Seagull thefts on increase, claim police

When Hazel Caldwell came out to her car to start the commute to work last Friday morning, very little seemed amiss. She was dismissive of the seagull feather sticking out of her locked car door.

"I had heard all about seagulls robbing laptops and phones out of cars. But you hear about these seagull robberies and you think 'It'll never happen to me!' It really didn't occur to me that you would get that kind of crime in my neighbourhood! We're in a lovely leafy area, with a beautiful beach just a few minutes' drive away!"

When Hazel opened her car door - as her nostrils were met with the unmistakeably pungent smell of mackerel - she saw that her vehicle had been carefully stripped of its car stereo.

"The seagull knew exactly what he was doing," Hazel insists. "He and his accomplices could have just torn the radio out and re-wired it later, but they actually detached and unplugged everything very carefully, so that they could find a buyer and re-sell it immediately."

Even worse for Hazel, the seagull had torn at the upholstery and removed much of the stuffing from the seats in an act of mindless vandalism. The careful nature of the robbery, however, shows that seagull behaviour may be adapting to a change in human attitude. In the last few months, numerous seagulls have been arrested after tip-offs from electronics repair shops. The birds had brought car radios into the shops for re-wiring work, dropping them from their beaks onto countertops. On their return to the shops to pick up the rewired radios, they had been apprehended by the police. The success of a police initiative and crackdown on the fencing of stolen goods has raised awareness among employees of electronics repair shops about the criminality of seagulls in general.

Kevin Woo, who works at Home Brewz n Hotwirez, said:
"The cops came to me after I had unlocked a few iPhones and Galaxies for a flock of seagulls. Everyone's entitled to unlock a phone, but the cops said that any seagulls who come in with electronic devices of any kind should be reported immediately. I didn't know seagulls weren't entitled to unlock their phones. Now, I have to rely on the swans and the geese for a lot of my business."

Tesco takes on Lidl and Aldi in price calculations strategy

Tesco now offers customers vouchers off their shopping if the customers find that like-for-like products are cheaper in Lidl and Aldi than at Tesco. At the cash register, calculations against similar products found at the German discounters will be compared - and if these products are less expensive at the other stores, the shopper will get a voucher making up the difference, so that they can return to Tesco again.

Customers are now secure in the knowledge that they might get even more vouchers to cover the costs of the weekly shop - which Tesco management claim could ultimately lead to an all-voucher shop within a few months. It's a risk Tesco management are willing to take.

While shoppers may feel that Tesco is rewarding their custom through a series of maths calculations that are undertaken at the tills, other people still prefer to buy their food, toiletries and ski-wear for a bit cheaper, in the less expensive German discount supermarkets.

US Government Shutdown not terrorist related, claims British government

Alarm reached crisis levels in the international community yesterday as it became apparent that the government of the United States of America has not been taking any calls since the beginning of the month. Diplomats from world nations are being directed to message minders, answering machines and a variety of autoresponders when they attempt to contact US officials. Many are asking if it is possible that a terrorist attack was so comprehensive on October 1st as to render the entire political system of the United States silent.

As people question how many senators and congressmen might have been killed in what is suspected to be a WMD attack of some description on the American capital city, it has been suggested that a NATO, British or Canadian squadron of fighters perform a flyover of Washington DC to discern how extensive the damage has been. However, none of them are keen to perform a reconnaissance operation over their ally for fear that members of the American public may use one of their many bazookas to attempt to shoot down the planes.

Not everyone believes that an attack has taken place.

At the BBC's new London news studios, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been informing the British public that the US government is currently under what he calls:
"Secure shutdown lockdown shutdown superlockup lockout. They're not my words, Naga, but the words of a bombastic American official from the majority party in their houses of parliament, many of whom insist on scaremongering through the media, ever since the Bush administration. Bush! Bush! I meant Bush!"
"You said Bush."
"Did I? Oh thank goodness!"
"What did you think you had said, Prime Minister?"
"Was it...a synonym for Bush?"
"Of course not! Calm down, dear!"

Footage was then shown of Mr. Cameron leaving the studio looking flustered. However, a complaint has been made by the Prime Minister's office that it was actually footage of Mr. Cameron arriving, looking resolute and determined. As the footage was run backwards, it had the opposite effect.

An Early Childhood Chapter 26 Part 5

An Early Childhood Chapter 26 Part 5: A Visit to Middlesex

Continued from Chapter 26 Part 4.

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock surreal autobiography, narrated by a fictional Irish war hero, champion bodhran player, and television presenter. Its first chapter is here. It parodies misery memoirs (such as Angela’s Ashes by the late great Frank McCourt), as well as time travel adventure, pop culture, and literature of various kinds.

I have found at times, dear reader, that attempting to discern the sexual orientation of a particular individual is more often than not just a stab in the dark. However, the discombobulating effects of being accosted by Dyll - a strange beauty-man-woman of some kind - forced me to withdraw from the bed in something of a hurry.

 "Your gender is - " I spluttered. "You're a - -"

"Yes, Sugar Plum," she said. "I'm all man!"

"But but but!"


"I'm not a woman!" I said, trying to explain.

"Will you lie down with me?"


Dyll leapt up, swung her legs around over the side of the bed, and burstered into tears.

"This is always the way!"  she said. "You meet a nice fella, with good prospects, and he turns out to be less fruity than you imagined."

"That's right. I'm not your sugar plum."

She sniffled and sobbed. I sat beside her and rubbed her back.

"Will you... will you just hold me, Paddy Flanagan?"

"Yes. None of this funny stuff though."

"Sexiness isn't funny! It's for real!"

"I know that. I know, Dylly Oblong."

She fell back onto the mattress, and we fell asleep on the four poster bed. Through fitful dreams, I had a night's kip.

The deep barking of a very large dog alarmed me enough to rouse me the next morning. Light was coming in from the window. The scuttering of paws across the floor of Dyll's flat was followed by the appearance of a huge and slobbering mastiff, with drool hanging from its mouth, at the foot of the bed. It sprang up on its forepaws, looking at Dyll and I. The huge dog was white as the driven through snow (by which I mean slush, with tyre tracks running through it, so sort of grey-brown), with huge big googly eyes, and a huge shnouth on it, all the better to give you a good shniff with.


I roared in fright. The dog, in turn, yelped and sprinted from the room.

"What the hell was that?"

"That was Aijus Mite Eeetchyoo, my Larger Fokov Mastiff, from Russia!"

To be continued here.


Low level maths students struggle to understand how UK economy could shrink in third quarter, encouraging "Furious German" stereotype

Three English people with a slightly above average education today struggled to come to terms with the shrinking of the UK economy in the third quarter, not realising that the British economy had not in fact shrunk by three quarters. After seeing a small headline in the local paper, the three university undergraduates had to be instructed by a slightly more intelligent German colleague about what the headline actually meant.

Matthias Kohl, originally from Dusseldorf, spent some ten minutes explaining to fellow media studies students at Hull University that although the economy had contracted, it had not contracted by three quarters, but that the “third quarter” of the headline in fact referred to “the third quarter of the year”.

Matthias then pulled out a calendar chart to describe how the quarters worked. However, as he later said, his explanation fell on deaf ears as those who listened began to realise that he was “in over his head”. The article outlined how gross domestic product in the UK had fallen by 0.6 per cent in the three months to October.

When one of his English colleagues asked what gross domestic product was, Matthias tried to explain, but found himself adding “To be honest with you, I’m not sure if that’s right because I only know this in German.”

The three English students then became rather more dismissive of Matthias than they had been previously. One of them, nineteen year old Alyssa Newsome, declared “You’re not so much of a brain box after all.”

Matthias then became so incensed at their reaction that he excused himself to go to the library, whereupon he was chastised by the group before his departure and bitched about after he’d left them. Matthias is planning on returning to Germany on Christmas Eve, when he intends to tell his family exactly how innumerate his fellow students are.

“I’ve compiled so many instances of their stupidity and typed them up into my Smart Handy that I’m pretty sure Christmas dinner will be a laugh riot,” he told this correspondent.