Monday, December 24, 2007

Chaos over Christmas due to faulty navigation systems

This Christmas has seen a record number of complaints from households the length and breadth of the country due to a batch of faulty 'ChatNav' systems.

“Christmas and New Year are a time when millions of people travel across the country to be with loved ones,” said Professor J. Scott Billingsworth. “When we get to our destination we are tired and facing another few hours of tricky navigation through a minefield of conversation subjects and it seems the 'Chat Navigation' systems that we have come to rely on have let us down.”

The festive season is a always a notoriously difficult time as families get together for possibly the only time of the year. Many people struggle to navigate the tricky path through family history whilst avoiding known incident blackspots at frosty receptions which may involve long journeys across thin ice.

“Of course at Christmas the problem will have been exacerbated by alcohol,” said the Professor. “This can cause people to drive headlong into areas that are best avoided. Indeed Christmas drinking can engender a desire to get to the point as fast as possible and can cause reckless behaviour and lead to the one driving the conversation to misread even the most unmistakeable of warning signs.”

Our increasing reliance on technology such as ChatNavs means that without the systems many people are helpless. Men in particular are notorious for refusing to accept help when driving a conversation in a completely inappropriate direction oblivious to any suggestion from wives and girlfriends keen to avoid any looming obstacles.

It is believed that the problems with the latest generation of ChatNavs were caused by a failure with the worldwide GPS – Grievance Prevention System - although the approaches taken by previous generations are frequently routed through treacherous territory.

“We have known for some time that many 'chatnav' systems used by older family members can lead to huge meandering diversions down memory lane,” said Professor Billingsworth. “Some of these can lead to many extra hours of pointless meanderings culminating in blow-ups on the way home.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Political party leader admits to lack of faith

In a radio interview the newly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats has revealed that he does not believe in the legendary figures central to the Christmas festivities.

“I do not believe in Father Christmas, however I have enormous respect for people who do believe in imaginary figures at this time of year,” said Nick Clegg.

The new Lib-Dem leader also revealed that whilst his wife shares in non-belief - as a Catholic she does not believe in rights for women – he said he would not be forcing his non-belief on his children, who are instead being brought up to revere myths and superstition.

“My children are also being brought up as Catholics and therefore do indeed believe in invisible and imaginary men with bushy white beards who are said to be continually watching every child’s behaviour. They call Him God,” said Mr Clegg.

The election of Mr Clegg makes the Liberal Democrats unique among political parties in having a rational thinker as leader. The previous New Labour leader, Tony Blair, has admitted that he kept his own irrational belief in superstition in the background whilst in office for fear of being labelled “a nutter”. His successor, Gordon Brown, is rumoured to be a “Young Earth Re-creationist” who refuses to believe that there was anything happening before June 2007.

However the leaders of some of the major groups who see Christmas, with Easter, as their busiest period said that Mr Clegg's disclosure regarding his lack of belief was unhelpful to their work in spreading important messages about the true meaning of the festive season.

“Each Christmas millions of people come to us in desperate need of help to make sense of the complexities and pressures of modern life. Nick Clegg may not be a believer, but through traditional teaching we are able to provide millions of families with a renewed sense of direction,” said a spokesman for Tesco. “Such as a new HD TV for under £400 and three boxes of mince pies for the price of two.”

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Company offers themed gifts for those barely known friends and family

It is always difficult to know what gifts to give many members of the family or friends at this time of year. One Leeds based entrepreneur has moved to fill a niche in the market for those of us with a long list of people to buy for, of which we have limited personal knowledge.

“A lot of people at work, or branches of the family we only see at Christmas, know little about me other than I play golf,” said Martin Billingsworth. “Every Christmas or birthday I receive a collection of various golf-themed socks, or a couple of tees with a Golf ball patterned hip-flask. Whatever the BHS Christmas section is selling really.”

It was the problem of buying for distant family members or unloved friends that gave Mr Billingsworth the idea for his own range of themed presents. His company 'Ticking Box Gifts' has thousands of re-branded items to help those shopping for people that they don't really know that well.

“We probably have the gift to match that small basic piece of information which is all you know about someone,” he said showing off his company's versions of time-honoured games.

“For example, for the Uncle you barely know because he has been away from home for so many years, we have ‘Monopoly: VAT Fraud Edition',” said Billingsworth. “We cater for all age and price ranges with games such as ‘Snap: Alzheimers Quick-Play'. That is from our 99p range, the deck only has two cards.”

Mr Billingsworth denied charges that he was profiteering from people's misfortune and treating potentially serious issues with a lack of respect.

“I am helping people with that difficult Christmas purchase for those awkward family visits. What else could you buy someone when the only thing you may know about them is that they suffer from a learning difficulty?” he asked holding up the Dyslexic Edition of Scrabble ‘With extra Zs and Xs'.

However, despite Martin Billingsworth's protestations to the contrary, public outcry has caused Ticking Box Games to withdraw a hundred thousand units of ‘Operation: Childhood Leukaemia Edition'.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Children in Chinese sweatshop create fund to help Kent based middle-managers

Xiao Birrings, an 8 year old worker at a clothing factory just outside Beijing, has become the world's youngest leader of an international charity.

“When I heard of the plight of the middle-managers in South East England I was in tears,” said Xiao during his five minute lunch break. “Of course that could also have been caused by the noxious fumes from the dyes we use to make Western Children's clothes,” he added.

Master Birrings said that he could really empathise with the group of IT professionals who were faced with having to travel an extra ten miles by heated transport to get to work each day or face redundancy.

“I know exactly how they feel,” said Xiao who leaves home at 4am each day to walk, barefoot, the ten miles to the factory job he uses to support his six younger siblings and his elderly grandparents. “I too have only known this one job for most of my life and know what a trauma it would be to lose it.”

Xiao said that he was lucky to have his fourteen-hours-a-day job of repetitive manual labour in sweltering conditions and fully understood why a five figure sterling payout was scant compensation.

“I understand that some of these poor people have spent years doing the same thing over and over again,” commented Xiao as he he lay on a stretcher waiting to be carried to the make-shift infirmary. “I think it is difficult for someone in a textiles factory in China to fully appreciate how difficult it is to sit operating a computer all day with only the prospect of a high standard of living as compensation. After all we, in China, have the diversion of darting in and out of working machinery to unjam looms whilst they are operating.”

Xiao and the other members of his factory said that the plight of those in Kent was a warning to people around the world in the struggle for more equitable working conditions.

“Next week all this is being demolished to make way for the Olympics,” he said whilst biting down on a wooden peg during surgery. “At my age I don't know if I will get another opportunity at forced labour, but I have to try as I don't want to suffer the horrors of a job in IT.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unemployed man declares himself to be “working from home”

Fed up with constant questions from working friends as to what he was up to on his career break, IT consultant Jericho Billingsworth has declared himself to be “working from home”.

“You know what the modern office is like, half the time no-one actually comes in, they say they are working from home instead,” said Mr Billingsworth. “We all know that involves checking a few e-mails whilst sitting in your underpants, watching loads of daytime TV – that just happens to be on – and taking the chance to do your washing and free up your weekend. Well, that is just like being unemployed.”

Mr Billingsworth said that not only was his 'working from home' more honest than most of those salaried employees that use the description, he also claimed he was more productive.

“To be honest, if I had an office to go to, I wouldn't achieve as much,” he said via telephone over the traditional background noise of the busy home office – the clatter of cups in the local Costa Coffee. “I would probably sit in several meetings talking about the mechanics of work that no one has time to do because of Human Resources processes. If I actually did do any actual work it would probably be to rewrite a document or two for projects that will never get implemented. Blogging and falling into an endorphin-induced sleep during Baywatch on Channel 5 are definitely more productive!”

Mr Billingsworth said that as a confirmed 'homeworker' over the winter he has had no need to have recourse to the subterfuge of an off site meeting in order to ensure he can get a round of golf in while the light allows, unlike many of his working friends.

Indeed during a two-hour-long phone interview with Mr Billingsworth the background noise was filled with the traditional minutia of office life that permeates millions of phone conferences everyday, the length and breadth of Britain. There were the sounds of a washing machine, the splashing sound as a document is being retrieved from beneath the suds of a bubble bath and the muffled debate on the distance to the green on the tricky dog-leg 12th hole.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Resurgence of older porn stars

The actors' union, Equity, today revealed surprising figures regarding the growth of what the adult entertainment industry refers to as OAPorn.

"As the population gets older we are seeing an increased demand for Adult 'Art Movies' that the increasingly ageing consumer can relate to," explained Fiona Knight, Equity spokeswoman and former YouTube actress. "The genre has seen great demand for actors who make convincing widows and 'Meals On Wheels' deliverymen. Ever popular are elevator fantasies, where the user and their care assistant are trapped in the wheelchair lift."

Equity says that as demand has increased from today's more active pensioner it has enabled porn actors to prolong their performances in the genre.

"Now that NHS joint replacements have become so efficient and recovery so quick the adult film industry is able to chase the grey porn pound," said Ms Knight. "It can be quite lucrative, especially for actresses that have had a double hip replacement."

The level of demand is such that many who thought their film careers were over have found a new release, allowing them to easily penetrate the traditionally tight circle of the pornographer that is now wide open to receive them.

"The older porn stars now bring greater life experience to their roles, something that the audience really appreciates," said Ms Kniight. "Who of us does not have an fantasy about being trapped with someone sexy on a broken Stannah Stairlift?"

Ada Billingsworth (76) agrees. With her husband Albert she has become one of the first megastars of OAPorn with the hugely successful 'Granny's Pearl Necklace' series of films.

"Sucking all those Werther's Originals really kept my cheek muscles in shape, which has been invaluable," said Miss Billingsworth during a break in filming. "What's more as an actress it is good to be able to explore new creative outlets, I never thought I would take part in a spit-roast at my age!"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Man lost in canoe without paddle reveals decade long memory loss

Today the man feared lost and adrift in a boat without a paddle gave a more detailed account to the Police of his mysterious amnesia regarding the events of the past decade.

“The last thing I remember was coming to grief in a turbulent meeting in the Granita restaurant in Islington in 1997, where my course to take the helm of the country became floundered by 'Typhoon Tony'.” said Gordon Brown, the figure at the centre of investigations into financial wrongdoings. “The next thing I know I am in central London amid a storm of controversy over my party's finances and with the political tide turning against me.”

Mr Brown's motivations for this disclosure are unclear, however Police believe he is being more forthcoming since he learnt that his long term partner had retired to the middle-east on the ill-gotten gains of the last decade. The Prime Minister is believed to be keen to take his predecessor down with him after evidence that he is enjoying the lucrative rewards garnered after having jumped ship.

“I have blanked the events of the last ten years out of my mind,” said Mr Brown. “Which is why, despite even photographic evidence of my involvement at the very financial centre of daily life, I behave as though nothing happened before June this year.”

The country was shocked to see the extent of Mr Brown's mental disappearance during a recent Prime Minister's Question Time in the House when he crashed heavily onto a treacherous rocky outcrop known as 'Abrahams Gift'. It was at that point it became clear he was truly up shit-creek without a paddle.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Famous figures deny donations as Labour Party appoints new funding Tsar

The controversy surrounding the transparency of Labour Party fund-raising was ratcheted up another notch when the Prince of Darkness, a noted non-British citizen of ill-repute, denied being the true donor of several millions of pounds given through numerous proxies.

"Whilst it is true that I act through others, especially those whose hands are idle," said the supernatural being who is also known as Beelzebub. "I would never wish to have my name linked to an organisation with the reputation of New Labour. After all I have been a life long Conservative supporter."

Despite ongoing reforms to political party funding, it has been a long-standing tradition for donors to use assumed names or proxies so as to reduce the publicity their donations generate. For example, tens of millions of pounds have been received by all parties from people claiming to work in the Defence Industry, an assumed name for the world's traders in deadly offensive weapons and torture equipment.

Cynics argue that this new found openness by those who have the ear of the powerful is an attempt to distance themselves from the incompetence of the handling of both the party funds themselves and the controversy they have generated.

Barnaby B. Billingsworth, a spokesman for the Disney Corporation gave a brief press conference denying that the company was in anyway implicated in the controversy. "Walt Disney," he said, "would never wish to be associated with such a Mickey Mouse organisation as the Labour Party."

Gordon Brown's appointee as the replacement for his disgraced former General Secretary, Peter Watt, spoke of his eagerness to get down to the task at hand, whilst hanging from a doll's house suspended below a first floor window at his local adult education centre.

"I’m very pleased that his Prime Ministerness has offered me the job. My mother always said I had a lot of mmm experience at seeking out trouble," said Mr Frank Spencer. "Mmm, can someone call my wife Betty, I am in a spot of bother!"

After falling onto a passing lorry, Labour's new General Secretary wasted no time in beginning his work on party funding by crashing on roller skates through the window of the party’s Victoria Street HQ.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

“Muhammad” Teddy Bear to be flogged

The teddy bear that was previously named Muhammad by schoolchildren was today sentenced by judges in Khartoum for its part in the controversy that led to the imprisonment of English schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons.

“We take any insults to our religion very seriously, ” said Ali Billing-Laden an Islamic scholar who gave evidence at the bear's hearing. “Once again the west has insulted the Great Prophet, peace be upon him, and this will no longer be tolerated.”

The bear, formerly known as Muhammad, has been sentenced to be flogged on ‘eBay Sudan’, with no expectation of a reserve. Postage and packing has been set at a stinging £400 however the bear is likely to be simply placed in a cardboard box and lashed with bubble wrap.

A statement from the Unity High School in Sudan, where Ms Gibbons worked, said that there had never been any complaints over other toys that have been named by the children.

“Those are completely different to this insult,” said Ali Billing-Laden. “Why should anyone complain about ‘Jesus the Monkey’, who clings onto a piece of wood? The children love their little robotic ‘stars and stripes’ pig called ‘Infidel’ that wallows in its own filth.”

The Sudanese government denied its decision to flog the teddy bear, previously known as Muhammad, was cruel or malicious.

“It's better that the punishment is a short 15 day auction than spending months gathering dust in an Oxfam shop,” said Billing-Laden. “This way it is all over and done with quickly and the bear can be forced into the loving arms of a young jihadi.”

Feelings are running high in Sudan’s capital Khartoum with protests on the streets, determined to ensure that true Islamic law is followed in the case of the Teddy Bear Formerly Known as Muhammad.

“This issue over the bear must be resolved through a strict application of Sharia law and Islamic culture,” said Mr Billing-Laden. “Once it has been flogged on eBay, it shall be stuffed with explosives and set unto its glorious mission at the Infidel ‘Disney Store’. Only then can it attain martyrdom, ascend to paradise and receive 72 virgin Care Bears.”

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