Gerhard Schroeder imprisoned by Icelandic police

In an international fit of pique by the Icelandic government - or a "Taantraum Crusswerlde" - a crack SWAT team from the elite echelons of Iceland's police force have seized former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder at his Hanover home, transporting him from the continent across the Atlantic Ocean. His kidnapping - taking place on a small ship built from biodegradable materials so that it is undetectable to radar and sonar - will result in his remaining in a Reykjavik prison for unspecified crimes for the rest of his natural life.

The international incident is seen as a reaction by the Icelandic government to their own former prime minister Geir Haarde failing to receive a custodial sentence for mismanagement of the economy during the world recession.

Gerhard Schroder's name sounded similar enough to Geir Haarde's that it upset members of the Icelandic Althing, or parliament - except he has a Schroder on the end of his Gerhard. Special legislation - and a quick scan of the constitution - permitted Justice Herda Gerdastottirdottir to overlook the surname entirely and sanction the kidnapping.

Schroder was chancellor of Germany until 2005.

A special sitting of the European Parliament has been scheduled for two months' time to request his release, by which time it is hoped that Schroder will have arrived in the Icelandic capital.

In other news, while other countries accept the assessments of the international credit ratings agencies, Iceland simply handed back a recent report that the agency Abercromby and Stitch had compiled on the small northwestern Atlantic country. Each page of the report had clearly been used in a bathroom setting. Iceland has also reduced the status of the credit ratings agency.

Last week, the Althing parliament de-evolved Abercromby and Stitch to a triple EEE, EEE³ (triple E-Z-E, 3 Es to the power of three E, times three, rendered extraordinarily, Oxo cubed and that's just gravy) junk-bond status and expelled the credit ratings agency from the country. Sets of the number 3 are commonly employed in Icelandic sorcery, appearing in the lists and incantations from their known spell books.

Iceland is a gravity defying island, hewn many millennia ago by the Immortal Elves who still live there, made from the basic elements available to them at the time. It is composed of moonrock, fire and ice, in near perfect balance, suspended in the clouds where there is one single day that lasts forever and ever.

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Lost memory card may have been cooked and eaten by owner, admits owner ruefully

When Aidan O'Farrell took his phone in to the local shop for repair, he removed the memory card before handing it over. The mobile device had been causing trouble, as it kept crashing due to what Aidan believed was loose external housing. Taking the memory card home in his wallet, he is convinced that he put the piece of storage technology in what he thought was a "safe place." On receiving the phone from the repair shop a week later, he went searching for the tiny storage chip again, but failed to locate it. Aidan now believes that he may have accidentally cooked and eaten the memory card, along with a large plate of Koka noodles.

One of the potential "safe places" in which O'Farrell could have left the memory card is a cooking pot in which he often boils the noodles. He thinks that he removed the pot from his kitchen cabinet and - believing it entirely empty - threw the noodles into the pot and began to boil them in hot water, mixing the tiny chip around in the food before adding a bowl of frozen vegetables which he had preheated in his microwave oven, and the sachet of flavouring that comes with the convenient foodstuff.

As O'Farrell chowed down on his standard late evening meal, he didn't merely eat a tiny piece of plastic and metal. He ate 18 music albums by his favourite artists and two by bands he'd gone off a bit, as well as hundreds of other songs he enjoyed - depending on his mood - along with eleven ten second videos, a hilarious text message conversation between himself and his closest personal female friend (whom he describes as "very bubbly"), countless photographs from recent parties, and a specialist's appointment to ascertain whether or not the nerve twinge just below his navel is a hernia. Having missed the appointment, O'Farrell has decided that he'll hold off to see if the twinge gets any worse. But now, he may never learn whether his intestines have ruptured - if even just a little. And if they have indeed ruptured, is there now a little memory card peeping out of the stomach wall?

The Central Statistics Office has revealed that every year as many as eighty memory cards are inadvertently added to stews, stir fries, soups or other dishes by individuals in the 18 to 35 year old demographic. However, Dr. Allison Seevers of the CSO admits that the figure is somewhat skewed due to one clumsy telecommunications employee.

"We know of one young woman who works in a Vodafone outlet in County Clare. She likes her salads which she eats behind the counter, she's a bit disorganised and she is surrounded by the technology. As a result, one of those memory cards goes through her at least every few weeks." Dr. Seevers allows herself a chuckle before she adds: "All you can eat data."
Photo by Irene Chaney

The statistics are cold comfort for 41 year old Charlie Travers, who brought "a tobacco pouch, a packet of skins [slang term for cigarette papers] and a quarter [ounce of hashish - a concoction which mainly comprises antidepressants, boot polish and processed marijuana or cannabis resin]" to a weekend party in a Connemara cottage two years ago. The tobacco pouch also contained the episode finale of the ultimate season of the hit American television series Lost. Charlie believes that the double episode was rolled into one of the many joints that were enjoyed in the rented accommodations over the course of the weekend. Having followed the television series religiously, Charlie has since resigned himself to the fact that he could watch the episode finale if he really wanted, any time he liked. He's heard it wasn't that good anyway. He says he'd prefer to be known as that "guy who's seen all of the series, except for the very last ep." But for how long can Charlie dine out on such stories?

Adorable Kitten at Centre of Spider Attack Mystery Competition

You wouldn't know it to look at Little Suki, but the adorable kitten of the Carter household is at the centre of a minor mystery concerning the family's not so cute pet Chilean spider.
Photo by Edri Ana

Everybody loves Suki. Family members often recount to friends how she sometimes jumps up to snatch the end of a piece of string with her cute front paws, before failure prompts her to fall onto her cute little hind quarters, resulting in everyone's laughter.
Photo by Edri Ana

But only 17-year-old Kenny Carter is a fan of four month old Scylla, the spider he picked up at the pet store when Suki was bought for sister Melissa, 11. Suki tends to instinctively avoid Scylla when the Chilean spider is let out of her cage in Kenny's bedroom. However, a week after moulting, Scylla went missing for two hours. When she was finally found in a crawl space under the stairs, she had lost one of her eight legs and she didn't want to be handled by Kenny.

The end of what could have been the missing limb was found in Suki's food bowl. Is the adorable kitten a spider-attacking leg amputator? Or is the answer to this family riddle more innocuous than that?

All that's known is that parents Derek and Charlene Carter believe that the two pets have caused more trouble than anticipated. Charlene has borne the brunt of the disagreements, because both Kenny and Melissa come to her whenever there is any strife. Derek is not as even-tempered and everyone agrees that he is sometimes unreasonable with the children. Derek blames this on having to put up with his wife.

At some time on March 30, Scylla's forelimb was removed clean from her body. A day later, what could have been the tip of the spider leg turned up in Little Suki's food bowl. Young Melissa is citing the "piece of onion" defence when brother Kenny accuses Suki of attacking Scylla.

In May of 2014, husband and father of two Derek was accused of clipping his toenails in the kitchen and of not disposing of one of them correctly. He denied clipping his toenails in the kitchen, but he was confronted by Charlene with what appeared to be damning evidence - a large toenail clipping on the kitchen floor.

Derek was told by his wife that she was sick to the eye teeth of his lies while pointing at the offending item, and she didn't want an argument. She told him to pick the bloody thing up you disgusting pig and just bin it.

Derek didn't want an argument either, so he complied with his wife's wish - only to discover that "it wasn't a cuticle at all - it was a piece of onion that the foolish bint had been cutting up for the curry!"

"It's not a cuticle! It's the end of your bloody nail plate. The cuticle is the bit of skin around the nail! The end of the nail is part of the nail plate. Ah, you can't get anything right," added Charlene.

"That's not the issue! It was a bit of your onion! Not my nail! It had nothing to do with my nails! You dropped it on the floor chopping your onions and then you told me to pick up my toenail clipping, when it wasn't my toenail clipping! The onion that you dropped wasn't a bit of my nail plate or my cuticle or anything else got to do with anything that's related to my toes!"

Young Melissa harks back to the onion incident - still a sore point between her father and mother - and claims that what looks like the tip of a spider leg could in fact be anything. Meanwhile, the leg tip - or whatever it is - has now been placed in a jar alongside the spider's moulted exoskeleton.

Father Derek shows off Scylla. How many legs does this spider have, and can you explain what happened and solve the riddle?
For the moment, Little Suki still gets doted over by the entire family, while Kenny - and occasionally Derek - look after the traumatised arachnid with the missing limb. The kitty's suspected encounter with the spider could have been far worse: Luckily, however, Scylla still has seven legs on which to get around. But is Suki responsible for a vicious attack?
Photo by Edri Ana

The Carters are running a competition on the family website to find out. For a recession-busting twenty euro entry fee paid via PayPal, contest entrants can put forward their theory about what they think happened to Scylla's eighth leg - in 300 words or less - before the end of April. The Carters say that the best answer "doesn't have to be right, it just has to be the most creative."

The first place winner will be presented with a small piece of toenail shaped onion and the tip of what might just be a spider leg on May 20th in a Tupperware lunchbox beautifully decorated by glitter-mad Melissa. The Carters are welcoming entries from all around the world. And fortunately, those who can't attend the awards ceremony and dinner in Function Room 2 at McNeill Court Hotel in Kinsale on Ireland's beautiful southern coast on the big night can have the prize shipped to them - once they pay the costs of postage. So get your deerstalker hat on and solve the mystery today!

More Corrie stars come clean about love trysts

Corrie's Ken Barlow - William Roache - and his girlfriend have today revealed that William isn't allowed to return to his womanising ways.

But now a number of actors who want to return to the Cobbles are clambering over themselves to insist that they too have had very exciting love lives.

Denise Welch is one such Loose Woman who is rumoured to want a return to ITV's soap as the character that launched her success - Natalie Barnes (Horrocks).

The latest winner of Celebrity Big Brother, Denise wants to make the most of her recent win and newly reacquired fame thanks to the massively successful Channel Five show.

She had altercations with a number of fellow Slebs in the BB house - but she stayed true to herself in her insistence that she be allowed to go around the dwelling "dropping the c-bomb" or, in layman’s terms, flashing her twat. Some of the other contestants - renowned for their quick wit - burst out laughing when she exposed herself. Others weren’t so amused. During a night of heavy drinking in the house, stunning Irish model Georgia Salpa broke a leg as she tripped over a table attempting to flee Denise, and a moment later fell into a coma when she struck her head off a studio spotlight.

No nonsense Denise stuck to her guns and didn't flinch throughout the entire incident, standing with hands on hips, looking sophisticated with her thong riding up her calves as a concerned Natalie Cassidy and Michael Madsen frantically screamed into cameras for a doctor while Frankie Cocozza examined the Greek Irish stunner.

Doctors have since informed the press that while beautiful Georgia continues to lie unconscious in hospital, the standard treatment – medication to reduce swelling of the brain – has never been required "and she'll come around when she's ready".
Comatose Greek Irish stunner Salpa

When friends are asked if the banana-mad Denise makes any diva-esque demands given her incredible success treading the boards and expressing contentious opinions in the Loose Women studio, their response is always: "She is very, very easy [to work with]."

One of the most recognisable entertainers in the UK - with a face everyone knows since the mid-80s, Welch (52) has recently revealed romantic links to such famous showbiz luminaries as George Clooney, Robert DeNiro, Kiefer Sutherland, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlie Sheen, Mr Sheen (the furniture polish), Martin Sheen, Kiefer’s father Donald, Sonny Bono, Bono, Bono’s son, Sonny Bono’s son, an economy-sized container of Domestos, Mr Craig David, Marti Pellow, Marty Feldman, Lightning (the best known of the Clydesdales in the seasonal and ever-popular Budweiser commercials), PETA, Peter Cetera, et cetera.

But let’s not forget she’s been spotted out with Blair Underwood, Bouncer from Neighbours, Kenny Chesney, and her on again-off again relationships with Chesney Hawkes, Keith Chegwin, the town of Chester, the city of Leicester, the Greater London Sex Offenders’ Register, Uncle Fester (both the original Jackie Coogan, and Christopher Lloyd, who reprised the role), Steve Coogan, Lloyd Bridges, Jeff Bridges, Bo Derrick, Beau Bridges, the cast and crew of The Bridges of Madison County, the Movement for Democratic Change, Ricky Schroeder, a newborn tomcat, TomKat, Ashley Judd, Wynona Judd, Winona Ryder, Judd Apatow, a snare drum, a cymbal, the artist formerly known as Symbol, the artist formerly known as Simba in Broadway’s The Lion King (all five professional productions), Ken Livingstone (by whom she has a child’s arm), the executive producers of hit ABC series Lost, Boris Johnson, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) and other Dawson’s Creek alumni, and everyone associated with the entire Law and Order franchise, particularly creator Dick Wolf, for whom Welch is said to have flown to New York for an audition - and happily performed his own name on him, except with the words reversed. Returning to the UK, she now claims that when she told friends she had "got the part", she wasn't lying.

It would be a sin of omission not to mention Noel Gallagher, Noel Fielding, Helen Fielding, Helen Lederer, Roger Federer, Russell Brand, Alan Dale, Courtney Cox, and - three years later - Courtney Cox-Arquette and Timothy Spall.

Welch (47) also had a dalliance in the dark with hippy dippy philosopher Timothy Leary in Hollywood, after a hotel room mixup with then husband, Tim Healy - to whom she has also been romantically linked.

The attention seeking actress (51) has also been associated with Cameron Diaz, Kirk Cameron, David Cameron, James Cameron, and along with James, could possibly have enjoyed some pleasure on a recent expedition with the petrified corpse of Renaissance Age explorer, Bartholomew Diaz.

But let’s not leave out onset romances with Melissa Joan Hart, Clarissa Dickson Wright, the exhaust pipe and the associated intercooled engine of a Bentley Turbo R Sportscar, Billie Piper (who happened to be appearing on the same episode of Top Gear), copper piping, and those rollicks with three bananas at the same time as David Hasselhoff, Peter Sissons, Richard Simmons, and Gene Simmons, gamely followed by Mick Jagger, Rick Parfitt, Sir Elton John, seven bananas at the same time, Rue McClanahan, the Rat Pack, a flapjack, a novelty Ikea flatpack torture rack, the Brat Pack (excluding Andrew McCarthy), the front tyre of a Vespa owned by a notorious Iranian-born Shia insurgent now in Baghdad, Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, a fox, Vivica A Fox and Jada Pinkett Smith (together), Fragma featuring Maria Rubia, Andrew McCarthy, seven Green Party MEPs in a Brussels hotel, Wayne Rooney, two more Greens who had heard that she was in the hotel, Silvio Berlusconi, Steve Buscemi, Arthur Miller, Steve Miller, Sienna Miller, Savannah Miller and Savannah Georgia (pop. 320,013).

And who could fail to remember those eleven bananas at once, Brad Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone on vibratone, the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake, Ed’s balls, Kacey Ainsworth, Ainsley Harriot, Harriet Harman, Mark Harmon, Thuggs-N-Harmony, Hank Marvin, Lee Marvin, Bill Clinton, Bone, and of course those will-they, won’t-they affairs with Chelsea Clinton, Paris Hilton, most of the starting eleven from the Chelsea squad just before their 2008 clash against Fenerbahce, Marcus Brigstocke, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, that rumoured 1980s fling in the bed of Jon Bon Jovi with more than a little assistance from his lovely wife and a mulleted and sun-freckled Gordon Strachan on his way home from Mexico, Victoria Wood, and a then unknown Patrick Stewart, and back to the more recent past with two of the players who had remained on the subs’ bench, and Young, and Patrick Stewart.

A notorious 2005 bust-up was documented with, among others, Owen Wilson, the Baldwin brothers, the Chuckle Brothers, the Chemical Brothers, Tina Yothers, Luke Wilson (whom she mistook for one of the Arquettes), Wilson Pickett, Wilson Philips, Tim Pigott-Smith, Hank Azaria, Belinda Carlisle, Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus, Billie Ray Martin, the surviving members of the Keystone Cops, Chris Rock, Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Susannah Hoffs and Professor Richard Dawkins.

At a World Economics Seminar in 2004, she made advances towards both former Tory cabinet minister Michael Heseltine and Archbishop Rowan Williams. She certainly raised eyebrows, a condition now said to be permanent for both men.

She also claims to have had non-exclusive relationships with Jack Nicholson, Phil Mickelson, General Sir Mike Jackson, Michael Jackson, a hairless cat mistaken for Michael Jackson, Darius Danesh, the woodwind section of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Bob Geldof, Belouis Some, Rudolf Giuliani, a reindeer, a reined ear of Morten Harket (using straps from the animal’s harness), arraigned dissident Chinese pamphleteer Hung Lo, Mya, Maya, Meja, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, a seal, Seal, Ray Mears, Maya Rudolph, Maya Angelou, Britney Spears, Stephen Frears, the late Stephen Gateley, Stephen Fry, a huge lorry, Bill Gates, Bill Bailey, the top left-hand corner and the adjustable upper rack of a Super Capacity Whirlpool Dishwasher, her own rack, Gareth Gates, Lesley Garret, Leslie Nielsen, Brigitte Nielsen, Lindsay Lohan, Leonard Cohen, Charlton Heston, Seth Rogen, Charles Grodin, Joel and Ethan Coen, Ethan Coen on his own, Billy Joel, Ashley Cole, Cheryl Tweedy-Cole, Sheryl Crowe, Fisher Stevens, the late Kim Jong-Il, Frances McDormand, and - before the launch of her busy career - a banana.

Unusually for an attractive female celebrity, Denise (58) has also been spotted out and about in the company of Britain's Got Talent and Little Britain star Mr David Walliams.

Amazing Disguises from the World of Nature

Disguises can be found everywhere in nature. They help creatures to cleverly camouflage themselves against their many predators. One famous example is the stick insect, whose disguise is so clever it’s been known to fool even its predators.

But disguises aren’t exclusive to the insect kingdom. In the sea, large pieces of igneous rock with high mineral content frequently masquerade as delicious wild salmon.
A piece of rock

Meanwhile, the Boom Chiki Diggetty tribe from Central Africa has been known - when attempting to evade ethnic cleansing by rival factions - to take on the guise of a once-profitable Japanese consortium fallen on hard times by the low costs of China’s burgeoning economy.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Chang

The African bird called the Southern Masked Weaver is known as the Northern Slightly Disguised Weaver if located north of the equator. This is because its cousin, which is the actual Northern Masked Weaver, has what appears to be a large leather covering akin to a gimp mask on its head, while the Southern Masked Weaver just looks a little bit like Zorro.
Original photo by Edri Ana

Any actual Northern Masked Weavers located south of the equator are known to be very succulent among members of the Japanese community living in a territory once occupied by the now missing Boom Chiki Diggetty tribe, although they are never eaten north of the equator as they are something of an acquired taste.

Air and Sea Rescue Teams still drinking heavily

Two years ago the TV3 exposé "Errant Sea Rescue" revealed how Irish Air and Sea Rescue teams are so terrified of launching into stormy weather that they insist on drinking heavily before answering any distress calls. Today, mission commanders - known in Ireland as "sub-corporals" - admit that the problem is worse than ever.

"Institutionalised drinking is very difficult to tickle," one female lifeboat paramedic admitted, before bursting into laughter. "Did you hear me? Did you hear what I said there? Feckin'... LOCKED!" The woman subsequently lost her balance and fell over the wall on which she had been sitting, remaining reclined on its other side, shaking with laughter, before finally being summoned by colleagues for a rescue mission.

The problem has become so acute that rescue teams often insist on those they save also getting drunk before they are rescued, so that they are less likely to notice the drunkenness of their rescuers.

"We were all three sheets to the wind a few months back when we went out to rescue six fishermen off a sinking trawler in a Force 5. Our pilot insisted on a few bottles of Scotch being winched down. The fishermen had to knock the Scotch back before he'd even consider lifting them up to the helicopter," admitted a crewman.

The drinking incident only came to public light because one of the fishermen was a teetotaler. He resented having to drink a half bottle of the whisky, although he admitted it took the edge off his nerves while he was struggling in the waves.
A second incident recently launched a second public inquiry into the heavy drinking that still goes on in the Air and Sea Rescue Service. A liver transplant patient was recently brought from an island off the Donegal coast to Dublin for an operation. A lifelong alcoholic, the man had been forced to give up drinking twelve months earlier with a deterioration in his condition. When the air ambulance showed up to transfer him to hospital, he was offered swigs of vodka and bottles of stout by the already inebriated crew, even before they had stretchered him into the helicopter. The man declined the pick-me-ups, but he insisted that his wife accompany them in case he was tempted on what was expected to be a forty minute flight.
When the helicopter finally reached the Dublin hospital some three hours later, the man was taken straight into theatre, while his wife was treated for alcohol poisoning. The public inquiry is likely to highlight the need to balance the hard drinking lifestyles of the Air and Sea Rescue teams with their ability to act responsibly.

Titanic Memorial Cover-Up Exposed

In what is regarded as the conspiracy to end all conspiracies, a group of five UK-based Muslims scheduled to set sail tomorrow for the United States on a cruise liner from Southampton to New York will be forced to drown when the ship is deliberately struck by a replica iceberg.
Some of the players - and the victims - in the controversy

In today's European Court of Human Rights ruling at Strasbourg, Babi Koko, Duck-go Gogo Go Duck Go, Bubbubbuh Bubbubbuh, GuhGuhGuh GuhGuhGuh and Pffff, Pffff, Pffff Puh-uh-Buh POB al bin Mohehehmet j-Mohammad, have all been deemed fit for extradition to the United States. A sixth Muslim, Bar-Bar-Bar Bar-Bar-Bra-Anne, is regarded as mentally unfit and will not be joining the party. Tragically, a psychiatric assessment undertaken by the UK courts has suggested that he has become so deluded - due to institutionalisation - as to actually believe in God, having been caught praying on at least five separate occasions in one day.

The five Muslims - some of whom have already been convicted in Brishish courts for inciting hatred - were to be extradited to the US, where they faced further charges and at least a certain amount of Qu-ran rippage by Colorado prison guards who wanted to tear a few holy books in front of the men. However, it has now been decided instead to drown the Muslims.


The new operation is so covert that the diversionary plans to welcome the men onto American soil are still ongoing at some expense. The senior warden at the prison where the men were to be incarcerated, Officer Jerome Kerfuffle, requested that five mature African male elephants be overwatered for the last month at Denver Zoo in preparation for the arrival of the Muslims. Prison staff are eager to make a splash of their own on international controversies, with "a completely new take on a thing I saw on the news," claims Kerfuffle. The elephants are scheduled to be awaiting the British guests at the penitentiary after transport from the zoo in large horseboxes with very poor suspension.

In the UK - where the term "Brishish" is pronounced "British" - the authorities have expressed delight at the European ruling. The five men are soon to set off on the doomed cruise liner, where they will be set to work shovelling coal in the engine room. The engine room will then be locked, unbeknownst to the men, and the ship itself abandoned by all other hands some time before it strikes the completely artificial iceberg in a deadly practical joke.

To create the manmade piece of ice, President Obama has secretly approved a light kick from a scientist working at a research station in Greenland.

The kick, believed to employ the heel of the climatologist's boot, will result in the removal of a vast chunk of ice from the Greenland coastline.

The completely manmade chunk of ice - for all intents and purposes looking like a natural phenomenon - will be wished through some good old-fashioned Christian prayer by the crew of a US Navy nuclear submarine into trans-Atlantic shipping lanes, where it will remain until the cruise liner strikes it, coincidentally at the site of the wreck of RMS Titanic - just in time for the centenary of the original sinking.

Operation Big Floater will be released tomorrow.

Mullens feels Squawky Jerry is unfairly overrated at Grand National

Trainer and former jockey Wee Little Mickey Mullens fears Larry The Chancer Harte-Murphy’s Grand National talking horse Squawky Jerry Goldberg has been mistreated by the handicapper despite bookmakers pushing him to favourite for the Aintree showpiece.
Photos courtesy of Marilyn Peddle

The major betting shops have the Northern Rock Failed Takeover Bidders’ Chase runner-up as their new 10-1 favourite even after senior handicapper James Barrington-Smythe nee Smythe cruelly removed a horseshoe.

Other betting shops make the four-year-old their 14-1 market leader at the 2012 Grand National following the release of weights at a lunch in the toilets at the Ivy in London, where Squawky Jerry Goldberg is much loved due to his amazing speaking ability, but Mullens expressed reservations about the horse’s lack of experience.

After finishing fourth over the hurdle-bushes at Ascot last October, the four-year-old has only raced twice this year, Mullens pointed out, in one race getting a painless victory over the fence-hedges at Leopardstown but in the next stopping short of the seventh wall-briar at the Royal Derby.

At a press conference in a local public house after the Derby, the horse was asked about issues surrounding a recent depression.

“Why the long face?” one of the reporters bluntly put it to him, as the cameras flashed.

Squawky Jerry Goldberg shrugged and blinked before giving his reply after a timely pause punctuated by the slurping noises made as he sucked the dregs of his pint from a straw.

“I’m a horse,” he replied sadly, in his parrot-like tones atypical for a horse. “The scientists shouldn’t have played God with me. I’d prefer to be a creature of instinct. Instead, I am, quite literally, a rational animal.”

Squawky Jerry Goldberg was discovered as a foal in a field of thistles in Ayrshire by a group of scientists led by Polish-Jewish immigrant Professor Jeremiah Goldberg. The biologist headed up experiments in the early noughties to genetically alter the horse’s brain chemistry and surgically treat his vocal cords. The series of operations, known as “Project Ed” were so successful that they ultimately enabled Squawky Jerry Goldberg to choose his own moniker, adopting the name of the scientist who had bestowed upon him the gift of sapience.

Professor Goldberg still wears his own scars of abuse, perhaps mirroring his tests on the now smart horse, after being used as a lab rat at the hands of unethical Nazi biologists in 1940s Poland as a child.

Meanwhile, the recent removal of the clever equine’s horseshoe by the handicapper suggests that people fear that the four-year-old may try to flee, reneging on lucrative contracts with L’Oreal and Gillette. Voted sexiest beast in Horse & Hound magazine three years running and nicknames such as “the Women’s Houyhnhnm” no longer seem to hold any worth for Squawky Jerry. After "skipping out" on Cheltenham earlier this year, close acquaintances and the stable tabby cat (another of Jeremiah Goldberg's successes, Madam Mewling Moggy Goldberg) have even suggested that he be psychologically assessed. For the moment, though, Wee Little Mickey Mullens’s’s claim that his odds for the upcoming race are excessive is just another sad omen that things aren’t faring well for the genetically-enhanced close cousin of the zebra.

Third mother plunges from clifftop as she visits scene of late son's death

A third mother lost her life last night as she visited the scene of her son's death on an island off the Mayo coast. Four men in their mid 20s were killed at the scene last July as they were swept into waters after falling from the clifftop. Eye witnesses reported how the men had been hurling stones into the waters below. One of them had pulled at a rock that was in fact embedded into the clifftop, and a large chunk of the cliff subsequently fell away - along with the four men - into the water.

The retirement age mother had recently determined that she ought to see the site of her son's demise, and visited the scene only to fall to her own death yesterday evening. Witnesses claim that she was blown from the cliff by a sudden gust of wind that first swept a wig off her head, and - as she tried to catch the hairpiece - threw her off balance, sending her into the blustery waters and sparing her some embarrassment.

Photo by Irene Chaney

The third mother to die visiting the site, it is the eighth death in total since the original four man tragedy, and it may be just the incentive needed to install a railing on the cliff top. The only local councillor who had been advocating a railing installation fell from the clifftop himself in January.