Monday, 27 April 2009

“As a Christian...”



People have been asking me to do this for a while, and I have finally gotten around to it.

Here are my spoof Christian character Noel Hurley’s Amazon reviews.

He got chucked off Amazon in the end, so I couldn’t just link to them, and have had to compile them manually. Hence the exponential amount of time it’s taken for me to sort them out and post them.

Noel got himself a bit of a following during his Amazon reviewer days.

Even the guy who deleted him was a fan. And when the time came he emailed me to apologise for what he was about to do!

As a Christian, Noel forgave him.

Welcoming But Not Affirming
Good points, well made
As a Christian who attends Church with gay people, I find that this topic rears its ugly head all too often amongst my congregation. Yes Jesus taught us to love everyone, but the Bible does very clearly state that gayness is wrong. It's quite a dilemma. I found this book extremely helpful in developing an approach. I am now 'welcoming but not affirming' so, for example, I will say "hello, you are welcome to come into our Church but do remember that we think you are dirty and wrong" Problem solved.

Jesus in my Shoes
And mine too!
As a Christian with a lovely pair of brogues I would usually be quite annoyed if someone had the audacity to put my shoes on. However, I would be quite willing to make an exception for Jesus, and so would the lovely lady who wrote this book! One thing troubles me though – if Jesus was in Lori Peckham's shoes that would mean he was wearing ladies shoes. I'm not sure I like the idea of Jesus strutting around in high heels. Maybe he was drunk or only doing it for a laugh. I hope so.

Ask Mr Bear
Almost but not quite
As a Christian I only approve of wholesome family entertainment, as such I have no complaints about this book. The only thing I would say is that whilst Mr Bear might be a good person to ask about finding the perfect gift for mother - the hen, the goose and the sheep all having failed to be of any help - it is ultimately Jesus to whom we should turn in times of trouble. This book would have been much better if it had been called "Ask Jesus" and the plot had involved Danny asking the hen, the goose, the sheep, the bear and then ultimately Jesus, who would not only have recommended the perfect gift but would also have shown him the way and the light.

Cop and a Half
Praise the Lord!
As a Christian I had been longing to see Burt Reynolds cast as a cynical cop whose abilities to uphold the law were hampered by a mischievous child who, in the end, as unlikely as it may seem, helps him to apprehend a dangerous criminal. Fortunately my prayers were answered in the form of this film, which I think proves once and for all to the cynics out there that God does exist and that He is good. Praise His name! (Burt Reynolds that is, not God, although as a Christian I like God too).

Toastmaster
I am the toast master!
As a Christian I admire God greatly and want to be just like him. He made everything, imagine that! I can barely put up shelves! The nearest I can get to His level of greatness is when I put my bread in this fantastic sandwich maker and say "let there be a sandwich". And lo there is a sandwich, and it is good. Amen.

Bibleopoly
Yes
As a Christian who likes Monopoly I have longed for a game similar to Monopoly but perhaps with less emphasis on money and property and more emphasis on the Bible. Imagine my joy when, lo and behold, I saw Bibleopoly for sale! It's what would happen if you took away all the good bits of Monopoly and replaced them with stuff from the Bible. Not convinced? Ok, what if I told you that instead of the places on the board being famous streets, they were cities mentioned in the Bible? Yes! And instead of the cards offering you cash prizes or get out of jail free opportunities they contain verses from the Bible instead. Yes! The winner is the first person to build a church. This might sound anti-climactic but it's not. It is good. This game is good.

Bette Middler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook
For shame!
As a Christian I live by the 10 commandments and as such I deplore stealing in any form. Ms Middler however does not live by the same rules as I, for she has stolen all of Peggy Lee's songs and even has the audacity to brag about it in the title of her record. For shame Ms Middler for shame.

Nun of This Nun of That
Nun puns!
As a Christian who loves nuns, I don't think there are enough nun puns or books about nuns, so imagine my delight to see not only a book about nuns, but a book about nuns with a pun on the word nuns in the title! Praise the Lord.

Nun of This Nun of That II
NUN PUNS!
As a Christian who loves nuns and has previously lamented a general lack of nun puns or books about nuns, I was delighted to have previously discovered not only a book about nuns, but a book about nuns with a pun on the word nuns in the title! So you can well imagine my further delight at finding ANOTHER book not only about nuns, but with a pun on the word nuns in the title! I am so happy right now I could burst! Praise the Lord, Glory Glory!

Cross Cake Tin (item no longer available – a shame)
Eat this cake, it is my body
As a Christian who really likes cakes I was delighted to see this cake tin for sale. At last I can combine my two passions - cakes and God - in one big delicious Christian cross cake! But there is also a serious side to my Christian cross cakes. Eating cake is very pleasurable, accordingly when one eats cakes one forgets momentarily about Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. When I make a Christian cross cake I draw on a Jesus with icing. This ensures that as I enjoy the cake I am still acutely aware of the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. It's not often that something is both fun and reverential. Praise be!

Cod
Surprising
As a Christian I thought I knew everything there is to know about God but apparently not. For instance, I did not know that alternate names for God are codfish, rock cod, scrod and northern cod. Furthermore I always imagined he would look like a big white cloud but apparently he is small with smooth scales. I also thought that he lived in Heaven, but according to this book his habitat is the ocean’s bottom layers. I'm confused. These all sound more like the traits of a cod fish if you ask me.

Nuns Having Fun Calendar
Nuns, nuns, nuns
As a Christian I admire nuns. Lovely nuns. They're great. I would have liked to have been a nun, you get to be married to Jesus and I assume there are other perks. Sadly I am a man so I could only be a monk, but that, as this calendar testifies, is not half as much fun. The only monk calendar I could find on Amazon was entitled "A Simple Monk" and the pictures did not feature any fun looking antics. As great as God is (very great), monks don't get up to much, they have to be quiet all day and, well the bottom line is, I enjoy my jazzercise too much to give it up. God understands I'm sure.

Classic Engineering 10800 Boring Jig Kit
A jolly good product
As a Christian I found this classic engineering 10800 jig kit to be a great way of emulating Jesus in his carpenter days. I was confused therefore as to why the manufacturer describes it as "boring"? It is nothing of the sort, so come on guys, don't put yourselves down, you have made a jolly good jig kit, you should be proud. God bless you!

Bible Cure for Menopause
Yes!
As a Christian I believe everything written in the Bible, without question. Accordingly I have purchased all of the books in the Bible Cure series, because who knows best about treating illness, doctors or God? I think the answer is obvious. I bought this book for my wife who is currently going through the menopause. She is not enjoying it one bit but I think it is a very good thing. After all does the Bible not say that: "A woman who is menstruating is unclean. Anyone who touches her is unclean" "Anything which a woman who is menstruating sits on or lies on is unclean" "Anyone who touches the bed of a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening" "Anyone who touches anything which was sat upon by a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening" "If a man lies with a woman who is menstruating and any of her discharge touches him, he is unclean for seven days. Any bed he lies on is also unclean" "After her flow stops, a woman who was menstruating must count off seven days before she is considered clean again. On the eighth day, she must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a menstrual discharge" The menopause puts an end to all my wife's unclean monthly punishments for Eve's weakness, and she no longer has to go through the rigmorale of the bird presentation ceremony. Praise the Lord.

Gift from God Tie
Impress your friends – look like God’s favourite child
As a Christian who likes to look his best I wear a shirt and tie at all times, even in bed. This tie is my favourite because there is a picture on it of a gift tag saying "from God". This makes it looks like God Himself bought the tie for me. Now I know that He commanded that we should not lie, but I am sure He would understand my motives in not correcting people when they say "God bought you that tie? That's great. You must be the best Christian of them all" It's not even lying really. I am a very good Christian and I am sure God would be more than happy to purchase a tie for me if we ever met. Praise his name.

Car Insurance Secrets
A lot of useful information here
As a Christian I like to go to church. But as my church is quite a distance from my home I have bought a car to save my legs. As I was new to the whole car ownership malarkey I bought this book. It is really rather useful. One thing that, as a Christian, shocked me though, was the discovery that I am not covered for acts of God. Not that I think that God would do anything bad to my car, like vandalise it or something, but if He did, say He was drunk or got dared to, then I would want to be covered. Come on God, I am driving my car all the way to church to worship you, why would you want to cause damage to it for which you would get off scot free? For shame!

Lambskin Bible Cover
Confusing
As a Christian who gets a lot of use out of his Bible, I find I have trouble keeping it clean. So I decided that I needed some sort of protective cover. I was delighted to find one for sale, but when I saw that it was made of lambskin I became confused. For was it not said in John 1:25-29: "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!" After a lot of soul searching I bought it, and I think I made the right decision, after all I think God would much rather a lamb had died than His books were dirty.

Bible Action Figures
Christian values for the children
As a Christian I don't approve of all these fanciful toys that teach our youth nothing and merely encourage silliness and bad behaviour. These Bible action figures on the other hand are a wonderful way to instil decent Christian values in the children and they are jolly good fun too. This set comes with a David and a Samson so the children can act out such wonderful moments as Samuel 18:27 where David slew 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to the King, or Judges 15:15 where Samson killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass, or Judges 16:27-30 where Samson, with the help of the Lord, caused a roof to collapse killing 3000 men, women and children. Hours of Godly fun!

Jesus In Blue Jeans
If it aint broke, don't fix it!
As a Christian I thought I knew a thing or two about Jesus - I'm a huge fan - so I was naturally curious when I saw this book for sale. I didn't know He had changed His image! It opens with this line: "I was in a field and I saw Jesus walking up to me in a pair of blue jeans. Why are you wearing those I asked? Because that's what you wear today" Now, from what I know about Jesus, He would not be the type of person who follows the herd and jumps on any passing fashion bandwagon. What's more His traditional robe and sandals look suits Him perfectly - casual but with that air of mystery necessary for any self-respecting Deity to wow the masses. Whilst jeans are good they lack that extra bit of oomph. I also think that at 2000 years of age, Jesus wearing jeans would just come over as a clumsy and embarrassing attempt at being hip. Having said all that, Jesus is brilliant, possibly the best person ever, so I am sure He would look great in whatever He wore.

Knitting with Dog Hair
Margaret was furious
As a Christian with a dog, who gets left alone in the house by Margaret for long periods of time, I can sometimes get bored. You can only read the Bible so many times a week can't you? Anyway, last week I was at home whilst Margaret was out shopping and the boredom set in, so I made a jumper out of Geoffrey. He had no fur left so he has ended wearing the jumper instead of me, which I don't think is fair because I made it, but Margaret says if I ever raise that subject again she'll throw me out.

Top Hat
It really is a top hat!
As a Christian I love God, obviously, and I express my love for Him by going to Church, praying and spreading The Word, or "antagonising non-Christians" as the police called it. This is all fine but it's not enough. So I have come up with additional ways to praise Him. One of these is tap-dancing. Each night I spend an hour 'tap-dancing in the name of the Lord'. I sing a hymn whilst doing the traditional tap shuffle step shuffle step shuffle stomp. The dance is great on its own but the top hat is the perfect finishing touch. A lot of people have laughed at me when I tell them about 'tap-dancing in the name of the Lord' but I know that God is looking down on me and enjoying my dance and my nice hat. I am definitely going to Heaven.

Jesus Costume
Imitation is the best form of flattery
As a Christian I like to spend the Easter period thanking our Lord Jesus Christ for His sacrifice on the cross. I used to do this by praying and going to Church but I found this to be insubstantial. When I saw this costume for sale it gave me an idea. From now on, every Easter I will be dressing as Jesus, getting Margaret to tie me to a homemade cross and leave me hanging in the garden for the entire Easter period. This way I will be saying thank you to Jesus for His sacrifice in the best way possible; by going through exactly what He did. Obviously I won't be getting nailed up as that would hurt, and I will of course be able to get down from the cross if I need the toilet, if I get hungry or thirsty and of course if there is anything good on TV. Apart from that I feel like I will be experiencing the same hardship as Jesus did and I think He would be very proud of me.

Sin Shower Curtain (another one that’s no longer available)
A solemn reminder
As a Christian who behaves himself as all good Christians should I am pretty good at avoiding sin. I think this is partly down to the fact that I love God and don't want to displease him and partly because every morning whilst showering I am reminded of all the sins I should avoid doing that day by this, the sin shower curtain. If only Satan had owned one I believe that whole mess could have been avoided.

Map of Earth
What fun!
As a Christian I love God, obviously. So I bought this map of earth to recreate the experience of being just like God. I like to lay it out on the floor whilst I stand on a chair or on the table. I then pretend I am God up in Heaven looking down on his creation. It's great fun, but a word of warning, only do it when Margaret is out walking Geoffrey, she gets very angry when I stand on the furniture.

Pull-a-part Lil Devil Dog Toy
For people who have a dog and don’t like the devil
As a Christian I don't like the Devil one bit. His behaviour over the years has been totally unacceptable, he's worse than Skeletor. Lately I have been trying to instil this opinion in my dog Geoffrey and have found this pull-a-part lil devil dog toy very handy. I have trained him to recognise that the pull-a-part lil devil dog toy represents the Devil. He obligingly attacks it and pulls it apart when instructed. If the Devil should ever try and enter my home he will have a very nasty surprise awaiting him. Unfortunately this backfired slightly last Halloween when a trick or treater came knocking at my door dressed as a demon. He needed hospital treatment, but I suppose it serves him right for celebrating a wicked pagan festival. Yes, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, on this occasion through a dog. Amen.

Inflatable Party Sheep
The Lord is my shepherd
As a Christian I like shepherds because they come up a lot in the Bible and because, according to the prayer, the Lord is my shepherd. And if it's good enough for him! Accordingly I bought fifteen of these inflatable party sheeps so that I could create a holy herd. When Margaret found them she stormed out of the house, went to her mother's and is refusing to come back. She called me a 'pervert' and called my sheeps 'sex toys' I was dreadfully confused. But then my friend Mike pointed out the product description - Inflatable Party Sheep a.k.a. Blow up Sheep Love Doll. Apparently the manufacturers don't mean 'love' as in the pure love I feel for Jesus, they mean it in a dirty way. Regardless of whether or not my sheeps are 'sex toys' I still like having a herd and Geoffrey is enjoying being a sheep dog. Margaret and I weren't getting on anyway.

Dog Bunny Ears
Not stupid at all
As a Christian with a dog I have a responsibility to ensure that he lives his life in a Christian way. I am doing this at the moment by including him in the Easter festivities with these Easter bunny ears. Margaret is being a nay-sayer as usual. She says that dressing animals up is insulting to them and robs them of their basic dignity. She also says that the ears are cruel because they are chafing his head. Jesus got nailed to a plank of wood at Easter, the least Geoffrey (my dog) can do is get a bit chafed. Go on, bring some Easter magic to your dog.

Jesus Calendar 2002 (no longer available, imagine that)
Looking good!
As a Christian I am, of course, a massive fan of Jesus. I don't have any earthbound heroes apart from nuns (all and any) and the actor/singer Tony Danza. My love of nuns is catered for by the 'Nuns Having Fun' calendar. Sadly Tony Danza's best years are behind him and he doesn't have a calendar available (I got round this by making my own out of press cuttings I have kept over the years). But I couldn’t find anything for Jesus! It seems that the only calendars one can get these days are of stupid pop stars and women with no clothes on. I was therefore thrilled to see that Jesus had finally released one! He's posed for some lovely pictures, they are all tastefully done, no nudity, just lovely robes and a nicely groomed beard. The only quibble I have with this calendar is that it's several years out of date. But it's got Jesus in it so who cares if you miss the occasional appointment?

Friday, 24 April 2009

It’s that time again



The new issue of Viz is out. And we got *drum roll* one letter.

But I’m not all that disappointed. No really.

We received our cheque ahead of the issue, and got paid the amount you’d usually get for half a page.

So although we only got one joke in the whole issue (not good), we were paid disproportionately well (good).

It balances itself out.

Anyway, here is the letter we got in:

I was watching the air hostesses demonstrating the safety procedures on an Easyjet flight recently. When it came to the bit about evacuating during a crash they produced these life jackets with Easyjet.com all over them. Now I don’t know much about marketing, but I would think having your logo emblazoned on the life vests of injured or dead crash victims would not be the best advert for your company.

And here are the ones that didn’t make it:

I read a news story recently about a pilot who, when the engines failed during a flight, didn’t take any action or try to land, but instead started praying. He killed 16 people in the ensuing crash. The power of prayer in action there…

I’d just like to say, hats off to the Archbishop of Canterbury for making a speech which needed to be followed up with this statement of clarification - 'Dr Rowan Williams did not say there was no God'.

The question on last night’s Quiz Call was ‘Things you might see at a wedding’. People kept phoning up and saying bride. Have these people never watched the show before? Knowing their track record of implausible answers I wouldn’t have been surprised to see ‘Bob Carolgees’ up there.

Christian groups were complaining recently that ‘Easter is all sweets and no Jesus’. What a strange set of priorities they have. Sweets are way better than Jesus. And they actually exist.

I have the memory of a goldfish. It’s not that I’m forgetful, I just inexplicably have no recollections of my own life, and for some reason just remember swimming round in a bowl.

The Pope recently issued a decree to Catholic priests telling them to dress smartly, after a study concluded that 30% of them looked scruffy. I have to say, if I were him I’d be less concerned about their get up and more worried about them having sex with children.

I feel I must respond to the letter above. I’ll have you know that only 4% of U.S. priests since 1950 have been accused of the sexual abuse of children. Now compare that to the 30% who look scruffy and then tell me which is the more pressing issue.

Further to the letters above, I’m just baffled that a bloke in a dress is handing out fashion advice.

Surely those Sky adverts where they demonstrate the ‘greater picture detail and vibrant colour’ of HD TV would only look impressive to someone with an HD TV, which somewhat defeats the point…

I just wanted to let anyone who was in the Bluewater Shopping Centre the other night, and who overheard me complaining about blacks, know that I was actually lamenting the demise of a favourite clothes shop of mine, that had been taken over by the hiking and outdoor clothes chain ‘Blacks’. I realise in hindsight that complaining about how ‘Blacks had taken over’ and saying that ‘I didn’t like Blacks’ may have sounded inadvertently like a racist diatribe.

I almost had to admire the attitude of ‘Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend’ winner Samuel, when he said he could ‘die happy’, having lived ‘a better life than most people’ because he’d been allowed to look in the shed where Paris keeps her dogs. He also lambasted the small fry ambitions of people who didn’t rate being Paris Hilton’s best friend at the top of their life list, such as ‘people who want to be doctors or whatever’. You have to hand it to him, going through life and not even picking up any intelligent ideas even by osmosis. That takes an extraordinary dedication to remaining ignorant.

According to the Dog’s Trust adverts, if you sponsor a rescue dog, they will write you a letter telling you about their progress each month. I thought this incredible feat of dog literacy would be well worth a couple of pounds a month and signed up. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that some humans were writing the letters and then passing them off as the work of a dog. Needless to say I withdrew my support.

I saw a Jesus jigsaw puzzle for sale on amazon.com. The product description warned that the puzzle constituted a choking hazard to small children and said that supervision was required. You’d think Jesus would make his merchandise a bit safer wouldn’t you? And what’s more, why should I have to supervise my child when they use it? He’s the omniscient one, can’t he do it?

I was shocked when I saw an advert for National Bullying Week recently. What is a bullying charity doing setting aside a week in which threatening behaviour is positively encouraged? It’s unhelpful.

Church leaders were complaining about a football match scheduled on Easter Sunday, saying it was disrespectful. What hypocrites! Whenever I walk past a church on a Sunday they’re always open. They should practice what they preach.

My local Chinese has an ‘eat as much as you can’ offer. I assume that this takes the ‘eat as much as you like’ premise and adds an element of challenge?

I read in the news that Tony Blair has asked the Pope to reconsider his stance on homosexuality. Is he coming on to him?

There were lots of adverts for a ‘massive rug sale’ around my local area this week. I went along anticipating bagging myself a massive rug. Imagine my disappointment when I found it was a large sale of normal sized rugs. They should really consider their wording better in future.

A German Bishop has said that Atheism was responsible for the Nazis. That Hitler bloke took a lot of the heat for them didn’t he? How unfair

I was watching repeats of Family Fortunes the other night and Les asked them to name ‘Places you wouldn’t expect to see a Nun’. There are so many silly answers to that question, my head nearly exploded.

Monday, 20 April 2009

A Night of 400 Billion Stars (and maybe some string theory)

Tickets are now on sale for the follow up to ‘Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People’‘A Night of 400 Billion Stars (and maybe some string theory)’

Which is as good an excuse as any to repost an old blog about the Godless shows - don't worry, I'm nearly done with the MySpace blog recycling.

So New Humanist printed a feature about it at the time, which consisted of a compilation of short pieces contributed by the performers, including Richard Herring and Ricky Gervais.

I had a piece included, and because I was a regular contributor to New Humanist, I was the only performer they had a photo of.

So they used my picture as a placeholder in the draft copy, with quite freakish results:




The egoist in me obviously wanted it kept like that when going to press…

Anyway, here's what I wrote for my contribution:

Someone recently asked me if being an atheist was a joyless experience. As though one cannot hope to enjoy the Universe and all its myriad contents, colours, shapes and possibilities without believing it was thrown together in a week by a magic super being. Anyway, is it not far more joyless to slavishly attend Church to avoid Hell, or cover yourself head to foot in a burkha? I like the idea that I live in a world that has been millions of years in the making, and that will exist millions of years after I'm gone. I only get to be a momentary part of it but this doesn't make me feel so small and insignificant that I reach for a made up meaning. It makes me grateful for the short window of life I've been granted and pushes me to make the most of every moment.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Confusion, Lies and Chris De Burgh

A quick blog now about something I did this week that would only usually occur in a sitcom.

A bad, clich├ęd sitcom, full of unrealistic characters getting themselves into ludicrous and perfectly avoidable situations.

I was in the Post Office and I got mistaken for an American by the man serving me.

For some reason I'm always getting mistaken for either an American, a Canadian or an Australian. I can't think why, I have the most middle-England accent of them all.

Actually that might very well be it.

Over the past few years nearly everyone in South East London has started talking in a sort of weird, affected Dick Van Dyke mockney accent.

But I still speak like a normal person and accordingly I have started to sound like a foreigner in my own country.

So anyway where was I, ah yes, I was in the Post Office and the guy serving me mistook me for an American. Something I didn't realise myself until half way through the transaction.

He'd started off by asking me if I liked living in this country. But I just took this to be uncoventional smalltalk and said that yes I did.

Then midway through regaling him with the bits I liked most about England I twigged that he was asking me because he thought I was American – a fact that had been confirmed for him when it turned out the parcel I was sending was bound for New Hampshire.

Where I now hail from by the way.

For some reason, instead of telling him that I was English, I instead started to put on a subtle American accent and make up a reason for being over here - I'm a student apparently.

No idea why I started doing an accent. He already thought I was an American on the basis of my normal English voice. But I suppose I didn’t want to go and get rumbled at that late stage.

He'd think I was weird for not correcting him immediately. Oh and for giving myself a backstory.

It's my local post office, I use it quite a lot, and from now on I have to go in there remembering to pretend to be an American.

I am an idiot.

A similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago.

I had a picture of a child dressed up as a tiger as the desktop background on my work PC.

I should probably provide something by way of an explanation here.

He was a strange looking kid from this amusing news story I had read:



Looking at him always made me laugh.

Hmm. That explanation didn't do me any favours did it?

Anyway, my computer was playing up so I called IT. The guy who came to fix it thought the kid was mine and started saying "They're lovely at that age aren't they? What's his name?" And so on.

I couldn't just say "He's not mine, he's just hilarious to look at" so I found myself inventing a name and a life story for this kid.

I worked in this office for a further year, and everytime I saw this IT guy I had to update him on the progress of my fictional son.

The moral to all this, if there is one, is probably to tell the truth. Or failing that learn to lie really, really well.

And finally, some of you may recall that I like to waste both my own time and that of Chris De Burgh by asking him questions through the Ask Chris section of his website.

Well I also like to read the answers he gives to other people. And here’s a good one that I spotted earlier:

Judith and Annie Sens (29 and 54) from Volendam, The Netherlands:

Dear Chris, Last week we watched Ready Steady Cook. It was great to see you and Ronan Keating together in one programme. You and Ronan are our 2 favourite singers. We'd like to know if you know Ronan's music and what you think of it. Love, Judith and Annie from Volendam

Chris de Burgh:

What can I say about Volendam? I am thrilled about the support I have always received from the wonderful people in Volendam. And as you know, I went up and I sang in your church to raise funds for the victims of the terrible fire that killed and maimed and disfigured so many young people on the millennium New Year's Eve. Yes, Ready Steady Cook was great fun. I learned something extraordinary in that. I always thought I was a good cook when it came to meat for example, but watching a professional chef at work in 20 minutes creating a three course meal of high standard was awesome. He gave me this trick about cooking meat, where if you like fillet steak for example, you put the meat in a very hot pan and sear both sides. Well, I knew about that bit, but I didn't know about the next bit, which is: You take it out of the pan and put it on a tray, so that the juices can drip down, away from the meat, and you put that tray in a low oven for 5 minutes. And then either you can serve it straight away if people like meat rare or you cook it another little bit and then it just tastes delicious! Ronan Keating lives in Ireland. I know, he is a king golfer like myself. I come across him from time to time. He is a very nice lad. I wouldn't put myself at the top of his fan club. I think professional musicians don't necessarily do that very often to each other. But I respect him for what he has done and I wish him the best in the future. The fact that I am a professional song writer and it is something that he is becoming more and more involved in down the years, is a really good thing. And I hope that his song writing skills are honed down the years, because you can only improve, and I apply that to myself as well.

A word in your ear Chris. Two sentences that shouldn’t run in tandem are:

"...the victims of the terrible fire that killed and maimed and disfigured so many young people on the millennium New Year's Eve. Yes, Ready Steady Cook was great fun."

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Yorkies



Another blog repost.

This time it’s an email I received in error from the boyfriend of a friend of a friend.

As I am a paragon of kindness and mercy, I won’t name him:

Boys, Boys, Boys..... (It was at this point I knew something was up)

Many of us now spend much of our days in the company of girls and as I'm sure you'll all agree that's not a bad thing. (Said with a raised eyebrow I imagine. Yes sir, he’s a ladies’ man) However, many of us are neglecting the foundations of our youth and the building blocks for our survival - our mates.

I am of the personal opinion that we are neglecting each other, preferring instead to go to bed early, have chats about "our future" and watch "Legally Blonde" or other such girly trash. This trend has to be disrupted before it becomes a way of life. Too long have we watched the female of the species organise our lives as well as their own. They want to go wherever we go yet also insist on exclusive "girl’s only sessions". (I don’t know about you, but I can totally picture him giving this speech on horseback, a la William Wallace in Braveheart)

Pink Soc excludes boys and I ask myself "Why do we not have boy’s nights out and boy’s only events without the burden of girls?" (Is that a rhetorical question?…)

I'll tell you why (Ah, no it’s not. So, pray, why is it?)

We're lazy, apathetic and lackadaisical and we need to do something about it. (Amen to that! Oh come on, don’t tell me you’re not getting swept up by this inspirational homily)

Surely we want to spend time together away from the girls...being men! (Grrr. Men.)

So here's the meat, we create a boy's club - we don't have to call it "Blue Soc" - it's too closely related to the girl’s club and we don't want to give them the impression we're following suit. (Even if you totally are)

I thought "The Yorkies" could work, "It's not for girls", granted it is corporate branding bull s*it but I like it all the same. (My favourite bit of the email hand’s down)

Obviously we will be democratic and won't bitch fight so any other good suggestions should be given consideration. I also propose a boys only event to kick things off and thought what could be more appropriate than playing little soldiers running around the woods with guns - let's go PAINTBALLING! (If this is what he’s like now, just imagine what his mid life crisis is going to look like)

Some of you may be thinking, "I can't be arsed" (Yes) "what is this bollocks?" (Quite) or worse (Worse? Intriguing) Well all I can say is "You're weak and under the thumb, pull yourself together!" (Zing!)

Let's go kick each other’s asses, get pissed together and do it fuelled 'only' by male testosterone. What do you all think? (Do you really want to know?)

First of all we set ground rules which must not be broken. Again these are open to modification and adjustment) (Actually I think this may be my favourite bit of the email…)

1. Girls can never be invited, however much they may whine or beg, the answer's "NO!" (We can’t come paintballing? Shame)

2. All activities are kept top secret. Girls can know we're doing something but not what it is. (Unless of course the boss man emails all the details to a girl, like a twat might)

3. When we meet we do not discuss or even mention girlfriends. Girls discuss boys when they get together but we shall not be following suit - remember we have our own agenda. (Agenda? That’s a grand term for what is ostensibly an excuse to go paintballing)

4. Nobody shall ever hold a grudge against another member for no definable reason whatsoever. (I love that rule) More to come... I can't think of any others yet. (Yeah, it’s probably too early in the day to suggest experimenting with gay sex. That’s where all this is heading, I can tell…)

So first of all I need to separate the girls from the boys, the wheat from the chaff, the strong from the weak...Who's in??? (I am! Although I don’t think I fit the criteria)

Finally I've e-mailed you because you're (a) male (Guess again) and (b) I know your e-mail address (Yes, although God knows how, I’d never spoken to him before, much less emailed) I don't, however, have a definite list for (b) and hence have not contacted everyone who should be contacted - whoever they may be. (I love how I got an email before people he actually knew, who were men!)

Provided the person fits category (a) and is a mutual friend of the group, not some random bloke off the street, (Or woman in this case) feel free to forward this e-mail on to all who may be interested in being part of the gang.

So, that was my favourite ever email. And before I sign off, this is my favourite ever sign (we’ve all got one).

I hope I never get caught up in an emergency situation on South Eastern Trains:



You’d have to make some tough choices eh…

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Anonymous

Time for another repost of an old MySpace blog. This one is my write up of an anti-Scientology protest I went along to observe with Paul from New Humanist:



Not many people know all that much about Scientology, beyond their penchant for stress tests and what you see on South Park. Indeed until I was invited by New Humanist magazine to attend the 'Anonymous' protest in central London with them, neither did I.

I knew the basics of course, that Scientology had been developed in the early 1950's by a science fiction writer, one L Ron Hubbard. Not a terribly good start for a 'religion'. I'm hardly a fan of the old school ones, but at least they can claim to be based on ancient scriptures and beliefs handed down through the generations (however questionable…)

Personally if I were going to adopt a religion, and all the demands and lifestyle changes that come along with it, I would want to align myself with something that's been around longer than Tupperware. But I digress.

Now, I say the following with a heavy dose of 'allegedly' as the Church of Scientology has been known to threaten legal action (or simply threaten) anyone articulating their views thus, but this is basically the revelation that any Scientologist who reaches OT8 will ultimately have revealed to them:

"75 million years ago Xenu (the alien ruler of the Galactic Confederacy) brought billions of people to Earth in spacecrafts resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners. He stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living and continue to do this today"

Some of the longest serving ex-Scientologists whom we spoke to at the protest confirmed this to be precisely what they had been taught. But again, not my words – merely reporting back! Incredibly this was one of the least bizarre revelations shared with us by ex-church members throughout the day, with much more worrying stories to come.

We learned about the alleged disconnection policy, which requires no further contact with family or friends outside of Scientology once you are a member. This policy works both ways, with one ex Church member who had left after 30 years having lost all contact with her friends and her husband of 27 years, who remains a firm believer.

What really came across during her interview was how much courage her exit had taken. Not just the prospect of starting again after three decades of knowing nothing else but the pressure she came under when she expressed her doubts to those around her – to people she had considered to be trusted friends and colleagues.

She recalled being invited to a hotel room to discuss her misgivings. It turned out to be something of a ruse, and she ended up locked in the room with two men haranguing her for hours on end until she was a wreck. She described it as a psychological rape and remained in the Church a while longer in spite, and because, of this act of intimidation.

Her eventual courage to leave was all her own, but she was supported a great deal by Mark Bunker, creator of this high profile anti-Scientology website. He offered her advice and friendship as she made the final steps towards leaving, but more of him later.

We also learned about the Church's distaste for conventional medicine. Now, as before, I must say 'allegedly' here because Scientologists publicly state that the use of medicine is perfectly acceptable to them, and would probably sue anyone who said otherwise, but of the many things that pushed one ex-Scientologist we spoke to into leaving, the Church's constant insistence that she stop taking her epilepsy medication had ranked pretty highly.

This example of a real act of opposition to medicine, along with the many banners and placards waved by Anonymous protestors, highlighting the suspicious deaths of Church members, most notably Lisa McPherson, seemed to lend this rumour some weight. And further research into another website recommended to us by a young man who had left scientology at an early age turned this up:

"I get sick sometimes, but I don't feel PTS (Potential Trouble Source), and when I am asked to locate the Suppressive Person in my life, I don't always know what to say. What's wrong with me?"

"Getting the sniffles does not mean that you are connected to a suppressive person. It means that your body's immune system is dealing with a virus or infection. When we were in Scientology and we got sick, we were always made to go in for a PTS handling after we were well again. We were required to find the suppressive person in our life that had made us ill. Sometimes we could think of someone right away, but most times we just named the last person who was rude to us, or just named someone at random, because we couldn't think of anyone we thought was actually suppressing us."

I found that in the FAQ section, yes incredibly that is classed as a frequently asked question. How unsettling.

So it would seem that illness is not treated as a natural human condition, but rather blamed on the person themselves and the people around them. The seeking out of a so-called suppressive person to blame an illness on creates a proverbial witch-hunt within the Church, which can culminate in people being punished or cast out on spurious grounds of supposed ‘suppressive behaviour’. This type of behaviour is usually undefined, which makes defending oneself virtually impossible.

We met one individual who was asked to leave the church on these grounds and now attends the protests with a toy parrot on his shoulder, which he has named 'Polly the Suppressive Personality Parrot'. He had no idea why he had been so unceremoniously dumped by his religion and his friends.

One of the most memorable stories we heard was that of a woman whose parents had become Scientologists when she was around six years old. She had spent much of her childhood as part of the Sea Org – Scientology's private navy – and she lived in a ship's hull. There was no bed so she slept on the floor, she was kept out of mainstream education and received none from the church besides learning about Scientology of course. She eventually escaped and aged just 15, found her own way home all the way from Denmark back to England.

But it wasn't just the bravery of the ex-Scientologists that impressed us that day - the protest itself was brilliantly done.

Anonymous consists of mostly teenagers and young adults, and as such their demonstrations are fresh, heavily informed by pop culture and really quite, dare I say it, cool. They wear stylised costumes and masks, most notably the V for Vendetta mask for which they are now famous). This serves to protect their identities, mark them out as a group and makes them a more interesting proposition than your usual, ordinary looking group of protesters. As do their offers of cake and free hugs to passers-by. Here's a picture of us interviewing one protestor:



This combination of gimmicky fun and impassioned outrage works to great effect. One minute they're singing along to Rick Astley's 'Never Gonna Give You Up' the next they are passionately chanting about the dangers and outrages that they perceive within Scientology. Their message gets across but things never get too heavy. Something which Mark Bunker (pictured below) noted as being very important to the cause.



He has been a vocal opponent of Scientology for over 30 years and has experienced many heavy handed responses to his opposition ranging from trumped up arrests to having his camera smashed with a hammer. He said that a sense of humour is key when opposing something that can at times be very saddening and at times frightening.

So what do Anonymous want? We interviewed numerous protestors and the general consensus appears to be – to inform people that Scientology is not a religion but rather a dangerous cult, to prevent it from taking hold in the UK in the same way it has over in the States, and for the following reason, taken from the official Scientology website so no need for 'allegedly':

"All donations made to United States Churches of Scientology are deductible against personal income taxes in the United States to the full extent permitted by law. Donations made to Scientology churches outside the United States may be deductible in full or in part."

Anonymous wants to get Scientology's VAT exempt status in the UK taken away from them. They find it baffling and unfair, not just because of the basic principle of the matter, but also because they can certainly afford to pay. It has been rumoured by those who knew him, and confirmed by some of the ex-Scientologists we spoke to at the protest, that L Ron Hubbard had actually stated that his intent was to start a religion for profit (this is of course, not the party line so 'allegedly' is back in play) and if that was his intent he succeeded. Allegedly it costs a Scientologist up to $300,000 to get to OT8. The justification for this? Taken from the official Scientology website:

"Scientology does not have hundreds of years of accumulated wealth and property like other religions — it must make its way in the world according to the economics of today's society"

And I think we all know how ‘the economics of today’s society’ work!

Anonymous wear masks (and I display an unusual amount of reticence) for good reason - the alleged Fair Game policy, whereby any opponent of the church is deemed a criminal and it is advised that 'action' should be taken against them. This policy is supposed to have been axed but there have been numerous allegations made in recent years which seem to point to its continued use.

Another ex-Scientologist we spoke to successfully sued the church after she left and they attempted to discredit her criticisms of it by slanderously naming and shaming her as a criminal. Another ex-Scientologist told us that everything she had said would be denied and that her past use of drugs would be used to discredit her – it has been alleged that during the auditing procedure, subjects are probed about their past indiscretions. These are kept on file and used later either to discredit or allegedly blackmail the subject if they decide to speak up against the Church. Indeed some of the protestors, even though they were masked, would not even speak to us just in case. There was evidence here of a real fear of the repercussions of criticising Scientology.

I would like to have included the Scientologist's side of the story, but they refused to speak to us and we were directed away from the Dianetics Centre by the police.

But it wouldn't have taken an interview to ascertain that they were unhappy. As I was finishing up for the day I saw an embattled looking Scientologist peering out at the chanting protesters from behind one of his adverts, which quite aptly said, "do you ever get stressed?" Now who needs a stress test?

Here’s a link to the podcast we recorded on the day

And while we’re at it, here’s a link to my 2008 Christmas New Humanist podcast.



I never thought I'd be behind an Advent Calendar door! I felt like the Baby Jesus. Or at least a Wise Man.

That’s all for now. More from my blog archives later this week…

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A Night of 400 Billion Stars



Following the success of the Eight & Nine Lessons and Carols shows(see earlier blogs here and here) Robin Ince has decided to put on another one. This time it's all about physics.

It's called a 'Night of 400 Billion Stars (and maybe some string theory): a celebration of astronomy, physics and other scientific distractions'.

It will feature some very clever science types, some top comedians and me.

Tickets go on sale on Friday from the Bloomsbury website.

Now I just have to think of some physics jokes...

Monday, 13 April 2009

More Spamming the Spammers



For those of you who have been following Spamming the Spammers - here, here, here and here - I have another one for you.

I'm still digging through my archives and will post them as I find them.

Spam Email

CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPT CHELSEA AVENUE STAMFORD BRIDGE LONDON. SW1V 3DW UNITED KINGDOM This is to inform you of the release of email balloting held on the 26TH OCTOBER, 2005, by CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB on it's 100th anniversary For the first time ever CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB have decided to celebrate it's 100th anniversary by awarding 300,000.00 (THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUND STERLING) each to just 30 lucky winners who were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from only Microsoft users from over 30,000.00 companies and 5,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. However, the results were released on 1ST DECEMBER, 2005 and your email was among the 30 Lucky winners who won 300,000.00 each on the 100th anniversary of the CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB, and your email was attached to ticket number RR38844240 and ballot number 00147. In other to claim your 300,000.00 prize winning, which has been deposited in a designated bank. However, you will have to fill the form below and send it to the Promotion manager for verification and then you will be directed to the bank where a cheque of 300,000.00 has already been deposited in your favour. NAME:............................... AGE:................................ SEX:................................ ADDRESS:............................ OCCUPATION:......................... COMPANY:............................ COUNTRY:............................ please you are advised to complete the form and send it immediately to our Promotion Department through email for prompt verification and collection of your fund. Yours faithfully, THE CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB

Monty's Reply

That's brilliant news! Thanks.

Here are the details you wanted:

My name is Montgomery Smythe

I am 109

Sex? Yes please! Only joking, I am a man. A manly man at that.

I am currently residing in Disneyland. Long story...

I am a sailor

I am self employed

Country? As I said, I live in Disneyland – I presume from the use of the word ‘Land’ in the title that this is recognised as a country?

The Lottery People’s Reply

IMMEDIATELY CONFIRM YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS TO ENABLE US FORWARD YOUR DEATAILS TO OUR PAYMENT AGENT i.e. (BRITISH POSTAL ORDER) FOR THE IMMEDIATE COLLECTION OF YOUR WINNING. CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN SINCERELY MISS CANDY ANDERSON FOR CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB

Monty's Reply

Hello!

That was quick.

I am so excited.

I called my mate Dave and told him. He said it's a scam.

It's not a scam is it? Can you just put my mind at ease?

Monty

The Lottery People’s Replyexcellent spelling and grammar

Thanks for your Email, however if i were you i would be very thankfull to that friend of mine for the gud advice Because his extremly Right, this is due to the level of scam going on around the Glob now adays But be inform that this is not one of them, it is aparently not a scam, it all depend on you if you want to procced to have your winning sum posted to you Sincerely Candy Anderson

Monty's Reply

Hello Candy Anderson

Yes, Dave is a good friend. A damn good friend.

I love Dave. Not in a gay way. I'm not gay.

Although sexuality is not a fixed thing is it? You can sometimes catch yourself wondering what it would be like.

I don't think I would ever act on it though. I would be the centre of all the gossip. That Mrs Goggins at the Post Office can get a rumour around the entire township within the hour. The bitch. I might tell everyone she's shagging the postman. See how she likes it.

Anyway, enough about my sexual preferences, this isn't an episode of the Jerry Springer Show now is it!?

I’m glad to hear that this is ‘apparently’ not a scam. I feel much better.

My address is Disneyland!!! Weren’t you listening?

You don't have to post it though, I am happy to come and meet you? Let me know.

Monty

The Lottery People’s Reply

Dear Winner, Montgomery This is to inform you that we are in possession of certain documents and certified cheque of $500,000.00 US DOLLARS(USD) which are to be courierd to you. You are to reconfirm your mailing address. Your cx registered number: UK/9420X2 Description of parcel to be delivered: An original certificate of weight:-------------------0.45kg Bonded draft of weight :-----------------------------0.90kg Total weight of parcel :-----------------------------1.15kg Colour of Parcel :-----------------------------------orange and white Length of days :-------------------------------------48working hours Courier Charges/administration charges 450 00.00 Insurance 600 00.00 Vat (5/SPAN> 350 00.00 TOTAL 1,400 00.00 You are to make the payment to the company's account office so as to speed up the process of delivery. You are to locate the nearest western union money transfer agent nearest to you and make the payment in the name of the Accounts Officer details below: MICHEAL JOYCE 49 lodge lane grays,essex,rm17 5rz Regards, Agent Mclaren

Monty's Reply

Hello Agent Mclaren, you’re new!

Your name makes you sound like a secret agent.

Would a job as a secret agent be something that you would like to do?

I would. Like James Bond. I could carry a gun and not get in trouble. Again...

And then there's the gadgets. Some of those gadgets he had were amazing weren't they? What gadget would you have if you could get one custom made?

I would have a set of house keys that never get lost! Only joking, that is just a comical reference to the fact that I often mislay my house keys. They're always in the last place you look aren't they!

No, I would have a more exciting gadget than that, like a coat which inflated and allowed me to float. Like Inspector Gadget had. Did you ever watch Inspector Gadget? That was a great show. Actually I think I would want jet powered shoes...

Anyway, as you can tell from my eagerness to get to know you, I am a little lonely.

I also think I might be a little bit in love with you. Can you feel it too?

You must forgive my gushing emails, I am so happy about winning all this money!

I must say that the postage and packaging is rather steep though.

£450? If I send something recorded delivery it is usually about a pound. Special delivery is a fiver. That is very pricey in comparison!

Are you sure I can't just collect it?

As I'm so rich would you be interested in having dinner? It's on me?

Get back to me asap! Love Monty

Agent Mclaren’s Reply

I got your mail just now. Exectly what are you talking about, i have send you the cost of delivery of your winning prize to you so you have to follow instruction given to you. So i hope you understand if there is anything to hesitate to mail us for guidelines thanks Regards Mr Mclaren Clary

Monty's Reply

Agent Mclaren, I thought we were getting along nicely and now you have started being mean!

Why? Is it something I said? What can I do to make you like me again?

Is it because I said I loved you? Was it too much, too soon? If you don't feel the same then just say.

I did indeed understand your previous email about payment. But I will now only send the money once you have apologised for being mean to me and let me know how you feel about me.

So, do you love me? I will send the money once you let me know.

Email back asap

Monty xx

The Lottery People’s Reply

Thank you for your mail, also we have noticed the contents there in. I think it would be a good idea if you choose to come down yourself, please note that you will have to bring with you some charges. Which will enable us carry out transaction for the release of your fund, how ever wed advice that call The Management so as to give you a lowdown on what to do for collection. Mr. Paul Thomason. Management Mr, Paul Thomason. the numbers to call are ( 44) 7031845539 or ( 44) 7031845531, ( 44) 7031844233, ( 44) 7031860940. Email Address (british-ps-online@post.com)

Monty's Reply

Hello

What happened to Agent Mclaren? I was dealing with him. Is he annoyed with me? Please tell him to get back in touch with me.

Do you know him? What is he like?

He strikes me as a very officious and hardnosed type of guy on the surface, but an old softie at heart. Am I right?

He's great. I have enjoyed chatting to him.

So, I am to come down myself? Excellent! Will I get to meet Agent Mclaren?

I am afraid that I can't follow your suggestion and phone this Paul character, as I am completely deaf. Could he email me?

Don't forget to tell Agent Mclaren to get back in touch with me. Or I’ll kill him and then myself.

Thanks, Monty xxx

Agent Mclaren's Reply

Attn: Winner Thanks for the swift responce of your mail to our office this morning. I want you to know that we don't receive money at hand this is why you have to send the money via western union money transfer to the name of our account officer which details you already have. So you have been advise to send your payment via western union money transfer to our account officer as soon as possible. after payment as been made send a scan copy of your payment slip via this email address and our account officer has comfirm it then we arrange for you to come to our officer. You try and call you have our office number Hope to hearing from you soonest. Regards Mr Mclaren Clary

Monty's Reply

Hello Agent Mclaren!

I thought I’d lost you.

How are you? What are you wearing? Whatever it is I am sure you look nice.

It's lovely to hear from you again, you're like a breath of fresh spring air breezing through my inbox.

I must express some disappointment at the fact that you don't ever answer any of my questions. But I suppose it only adds to your allure. You are quite the enigma aren't you?

I used to think you didn't want me, but now I can tell you're playing hard to get.

I like that.

But the time for games is coming to an end my love. I need to know whether or not there is a future for us. Don't play with my emotions Agent Mclaren, you don't realise what I am capable of when rejected. All is fair in love and war as they say.

Anyway, until you betray me you need not fear me, for I love you and would lay down my life for you.

I am particularly happy right now because I just got an email from a colleague of yours saying that I can come down myself with the money!

Were you lying to me when you said it wouldn't be possible. What kind of relationship can we have without trust Agent Mclaren? Can I trust you? Please say that I can.

I have been instructed to contact a Paul Thomason and arrange a meeting. Will you be there? Say you'll be there.

And then I will take you out for that meal. What a grand time we shall have!

Get back to me asap to tell me you'll have dinner with me.

Monty xxx

Agent Mclaren's Reply

Attn: Winner I got your mail. What do you mean if i love you you will give the payment, see we are not forcing you to make payment ok. If you don't make your payment there is no way we can transfer your winning prize to you hope you know that, so if you need your prize then go and make your payment to enable us transfer you winning prize to you as soon as possible. Regards Mr Mclaren Clary

Monty's Reply

Hello Agent Mclaren

I am really worried that I have upset you?

Have I?

You can tell me if I have.

Why don't you want to chat to me?

If you gave me a chance I am sure you would get to like me, perhaps even love me as I love you.

Can I meet you to collect the money? It would be better than all this impersonal Western Union Transfer business.

How about I meet you outside Green Park tube station tonight?

I know a lovely little bar where we could have a drink and I could give you the cash myself?

Please say yes.

Monty xxx

At this point Agent Mclaren stopped emailing me. So I used one of my other fake accounts to contact him…

Ian’s email

Agent Mclaren

Good afternoon.

I am a good friend of Montgomery Smythe or Monty as he is known to you.

I believe you have been in correspondence with him regarding his recent lottery win.

Monty has just turned up at my house in floods of tears caused by your callous actions.

How dare you breeze into someone's life, turn it upside down and then, as suddenly as you arrived, disappear back into the ether without a word?

You gave him the hope of love, of a future with someone. That hope has been cruelly dashed.

I urge you to please email him at once and let him know where he stands.

Do you have any feelings for him? Could you consider maybe meeting him?

Let him down gently, he is very fragile.

He is also prone to violence and is already talking about tracking you down, killing you then taking his own life unless he hears from you.

Email him as soon as possible please.

Thank you

Agent Mclaren's Reply

I got your mail I want to say thanks for been reasonable and mailing me to let me know about this. I want you to know that you friend Montgomery Andrew is one of the lucky winners for the uk national lottery and his winning will be delivered to him as soon as he effect is payment for the cost of delivery of is winning to him. Also there is no way he can come to our office if he has not make is payment because we don't receive money at hand so he has to go and make is payment via western union money transfer to the name of our account officer which details has been given to him already. Honestly i really care about him but i don't know him so if i must meet him that will be after he might have make is payment for is winning to be release to him then we can book an appoitment for meeting each other. So if you he feels he want to meet me let him go and make is payment via western union money transfer and send us a scan copy of is payment slip via this email address for our account officer to verify it as soon as this is done we can arrange to meet each other and if he is not ready to make the payment please don't even bother to reply me because it will be of no use thanks. hope you understand we shall wait you positive side of answer Regards Mr Mclaren Clary Claims Agent

Guess what, it worked! Agent Mclaren started emailing Monty again…

Agent Mclaren's Email

PLEASE DON'T BOTHER TO MAIL IF YOU DON'T AGREE WITH THE CONDITION Attn: Winner Actually i don't want to ignore you because you are already a winner so for that reason the entire staff are very happy for you. I really care about you but you see you have to go and effect you payment to our account officer via western union money transfer. As soon as you do this i shall arrange for us to meet and if you don't accept that please don't bother to mail us because it will be of no use to us. Once again congratulations Mr Mclaren Clary Claims Agent

Monty's Reply

Agent Mclaren!

I thought I'd lost you forever!

How are you? Tell me something about yourself. Anything. Please.

What have you been up to?

I have spent the last couple of days planning what to do with all that money when I get it.

I intend to buy a chimp, and name him Agent Mclaren, after you. I am also going to buy you something as a token of my affection. What would you like? You name it and it's yours my love.

I have to say though, I was quite hurt by the frankly aggressive title of your email. Writing in capital letters makes it look like you're shouting Agent Mclaren, and telling me not to bother mailing is frankly upsetting.

But I have forgiven you. What else can I do? I am helpless against your allure.

And you have finally reciprocated my feelings of love! You have no idea how happy that makes me.

I sat up all night reading and re-reading the sentence where you said "I really care about you"

I really care about you too Agent Mclaren.

This is it. We have both found love. Isn't it just the best feeling? When do you think we should get married? I don't want to rush you but it feels so right, why wait?

I will send the money at once and then we shall meet and make those wedding plans!

Until then my love I remain

Monty xxx

Agent Mclaren then went very quiet again. So I emailed him and got this bounce back:

Remote host said: 554 delivery error. This user doesn't have a yahoo.co.uk account (agentmclaren@yahoo.co.uk)

I really hope this was due to Monty's continual harassment!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Christian Movie Reviews



So, the re-posts of my old MySpace blog continue apace, and I thought I'd make this one vaguely seasonal.

If only to appease all those Church leaders that have been complaining about how Easter is 'all sweets and no Jesus' .

To be fair, sweets are better. And they actually exist, which I find gives them an edge.

Church leaders have also been complaining about the football scheduled for today.

Dr John Sentamu said that it shows disdain for religious tradition. And in the religious tradition of sounding a bit odd, he added, "...were it not for Christ's resurrection from the cross the clubs involved would not exist."

I didn't know that was the intent behind the resurrection? And if it was, why won't Jesus let the clubs He brought into existence play? Weird.

Anyway, let's get down to it. We've had Christian game reviews, now here's an old blog I did on Christian movie reviews.

As with the game reviews, films are assessed according to a 'morality rating', instead of the arguably better system of judging whether they are actually any good.

I knew The Simpsons Movie was going to get a bad morality rating when the review started off like this: "In case anyone needs to know, I am an unabashed fan of The Simpsons television program. I own the first nine seasons on DVD. I periodically recite lines from favorite episodes. At one point I owned not one but two Homer Simpson talking alarm clocks..."

It sounded like they were protesting far too much. And they were. It got an 'offensive' rating.

At times they seemed to go out of their way to be offended, with Hostel II somehow getting a review.

The reviewer concluded thus: "I can't even think of why I went to see it, other than that I am an idiot."

Yeah, it was never going to appeal was it? At least they realised.

Alvin and the Chipmunks got pulled up for its slapstick violence: "I listed the movie as having mild violence, because of some of the action scenes: for example, in anger, instruments are thrown outside and a gallon jar is dropped on Dave's head from a cabinet, knocking him out…"

It's stuff like that which is ruining the moral fibre of this world. I blame Wile E Koyote, he started it all with that anvil nonsense.

Mr Bean got taken a tad too seriously: "There are also plenty of moments where Bean does the wrong thing to others. He drops his coffee on a man's laptop and then lets someone else take the blame. In a restaurant, Bean drops raw oysters in a woman's purse and then runs out of the restaurant…This movie is a perfect example as to how we should not live our lives. Bean is totally oblivious to anyone but himself. He has one destination and getting there is all that matters. We need to try to live our lives watching out for others. Being aware of others in our lives and choosing to do the right thing is far more important than our plans or destination. Bean is unaware of what is going on around him but this doesn't prevent him from bad things. His actions were responsible for most of his mishaps."

Can I take it then that a good film constitutes footage of someone going about their business for 90 minutes without incident. Or perhaps with a rare mishap for which they immediately apologise? I'm no fan of Mr Bean but that sounds even less fun.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry got put in a rather unfair position: "What happens when one compares this movie to the Bible?"

Answer - a pointless exercise.

And finally Pirates of the Caribbean is bad for reasons I would never have been able to predict, so credit to them there: "Most Christians will stay away because of the pirate myth images…some will not tolerate the mystic sea goddess Calypso"

Who knew that Christians would be offended by myths? I thought they liked myths? Ah, just the one about God and Jesus then.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Some more Spamming the Spammers...



Another conversation with a spammer. More to follow...

Spam Email

FROM: MR. KOFFOUR KOTEY. THE MANAGER INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL BANK GHANA FIRST LIGHT BRANCH ACCRA, GHANA. ATTN: I GOT YOUR CONTACT DURING MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE, HONEST AND A TRUST WORTH PERSON TO ENTRUST THIS HUGE TRANSFER PROJECT WITH. MY NAME IS MR. KOFFOUR KOTEY. I AM THE MANAGER OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL BANK GHANA, FIRST LIGHT BRANCH. I AM A GHANAIAN MARRIED WITH TWO KIDS. I AM WRITING TO SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN THE TRANSFER OF US$8,500.000.00 THIS FUND IS THE EXCESS OF WHAT MY BRANCH IN WHICH I AM THE MANAGER MADE AS PROFIT DURING THE LAST YEAR. I HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED AN APPROVED END OF THE YEAR REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2005 TO MY HEAD OFFICE HERE IN ACCRA AND THEY WILL NEVER KNOW OF THIS EXCESS. I HAVE SINCE THEN, PLACED THIS AMOUNT OF US$8,500.000.00 ON A SUSPENCE ACCOUNT WITHOUT A BENEFICIARY. AS AN OFFICER OF THE BANK, I CANNOT BE DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THIS MONEY THUS I AM IMPELLED TO REQUES T FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO RECEIVE THIS MONEY INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. I INTEND TO PART 30F THIS FUND TO YOU WHILE 70HALL BE FOR ME. I DO NEED TO STRESS THAT THERE ARE PRACTICALLY NO RISK INVOLVED IN THIS. IT'S GOING TO BE A BANK-TO-BANK TRANSFER. ALL I NEED FROM YOU IS TO STAND AS THE ORIGINAL DEPOSITOR OF THIS FUND. IF YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER, I WILL APPRECIATE YOUR TIMELY RESPONSE. PLEASE RESPONSE TO THIS ALTERNATIVE E-MAIL ADDRESS WITH REGARDS. MR KOFFOUR KOTEY. N:B :- PLEASE KINDLY FORWARD ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO MY ALTERNATIVE EMAIL ADDRESS FOR UNWARD COMMUNICATION AND SECURITY REASONS. THANKS FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION AND UNDERSTANDING. REGARDS. MR. KOFFOUR KOTEY

Monty's Reply

Hello

You came to the right man, I am indeed honest and trustworthy.

So, you have too much money eh? I wish that was my problem! Between my season ticket for the train to work, mortgage, hookers and bills I'm lucky if I can afford to eat at the end of each month.

What do I have to do to help you unload all this spare money?

Nothing illegal I hope.

I had a friend who went to prison and it is no picnic let me tell you. He came out a changed man.

I'm far too pretty for prison. And I would miss being able to just pop out and do whatsoever I pleased. Not that I gallivant about willy-nilly, I'm quite a homely type, but you know what I mean.

OK Koffour my old chum, I look forward to chatting with you.

Love Monty

Koffour's Reply

Thank you for your timely response. As I did explain in my very first message, I stashed this fund out of the profit made in this branch of the International Commercial Bank Accra Ghana where I head. I have already submitted an approved Financial report for the year 2005 to my Head office and the entire Bank will never know of this excess. The transfer is a bank-to bank and should be made to your chosen foreign account from my head office here in Accra. The modalities I have mapped out to actualize the transfer of the fund involves the following steps: Step1: I will program your full names and address on the entire database of the International Commercial Bank as the depositor and the beneficiary of the fund. Step2: I shall issue a backdated deposit slip of the fund to your name. Step3: I shall provide you with a draft of an application for transfer that you are going to forward to my Head office since all International transfers are carried out from there. With the above steps, my head office will immediately carry out the transfer of the fund to your chosen bank account. Such transfers from my Head Office takes not more than 72hrs. I would like to stress that this transaction would cause no grief to either of us. The scenario involved here is similar to that of a person who banks with a particular bank and at a point in time, wishes to close his account or transfer the fund to another bank of his choice. With your names duly programmed on the Database of the bank, you are practically a customer of our bank. In your response, please include the following as I would need them in all the steps as mentioned above.:- 1, your full names, 2, your complete physical address and 3, your direct telephone and fax numbers. Your earliest response would be appreciated. Sincerely, Mr Koffour Kotey

Monty's Reply

Hi Koffour Koty!

Can I call you KoKo? I will anyway.

How have you been?

I have been really well.

I have been taking these evening classes in violin making. So far I have made a small viola. I am so proud of it. I fashioned it out of oak and varnished it so it looks shiny. It's totally unplayable but a real beauty.

Anyway, enough about violin making.

You wanted my contact details.

Please note that I am currently residing in Disneyland's California resort (it's a long story) if you call up and ask for me you will be put through:

Monty Smythe 1313 Harbor Blvd Anaheim CA 92802-2398 (714) 533-6840

Chat to you soon hunny

Lots of love and kisses

Monty xx

Koffour's Reply

Hello Monty, Thanks for your prompt response Well I am glad to tell you that I will programme your name in the data base of my bank with the information you just sent me. So by next week Monday or Tuesday I will issue you the backdated deposit slip and also send you a draft of application format which you will complete with your personal information, transtype it in your letterheaded paper and fax it to my head office for the immediate closure of the escroll call account and transfer of the fund to your designated bank account,But before that I will like you to send me a copy of your international passport or national identity for me to put a face to whom I am about enthrusting my life time opportunity with. Meanwhille, get back to me immediately with a call today on the receipt of this mail for oral discussion. Best Regards and have a nice weekend. Mr Koffour 00233 2421 88108

Monty's Reply

Hi Koko

How are you today? I am tired out! I spent all of yesterday at sea. Check it out.



Anyway, I am glad to see our business transaction is going along nicely.

I have several others on the go at the moment.

It's amazing how many people in Africa have heard of me and want to do business with me! I must have made quite a name for myself as a sharp business mind. Which is odd because my mum used to say, "you're so effing useless I'm surprised you can even tie your shoes" and then she would hit me with a broom handle. Which leads me to my next point.

I would love to call you and have an 'oral discussion' but I am completely deaf. My deafness came about when my mother hit me around the head when I was younger.

Email me back soon

Stay gorgeous

Monty Xxx

Koffour's Reply

Monty, How are you today? I trust you are doing good. Matter of fact, I looked forward towards receiving your call over the weekend but to no avail and here you are now telling me that you are deaf. How come now? Below was your statement in the last paragraph of you previous mail to me where you send me your contacts to do the programming work ''Please note that I am currently residing in Disneyland's California resort (it's a long story) if you call up and ask for me you will be put through '' unquote. You actually told me that and how come you suddenly become deaf within two days.? Please I will like you to put me through with your real self because I have already started the programming which will be through by wednesday. You will have to be communicating my head office through email, faxes and phones call while I will by the side to guide you on what and what to do. So how and what do you do if they call you on phone. This bussines is my life and need not to be toyed with, tell me the way forward Monty. Koffour Kotey

Monty's Reply

Hi Koko

I'm not too bad thanks.

Still a bit tired from my naval expedition yesterday.

I can't believe I forgot to tell you I was deaf before!

You haven't caught me in a lie though my dear Koko. If you had called me at Disneyland you would have been put through to me. My hotel room had a textphone for the deaf:

http://www.schooltrain.info/deafness/technology_deaf/telephones.htm

I hope this clears up the confusion and assures you I am not 'toying' with you.

Love and kisses

Monty x

Koffour's Reply

Hello, What is you full names? How old are you? What is your occupation? What is your marital status? Send me the copy of the front and back page of your international passport or any national identity or driving licence for my records. Get back to me with the requested information for the completion of the database programming in your name as the original depositor of the fund. Have a nice day Koffour Kotey

Monty's Reply

Hello Koko

It's lovely to hear from you again.

How are you today? You've gone all businesslike! I love it.

I have just eaten a whole tube of pringles in one sitting. I feel a bit sick.

Below is the information you wanted. I feel like I'm on Blind Date. You know, "what's your name, where do you come from" and all that!

Name: Montgomery Smythe.

Age: 39

Occupation: I am a contract killer and part time sailor.

Marital status: Married but my divorce is pending. She is shacked up with some wanker called Matt. She met him at Homebase whilst buying a water feature for our garden. I can't bear to look at water features anymore.

Now, you say you want a copy of my ID. I must say Koko that as much as I trust you (a lot) I have been advised by my friend Mike that this is not advisable.

If you really think it's necessary then I will see what I can do, but Mike says it could be a scam. It's not a scam is it?

Monty xxx

Koffour's Reply

Hello, Thank you very much for your mail. But what did your friend Mike meant by scam? Please I will advice you to remove friends out of this.only you and I knew about this fund and I will not allow a situation whereby you go exposing this business to anyone because of the security of this deal ok.keep it away from friends for now until the fund is transferred to your account then you prove your Mike wrong. I don`t need your passport for any selfish reason but I only need to put a face to whom I am enthrusting my once in a lifetime opportunity in his name. You can send me a copy of your driving licence or national security identity. Business is all about trust and confidentiality. This is about eight million dollars we are talking about my friend not eigth thousand dollars. I will send you the backdated deposit voucher issued in your name as depositor of this fund by tommorow with a draft of application format which you will fill in with your banking co ordinates and send to my head head office by friday for the immediate tranfer of the fund to your nominated bank account. Monty,I will once again advice you to keep friends out of this for security purpose until fund is tranfer to you for our disbursement. You can then call on them for merriments. Have a wonderful day and try to send me some of the pringles you are consuming alone at a sitting. Mr Koffour Kotey

Monty's Reply

Hi Koko

Of course I'll send you some pringles! What flavour would you like?

I assure you I did not break your confidence.

My friend Mike walked in when I was typing you an email and he read over my shoulder. He is a sneaky bugger. Don't worry though, I killed him. He won't be bothering anyone ever again.

Here's my passport:



I look forward to concluding our business.

Monty x

Koffour's Reply

Hello, You are pranking. How come your passport is like that? Koffour

Monty's Reply

Hello Koko

That is a very hurtful accusation.

I am a good man and certainly not a cheeky prankster as your email infers.

You asked for a copy of my passport and there you have it.

It is a novelty passport I grant you, but it is my passport nonetheless.

I am not allowed out of the country so I have no need for a proper one.

Is this going to cause a problem?

The only other ID I have is my buss pass:



Does this cause a problem?

Lots of love

Monty Xxx

Koffour's Reply

Hello I can't trust you. Bye

Monty's Reply

Koko

I am deeply sad that you feel you cannot trust me. I can't understand why.

Just because I have a fake Star Trek themed passport and only a buss pass as ID. It's unfair.

I loved you.

I still love you.

I will always love you.

I killed my friend Mike to protect you.

The police want to speak to you about that actually.

Apparently your failure to report me to the authorities when I first confessed to the murder makes you an accomplice.

If I were you I would lay low for a while.

Yours, forever

Monty xxx