Lycoperdon pyriforme, the wolf-fart puffball, Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for November 2001

Lycoperdon pyriforme, the wolf-fart puffball, Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for November 2001.

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New Scottish Pandas “First Step to New Rival Viral”

Baby Tapir at Edinburgh Zoo

New Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo

The gift this week of a breeding pair of giant pandas which have been sent by the Government of China to Edinburgh Zoo, the first pandas in Britain for 17 years since the death of ChiChi the London panda, has been heralded as a breakthrough in Sino-Scottish relations. Only 166 of these rare, iconic bears live in captivity, and to be given a breeding pair is the greatest honour conferred by Beijing on a country. Edinburgh Zoo has given and will be expected to continue giving to panda conservation projects in China, and the new home of the current pair will be equipped with homegrown Scottish bamboo (formerly used to make canes in their strict education system) and video cameras recording every movement of the pair and their future – we hope – offspring. Continue reading

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China announces U turn on cut-off from world.

Chinese Language School

A Chinese language school, yesterday

Having recently banned Skype and also having endured the closure of Google’s office in their country, barred facebook, youtube, linkedin wikipedia and a number of other social networking sites, China‘s authorities have appeared to be retrenching the distance between their country and the rest of the world.

However, news has emerged that a U-turn in this policy may be in the offing. One of the reasons why China has found it harder to integrate with the rest of the world is that its language is tied up in characters which are hard to learn. In the cultural revolution, mainland China did make one simplification of the characters, but now the Chinese government have announced a new set of simplifications which will make Chinese a breeze for foreigners to learn and thus facilitate contact between Chinese people and foreigners.

The rules for the simplification are as follows. All characters with more than 6 strokes must reduce the number of strokes to 5. In order to avoid confusion, new strokes will be introduced, slightly curvy or wavy unlike the straight ones or angular ones used at present.

Chinese has become a language where many words are made up of two syllables which used to be only one syllable. Now two syllable words will be banned. Also, the difference between c and z in Pinyin, sh and x, zh and ch and di and ji have been confusing, especially for speakers of regional accents so from now on all these sounds will merge into a single sound, which will be like the English ‘th’ sound, as in “mother”.  The Chinese will also introduce a rolling ‘r’ instead of the American sounding one they have now.

To counter this, the number of tones in the language will increase to 7, the new tones will be a rising-falling tone, the opposite of the current third tone, a tone where the speaker drops to a whisper, and a tone where the speaker shouts the syllable at the top of his or her voice. 

“These improvements will gradually be implemented over the course of the year” said Minister for Chinese Language Simplification Mr Pengpeng Peng. “By the third quarter we will see international communication blossoming on an unprecedented level”.

Not all voices were positive, however. In particular the Chinese lecturers at US Universities were critical of the move “I shall have to rewrite my entire course to take account of these changes” complained Professor Roland B Humfpflig of Oakle College in Rumpleton, “and at times when the University budgets are already under pressure, this is something we will will have to bear the brunt of personally”.

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Breaking Nooze #2 – Mattress with ninety million pounds inside thrown out

A pillowtop mattress (U.S. size "queen")

A Eurhine-Staines mattress, today.

Brent Cross pensioner Frannie Mace was kicking herself today when it transpired that she had thrown out a classic Eurhine-Staines mattress containing no less than ninety million pounds sterling in used five and ten pound nominals.

“The mattress seemed to be getting harder to use and it did smell rather, what with my bladder not being what it used to be”, the eighty seven year old former Tescos cashier said. “I forgot that I had kept my savings in there, along with what my grandsons had given me to look after for them, the takings from a couple of their businesses that they didn’t want to entrust to the banks – can’t say I blame them, bunch of thieves and robbers if you ask me.”

“It turns out that it had become so hard for the reason that there were so many notes in there that it would normally take fifty mattresses to hold, but they had become supercompacted and had attained the density of tungsten. That would explain why I had such a problem getting the council to take it away. In the end I had to burn it in the front garden. There was no question of getting it laundered, who would have taken it to the launderette? You can’t get these taxi drivers to lift things over a ton these days, and half of them are either women or these so-called gay people, and the rest are immigrants.”

The Hendon police are currently investigating whether all taxes where paid on the wealth of a small nation tucked into the mattress, and the matter has been referred to the European Commission for the Advancement of Mattress Laundering.

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Breaking Nooze #1 – Julius Asswage has leaking eye

It has emerged tonight that the Australian born cyberian whistleblower Julius Asswage has developed an eyelid swelling owing to stressed conditions in his cell in Paddington Green high security lock-up in London’s exclusive dangerous criminals district.

Experts say that the Winkileaks founder, who while under police custody has no access to a computer or even mobile phone or 3G enabled Kindle, and has only been given a Tamogochi for technological respite, could be showing withdrawal symptoms from his usual habit of spending most of the day in front of a computer screen infecting the internet with dangerous sedition.

Doctors attending the leading leaking dissident, who has recently been the subject of fatwas by United States congresspersons have ruled out any possibility that the swelling on Mr Asswage’s eye could have been caused by curses or voodoo done by high ranking US politicians. However there is some controversy as to whether the swelling, which is currently leaking pus into his inner eyelid, is the result of a bacterial infection or is simply the result of feeling stressed by his inability to access any form of information superhighwayness.

We asked celebrity medical pundit, Dr Sue Dregular-Leigh, to give us some top tips on how to behave if you do have a swelling on your eyelid like Julian Asswage, and here is her advice:

  • DON’T touch it all the time as Julian is doing in the picture, as it could result in the introduction of additional bacteria into the stye. This extra dirty form of stye is known as a “pig stye”.
  • DO massage it with a finger from the outside, as this can help to evacuate the pus. It helps if you rub it with gold, such as a wedding ring or an antique gold watch.
  • DON’T allow anything hot or wet near the eye – don’t forget it is your eye – and eyes don’t grow back if you lose them
  • DO use piping hot chamomile tea bags as mini “compresses” to help ease the inflammation
  • DON’T go crying to your GP expecting prescriptions – they are overworked as it is and now the NHS has additional budgetary resctrictions because of all this austerity. This is something you can easily treat yourself
  • DON’T just ignore the condition and let it deteriorate – see a doctor!
  • DO check to see if it is a sebaceous cyst. If it does turn out to be one, then introduce it to the one on your back and get them to set up a girl band called “the Sebaceous Cysters” and get them to try out for the X Factor.

 Mr Asswage is currently awaiting extradition (read “extraordinary rendition”) to Sweden in an IKEA flatpack. From there he will be unpacked, set-up and installed on a flight to the United States where he is wanted for heresy.

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Wreuters Cramped?

The Reuters Building in Canary Wharf, London B...

Any resemblance purely coincidental...

This is Wreuters – a place for spoof journalism in the style of the Onion, Viz, and many more. If you’d like to join in, get in contact. A few comedy writers together can achieve a bigger readership than one can on his own!

Incidentally no particular disrespect to Reuters is intended by the contortion of their name – it is a random pun on a randomly selected but well-known name of a serious journalism house.

They are no worse than a load of other sources of so-called news that one sees around and about, but you have to pick some name, I suppose…

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