

EU referendum campaigners warn of more attacks by Godzilla

As the country nears the crucial EU referendum more and more detail is being revealed about the impacts and perils of leaving, or remaining part of, the European Union.  With just a few weeks to go, the arguments are increasingly becoming technical, sifting carefully through mountains of economic and social data to tease quanta of vital information and illuminate of the intricacies of a decision that will affect all, or no one, in our everyday lives.

“It’s absolutely clear that if Britain leaves the EU then we expose ourselves to increased risk of foreign invasion, specifically from the Orient, from the East, from that giant of Asia,” explained David Cameron.  “I refer of course to Godzilla, and how Britain would once again have to fight as it’s cities are crushed under radioactive, reptilian feet.”
However the Brexit camp was quick to move to counter what they said was unwarranted, scaremongering based purely on hyperbole.

“Nonsense, Britain would not be alone! Golly of course not, Britain is head of the Commonwealth, a group of 53 countries, 2 billion people,” explained Boris Johnson.  “And, let us be sure, the home of King Kong who we could surely enlist in this titanic struggle.”

Campaigners have been quick to seize on the subtle details of EU treaties, intentional trade deals and political manifestos in a bid to bring clarity and understanding to the people of the UK faced with making a difficult choice in such a technical subject as the benefits, or otherwise, of continued EU membership.

“Indeed, not only has Boris so eloquently described how Britain and the commonwealth are exceptionally unique in having such an abundance of 60 foot tall prehistoric apes. Indeed it is to the seas that this great trading nation of ours should look and form new alliances,” explained Nigel Farage. “Outwards to the global Commonwealth and to the riches of the Pacific, where we are sure to be able to form a trade deal with the Kaiju.”

This EU exit strategy has been attacked from many sides, principally the assumption that leaving the EU would cause the immediate cessation of trade with the continent and indeed that said trade can be just as instantly be replaced with that with other sources.

“An alliance of this sort would be worrying indeed.  We would obviously then be limited in our access to Jaeger technology, that way lies isolationism, totalitarianism,” explained Jeremy Corbyn. “Britain might well be driven into the arms of the Decepticons as a counterbalance.”

“All this talk of any alliance in the Pacific is of course complete and utter nonsense, and a conspiracy of the highest order,” blasted George Galloway. “Everyone knows the Pacific Ocean is a hoax perpetrated by Zionists.”

One former politician has come out of seclusion to weigh in on the current situation in British politics, feeling that only now can he finally be clear about where he stands on the crucial debate.

“Look, whether it be Conservative, or Labour, nationalist or socialist, please stop trying to quote me and drag me into your debates,” complained Adolf Hitler from his bunker in the Canary Islands. “My reputation has suffered enough over the years without being linked to Boris Johnson or Ken Livingston.”

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Retro Game Review - Hoovering “not got that one more go feeling”

Surreal Scoop’s resident game reviewer, Nathan Billingsworth has recently left home and takes the opportunity that setting up a new place affords him for a spot of retro gaming.

“I recently moved into a flat of my own and it’s taken a bit of time for the broadband internet to get sorted,” said Billingsworth.  “Being offline does not mean that I cannot game, in fact it gave me the opportunity to investigate some retro-games.  Are these games from the past worth a look now?

“I tried out a spot of Hoovering.  It is a very old game I’ve never previously considered , but something my mum has been playing for years.  In addition it is something that has no online requirements at all.  Although there is a specific hardware requirement of a Vacuum Cleaner, although this is a standalone device.

Playability
“The controls are reasonably easy to master.  Basically you push a button to start and the same to finish.  So far so good.

Graphics
“I found that the whole rendering of the flat was very immersive and fairly realistic.  I certainly had that feeling of being there.  In fact at times it felt almost too real and the particle effects of the dust clouds from under the sofa were so convincing that I found myself almost ready to sneeze.”

Sound
“This was one area that definitely let the game down - the sound was a bit of a monotonous whine, mostly.  There was some music but it was mostly drowned out by the whine that persisted throughout the game.  The audio balance could have been better so as to bring the music to the foreground.  Based on this I would recommend the use of headphones when playing Hoovering for any length of time.”

Gameplay
All in all I’d say this isn’t too bad.  I am not sure I see in the game the kind of longevity that my mum has got out of it, She must have played it thousands of times, although I am told there are different rooms each with their own challenges, and the boss level of Stairs is quite difficult to master.  I found a bonus level called “bathroom” that I hadn’t expected in the game, and there was a checkpoint issue when a glitch with the dust bag upgrade made me have to restart in the bedroom, which was very annoying.  

Verdict
OK, I suppose, to while away a few minutes at a time.  It’s the kind of thing you might come back to  for a nostalgia fix once a year or so, but definitely doesn’t ooze that “just one more go” feeling.  I think even my mum has got bored of it and has turned to speed-running hoovering.  She does tell me that I should also consider some further games in the same series such as “Laundry” but I think I’ll leave that to her.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Apple insists “error 53 vital for nation’s security”

The internet is awash with complaints from iPhone users who have had their phone repaired by a local, non-Apple phone shop, and therefore not repaired by a genius in a polo-shirt, to find that the phones refuse to operate - displaying messages such as “error 53”. Apple has released a press statement insisting that the iPhone’s constant checks for component integrity are important to maintain the device’s security, especially for use by secret agents.

“Imagine you were in the Presidential Suite of a five-star hotel in Bangkok and just about to have sex with the stunning Russian woman you met a couple of hours ago in a burning warehouse,” asked Heidi Billingsworth, senior product evangelist at Apple.  “After the passion, you want to know that you can drift off into sleep, not having to worry about those four men that chased your rickshaw in a hail of gunfire.

“With the iPhone constantly checking the integrity of it’s components, you know that the data on the ‘phone is secure, and can disregard that you only managed three confirmed kills in the shoot-out,” Ms Billingsworth added. “You’ll be busy enough when you wake up next to a corpse anyway”

However security experts dismiss the claims, and MI6 itself has released a statement saying that it’s security approach is independent of any design features of Apple devices.

“Well, the thing is there have been a lot of budget cuts, so we don’t use Apple kit now,” said a source that did not wish to be named. “In fact we get all our stuff from a nice Chinese man who runs a stall down at Dartford market.  It’s been a great saving over the years, especially as the Chinese government has been very helpful in supplying backup copies of our documents when we do have IT problems.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Face of Jesus Found in Belgian bun

Jesus fans were today queuing up to see the latest image of their idol that has been discovered in the icing on a Belgian Bun purchased from a bakery in Chatham, Kent.
 
“It's been bedlam here since I tweeted the picture of Our Lord,” said Ben Billingsworth, a believer from Chatham. “I couldn't believe it when I opened the pack of two buns and found the holy visage staring back at me. It's uncanny”. 
 
Mr Billingsworth has had to hire the local scout hall such is the demand from people to see the bun with people coming from all over the country to queue for up to 7 hours to have a chance of seeing, and taking a selfie with their Saviour.
 
“Obviously it's an important moment in human history, and I want to bring Christians together at this time. But for those that can't be here I have a range of commemorative holy relics on my website,” said Mr Billingsworth. “There is a very affordable mousemat.”
 
Skeptics argue that the image may just be coincidence, a fortunate positioning of raisins around the central cherry “nose” or perhaps just a trick of the eye caused my light and shadow playing on the icing.
 
Others go further and assert that neither the manner of creation of the, nor the lighting conditions in which it is viewed can in anyway cause it to be a representation of Jesus Christ.
 
“It's clearly an image of Elvis,” said comedian Ricky Gervais.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

50 years on new evidence at Dealey Plaza

It may be 50 years since those events that changed the world, but today new evidence is revealed as to what really happened in Dealey Plaza.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sun to charge all idiots not just newspaper buyers


UK readers of The Sun are to be charged for online access to the newspaper later this year. News International has said it will allow readers access to 20 sensationalist made-up articles a month and then readers will need to subscribe to read the rest of the rubbish it produces.

"The Sun website is fantastic but I believe that we are all suffering in the print world,” said Chief Executive Mike Billingsworth. “Part of those people are saying day in, day out 'why am I paying for the Sun when I can get a load of made up nonsense by reading Surreal Scoop for free?'."

The Sun, like sister paper The Times before it, will retreat behind a paywall thus forcing both online and newsprint readers to pay to learn details of which celebrity has been to the gym, slept with another celebrity or is starring in a TV show on Sky.

The newspaper industry as a whole is struggling to compete with an online world which can provide news of events as they happen from all over the world and, most importantly, no need to wait a day to read what celebrities wear when they take the dog for a walk. The Sun argues that by forcing people to subscribe to read it's offerings it will be able to retain the high level of output that the nation has come to expect such as the world's leading network of close celebrity confidents happy to spill the beans on tearful late night mobile phone conversations that everyone else would expect only to be known to the callers, and perhaps their voicemail systems.

Rest assured our long standing journalistic traditions will not be affected by this change to accessing our online content,” said Billingsworth. “The Sun will continue to be news of the tits, by the tits, for the tits.”

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Credit Rating companies completely oblivious to their irrelevance continue to issue press releases


Fitch Ratings tried desperately today to get someone to pay attention to them and their incompetent industry by downgrading another prominent country despite worldwide acceptance that credit rating agencies are as effectual as saying “no” to a priest.

We have to say that we are putting the UK economy on negative watch, do you hear, negative watch. That's important that is,” said Glenn Billingsworth, Head of Alphabet at Fitch to a well attended gathering at the Derby Girl-Guides and Brownies cake sale. “I know the cupcakes do look lovely, but can you just listen – we might move the UK from AAA to AA+! Do you here AA+?”

Mr Billingsworth said Fitch was joining in with the other ratings agencies in seeking an audience after being rendered utterly meaningless having failed to spot the AAA rated subprime bond collapse. Similarly Standard and Poor's issued 1000 leaflets at last weekend's St. Luke's church fete in Formby explaining its analysis of the 2011 downgrade of the United States. Moody's said they were watching the market intently and are collecting 10p coins in case they need to make use of the Bexley Library photocopier prior to speaking at the Welling United Bring-and-Buy sale.

After Mr Billingsworth's presentation, and the local parents had finished buying cakes, there was time for a question and answer session:-

Sophie (Brownie 7) : “AA+, does that mean Britain is very good?”
GB : “Yes, it does. Very good indeed. Just not quite as good as AAA. If you have an AAA credit rating you are safe to invest in, AA+ you are still safe, but, well, not quite as safe as AAA which is the safest of all.”

Louise (Head Guide, 17) : “So has the UK ever not paid back a debt?”
GB : “No, never. But, erm, well it might sort of not pay back something, but of course it will pay it back as we still think it is AA+”

Katie (Guide, 15) : “So what is the point of changing the rating?”
GB: “Well it's very complicated in the world of financial instruments. I am not sure we have the background knowledge here in this lovely, lovely hall to fully cover the intricacies of sovereign debt. But the chance of us downgrading the rating is the important bit, that you should tell your mums and dads about. Negative Watch is the phrase, shall we say it together?”

Mary (Brownie, 6) : “But for years didn't you insist that your subprime Collateralised Debt Obligations were AAA rating even though, for example, the Credit Suisse issue ended up losing investors $125m?”
GB: “Sorry little girl, I can't hear you over that vacuum cleaner. Is that the time already? I really should be going.”