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Funny picture, LOLZ!!!!

Having had a really crappy weekend and subsequently feeling like shite today, I thought I’d do an experiment. I typed ‘funny picture’ into Google images to see if it could cheer me up. It came up with this:

Suffice to say, it didn’t work.

If you can do better, send me a funny picture to and I’ll publish a roundup of your efforts.

Ian ‘LMAO’ Ravenscroft

The Re-Incarnation of Captain Scarlet

How does it feel to be immortal now, Captain?

Deceptively simple yet inspired…

I quite like the BBC website as a pot of interesting nuggets to brighten my lunch hour. One of my favourite features is the caption competition on the Paper Monitor blog. It’s a quick, fun, exercise in wordplay, where mere mortals do battle for the small amount of kudos dished out to the top-five entries of the 600+ witticisms they receive each week.

I quite like scrolling through the other entries, laughing at the sometimes clever, sometimes painfully awful captions for the ‘begging for a caption’ image provided. Last week the image was of a church that allowed dogs to sit on their owner’s laps during the service.

My entry was the minimal “Pewdle”. A mix of pew (the type of seat) and poodle (the type of dog). A fair crack at it I thought.

Checking back the next day, I found I hadn’t been selected in the chosen few .

I thought no more of it until I noticed this in my other BBC blog vice ‘Your Letters’ (which must be exclusively populated by upper middle-class jam-makers and gardening enthusiasts judging from its tone). The final letter said:

“I can forgive you for overlooking my caption competition entries, but I can’t forgive you for overlooking the deceptively simple yet inspired ‘pewdle’.
Sue, London

Hilarious on many levels. First, my throwaway pursuit got some recognition from a woman named Sue from London, second, they felt compelled to write in to correct a perceived injustice, and third, that the BBC deemed it an important enough issue to print in their letters section!

My confusion only increased when I found this:

“Can I second Sue in London’s support of the simple but effective ‘pewdle’ caption competition entry (Friday letters). However I must admit the ‘dogging’ entry made me chuckle the most, although I can fully understand why it wasn’t chosen.
Mark, Portsmouth”

How odd. I must have some form of talent for captions. Previously I won two Glastonbury tickets for a four-word slogan to stop ticket touts (“Tout and you’re out” if you were wondering), and five tickets to a Gomez gig for a description of what I’d do if I had wings!

So, thank you Sue from London, and Mark from Portsmouth. Your support was most welcome and brightened my day.

Ian “insert caption here” Ravenscroft

Do the Evolution

I was reading the other day that evolution has stopped. Just given up. We have apparently reached the pinnacle of the human form and are indeed at the zenith of our species’ achievement. Frankly, I find this hard to believe.

At present, humans walk and talk and think (occasionally) and make tea and buy shoes for ludicrous amounts of money among all sorts of other physical and mental capabilities. So, to many it might seem like we’ve got the whole world in our hands, being able to deal with any problem life throws at us. But every stage of evolution must have said this too.

There’s still loads we can’t do. Personally, I’d rather fly to work, unaided of course. It’d be faster (probably), it’d be ‘green’, and I could probably sneak in a quick loop-de-loop before I glide in through the window to my desk.

I can’t do this because I am not evolved enough to fly. My limited understanding of evolution tells me that adaptation occurs over many generations to aid survival. So, although I can’t expect to sprout wings (or a helicopter attachment, how cool would that be?) in my lifetime, perhaps the answer is that I’m not trying hard enough.

If successive generations of my family made it their mission to fly unaided (by jumping lots, moaning about it all the time, etc.), maybe eventually, wings (or helicopter blades, come on!) would start to develop.

And it’s not just me. I was speaking to Louis the other day and he said: “Gills would be a massive advantage.” And he’s right. Humans are crap. Can’t fly, can’t swim, can’t pick up heavy things, can’t teleport, can’t communicate without saying “erm” or “y’know” between every sentence, the list is endless.

Evolution needs to carry on. Otherwise all the human race has got to look forward to is bumping their heads off the undersides of desks and tripping over stationary objects. Some people don’t believe in evolution, and you can see why. “We evolved into this?!” they say with disgust (probably).

Anyway, the message is clear. Evolution hasn’t stopped, we’re just lazy. It’s the same reason my shelves haven’t been put up, it’s not that I haven’t evolved enough to do it, I just haven’t had the inclination.

Ian ‘evolving but slowly’ Ravenscroft

One more thing, about this chicken and egg debate over which one came first. I was thinking the other day, that even if a giant chicken came down from space, declared itself our God and proceeded to rampage around the globe eating non-believers, we’d still be asking the same questions: “But did it come from a giant space-egg?”

Answers on a postcard.

Thanks Richard…

In line with the regimented world of the office, I dutifully took my turn to make tea. The kettle was still being a little odd, but my new ‘system’ avoided any unnecessary leg drenching. As I dished out the drinks, everything went as usual. My deputy editor made the noise which I assume means ‘thank you’, the subscriptions manager carried on with her work, saying ‘thanks’ a minute after I’d left, and I nearly spilled the editorial assistant’s drink again because of the mug with the funny handle.

Then I took my editor his tea. I put it down on his desk as usual and started to walk away. But something different happened. “Thanks Richard,” he said. I paused at his door as I heard it and turned around. My name isn’t Richard. He looked at me quizzically, and then, realising his mistake, laughed. “I don’t know why I just called you Richard. I don’t even know anyone called Richard.”

Why did he call me Richard? At first I ignored it as a slip of the tongue, but then I thought about the possibilities. Did I remind him of someone called Richard? Was this Richard person part of some secret which I wasn’t supposed to know about? Did he want me to be more like a Richard?!

I told my deputy editor about it and another twist emerged. “Oh, that’s odd. Now that I think about it, we used to have a guy called Richard that worked here. He looked like you actually,” he informed me.

Now I was intrigued. “What was he like?” I asked, nervous to discover what I had reminded him of. “Well, he had dark hair.” That’s not much of a link I thought. “And he was a fundamental Christian. He used to wear a massive wooden cross and bring in copies of The Watchtower. Then he fell for the Jehovah’s Witness that worked here and left. Oh, and he used to cry all the time.”

“What?!” I protested. “Why does that remind him of me?!”. “Dunno,” he said, “probably just the hair.” I hope he’s right.

Ian ‘not Richard’ Ravenscroft

Warning! Hot!

Maybe it’s just me being stupid, but hot things are really getting to me at the moment. It started last week when I kept opening the oven to retrieve my din-dins, only to be blasted in the face by a gust of hot, hot, burning steam. And it happened SEVERAL times. I thought I had it sussed by opening the door, facing away and waiting for a moment before reaching in, but no, blasted again. It’s as if it had waited for me.

Then it was the kettle at work. Instead of pouring like a normal kettle it decided to start dripping hot, hot boiling water down its sides and onto my legs and shoes. I’m pretty sure it’s the kettle and not me. Hot things have a conspiracy against me.

This week alone I have burnt my mouth on tea, coffee, spaghetti bolognaise and a chicken and broccoli pie.

Have you suffered unprovoked or undeserved burnings? Do you bear irrational grudges against kitchen appliances? Are you inpatient when you eat? Tell me about it and maybe we can heal together.

Ian the Burnt

Dork Side of the Moon

The Time Warp

History has a funny habit of re-writing itself. With every successive generation, everything that happened before a time called ‘now’ becomes clouded by the shiny, new, electronic present and must seem pretty irrelevant to the bug-eyed yoof of today. And now, thanks to Youtube, this has become even more evident.

Now kids who care enough to ask what happened before the X-Factor and the Wii can just log on and view videos that document most of the last century rather than open a dusty old book. Want to see what happened in 1983? Just type it in and have a look. Never before could you go to a museum and see who was on Top of the Pops in any given week of the year. Armed with this revelation, I decided to try it out.

Right, Youtube, open, typing, nineteen-eighty-three, bang there it is. First result and I’ve got an idea of what it was like to live in good old ’83. “Kajagoogoo’s debut single ‘Too Shy” shot straight to number one in the UK charts in February 1983″. A quick smash of the play button in my excitement and I’m there. I’m in 1983. There are perms, there’s bleach, there’s a mullet, there’s a yellow vest. There’s even a glitter ball. I’m in the sodding 80s!

But wait a second, what’s this? A wartime dancehall? Khaki uniforms? No glitter? This isn’t the 80s I’ve heard about. And then they get all mixed up. What?! Kajagoogoo welcomed back the troops from defeating the Third Reich?! Why have I never heard this before?!

Suddenly I realise something. This Youtube lark could become pretty confusing to an uneducated yoof. “Wow,” they’d say between mouthfuls of chocolate-coated cheesestrings, “they wore some funky gear in ’83. Wicked innit.” And in the blink of an eye, some poor kid thinks Britons in the 80s were still going to dancehalls to waltz with their sweethearts in full officer’s garb.

I decided to test out my theory. 1973. I’ll go there. A quick scroll down the results and again, I’m getting a feel for the year. There’s Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog’, Wishbone Ash progging it up, and Luxembourg winning Eurovision. So far so normal.

But wait, what’s this? James Blunt, ‘1973’. That’s not right. In fact, that’s just plain confusing! A yoof in years to come could be conned into thinking that Blunt was moping around in the 70s too! He’s practically re-writing history!

My mind at this point is spinning. What if Blunty boy knew this would happen? What if, in some cackling fit of evil genius, housewive’s favourite James Blunt decided to plant himself back in time through Youtube to cement his place as an eminent artist, straddling the millenium like a massive time jockey? I always thought he had sinister eyes. A quick snoop on Wikipedia tells me he wasn’t even born by 1973!

I sat in stunned silence. ‘”It’s just like Terminator or Back to the Future,” I thought “I have to stop him.” But before I could embark on my time-travelling mission, my attention was diverted by a video of Led Zeppelin live at Madison Square Gardens in the real 1973. “Wait,” I said, this time out loud and to nobody, “How do I even know this one is real?”.

And in that instant I knew it was too late. An evil shadow was already lurking on the horizon, laying in wait to rise again and claim his lifetime acheivement awards and mult-platinum discs and acclaim. That man’s name is James…Hillier…Blunt.

Ian Ravenscroft

TV and Shit

There are many things in life which we know are bad for us if not respected; kebabs, booze, drugs, sticking your head out of moving trains etc, but all of these are eclipsed by the addictive power that the mighty television has over us all. So much so in fact, that I’m not sure we even care about what we’re watching anymore, as long as it involves ‘real people’ and a sense of competition, we’ll stare at it like shagged out crack monkeys. I’m talking of course about reality television.

I can safely say without exaggeration, that Big Brother is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. Everything about that programme makes me want to go on a killing spree, the way it’s advertised, the long periods of time in the so called highlights when nothing happens and last but not least, the self-confessed ‘Wacky’ contestants. I’ve happened to catch a lot of this series, because others around me appear to have lost their marbles as well as countless hours of their lives watching it and let me tell you something, I don’t like it.

Big Brother is the programme that gave us the adorable charm of Nasty Nick, the dry wit of Chantelle and of course gifted the nation with the bastion of tolerance herself, Jade Goody. So why do I hate it I hear you ask. Well, what’s particularly harrowing for me is the way that channel four can hold on to an audience of millions for years, without seemingly doing anything.

They struck upon the formula for Big Brother as we know it somewhere in the second series, when they’d begun to phase out all that psychological nonsense, you know, that stuff that actually gave it some credibility. Now the procedure is roughly as follows: Get a small contingent of attention seeking half-wits and put them into a house. Note, must be willing to make tits of themselves. These half-wits will ideally be (a) idiotic (b) willing to get naked (c) obnoxious and (d) part of a minority in society, preferably an obscure one so they can overcome adversity and gain acceptance by the nation. Put this rag-tag ensemble into a house with dozens of cameras and let the hilarity commence, as they do the washing up, dry their clothes and shave…

What fecks me off about Big Brother the most, is the effect that it has on the people who watch it. The fact that families are content to sit in silence, watching these ignorami whilst they perform banal menial tasks is a sad indictment of our society. Another sad reflection is how easily manipulated people are when it comes to voting, its idiotic enough that they spend their money on this shite, but now the viewers are pretty much told who to vote for. For example on celebrity Big Brother a few years ago, when the viewers were coaxed by Davina into saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if Chantelle won?’ Why? Just because she’s intellectually equivocal to a peanut, it doesn’t mean you should vote for her, or vote at all.

The viewers imbecilic tendencies tend to come to a climax during the last few weeks; take this year’s Big Brother, it’s blindingly obvious (no pun originally intended) that Mikey will win hands down. What riles me is that they even question the outcome and start to pose idiotic, quasi philosophical questions such as, ‘could Big Brother really see its first blind winner?’ Well of course it bloody will, because the morons who line channel fours pockets by voting for these cretins, now feel a moral obligation to vote for a guy would otherwise just be a moaning Scotsman. What’s worse will be the patronising gloaters, who as always will doff their middle class hats in celebration for modern Britain, totally ignoring the fact that he won through a mix of pity and guilt.

I just don’t get this obsession with reality television, on a positive note however, I believe that it must be on its way out, as the reality barrel appears to have been scraped by the BBC in their creation, ‘Last Choir Standing’. This pushes the reality competition to its very limits, as the show presented by the lovely Myleene Klass and Nick ‘that bloke from the building programme with the fat head’ Knowles, seek to find Britain’s best choir, or something. What is the point of it all? The best that the winners can hope for is to make an album which will inevitably end up in Woolworths bargain bins up and down the country.

At least with this ridiculous programme the contestants were enjoying their perspective choirs before the show began, but you can’t help but feel that they must start to get swept away by notions of stardom. Imagine the poor look on those welsh middle aged faces after the show, when they are tenderly led to the back of the BBC and informed, ‘What, you didn’t think you’d be famous did you? Ha ha, you’re a choir dickheads!’ Just save them all the years of unfulfilled dreams and put them all down now, it’s the only humane thing to do.

So there, I’ve got most of it out of my system. Why can’t we have a return to quality evening entertainment after this plague of reality baloney, or at least remove the infuriating attention seeking morons who drive me to insanity. Maybe I could set up a show where I try to find people in the country with self respect, I could call it ‘Britain’s got dignity’. Well it’s something to ponder, but I’m off to watch the X-Factor.

Tom Reid

Chicken or the Egg – Uncovered

Here’s a question that’s been a bee in my bonnet. Which came first: Chicken or the Egg? It’s annoying because anyone who accepts Darwin’s theories could only logically conclude that the Egg was indeed first (as illustrated). Saying that though, whatever did poo out that egg would have given birth to what was essentially a mutant and would have got rid of the evidence before prehistoric society laid it’s judging eyes on this odd-ball family. Or, maybe I just haven’t quite grasped the theory of evolution. So, like a Channel 4 documentary, there are no real conclusions here, just lingering, time-wasting afterthoughts.