Archive for the Humour Category

The Bona Lisa

Posted in Art, Humour with tags , , , on June 6, 2010 by zombiebacon

What do you get when you combine the genius of Leonard da Vinci and an icon of camp British humour?

THE BONA LISA

Yes, Kenneth Williams (The Carry On… films, Round The Horne) meets The Mona Lisa in my new mash-up. The name “Bona Lisa” is a pun, reflecting the title of the original and a catch-phrase used by Williams which comes from Polari (gay slang).

How bona to vada his eek, indeed.

Living On A Prayer

Posted in atheism, Christianity, Humour, news, opinion, religion, satire, topical with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2009 by zombiebacon

There’s a big hoo-hah at the moment, as usual media-fuelled, over the suspension of an NHS nurse because she offered to pray for someone’s recovery.

The person at the centre of this religious storm is community nurse Caroline Petrie, 45, who asked a patient in her 70s if she would like a good word put in on her behalf to the big medic in the sky.

The patient complained to her health trust and nurse Petrie is now awaiting the outcome  of a disciplinary meeting.

Petrie seems to think, by her involvement of the Christian Legal Centre, that  it’s an infringement of her right to religious freedom to be suspended for doing something so charitable as praying to an elderly sick woman.

WRONG. This has got nothing to do with religious freedom. It’s about good, and by good I mean professional, not moral, medical practice. Simple as that. Nothing more to be said. Period.

This nurse has clearly overstepped her mark (plus Matthew, Luke and John) by, in effect, offering the patient an extra, non-prescribed form of treatment for her ailments. Forget the ‘Christian’ tag for a moment and consider what sort of reaction there would have been if Petrie had offered snake oil or some other untested remedy instead.

‘I believe eating buttered earwigs helped cure my ills and thought it might have been of some benefit to the old dear,’ she might have told the Sun reporter afterwards, before he slowly backed away and found another fuzzier no-brainer story to exploit instead.

Petrie really believes God’s will can have an effect on a patient’s health EVEN THOUGH there’s not one bit of medical proof attesting to this, apart from the placebo effect. If that was the aim then surely a sugar pill would have left a better taste in the patient’s mouth?

If God is ‘cure’ to Petrie than how does she understand medicine and disease? Is cancer Satan’s work, and what about AIDS? There are some Christians who argue it’s a plague from God, who in his early days seems to have had a dislike of gay people for some odd reason. Maybe they didn’t fancy him.

If you abandon, even slightly, the scientific basis of pathology and treatment then you find yourself with huge paradoxes inherent in religion  such as how can a loving God stand by and allow people to be consumed by plagues? In fact Petrie go check your Bible (next to Gray’s Anatomy on your bookshelf) and discover just how many nasty diseases the deity you’re praying to has sent down upon the peoples of the Earth.

So that’s why she’s suspended: Because it’s not accepted medical practice, well not since the Middle Ages, to pray for a cure. It’s not because she’s a Christian, though I think her being Christian is important to the news stories with their western-orientated culture bias. I don’t think ‘Struck Off for Offering to Slaughter Chicken’ (about a voodoo-practicing district nurse) would go down quite as well.

And finally, if we’re talking about religious freedom then how about the right to be free of religion? The complainant in this case didn’t like proselytising, however mild, and neither do I. If I go to a garage I expect a car to be fixed and if I go to a restaurant I hope to be offered delicious food. With neither do I want an added mumbo-jumbo service, gratis or otherwise. You want to hear people talking about a Christian God? Go To Church. That’s what it’s there for.

And if a vicar offers to give you keyhole surgery after praying for your salvation, politely refuse and contact the nearest authorities.

Click Heaven Help Us to read the BBC news story.

Young At Hearts

Posted in Humour, news, satire, science with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2009 by zombiebacon

Sinced the time the first single-celled organisms (such as President Bush) decided to stop reproducing asexually and have a bit of fun, there’s been an odd thing called LOVE.

To some it’s the best feeling in the world, to others an endless source of misery and woe; but to everyone it’s been a mystery.

How many times have you heard someone say ‘I can’t believe he/she’s with her/him/it’? If love was fathomable then expressions such as ‘love is blind’ and ‘beauty’s in the eye of the beholder’ would be meaningless – because we’d all be able to do the maths and work out why one plus one equals two. Or, later on down the road, three or four.

Poets, artists and musicians wax lyrical about it but press them to explain what the hell they’re on about and they’ll probably come up with such rubbish as ‘love is ineffable’ and ‘beyond explanation’, which kind of makes the whole effort of putting their ‘thoughts’ on the subject down on paper, disk or canvas pointless.

Thankfully, there’s another avenue we can go down to explain what love is. It’s called ‘science’, but really science is just a name for the process of rational investigation to bring understanding.

Everything in our lives should be done, in this sense of the word, scientifically. You wouldn’t drive a car without learning how it works, or eat anything that takes your eye and trust to faith you wouldn’t get poisoned.

The same should apply to love, because, to quote a bad ’80s pop tune, it ‘changes, changes everything’. Bad love can be worse for you than tucking into a steaming bowl of salmonella.

Larry Young, a professor of neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, has had the nerve to examine love scientifically, and his conclusion is very interesting.

He argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events in the brain.

“It’s just that when we experience these emotions they are so rich we can’t imagine that they are just a series of chemical events,” says Dr Young.

You can read the full article here for the actual science. What I find fascinating are the implications.

Such a reductionist approach might take the romance out of love but it sure is refreshing.

Basically our beloveds are doping us to the eye-balls until we can’t think straight.

Which is why so many lives go unfulfilled in terms of experience. We don’t care that we’re missing all the other rides in the fairground because the Roller-coaster’s providing such a buzz.

Far better to get off and try something else. You’ll still get a kick as nature’s wired your brain to provide it. Maybe the Dodgems would be an apt choice.

Bad love would be cured and people could have a legitimately acceptable choice in life. Get married and slowly become immune to the drug OR sod ’em all and become a emotion junkie.

After all, nature is only trying to trick us in to putting all our baskets into one egg.

“Love is only a dirty trick played on us to achieve continuation of the species” – W. Somerset Maugham

Then, when the body is too frazzled to take the constant highs, you could finally settle down for one last baby-making chemical romance, satisfied in the knowledge you’d have some great memories to take to the grave.


Morris Men Face Extinction

Posted in culture, Humour, satire with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2009 by zombiebacon

Forget the plight of pandas, struggle of Sumatran tigers or foreboding of polar bears feeling the heat of climate change. There’s another noble beast balancing on the precipice of extinction…

The morris dancer.

According to national association the Morris Ring, village greens could be devoid of morris dancers within 20 years if action isn’t taken soon.

The unforgettable sights and sounds of full-grown men whacking sticks and jangling bells around a huge erection could be consigned to the history books forever – because today’s youf find it all a bit embarrassing.

Charlie Corcoran, bagman (secretary) of the Morris Ring, told BBC News: “There’s a distinct possibility that in 20 years’ time there will be nobody left.

“It worries me a great deal. Young people are just too embarrassed to take part.

“This is a serious situation. The average age of Morris dancing sides is getting older and older.

“Once we’ve lost this part of our culture, it will be almost impossible to revive it.”

For some strange reason young people think tying ribbons to their legs and waving hankies around to celebrate the collective rebirth of seasonal horniness isn’t cool anymore.

They’d rather head down to a club than bang a fellow dancer’s head with one.

Being brutally honest, it isn’t really surprising they should feel this way. Compared to other countries’ folk traditions, such as the intimidating Haka of the Maori or the sexiness of the Hawaiian Hula, the morris dance is shown up as the embodiment of naffness.

Beardie old goats prancing around a pole to suggest fertility is on the same cultural level as innuendo in a Carry On film. Without the laughs.

Maybe we would be doing ourselves a favour by allowing morris dancing as it is to die. Replacing it with an annual Carry On-themed ritual to herald in summer might make the world think better of us.

Or how about a Benny Hill-style chase around the common with such stock characters as the blond bikini-clad bimbo,  dirty old man with a walking stick, nurse and policeman running around to the theme of Yakety Sax.

American tourists would flock over in droves to witness such a spectacle.

I, for one, would sign up to take part straight away. It would be hilarious and the perfect way to let off all that seasonal steam.

Of course none of us would get the girls – but with the strange attire of morris men hasn’t that always been the case?

Click on the video below to get an idea of how cool morris dancing really could be…

In Gods We Trust

Posted in gaming, Humour, religion, satire with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by zombiebacon

Boardgames are legion, but when you boil down to the essentials behind them all you find a few key themes. Conquest is the big one – be it through an army (Risk), good business acumen (Monopoly) or Shakespearean anti-hero (Othello).

Slaughtering all opposition in the name of wholesome family fun might make you pause to think about the real messages we are sending to children, but even so, it is still JUST a game.

Another thing that is presented to children and is seen as the non-evolved backbone of the family unit is Religion. Unlike board games, the desire to conquer that comes with viewing some people as against everything you stand for is very much real. And bloody.

Which is why I think new indie board game  Playing Gods: The Boardgame of Divine Domination is one of the coolest and most important things to happen to parlor games since they released the NHS edition of Operation – a game which could takes months to complete, depending on the length of the waiting list.

playinggods

Playing Gods - Making blasphemy fun

Players can choose to be one of five major world deities – including Moses, Kali and a machine-gun wielding Buddha – whose aim is simple: take over the world with their religion.

To do this you have to build up your number of devotees (represented through coloured markers) while smiting or converting your opponents’ followers.

Add in wrath cards to bring down your heavenly fury and Conversion cards to boost your box of divine tricks and you have a game so addictive you’ll steal a TV to buy the extension pack.

It’s the creation of Ben Radford, 38, managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Aware that much of the world’s violence comes from the source of eternal love, Radford realised that mocking various images of God and their faithful adherents would “make more social commentary” and “pierce the pretensions of extremist religious zealotry with humor.”

That it does wonderfully, passing many hours in the entertaining pursuit of monotheism.

Someone should really distribute this game to all the world’s spiritual leaders so they can settle their differences without destroying us in the process.

Lennon says give PCs a chance

Posted in Humour, media, music with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by zombiebacon

First Bob Monkhouse came back from the afterlife to discuss prostate cancer – the cruel disease that robbed us of a comedy genius in 2003.

Now ex-Beatle and more recently ex-alive John Lennon has been digitally resurrected for a new TV ad.

Lennon, who was shot dead by Mark Chapman in 1980, can be heard and seen in a 30-second ad on behalf of the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

The charity, founded in  2005, has the aim of delivering solar-powered computers to the world’s poorest children. Lennon apparently thought the cause strong enough to warrant returning from beyond the grave and give his support.

“Imagine every child, no matter where in the world they were, could access a universe of knowledge,” says Lennon, or a slightly high-pitched sound-alike.

“They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way.”

It’s all very clever and delivers an important plea, but it makes me wonder where we are heading with dead celebrity endorsements.

At the moment they are restricted to charitable causes, but what if the corporate world follows suit. Like they do with anything else that is innovative, arresting and pure.

Then we might end up seeing icons of the past re-animating to solicit our favours towards such products as Sky, PlayStation, Daily Mail and Pot Noodles. Being the talents they were, they could do this effortlessly while at the same time spinning violently in their graves.

In fact it’s already happened. Ford put the late Steve McQueen into a Ford Puma years ago in a pastiche of Bullet.

The key difference is in the relationship between sentiment and message. Those embarking upon media necromancy should pause to consider their intentions and the likelihood that the actor, singer or whatever, would have willingly lent his support had they been alive today.
Yoko must think her husband would have approved of the One Laptop Per Child initiative to sanction the use of his memory in such a way. He was, again, trying to help the world.

But I don’t reckon McQueen would have liked to have had his reputation for cool sullied by driving a common old thing like a Ford. The irony is, he WOULD be seen dead in one of their cars.

Ford were cynically exploiting a legend for commercial gain. Nothing more, nothing less. A lot of stars do adverts for goods they’ed never touch in a million years, but we know it’s just work and a means of ptting bread on the antique dining table.

But when the flesh has departed and all you are left with is an icon holding together lots of ideas, it’s harder to seperate the man from message. New connections form and McQueen doesn’t get a say. His character – or at least the one he wished to present to the world – becomes slightly debased.

So you should really have the star’s probable empathy before commencing.

If you have that, then the message doesn’t really matter. If you don’t have that, it can lead to the most offensive kitsch.

Imagine Elvis with a Whopper in his hand. ‘In life I was the King, but even I bow down to to Burger King’. Takes bite of burger. ‘Mmmm-mmm, better than squirrel pie. The King is dead, long live Burger King. Thank-you very much.’

Or Marilyn Monroe with her dress being blown up by the breeze from a New York subway in The Seven Year Itch. ‘Thanks to Bodyform I have the confidence to go out and live my life,’ she coos, before the wailing yet sassy jingle kicks in. ‘Whooooaaaa BODYFORM…’

You could even end up with the opposite. Nefarious characters from history redeeming their former indiscretions with the right endorsements.

‘Just two pounds a week will give this child the gift of life. A gift I never really appreciated until now. Seeing the hardhips families face on a daily basis in a land ravaged by war and famine makes me realise that being a cruel dictator wasn’t really the right way to be

‘If I can defy death to speak to you, you can dig deep and give generously. After all, you don’t want to be so poorly remembered as Idi Amin.’

Extreme example I know, but we must always be vigilent how people choose to use footage of others – be they stars in Hollywood or stars in the sky.

Otherwise, the old fear that a camera might capture your soul as well as your likeness may have more truth to it than we ever expected.

(Click on the pic to see the One Laptop Per Child advert)

Lennon back from the grave

Lennon back from the grave

Christian-themed bank holidays

Posted in Humour with tags , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by zombiebacon

With Christmas departing as quickly as the novelty of a brand new puppy, all we in the UK have to look forward to in the way of forthcoming public holidays is New Year.

That’s the lot until Easter but in other countries it’s a different stor

For example, in Spain they have 6th January off as well. It’s called Epiphany and it’s about the Three Wise Men – Athos, Porthos, and Aramis – visiting baby Jesus, who was unfortunate enough to be born on Christmas Day and therefore only received only one set of presents each year (combined birthday/Xmas).

Now it seems unfair to me that these three chaps – known collectively as the Magi (the plural of ‘magician’) – don’t get the acknowledgment they deserve in our holiday calandar.

For one thing, their visit was brilliant PR for the future messiah. The ‘los Reyes Magos de Oriente’ (to give them their Spanish title) hit upon the gimmick of kneeling down before the child – sending out the message that all the people on Earth, be they rich and poor, should likewise bow down before their saviour – the one true king.

In short, they gave Jesus two thumbs up.

Secondly, they are very well-known themselve. Perhap for bringing some very odd gifts with them: Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold’s fine – you can do things with gold – but perfume and annointing oil? For a baby?

Deist Thomas Wolston summed up this innappropriateness wonderfully. ‘If they had brought sugar, soap, and candles they would have acted like wise men’ he said.

These days, a lollypop lady or cleaner can get an OBE  for service to the community, but the powers-that-be won’t even reward the Magi, and us, with a measely 24 hours’ annual commemmoration.

I think it’s time to redress the situation. The scriptures have lots of important characters in them, and they should all get a shot at having a religious public holiday named after them.

Just imagine. We could have Jonah day, where we all go to aquairums and feed whales; Thomas day, where we doubt each other and even Judas day, when we email the boss with everything our colleagues have said about him and the company.

What fun.

Have an epithany on January 6

Have an epithany on January 6