Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Going once... Going twice...

Last week I did something that I'm not proud of. I blocked Tara's emails.

Now long time readers of this blog (Gee Note: Hi dad) will know that Tara is a psychic who offered me a free tarot card reading once. Since that fateful day she has sent me regular emails telling me that she can change my life and begging me to send her money. Along the way Tara has provided us with many a golden moment. She's made us laugh, she's made us cry, and she's even made us think a little. But the truth is as entertaining as it was, her recent messages have seemed somewhat stale. Like a once great performer going through the same old tired routine, hoping to catch that lightening in a bottle one last time. And, if I’m honest, it was pretty hard to sit through. So with a heavy heart I decided that I simply couldn’t do it to myself anymore, and on to my email blacklist she went.

But then I started to feel guilty about it. I mean is this anyway to treat a legend? A woman who’s whispered name alone has been enough to excite even the most hardened souls? Well the answer is of course not. We here at I Saw Elvis owe this woman more than we can possibly imagine. And so, with her last message dating back to the 10th November, for the very last time it is our humble privilege to present to you… THE ONE. THE ONLY. THE SENSATIONAL. TARA THE ONLINE MEDIUM.


Dear Gareth,

This may seem incredible to you (Gee Note: Not really. It’s just an email. I don’t mean to brag or anything but I’ve seen one before. I mean if you’d have shown me this 20 years ago then maybe you would have impressed me. But then 20 years ago I was seven years old, and so a key ring with the face of Mickey Mouse would have impressed me as well. Actually those things are pretty cool. I should get one. Anyway lady, my point is that if you’re going to try and astound me you’d best bring your A game. Wrestling a rhinoceros to the ground using only the power of your mind? Yes that would work. Sending me an e-mail? No, not so much), and yet it’s true!

In a few days a very unusual period will begin for you, during which your life could change for the better, even if you no longer believe in love or in a better life, and notwithstanding the fact that your present situation seems close to desperate. (Gee Note: Holy shit! How badly off does this woman think I am? I mean it’s not as if I sleep in a wooden crate and collect stray cats as a cheap alternative to Sunday dinner or something)

This will be made possible through the beneficial magic of an extremely rare event that should start very soon, causing lasting and remarkable changes in your life. (Gee Note: Ah beneficial magic. And I was afraid you were talking about something mad like un-beneficial magic. Phew. That’s a ton off my mind let me tell you).

I’m talking about the "Power of the Energy of Luck" (Gee Note: Hur hur hur, more like Power of the Energy of Fu… never mind) which will shine on you starting on FRIDAY THE 13TH.

You may already have heard people talking about this uncommon lucky day, but what you may not know is that it can transform the entire course of your life, starting on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH, 2009. (Gee Note: Hang on? Isn’t Friday 13th the date that Jason Voorhees threw on a hockey mask and started to hack people up like they were meals from the Fat Duck? How the hell is that lucky? Unless you happen to be an undertaker I guess. In which case the hits just keep on coming.)

Here’s why:
I recently "tuned in" to the higher planes of astral energy to find out what I could do to help you. To do that I used my special powers as a visionary medium. (Gee Note: Really? Say can you get Radio 4 on that thing?)

I discovered something amazing about you, Gareth. (Gee Note: Well I am pretty amazing now that I think about it).

As I concentrated on your case, I realized that a lack of luck has too often been part of your life. That’s because you are an unknowing victim of a vibratory imbalance (Gee Note: I beg your pardon. Listen I don‘t know where you get your stories from but I have never, not once, ever tried to "balance" a vibratory device. Why, who told I had? Was it Phil? It was Phil wasn‘t it? Was it Phil? Look, I'm only going to say this once. Phil Mycroft is a big fat liar with a big fat head. OK?), linked to a lack of astral energy in the Higher Planes.

This situation cannot last! According to what I felt, 2 important things are going to happen:

1 – Your life is going to change, starting on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13TH, 2009. (Gee Note: No more checked slacks for me boys. From now on it’s corduroy all the way.)

2 – You should (finally) find a solution to all your present problems. (Gee Note: Hmmm. Gunpowder + ? = Success. Oh if only I had studied harder at Algebra).

I’m not asking you to take my word for it. I’m just asking you to set aside your doubts for a few minutes, carefully read what follows, and then judge for yourself.

This is very important for you, Gareth! What secret lies hidden behind the strange phenomenon of FRIDAY THE 13TH? It only happens 2 or 3 times a year, when an extraordinary field of concentrated energy appears in the astral world. Powerful “Lucky Energy” emanates from this vibratory field (Gee Note: Seriously did I walk in on an Ann Summers party by accident?) called the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH.

As the date approaches, the astral vibrations of this mysterious "Force" (Gee Note: You know I’m sure I’ve heard about the Force from somewhere before. From a film perhaps? Yes that was it, a film of some sort. What was it called? Solar Fight? No. Not Solar Fight. No don’t say it, it’ll come to me) become stronger, until they are 100 times more powerful than before. This rare phenomenon of Lucky Energy is what lies hidden behind FRIDAY THE 13TH, and it is going to last for an entire 52 days.

Most people agree that FRIDAY THE 13TH emits a particular kind of magnetism which can trigger “miraculous” events, especially as far as wins at games and finding true love are concerned. (Gee Note: So can the aftershave “Sex Panther” if the adverts are to be believed)

This is a very special time, when you can see hundreds of people who are in very difficult straits (emotional problems, family conflicts, financial difficulties and others) experience a surprising and rapid change in their lives, often in less than 30 days. That is exactly what happened recently to someone I helped because she was having so many problems (Gee Note: Story time? Awesome!):

She had asked a number of psychics and astrologers to help her (she’d even asked a priest who practiced exorcisms) but in the end, none of them were able to resolve her problems (Gee Note: Hang on, was she in fact possessed by the Devil in some way? Because otherwise why the hell go and see a Priest for an exorcism? “Uh hi Father McGuire, I was wondering if I could have a word? You see recently I‘ve been very down, struggling financially and wondering if I‘ll ever find true love.” 
“Don’t worry yourself son. I tell you what, why don’t you sit yourself down on that chair there and tell me all about it?”
“Oh bless you Father. Well it all started a couple of months when Mary and I were planning a holiday to the… wait… Father? What are you…? Why are you tying me to the chair?”). When she received my message she was naturally sceptical, but her intuition told her that this time it was serious.

It’s true that this was the first time she’d ever heard about the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH (Gee Note: Despite the smash hit success of the book "The Adventures of MIRACLE ENERGY"? That’s amazing. I hear they're talking to Angelina for the movie).

She had trouble believing it was true, but she decided to trust me, and authorized me to intervene on her behalf. She was in for an incredible surprise! In less than 30 days. She won a huge jackpot playing the lottery,  and was able to resolve all her money problems. She also moved into a beautiful new house, took a dream vacation, and was able to help many of the people close to her. (Gee Note: I wonder did she also win enough to be able to purchase her very own name? I mean it must suck being called “Her” and “She” all the time).

I can also give you numerous examples of rich and famous people who openly admit in the media that, for them, FRIDAY THE 13TH is a day that radiates a special kind of magnetism (Gee Note: No you can‘t. Otherwise you would list them right now. Which you blatantly haven‘t. It’s like me saying I can give you numerous examples of rich and famous people who openly admit in the media that they think this blog is the best in the world. But just by saying that doesn’t make it true. I mean sure, this is the best blog in the world of course. But I don’t know of any famous people who read it. Snooty bloody celebrities. Read my work damn you!). It is a day of incredible Good Luck, capable of triggering extremely positive events, notably in areas like gaming, love, and making a secret wish come true.

Now you too can benefit from the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH if you want. But for that to happen, I have to perform a secret ritual on your behalf, a ritual that will (Gee Note: Involve sacrificing a small farmyard animal? Possibly a goat? By the way, why is it goats who are always the likely target for sacrificial offerings to the Pagan Gods? I mean I’ve tasted goat. It’s not nice. Now bacon on the other hand. Mmm. Bacon. Seriously I ever become a Pagan God, you‘d best not be sending me any goat. Especially when there‘s bacon available) greatly multiply my powers on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2009.

Now I have something very important to tell you, Gareth. The MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH happens only rarely, and not everyone can benefit from it. You have to deserve the "Power of Luck" you can obtain from the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH. And for that there is a condition, Gareth !

* Do you have a really urgent financial problem you want to solve? (Gee Note: No. But I do need new shoes.)
* Do you believe in the possible intervention of a "Higher Force?" (Gee Note: When you say “higher” do you in fact mean “stoned”?)
* Do you feel you lack Luck in your life? (Gee Note: No. Just shoes)
* Do you have a secret wish you’d like to see come true? (Gee Note: Um, would it still be a secret if I told you? I... don't think... no. No I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be.)

If you answered YES to any one of these questions, let me tell you how the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH can change the entire course of your destiny all at once.

I have to perform a secret ceremony of High Divinatory Magic, that will allow me to exploit the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH. This special ceremony, based on the Ancestral Book of High Magic, is called the Great Astral Invocation of FRIDAY THE 13TH. To perform the ceremony you have to be a master in the practice of Magical Invocation, and have a profound understanding of the Magic Spheres and astral travel. I am an expert in both. (Gee Note: I am also available for children’s parties and weddings. Book now to avoid disappointment.)

Thanks to the Secret Lucky FRIDAY THE 13TH Revelations that I will give you, as well as the Great FRIDAY THE 13TH Astral Invocation that I will perform, I will be able to invoke the Higher Powers on your behalf. That way I can make sure that the Power of Luck generated by the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH works in your favour. (Gee Note: Yeah! It’s about damn time those Higher Powers did something for me for a change).

No one can explain how this special kind of Luck happens. The only thing we know is that on each FRIDAY THE 13TH Luck does occur. Despite all this, I know that many people with serious problems will hesitate to take advantage of the strange power that emanates from the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH. Some because they think that nothing and no one can change their lives, and others because they lack an open mind, and believe only in things they can see with their own eyes. (Gee Note: So, wait, you’re saying that I should only believe in the things I can’t see? Like that invisible ninja that keeps stealing my socks? Bastard. I knew it was him all along. I mean people kept telling me they’d probably just fallen behind the drawer and that I should pull it out and have a look, but I knew the truth. That’s it ninja. You’re on my list pal).

And yet, hundreds of people with excellent intuition have accepted my help and benefited from the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH. Even though at first many didn’t really believe it would work (Gee Note: No? Really?). But after living this incredible experience, none of them see life the same way as they did before! Even the most sceptical among them were convinced. They can hardly believe that their most secret wish came true, often in just a few days!

I have already prepared the file for your Secret FRIDAY THE 13TH Lucky Revelations. Now I have to get ready to perform the "GREAT ASTRAL INVOCATION of FRIDAY THE 13TH".

I’ll be waiting to hear from you soon, before it’s too late!

The MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH is a very rare astral phenomenon, and I can only offer you my help once (Gee Note: Or “until the next time it‘s Friday the 13th“. You know. One of the two).

Don’t make the mistake of not responding to this call from destiny (Gee Note: I don‘t know. Is it collect?), and think that what you are being offered today is not important. The truth is that this is very serious, and very important!

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to harness the mysterious power of the MIRACLE ENERGY of FRIDAY THE 13TH and make your most important secret wish come true (Gee Note: As opposed to all those other secret wishes? Well I guess your right. I mean while having more money than I can spend is one thing, but what‘s that when you consider bringing back the classic ITV children‘s television show Knightmare? For a start it had that kick ass theme tune. Duh dah dah dah dah dah. Duh duh duh dah daaaaaaaah. Also Hugo Myatt really really needs the work. Hey maybe we could kill two birds with one stone and get Aaron Stanford to play an elf or something? Man, this idea just keeps getting better and better).

I know that in just a few days you’ll congratulate yourself for having listened to me, and for finally doing something good in your life. (Gee Note: “Finally doing something good“? Damn that’s harsh. I mean I’m not a proud man by any stretch of the imagination. But at least I’m not some kind of two bit hack trying to fleece na├»ve folks out of their hard earned cash by pretending to be a wizard. People in glass houses Tara. People in glass houses.)

Your loyal friend,



I’m sorry for insisting, but this message is an urgent priority for us both. I have very little time to prepare for the GREAT ASTRAL INVOCATION of FRIDAY THE 13TH. Last FRIDAY THE 13TH I also contacted 7 people whom I know personally. All of them saw their secret wish come true in less than 7 days, and all of their lives were changed forever. What I did for those people I can also do for you! All you have to do is answer me today. The best thing would be to do it right now! (Gee Note: As you wish. My answer is, oh how can I put this? Well it ends in “off” and, um, it doesn’t start with the word “face”. Does that make sense?)


And there by the grace of God goes Tara. And I hope you'll join us in wishing her the very best at whichever asylum she ends up in. Tara, ladies and gentlemen. Tara.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Water always wins.

A brief return of our occasional feature "Gee watches a Science Fiction television programme and give his opinion on it." By the way this is a spoiler heavy post about the recent Doctor Who special The Waters Of Mars. So if you don't want to know the score look away now.

It turns out that I’m not fashionable.

Now as far as clothes go I guess that’s always been the case. Recently one of my friends posted an old school photo on Facebook, taken when I was probably about five. It was one of those deals where they get everyone to pose in a group, and then sell a print of it to their parents for about five times as much as it costs to reproduce. Anyway there they all are, my school chums with their cherub faces and cute smiles. Each and every one of them wearing a checked shirt of some sort. And there’s me, wearing a navy jumper with the giant face of Goofy emblazoned across the front. It’s stands out so much I might as well have had a neon sign over my head saying “Really this kid has no idea”.

It’s something that’s continued to this very day. For example in this weeks Jennifer Anniston Weekly National Enquirer, they have one of those “Let’s compare people on the Red Carpet” things. Basically they take eight celebrities who have recently walked the line and post pictures of their dresses, inviting us to gasp with wonder or laugh with glee at the fashion successes and disasters. Now to me they pretty much all look ghastly. Each of them are covered with frills and bows from head to toe, as if Liberace’s ghost had thrown up over Hollywood's finest. However some of the celebrities have got it bang on the money, and some of them have got it terribly wrong. I know this because some pervert with unsmiling eyes and impossibly white teeth has had the good sense to score each dress out of ten. Otherwise, I’ll be honest with you, I’d be lost.

But in the geek community, ah dear reader, in the geek community I am very fashionable indeed. In fact when it comes to movies, TV, and comic books I’m almost a god. I know the new things to look out for, the old things that are respected, and the stuff that’s just plain great. I am like a nerd version of Victoria Beckham.

Or at least I used to be.

Over the past couple of days my fashonista status has been tested to it’s limit. The reason? Well on Sunday just gone the BBC aired the newest episode of the world’s longest running Sci-Fi series Doctor Who. It’s been a whole seven months since we last saw everyone’s favourite time travelling alien, where he faced a bunch of flying sting rays with endo skeletons and a pissed off attitude. Obviously having learned nothing from Steve Irwin, the Doctor stood up to these wee beasties and heroically saved the day, leading to much rejoicing.

And so having left a gaping hole in all our lives for far too long the Doctor was at last back on our screens with what was sure to be a triumphant return. Grateful for what I was about to receive I settled in to my default position (Gee Note: In bed with a tub of ice cream if you're curious), turned the volume up and put the lights down low, and prepared to have my socks blown off. This was going to be an hour of pure awesome.

Except it wasn’t.

By the end of that hour I was so deflated that I had to leave the bed (Gee Note: ! ) and go for a walk. Really that’s how low I felt. It wasn’t that I was disappointed. It was more than that. Like I’d been given a pot of gold by a leprechaun only to find out after he’s left that the gold is actually that chocolate money stuff and it’s two years out of date.

(Gee Note: By the way I love chocolate money. I just wanted to mention that knowing that members of my family read this and Christmas is coming up. Also, speedboats)

So the next day after a restless nights sleep I awoke early and immediately went online to watch the dust settle. First stop, the Guardian Newspaper online and a review from Sam Wollaston.

It's a belter, a watery nightmare – scary, moving, relevant, believable, sometimes even funny.

Huh? He actually liked it? Oh well, who the hell is Sam Wollaston anyway? I need some of my real geek brethrin around me. They’ll feel my pain. So over to SFX.co.uk I go.

This was a bold and exciting episode of Doctor Who.

Oh… what the hell? You too? Mind SFX makes a living out of favourably reporting on Sci-Fi shows and books as that’s what their readers love. I mean nobody really reads it for tips on how to get Roses to bloom all year around. Because if you are doing that, you may want to skip it one week and pick up Gardeners News instead. Trust me it will blow your mind.

No. What I need are some hardcore, hairy, live in their mothers basement, speak Klingon fluently, know the difference between a Dark Jedi and a Sith, geeks. I need me some Aint It Cool News.

They have knocked one out the park, just brilliant.

Loved it!

An excellent episode… absolutely breathtaking

This episode was fantastic! I'll be picking up the DVD!!!!

You guys?!!?!? YOU GUYS?!!!?!?!?! You guys hate everything! Everything! Jesus I remember the uproar when Heath Ledger was announced for the Joker in The Dark Knight. You guys went almost biblical in your curses of damnation. It wasn’t until the poor bastard died that you let up on him a bit. And you liked this? You. Liked. This.

So I started to think “Is it me? Am I wrong? Did I miss something?” I was about to write it off as just one of those things when I mentioned it to a friend of mine. It turns out that they had missed the initial broadcast and were planning on watching it that night. In an attempt to understand this phenomenon I decided to do the same, and then compare notes. Because truth be told I haven’t known this person very long but they make me laugh, and so therefore I respect their opinion on very important matters. It’s strange how that works.

So thanks to the wonder that is the BBC’s iPlayer (Gee Note: Rejected slogan ideas for the iPlayer part 1- “For shows you couldn’t be bothered watching the first time around and are only doing so now because there‘s nothing else on.”), I cranked up my PC and watched this new episode again, armed with my trusty notepad and pen.

And I really really hated it the second time around.

This new special, entitled “The Waters of Mars” takes place in the year 2059 (Gee Note: Although by the looks of the “home videos” watched by some of the characters everyone furnishes their houses using an Argos catalogue circa 2009) where the Doctor drops in on the first Earth colonists of Mars. Forearmed with the knowledge that this base is set to explode killing everyone in it’s boundaries that very day, he decides not to act upon it. You see these people’s deaths will inspire the human race to even greater future accomplishments and is therefore a fixed moment in time that simply cannot be tampered with. Despite the fact that he does this kind of thing all the time and it’s never seemed to bother him before, on this particular occasion the last of the Timelords is pretty much set on not lifting a finger to help these folks when all Hell breaks loose.

The Hell in question is a virus in the water on Mars, found in a frozen glacier under the planets surface. Drinking this turns everyone in to, um, well water spewing zombie things. Think if a bunch of fire hydrants got together and decided to put on an am-dram production of “Dawn of the Dead”. What it is and where this virus came form are questions that are left unresolved. I mean why bother explaining that when there’s a funny robot to be had.

Ah the funny robot called Gadget, a seriously irritating and completely unneeded addition to what otherwise would have been a rather dark and foreboding setting. Gadget is a major annoyance, dumbing down an already fantastically unintelligent product. Also it just looks cheap (Gee Note: Like as if Jar Jar Binks had tried to rebuild a broken down Johnny 5 but cocked it up, got bored, and walked away), making it painfully obvious to the viewer that despite trying to be a fabulously epic tale, Doctor Who is still far away from matching any American TV show when it comes to production values.

But Gadget is really a minor irritation. So too is the surprise appearance of a Dalek during the episode. The captain of the base, played with steely determination by Lindsay Duncan, was apparently inspired to head to the stars after her life was spared by a Dalek during the events of “The Stolen Earth”. Hmmm, goes the Doctor, that must be because the Dalek knew your death was a fixed point in time.

Now think about this for a second. Dalek’s are great big homicidal metallic pepper pots with zero empathy. They wouldn’t spare a small child anymore than Jessica Simpson would leave you her last Rolo. Also if a Dalek knows what is going to happen in the future, why the hell is it fighting a war that it knows it won’t win? I mean if I’m that Dalek I’m going to have something else to do when the call comes in to round up the troops. “Hmmm. What? Oh, it’s fighting time? Awww, and I just put the scones in to bake. Well, I can’t just leave them in there. They’ll be ruined. Tell you what, I’ll catch up with you guys when they’re done. Yeah yeah EXTERMINATE and all that. You have fun now you hear?”

But all this is completely forgiveable. No really it is. Because as ludicrous as it sounds it pales in to comparison to the insanely ridiculous finale.

Here’s the deal. Captain Dalek Love begs, and I mean begs, The Doctor to save her and her people. The Doctor does a perfect impression of me when it comes time to do the washing up by shrugging his shoulders and saying “Sorry love. Can’t help you”. So he starts to walk away and she’s all like “Damn you!” before she goes back to trying to fight the zombie fire hydrants. However as the Doctor walks away he somehow has an audio feed from the base transmitted in to his helmet and with every scream and exclamation of hopelessness he takes a heavy step forward. That is until he can take it no more and with tons of manic energy rushes back to save everyone left. Hooray right?

Well no, because upon dropping the survivors back down to Earth, and having a well deserved “Yes I am that awesome!” moment to himself, the Captain now thinks the Doctor is a dick for saving her. Even though she BEGGED him to do it (Gee Note: Tsk. Women huh?). Why? Well don’t ask me, I have no idea. It doesn’t make a blind bit of sense. “Hi. Can you save my life please?” “Yeah sure. There you go. Anything else I can help you with?” “What the hell did you do that for? Thanks a lot pal. You prick!”. Anyway to atone for all this the Captain shoots herself, despite not being able to put a bullet in the head of one of the monsters and thereby putting a stop to this entire thing before it began, and the Doctor breaks down and questions if he has gone too far by screwing with time in such a fashion.

And the best bit? Right then out of nowhere an Ood, a creature we haven’t seen since 2008, turns up. And then disappears again. Why? Why not? They’ve done everything else badly up until this point, why not this?

Actually the real best bit in all of this is how long the above mentioned finale takes to unfold. From the moment The Doctor starts to walk away from the base to Ood Sigma doing his best David Copperfield impersonation, the whole sorry mess is played out in just five minutes. Five minutes where characters motivations are flipped like pancakes for no good reason, everything is rushed to a massively lame climax involving the stupid robot, and a vision of a very boring alien turns up.

You see I actually like the concept of The Doctor being driven to the edge of sanity, drunk on his own power as he tries to make the Universe do what he wants rather than serving it all the time. Before finally, finally, his own World collapses around him and leaves him even emptier then when he started. But a concept is only as good as it’s execution. And when something is executed as poorly as that, it makes Willie Francis look like a cow in a slaughter house (Gee Note: Go on. Google ‘Willie Francis‘. You know you want to).

By the way remember the friend I was talking about? The one who hadn’t seen the show until last night? Well I asked them their opinion on it this morning. Guess what they said?

Oh, I really enjoyed it actually.

Screw it I give up. This geek culture thing is way over my head. I’m going to find myself something else to do. Where’s that copy of the National Enquirer gone?

Oh Drew Barrymore. What WERE you thinking!

Monday, 9 November 2009

If we continue conducting nuclear tests it's possible that another Godzilla might appear somewhere in the world again.

You know New Zealand is an odd country.

Now the reason I say that is no way related to the fact that the New Zealand All Blacks defeated Wales in a game of Rugby Union this past Saturday. Heck New Zealand have dominated these matches for so long now you kind of get used to losing them. Kind of.

No, there are other way more important reasons why New Zealand is an odd country. For a start you’ve got the crazy ways in which the folks there entertain themselves.

About two weeks ago the free London paper Metro reported a story which is, well, completely bonkers. Basically every year in New Zealand the South Island town Waiau holds an annual pig hunt. To kick of the hunt a competition is held amongst the town’s children. This year however the contest has been banned after a section of the public kicked up a fuss about it’s nature. The reason?

Well the competition is to see who can throw a dead rabbit the furthest.

No really.

Obviously while it may be unbelievable that anyone could possibly find this offensive, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals disagrees. They complained so passionately that the organisers felt compelled to call the whole thing off. The best bit of all this hullaballo (Gee Note: Good word usage) is a pair of polar opposite quotes. The first comes from dead bunny chucking head honcho Jo Moriarty. When asked about the ban he replied

It's political correctness gone mad!

(Gee Note: Yeah! Manholes being renamed Personnel Access Covers to avoid offending women, and local councils renaming Christmas “Winter Holiday” to make it more “accessible” to non-Christians was bad enough. But not letting children throw around deceased vermin! That’s just not on!)

The second comes from SPCA animal cruelty inspector Charles Cadwallader who said

Do you throw your dead grandmother around for a joke at her funeral?

(Gee Note: Well no. I mean we did try giving the old girl a whirl, but her jawbone detached and hit little Jimmy square in the forehead. I can still hear him crying now. And the smell. Good God. I mean there’s only so many Pine Forrest air fresheners you can hang off one corpse you know?)

Isn’t it amazing how two different groups can have such contrasting views on something as simple as allowing children to throw rabbits around? Is it any wonder then that a possible plesiosaur can also cause as much debate?

Allow me to explain. On April 25 1977 the Japanese fishing vessel Zuiyo Maru was off the coast of New Zealand looking for some fun times. Or fish. You know, one of the two. Anyway they were sailing East of Christchurch, chilling out max and relaxing all cool, when all of a sudden one of the eagle eyed crew spotted something, er, fishy in their nets.

The Japanese sailors spied a carcass clogging up their trawl the likes of which they had never seen before. Convinced that they had discovered a previously unknown form of animal the men aboard the Zuiyo Maru proceeded to do the smart thing and collect a couple of samples here and there, as well as taking pictures of it like it was 1930‘s Paris and Jean Cocteau had just stepped on to the deck. And then the captain of the ship, one Akira Tanaka, decided that they needed to dump it overboard and carry on their merry way (Gee Note: Look before you get all “Awww why did he do that?” bringing back undiscovered mega fauna is good and all. But it don’t put no food on the table. Tanaka gotta eat. So do the little Tanaka’s. You want that on your conscience, huh? Hungry little Tanaka’s? No. No of course you don’t).

Measuring this badly decomposed body the folks aboard the Zuiyo Maru estimated it to be about 10 metres long and weighed it in at two tons. According to their reports the creature also had a one and half metre long neck, four large fins, and a two metre long tail. Also a massive lack of dorsal fin. Oh and no gills.

Upon it’s arrival back on Japanese shores the Zuiyo Maru and her able seamen (Gee Note: Oh please don’t cheapen this by giggling) were greeted by a storm of controversy. The samples and pictures taken were whisked away and studied by the top bods at various universities. Astonishingly two of them, Professor Tokio Shimaka and Dr Fujiro Yasuda came to the same independent conclusion. It was, they said, the remains of….


Dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnnn.

Nah I’m just kidding. They both said it was…

A plesiosaur .

Dun dun… Um. Actually that bit‘s not made up. They genuinely believed that it was a plesiosaur. For those of you who aren’t familiar plesiosaurs, picture in your head the Loch Ness Monster. You got it? Good. What your looking at is a plesiosaur. For those of you who have no imagination then here’s a picture of one. Admittedly I could have just posted it to begin with. But if watching pre-school programming for the past two hours straight has taught me anything it’s that our brain is like any other muscle. It needs a good workout every so often.

However, the thing is not everyone agrees with Messers Shimaka and Yasuda. Most notably Glen J. Kuban put forward the theory that the dino-fish is undoubtedly the rotten corpse of a basking shark. You see when a basking shark decomposes it takes on a form not unlike that of a plesiosaur. Also amino acid test on the samples provided by the Zuiyo Maru seemed to indicate that the unidentified animal was most likely Chondrichthyes in origin. Or Shark to you and me.

Nonsense cried others, such as Professor Yoshinori Imaizumi of the Japanese National Science Museum who said, "It's not a fish, whale, or any other mammal.". And Fujiro Yasuda himself was another to rule out the whole shark theory "No animal of that size has such an elongated body.”. Claiming that the position of the fins was all out of whack for a basking shark he continues, “We can't find any known species of fish that correspond with the animal caught outside New Zealand. If it is a shark, it is a species unknown to science.”

And so before you could say “Nerdfight!!!!!!” it was on like Donkey Kong. The carcass on the Zuiyo Maru sparked a debate which has pretty much raged on till this day. Most scientists agree that it is likely a decomposed basking shark. But there’s enough people outside of the usual crackpots creationists who are questioning the accepted theory. And that in itself is enough to make this New Zealand Monster very interesting indeed.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to see how far I can throw a dead rabbit. What? It sounds like fun.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Ah Tuesday.

Three nights ago was Halloween. Which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because Halloween is the one night of the year I can get completely trollied before settling down on the sofa to watch a four hour marathon of Most Haunted. Well actually I can pretty much do that at anytime of the year, but on Halloween I can do it without having to try and justify it to the future ex Mrs Davies. So instead of "But darling, I want to see how many times Billy Roberts says "I sense a… er… thing... person... spirit. A spirit here"." or "But darling, I want to see how much Yvette Fielding looks like Gozer the Gozerian in this episode.", a simple "It's Halloween!" will suffice.

Yvette Fielding

Gozer the Gozerian

Bad because Halloween brings with it all sorts of hokey jazz. For example on my desk in front of me I have a box of complimentary mints from a company which has obviously nothing better to do with it's time. On the lid of the box it says "Warning: Inside this box are some very scary things!". Oooh what can be inside? A snake that springs out at you when you open it up? Confectionary made to look like a bunch of disembodied eyeballs? A portal to an unknown dimension where left is right, up is down, and Perez Hilton is a useful member of society? Well sadly it's none of those things. Open up the box and you get… wait for it… mints. Regular minty type mints. No strange cackling sounds. No horrific depiction of an unspeakable horror. Just mints. Now unless you have a childhood trauma involving little white dots, and God only knows what that would entail (Gee Note: When I was 10 years old my parents were gunned down in front of me by a block of polystyrene. This made me dress up as, oh I don't know, a giant squirrel and fight crime. 'Cause you know, that's the only rational way to deal with deep seated mental issues), then mints aren't really scary.

Ikea isn't really scary either, although some of it's clientele might qualify. For example on October 19th this year The Daily Torygraph Telegraph reported that the face of Jesus had been found once again (Gee Note: Thank goodness. I've been looking for that thing everywhere). This time however it wasn't on a pot of jam, or a grilled cheese sandwich maker. Hell no, this facial deity was found in the glamorous location of Renfrewshire, Scotland inside everyone's favourite place to buy cheap Swedish furniture. The image was first noticed when one local shopper decided to relieve himself in the Ikea store. Rather than risk causing an international incident by doing the business all over a reasonably priced Billsta Bar Table (Gee Note: Only £105. Ideal for those of you who are tired of resting your beer on the top of the fridge and have more money than sense), he slunk off to the in store toilet facilities where upon he made an astonishing discovery.

I was only heading to the toilet and found God. It takes you by surprise. It is really clear in the wood. (Gee Note: I love the understatement here. It's like saying "So I was in Paul's house doing a poo when all of sudden the Supreme Hindu God Shiva was there in front of me waving his arms about like a nutter. It was the last thing I was expecting let me tell you!".)

That's right folks, plain as the eye can see on the bathroom door was a picture of good ol' JC himself. Or was it?

My wife thought He looked like Gandalf from Lord of the Rings but it is definitely more like the Turin Shroud.

Setting aside the idea for a moment that some dude was so astounded by this heavenly vision that he dragged his poor wife in to the men's loo to have a gander, she does make an interesting point. It could be Jesus. It could be Gandalf. It could even be this guy:

So how do we know for sure? Well I'm afraid there's only one course of action. We must pit Jesus and Gandalf one against the other in a series of contests, judged by a panel consisting of David Copperfield, Paula Abdul, and Aaron Stanford (Gee Note: Stanford really does need the work). Round One will be the "Rabbit out of a hat" round, where the contestants will try and, er, pull a rabbit out of a hat. Extra points will be awarded for cuteness of said rabbit, as well as for the use of the words "abracadabra" or "shazaam". Round 2 will be the "Make David Blaine Disappear For Good" round, while Round 3 will be "Freestyle Throwdown Magic". We'll call it MAGIC OFF 3000 and show it live on Pay Per View, the proceeds of which will go to feeding thousands of homeless midgets with hairy feet. The winner will then be able to claim the picture on the toilet door as their own likeness and will also walk away with a Blankety Blank Cheque Book and Pen. See, it's both a fair and just way to settle all of this, with the added bonus of being entertaining and relatively harmless. Well, unless you happen to be David Blaine of course. But if that's the case then, man, you've got to admit you had it coming.

With all that cleared up, let's turn our attention to something that is actually quite scary. Ladies and gentlemen please put your hands together for The Fouke Monster.

Picture the scene. It's the early 1970's, Carole King is playing on the radio, and the summer feels like it's never going to end. You're a young wife who's only just moved in to a sleepy little town in Miller County, Arkansas. The first week that you're in your new home passes without incident during the day, but at night strange sounds are heard from outside your front door. You pay them no heed. After all you're new to the neighbourhood, and as far as you know next door could have a working abattoir out back. Or a high end sock puppet master theatre. Or one of those assault courses where chickens compete against ducks to find out which truly is the better bird.

Anyway this goes on for a couple of nights, until one evening when your husband goes off hunting with his brother. You wait for him patiently to come home and when he doesn't arrive at a suitable time you feed his dinner to next door’s ducks and fall asleep on the sofa. An hour passes, maybe two, until you are awoken by the sound of someone or something reaching it’s hand through the screen window on the front door. You wipe your eyes and the creeping sensation starts to make it’s way up your spine as you realise that it’s not a human hand. At first you think it’s a bear, but it’s too big, and the wrong colour. Whatever it is it’s strong enough to force it’s way through the door, and you can hear it snorting and squealing as it makes it’s way inside your house.

If you’re reading this and thinking “My that all sounds very familiar” then either you should take that novelty glove away from your prank loving husband, or your name is Elizabeth Ford and you once had a run in with the Fouke Monster.

Thankfully on the night in question - May 2 1971 - husband Bobby Ford arrived back home just in time, and spooked the creature away from the porch and his, by this point, terrified wife. It didn’t last however as the creature returned later that same night. Bobby, thinking he had successfully scared the bejeebus out of the beast the first time round, cowboy’d up and went outside to confront it once again. And... he got his ass handed to him. No really, Bobby was dominated like a teenager in Roman Polanski’s house. Thrown around like a rag doll for the best part of ten minutes he managed to escape, and after being treated in St. Michael Hospital for shock and scratches across his back, he reported the ordeal to the local police force. Ford claimed that what had attacked him and his family was seven feet tall, around 300lbs, had bright red eyes (Gee Note: Oh welcome back “It had red eyes”. It’s been a while) and moved like a great big monkey. The police investigated the area and found scratch marks on the porch, damage to the door and windows of the house, and a series of three toed footprints on the ground.

Later that month the wee beasty was spotted again by D. Woods, Wilma Woods, and Mrs R. Sedgass, who claimed that on May 23rd they saw an “ape-like” creature crossing Highway 71 (Gee Note: Initial investigations in to this event ground to a halt after the police realised that Madonna was no where near Miller County at this time). A couple of days after that Willie E. Smith discovered a set of three toed footprints in his soybean field.

And then sightings of the Fouke Monster just kinda stopped.

An article published in the Texarkana Gazette contained an interview with Southern State College archaeologist Dr. Frank Schambach (Gee Note: Crazy name! Crazy guy!). Schambach argued that the whole thing was more than likely a hoax. For a start, three toed footprints simply doesn't compute as all hominids and primates, both historical and modern, have five toes. The creature's apparent nocturnal behaviour also raises eyebrows, as it is not a known trait in any form of monkey or ape. Add that to the lack of historical evidence of the region being home to any type of primate and, according to Schambach, the whole things seems as fishy as a big bag of fish.

It’s hard not to admit that Schambach has a point. But the thing about undiscovered creatures is that, well, their undiscovered. Five years ago if you asked anyone in the know about the possibilities of a carnivorous slug then they would have most likely have sat you down and patiently explained to you that slugs are herbivores, before patting you on the head and giving you a lollipop for being such an inquisitive little thing. But then five years ago was before a carnivorous slug was found quite happily chomping away on worms at the bottom of a plant pot in Cardiff.

Now is it likely that there’s a seven foot tall monkey man stirring up trouble in Miller County? Well outside of sporadic sightings here and there, since that initial rash of sightings in 1971 it’s been pretty quiet. So if it was just the public’s imagination run wild spurred on by enthusiastic local newspaper reports then so be it.

But to dismiss it just because it doesn’t fit a currently known biological pattern is, in some ways, an easy way out. After all the laws of nature a being constantly re-written with every new breed of bird and insect discovered each day. I mean no one would believe a woodpecker’s tongue would work, except for the fact it actually does. So is a three toed ape with anger management issues really that hard to believe?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just found out there’s a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt dressed in a Playboy Bunny outfit this past weekend doing the rounds online.

Halloween is a good thing.