Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ryanair to charge passengers for in-flight oxygen

Budget airline Ryanair has today launched the latest innovation in the low-cost airline industry with the announcement that passengers will be asked to purchase the amount of oxygen they wish to breathe during their flight as part of the check-in process. During the flight passengers will then be able breathe their allotment through masks that will be hang form the overhead compartments.

"With rising fuel prices Ryanair is once again demonstrating innovation in keeping costs down for passengers, " said Chief Executive Michael O'Leary holding a press conference whilst wearing an aqualung to demonstrate the frequent flyer option. "We are continuing to make air travel affordable to gasping, blue-faced Europeans."

The plan was announced on Tuesday following a successful trial of the ‘Pay as you Go’ option during one of the airline’s flights on the Bristol to Barcelona route. All passengers who were offered the chance to breathe at high altitude said that it was a service they were very interested in, some were even seen shedding tears of joy during the trial.

During the new check-in procedure passengers will be asked a series of questions to help them purchase the correct amount of Oxygen, such as:

Which of the following in-flight hallucinations do you

  1. Pink Elephants
  2. Elvis dancing with Princess Di
  3. England qualifying for the next World Cup
When you reach your destination do you wish to be alive?
People who wish to book tickets on the new OptionAir flights should be aware that if they bring their own oxygen in the form of party balloons or compressed air tanks these will need to be checked into the hold at extra charge.

The flight was also another landmark for Ryanair with it's notorious policy of rebranding small regional airports with the name of a more sought-after destination city that may in fact be many miles away.

"We are pleased to announce the introduction of services to Barcelona Limoges airport in central France," said Mr O'Leary. "Limoges offers travellers the opportunity to visit the heart of rural France and sample transcontinental rail travel and an overnight stay on their trip to one of Spain's leading cities. This makes it by far the most convenient of Ryanair’s direct flights."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

China confesses Olympics faked on sound stage in the Arizona desert

The closing ceremony to the most expensive Olympic games ever, four times the cost of the Sydney 2000 games was another spectacle from China that stunned the world. However even as thousands of performers danced and sang in front of members of the cream of Chinese and western corporate societies in the unaccountably expensive Bird's Nest stadium, officials were forced to admit that the whole of the Olympics has been staged by actors in the Arizona desert.

"It wasn't just that little girl miming to an uglier girl's voice in the opening ceremony," said Chinese Premier Hu Jintao speaking in front of a green screen in a portakabin in Beijing. "The whole lot has been a fake, from the footstep fireworks of the opening ceremony to the tears of joy of our glorious winning communists. They were really tears of relief at not being sent to the labour camps for re-education with cattle prods and heavy rocks."

Many conspiracy theorists said that they thought that some of the coverage did not match what you would expect from a country with so many social and environmental problems that has always had it’s own version of the truth.

"If you look really carefully, during the closing ceremony the Olympic flag fluttered strongly as it was handed over to someone who is supposed to be the Mayor of London," said blogger Mulder Fox-Anderson. "But when he speaks, you can't believe he is real."

Many analysts agreed that it was the sight of Boris Johnson representing London in front of nearly two billion people around the world that made many believe the whole of the Olympics must be some sort of fantasy.

"Here we are, the world’s spotlight upon us, and there is some dummy waving the flipping flag around," said political commentator Huw Billingsworth. "You just think it must be a huge hoax!"

Indeed it was the unrealistic movements and Benny Hill style presentation of the alleged Mr Johnson on the Beijing stage that gave a clue as to how the hoax has been perpetrated for so long. Behind the scenes photographs show that ‘Boris’ is in reality a complicated combination of green screen computer graphics and foam manipulated by puppeteers from Conservative Central Office.

"If you listen carefully under the dubbing you can hear what Boris really says," said Fox-Anderson. "'Blimey, a flag eh? Cripes! Jolly interesting, not sure what it's for, is it Eton sports day? Which of the first years are the toast rack?'"

Saturday, August 09, 2008

London 2012 team: “Only one stabbing in Beijing – that won’t be difficult to beat!”

As the world absorbs the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the organisers of the 2012 games in London say that they can easily match anything that the Chinese have so far been able to demonstrate.

"Certainly the opening days have impressed many, but they have only had one stabbing in their first twenty-four hours," said Lord Steven Billingsworth from the 2012 committee. "That single stabbing, even in the historic setting of the Drum Tower will be nothing. Our preliminary opening ceremony plans alone have 31 fatal stabbings."

Details are still far from being finalised, since there has yet to be a final decision as to whether or not shootings will also be included in the Olympic ceremony. However the organisers plan to take a leaf out of China’s book when it comes to portraying Britain’s foremost position in world history.

"There will be a colourful display of synchronised vomiting and the massed ranks of pushchairs being prepared for the ‘Parade of the Teenage Mums’ will be a sight to behold," explained Lord Billingsworth. "All over the world, hairs will be raised on the backs of viewer’s necks by the chanting of the Islamic Fundamentalists and those in the stadium will leave into the dead of night with their spines tingling after the macabre ‘Cabaret of the Hoodies’."

The 2012 team says that London is uniquely placed to host a show of such magnitude not only as a showcase for sporting excellence but also as a genuine human spectacle.

"The Olympic ideals are expressed through normal London life, the pickpockets are swifter, the drug addicts higher and the bad language stronger than anywhere else in the world," explained Lord Billingsworth. "A ten minute walk, assuming you survive, around South East London shows all of human drama in all of it’s multicoloured facets. It’s all there, from the green faces of the crack addicts to the blue faces of battered women being strangled and the red pools of blood outside night-clubs."

His lordship was one of several members of the 2012 organising committee who were today showcasing a new range of branded safety equipment that will be available to visitors and competitors alike.

"Well, they are a little bulky," admitted Lord Coe. "But we expect the need to actually wear a stab-proof vest will motivate marathon runners to overcome its weight and set a world record time through the streets of London."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

MoD denies secret deal with al-Mahdi militia

Today the Ministry of Defence denied that any "accommodation" had been made with the notorious al-Mahdi militia which prevented the British Army from supporting the Iraqi and American armies in a recent assault in the Middle East.

"We simply agreed that our troops in Afghanistan would not move into the Middle East," explained General Bill Billington-Billingsworth from his office in Whitehall. "We would stay out as long as the Mahdi held position in Alberta and did not threaten our positions in the Western United States or indeed Brazil from their stronghold in North Africa."

Everything, said the General, would have been fine until the Iraqi team, frustrated by what they perceived to be a lack of support from General Billington-Billingsworth’s troops, launched an attack into the Middle East from what appeared to be a weak position in India.

"It seems that they did this without discussing it with the team from America who had nipped out to get some more beers from the fridge and returned to find their forces in the Ukraine under attack from the al-Mahdi’s," said Billington-Billingsworth discussing their week long Risk marathon.

The event had gone well, although whilst everyone had been focussed on the planned marathon session of the strategy board game Risk, the Iraqi and British teams had left it to the Americans to determine follow-up arrangements.

"It was assumed that there would at least be a couple of rounds of Diplomacy, said General Billington-Billingsworth. "However even though the Americans had forgotten to bring their board, the real problem was that there was no one around to tidy up the mess from a week’s drinking and munching on crisps and takeaways before my wife returned form visiting her mother."

It was this let down that led to some bad feeling and marred the otherwise enjoyable games session that may mean that the old university chums might not get together for some time.

"I am sure we will all remain friends, but I guess that’s why its just a bit of fun - you couldn’t run a real war like that could you?" asked Billington-Billingsworth. "Imagine how bad Iraq would have been if the yanks there had just focussed on the high-profile game completely forgotten about diplomacy and the aftermath of all the action? Oh I see."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

“In Heikki I see the new me” claims Lewis Hamilton

Formula One’s former superstar today praised his teammate, Heikki Kovalainen after the Finn achieved his first win of the season at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Heikki drove a good race and, in his performance I think I saw a lot of myself from races in my youth, such as last year," said Lewis Hamilton. "Of course it will be interesting to see if he can maintain that level of performance as he matures as a racer into say his third season - which would be next year."

Early editions of tomorrow’s newspapers will carry long-lens paparazzi photographs of Heikki’s girlfriend or wife, once the press works out who she is.

Hamilton’s comments have echoed the feelings of many journalists from the specialist motor racing press who have toiled for several minutes to revise recent articles on the stellar prospects of Canadian Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica.

"I have just dropped an e-mail to my photo editor to get new pictures to go with the article I have just searched and replaced Kubica’s name on," said a freelance journalist. "By the way, does anyone know how to spell Heikki’s surname?"

This retroactive behaviour has dismayed many of the older, more traditional journalists within the F1 village who see it as demonstrating not only a lack of knowledge of the sport but also a lazy attitude to writing.

"That’s the problem with the electronic age, these young guys don’t research their subject, but simply re-hash the same idea in a knee-jerk reaction to the last race," said one recently retired opinion former from a weekly motor sport magazine. "The traditional way is to write a separate story tipping each of the young guys for stardom before the season starts – then just submit them when someone new wins a race."

One editor said the practice was very frustrating but that it was in the nature of the beast for such a hyped sport that the same old stories would be re-hashed endlessly.

"The only saving grace is that it’s been a few years since I received any stories about Jenson Button," he remarked.

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