Monday, October 22, 2007

Politics and religion are best avoided when talking to monkeys

"The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi has died a day after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys." According to the BBC.

It's like they say, if you pay peanuts, you'll get hounded to your death by angry monkeys.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I was in Munich this week so I popped in at Oktoberfest. Imagine Benny Hill had been commissioned to make a promotional video for Germany and was heavily influenced by the Mardi Gras acid sequence in Easy Rider.

Sadly, I had a flight to catch.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lonely Hearts of Scotland

Extracts from the lonely hearts pages of a Scottish publication:

Grossly overweight Buckie turf-cutter, 42 years old and 23 stone,Gemini, seeks nimble s@xpot, preferably South American, for tango sessions, candlelit dinners and humid nights of screaming passion. Must have own car and be willing to travel.
Box 09/08

Aberdeen man, 50, in desperate need of a ride. Anything considered.

Heavy drinker, 35, Glasgow area, seeks gorgeous s@x addict interested in pints, fags, Celtic football club and starting scraps on Sauchiehall Street at three in the morning.
Box 73/82.

Bitter, disillusioned Dundonian lately rejected by longtime fiancée seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.
Box 3/41

Ginger-haired Paisley troublemaker, gets slit-eyed and shirty after a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe more.
Box 84/87

Artistic Edinburgh woman, 53, petite, loves rainy walks on the beach,writing poetry, unusual sea-shells and interesting brown rice dishes, seeks mystic dreamer for companionship, back rubs and more as we bounce along like little tumbling clouds on life's beautiful crazy journey.
Strong stomach essential
Box 12/32

Chartered accountant, 42, seeks female for marriage. Duties will include cooking, light cleaning and accompanying me to office social functions. References required. No timewasters.
Box 23/45

Bad-tempered, foul-mouthed old b@stard living in a damp cottage in the arse end of Orkney seeks attractive 21-year old blonde lady with big chest.
Box 40/27

Devil-worshiper, Stirling area, seeks like-minded lady for wining and dining, good conversation, dancing, romantic walks and slaughtering dogs in cemeteries at midnight under the flinty light of a pale moon.
Box 52/07

Attractive brunette, Maryhill area, winner of Miss Wrangler competition at Framptons Nightclub, Maryhill, in September 1978, seeks nostalgic man who's not afraid to cry, for long nights spent comfort-drinking and listening to old Abba records. Please, Please!
Box 30/41

Govan man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for the night of February 27 between 8pm and 11.30pm
Box 42/30

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pavarotti is kaput

This is how the news was announced to me by a Spanish friend this morning. It was awkward to be told a sad thing in a way which made me laugh. Kaput!

I have a colleague whose resting physical state at room temperature is "frenzy". She told me the other day about a death in the company. As she told me, her eyes were wild with astonishment and her hair twitched with the weight of an undropped bombshell. The gist of the conversation is reproduced below (some details have been changed to protect the dead).

Frenzied Colleague: You know Bob Dead, works in accounts in North America?

Bob Hughes: I know the name

FC: Young guy, not yet 40?

BH: Erm, yeah?

FC: he goes into hospital one day - and guess what? He never comes out! Died! Dead! Young guy just drops dead!

BH [smirking inappropriately]:
wow, er, that's awful.

And it is awful. But the delivery was priceless, which made me feel like a sicko for wanting to laugh.

The fat man has sung.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sports news

"I felt Gay coming on my shoulder and that's when I panicked. It slowed me down."

Well you would, wouldn't you?

Sports news

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Quiet American Fratboy

CIA operatives have allegedly inserted "Wahhhhh!" into the Wikipedia entry on President Ahmadinejad. Full story here.

In defence of the United States.

Am I the only one to be disappointed that CIA psy-ops don't seem to have moved on from writing "douchebag" on Todd's football locker?

CIA operatives wind down during a recent conference, "Creating a complex, adaptive intelligence community in the post-9/11 actuality."

Hat tip: thanks to Daveboy for reminding me to post this story.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The terror threat

"A 12-year-old boy was charged with assault and taken before the courts - for throwing a cocktail sausage.

Full story here.

I'm with the police on this one. This week it's sausages, next week it'll be cheese and pineapple cubes.

There's a firm body of evidence to suggest that people who start with finger foods soon escalate to starters, then main courses. Before you know it, the young oik will be marching about hurling ham shanks at an unsuspecting public. Slippery slope, mark my words.

In other news this week, Italian police have uncovered an arms cache, allegedly belonging to a group of right-wing militant chefs, in a bakery near Milan. A spokesperson for the police said they had found a "number of cream-based missiles" and at least one delivery mechanism.

Cream-based missiles

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What hermits do

This is my mate. He's a hermit. This video is a rare glimpse into what hermits get up to when they're alone - which is most of the time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cats and the afterlife

There's a cat in America which lives in an old people's home and can predict when people are going to die.

That is surely an unpopular party trick. "Look! Look! He's doing it again! Oh boy, poor old Herb ...I give him two hours, do I have any advances on two hours?"

The cat's called Oscar. I'd have called him "Dark Prince of the Afterlife" or "Shit Head".

The icy paws of death

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Woman rips off testicle: "I am in no way a violent person"

I'd always put ripping off testicles at the top end of boisterousness. I suppose it's a grey area.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Baldness and other perils

I found a list of unusual deaths on Wikipedia. It's a jungle out there.

  • 458 BC: The Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone.
  • 1671: François Vatel, chef to Louis XIV, committed suicide because his seafood order was late and he couldn't stand the shame of a postponed meal. His body was discovered by an aide, sent to tell him of the arrival of the fish.
  • 2006: Mariesa Weber, a 5'3" Florida woman, fell behind a 6' tall bookcase in her family's home and suffocated. She was not discovered for 11 days; her family thought she had been kidnapped.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007


This guy is impressive. He's been getting a lot of flack in his comments for not having a life blah blah. I think this comment pretty much hits the nail on the head:

"Why do all you people insist he gets a girlfriend? You guys make it sound like all women are there for is the entertainment of men. Maybe he doesn't even like women, maybe he's gay. You don't know this kind of stuff, you don't know the guy so don't judge him because one of his hobbies is to make egg art."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Targetted marketing

A parcel arrives from a salesman. The parcel is addressed for the attention of one Robert Hughes (me).

I open the parcel and inside there is a personalised letter for me:

Hello Richard,


Friday, May 11, 2007

A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Matthew 11:19

Not so Jonathan Hansen, a Mormon, a tort lawyer and a patriot (probably, I'm guessing).

Mr Hansen, no friend of tax collectors, feels that paying tax violates his religious beliefs. "I don't believe in it, I don't like it, I think it is Satanic," he blasts. Reading this made me nostalgic for long evenings in the family home when we'd gather round the television and my father would hit the booze.

A different Jonathan Hansen, this one a doctor, a fourth-generation Christian and a moustache-wearer, is president and founder of World Ministries International. You should contact them if you are interested in learning more about any of the following issues:

  • Abortion
  • Biblical Evidences
  • Education
  • Eschatology
  • European Union
  • Euthanasia
  • Evolution
  • Immorality
  • Islam
  • Middle East Showdown
  • One World Government
  • Pedophilia
  • Religion
  • Sodomy
  • United Nations

Friday, April 20, 2007

I suppose he thinks he's hard

"Born in 1855 as William Grenfell, [Lord] Desborough was a cricket and soccer star at Harrow, where he set a school mile record that stood for sixty-one years. At Oxford he was president of athletics and the boat club and rowed number four in the famous 1877 boat race, the only one to end in a dead heat.

He was punting champion of Great Britain three years in succession, sculled from Oxford to Putney, 105 miles, in a day; stroked an eight across the English Channel; and fenced for Britain in the 1906 Olympics at the age of fifty, winning a silver medal.

He climbed extensively in the Alps, including three successful assaults on the Matterhorn, by three different routes; went big-game hunting in India and shooting in the Rocky Mountains. In one season's stalking in Scotland, he bagged a hundred stags, and during three weeks' fishing in Florida caught a hundred tarpon.

He twice swam Niagara falls, the second time in heavy hail and snow. As the Daily Telegraph's war correspondent in the Sudan in 1888, he once confronted the dervishes alone, armed only with an umbrella." - By The Sword, Richard Cohen

I have more respect for a man who lived through school called Randy Bumgardner.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The sublime work of Mr H.Hutton

Harry Hutton at Chase Me Ladies is in rude health:


Just got back from Vegas, baby, what a riot. We were all like frickin wasted at the pool throwing back 40s for breakfast. The place was off the hook with smoking chicks, but there was this like convention in town with like these dicks in suits and shit."

See the full post here

Friday, March 23, 2007

Secrets of the Iberian Tiger

Men at work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Privately held Hooters

Back in 2005, I reported a ham-fisted innuendo from Sky, here.

Today, I am in the happy position of being able to report this obra maestra from Reuters:

"Privately held Hooters said it planned to open 17 restaurants in Colombia, Dubai, Guam, New Zealand and India in the next two years."

Click here for the full article.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Heaven in the sky

A woman who died in economy class on a BA flight from London to Delhi was upgraded to first class.

From BA's website: "Your demi-cabin is your sanctuary in the sky. A discreetly serviced and smartly equipped haven of calm where your well-being is catered for."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bank: fair disclosure

In the interests of fairness and, if I'm honest, with a dash of peevish glee, I told Bankinter I was making some of our interactions public.

Here is what I wrote:

Hi, this isn't a complaint as such. But I want you to know that I have decided to make public some of the more farcical interactions I have with you. If you are at all interested in improving your customer service, you might take a look. Past history suggests you have more important things on your mind.

Bankinter is a bank that knows what is important. Me. They think about giving me what I need: security, agility and innovation. Here is their reply:

Dear Costumer,

In reply to your e-mail, we would like to thank you for your communication.

We are always at your disposal at our web site or at our Telephone Banking Service 901 135 135 (within Spain) or 00 34 91 657 88 01 (from abroad). We are available from 09:00 to 18:00 hours from Monday through Saturday.

Yours sincerely,


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A letter arrives from my bank

Dear client,

It's not enough to just be it, you have to appear to be it.

That's why at Bankinter we have decided to renew ourselves from the outside. To better communicate what we are inside: a bank which thinks about what we must think about, about you. A bank which thinks about giving you what you need: innovation, agility and security.

...and so it goes on.

Attached to the letter is an orange card. It is my "key card" and contains the security codes I need to perform operations on the internet and over the phone. I hadn't ordered a new card.

The security codes are different and it is bright orange. My old card was grey.

I phone them.

Bankinter good afternoon! How can I help you?

BH: Oh good afternoon. My name is Bob Hughes and I have just received a new key card.

Yes Mr Hughes!

BH: I didn't order a new card.

No Mr Hughes!

BH: Should I cancel my old card?

Your new card is exactly the same as your old card. Just a different colour!

BH: No it isn't.

Yes it is, Mr Hughes! Exactly the same.

BH: The numbers are different.

No Mr Hughes, have you checked the reference number?

BH: Yes.

And they are the same?

BH: No.

What is the number of the new card you have there Mr Hughes?


That card is not for you Mr Hughes! Please destroy it!

BH: But it was addressed to me

But it is not for you! Please destroy it!

BH: And my old card?

You can keep that, Mr Hughes. It is still valid.


My relationship with my bank has reached farce. I have decided to start making some of this public. Not necessarily because I have an axe to grind, but because it is good material.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The abstract logic of push-ups

"British soldiers have chests as broad as horses. ...Every morning they hook their feet over the bumper of their jeep, put their hands on the ground and push themselves up and down on their hands two hundred times without stopping. I don't know why."

A local describes British forces in Afghanistan, from The Places in Between by Rory Stewart.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


New Zealand fishermen have landed a colossal squid weighing nearly half a tonne. An expert says the calamaris would be like tractor tyres.

A calamari expert.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"That big thing you guys spent loads of money on. Not the London Eye."

This is how a Kenyan woman has just described the Milliennium Dome to me. An easy target, I know, but this is the first time I've heard anyone outside the UK talk about it unprompted.

It's the biggest dome in the world, apparently. Spain is fond of "biggest" or "oldest" claims. We have the biggest hotel in Europe and the oldest restaurant in the world in Madrid. The hotel is a horrid communist-style block on a motorway but the restaurant is nice.

It all sounds a bit like the world's biggest ball of string to me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Prince Philip worshipped as a God

With spear-throwing natives - as with women - there is a kernel of truth in the old adage, "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New camera!

I got a new toy yesterday. This wee beastie.

Everyone in the office is fascinated by the 10 mega pixels it has, the optical image stabilising, the 6x zoom, the easy-to-access white balance control ...etc.

All except one smartarse. I gave up a few moments of my time in the kitchen to explain the basics to him and was just at the point of summarising the accessories I might buy in the future when he revealed his ugly subtext.

"You can buy an accessory lens to make the wide end wider or a telephoto fitting to make it..."

"...more Freudian?"

I punched him in the chops.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Barbershop nihilism

I visited the oldest barber shop in Madrid this morning. It had been some time since my last visit and my hair was unkempt.

Previously, Rafael had been forthcoming in his prescription: "You need to get rid of all this," he had counseled, kneading my shaggy mane with a splayed claw, "'ve got thick, really thick, hair at the back and on the sides, and since you're bald on top it makes your head look deformed."

This time I was spared: today was not a day to waste on the fripperies of my deformities; Rafael had weightier matters on his mind. "Plastic surgery, silicon, face lifts, it's all lies. Artificial breasts aren't my thing, I like my women all natural."

In the mirror, an old man solemnly agreed. His face was like oak and his hair was the colour of dye.

"Money. If you've got money you're the smartest, best-looking, funniest man in the world."

Rafael fell silent for a moment as he trimmed the hair off the tops of my ears. Then his discourse continued, "but really, there are only two things that matter in this world: life..." The snipping stopped as Rafael lifted his gaze to look me straight in the eye through the mirror.

I heard a croak behind me: the oldest patron of the oldest barbershop in Madrid was finishing Rafael's sentence, "...and death."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lily Munster dead

Lily Munster's dead.

I didn't realise she - or rather Yvonna de Carlo - played Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments.

My favorite bit in that film is when Moses returns from Mount Sinai, where he has seen the burning bush and spoken to God for the first time (with hindsight a pretty fundamental turning point in the history of the Israelites, Judaism and the subsequent 4,000 years of civilisation). Sephora, played by Yvonna de Carlo, falls to her husband's knees and says: "Moses, your hair!"

My thoughts go out to Grandpa, Eddie and Herman at this difficult time for them.

"Moses, your hair!"