Sunday, 29 March 2015

In The News This Week 22-28th March

Sunday 22nd March - 2015
Richard III was reburied, again, today at Leicester Cathedral in a ceremony fitting a person of importance, if not a king. Because a ceremony fit for a king would have been a State Funeral. But at least it was better than how he was buried the first time round.

Richard III had been found in September 2012 in a local car park drunk out of his skull after consuming three barrels of rum, a normal occurrence in Leicester on a Saturday night. He was then beaten over the head with a toothpick by soldiers of Henry-Soon-To-Be-Seventh-Of-His-Name-Tudor, until he suggested something a little heavier, such as a surface-to-king missile. Or an axe. Mace. Something large, metal, and heavy. Definitely an object. Don't just hit him once. Hit him again. And again. One more time. Okay, another four should do it.

Leicester fought tooth and nail with the city of York to keep the King's body, instead of returning the skeleton to whence it came. To be, or not to be. Alas, poor Yorrick. I knew him, Horatio ... he said he wanted me to stay. Stay, I say. Leicester needs at least one tourist attraction to encourage people to visit.

Going camping this Christmas? Visit Richard III's camping shop. For now is the winter of our discount tents. Click for Fun Facts About Richard III.

In other news: Today was also the day we celebrated the anniversary of the publication of the first book of British nursery rhymes, Tommy Thumb's Song Book, by Mary Cooper, in 1744. The book included the well-known nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down...
Oh, My God, It's an earthquake!
We're all gonna die!

Monday 23rd March 1430
Cheerful and joyful news today: We are glad to report the birth of Margaret of Anjou in the Duchy of Lorraine. She is the second daughter of Rene I of Naples and Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. Celebrations all round, lots of drink and grub. But save some room for even more celebrations when she marries King Henry VI of England on 23rd April 1445, for things will start to get interesting. She has a cunning plan. This cute little bundle of innocence will become one of the principal figures in the War of the Roses.

In fact she will be the cause of the war, and will personally slaughter tens of thousands of English men, women and children. Her weapon of choice is a hedgehog-axe. Instead of a sharp axe-head at the top, it's a genetically engineered hedgehog stapled to a broom handle.

When her husband, Henry-Thinks-His-Wife-Has-A-Hedgehog-Axe, goes insane, Margaret steps in to rule the kingdom of England in his place. She will call a Great Council into being, but decides to exclude Anakin Skywalker, as he is just too powerful and dangerous. And that's just the kind of guy you want to alienate. Will no one think of the younglings? 

As Margaret will find out, it is a mistake to snub Anakin. He is aligned with the house of York, led by Richard-The-Grand-Old-Duke-Of-York, who had ten thousand men, in a merry night of passion, before marching them up and down that hill several times. They will all be slaughtered by York's rival in the War of the Roses, King Henry-The-Sixth-Not-Sith, who is from Lancaster. Yes, Lancaster, it's up north somewhere. 

Tuesday 24th March - 1603
Her Ginger-ness, The Queen Elizabeth (the first one), died today at the ripe old age of 69. She left no direct heirs, as that mop of ginger was actually a wig. This meant Parliament had to ask Scotland if they could borrow one of the late Queen's distant cousins. Scotland obliged and sent down their king, James VI, who asked to be re-branded when he arrived in London. Parliament agreed, did a quick Google search, and found there were no previous kings of England called James, so he would henceforth be known as James-The-First-To-The-Pub-The-Last-To-Leave.

Although Queen Elizabeth was old, and very old for the time period, called the Elizabethan Era for some reason, she was by no means a frail old lady pensioner. Until she found out that Zayn had left One Direction. After that she fell into a deep depression and an even deeper and unmoveable melancholy. She had been a big fan of One Direction and even had posters of the modern day pop group on her wall when she was a kid. Knowing Zayn was no longer a member, and that some people on twitter were adding an "e" to the end of his name, she couldn't go on, and died.

Elizabeth-The-First-Virginator-Queen was the daughter of Henry-Of-The-Way-Too-Many-Numbers and Anne-The-Sod-Had-Me-Head-Chopped-Off-Boleyn. Click to read 5 Fun Facts About Elizabeth I.

Wednesday 25th March - 1199
Richard-I-Eat-Lion's-Hearts has been shot. Today is a grave day for England. Our beloved and gentle King has been shot by an arrow, shot by a bow, shot by a child, who will be shot with a shotgun in the face, as he shot the King. It's shocking!

Details are still unclear, but it is said that the king was out walking in the grounds of Castle Limousin, the same castle he had besieged and then captured from the Viscount-Whose-Name-You-Can't-Pronounce, when a small child, or Tyrion Lannister, no one is quite sure, emerged atop the castle wall and shot him with a crossbow. The king was taken to his room where he tried to extract the arrow in private. However, as good as he was at extracting a heart from the chest cavity of a lion, he was not great at pulling arrows from arms.

A surgeon, nicknamed the Butcher, which is exactly the name you want in a surgeon, then extracted the arrow himself. During the process he seriously mangled the king's arm and failed to clean the wound, which has since turned gangrenous. The Butcher then covered the wounds, strapped them up, and he reports that the king is expected to make a full recovery.  

A follow-up report about the fate of the young boy who shot the king, who is expected to be executed for his crime, will be published in a week and a half. It will also include details of the king's death from the injuries he sustained from the Butcher.

Thursday March 26th - 1931
Leonard Nimoy was today born in Boston, Massachusetts (not an easy place to spell without the help of Google. And nope, I didn't cheat. So it's probably incorrect). In the future, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Leonard Nimoy is busting out of his grave to pound this writer to a pulp for putting a Star Wars reference into this sentence, instead of a Star Trek one.

Leonard Nimoy will be best known for singing the most awful song of all time, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, a song that once you hear, you can never un-hear, or get out of your head. Oh-My-God-I-Want-To-Kill-My-Ears-Right-Now-Get-It-Out-Help-Me-Help-Me-Help-Me.

Leonard Nimoy will also portray the pointy-eared first officer of the Starship Enterprise, Mr. Spock, in a show that becomes mildly popular quite sometime after it originally airs in 1966: STAR TREK. Click here for 5 Fun Facts About Star Trek's Spock.

Friday March 27th - 1625
England has a brand new king. Thanks to the death of James-Used-To-Be-Six-Now-Is-First, who got run over by a hedgehog driving a Ferrari, his son, Charles-This-Won't-End-Well, got an instant promotion at work. In the blink of an eye, he went from Charles Stuart, Prince of Wales, to King Charles-I-Is-Not-A-Spaniel-Please-Don't-Chop-Me-Head-Off. 

Charles will be the first King of England to be called Charles. And, as he will name his son "Charles", there will be at least one more. However, it is unlikely there will ever be a Charles III, as that guy will either die before his mother, the Queen, who wants to live forever, or will simply re-name himself when, and if, he doth ever become king. Maybe to George. Or Zathras.

The new king, Charles-I-Need-My-Head, will have a hard time over the next few years. Not only will he have to come to terms with his father being Scottish and only inheriting the throne through default as Elizabeth decided sex wasn't her thing, he will fight with Parliament in a civil war. Although it wasn't a very civil war. There was a lot of swearing and slapping each other around the face with a wet kipper, and ended up with Charles having his head chopped off in 1649. That's what you get when you insult Oliver Cromwell's plan to ban the eating of mince pies at Christmas. What-A-Git. Click here for more info on Oliver Cromwell banning Christmas.

Skip ahead to next week's Historical News Report: This Week In History.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

5 Fun Facts and Myths About British Laws - Part Two

1. It is illegal to stand within one hundred yards of the reigning monarch without wearing socks. At every royal event for the past 500 years a special unit of the secret service, code name MI4.4, mingle with the crowds who come to see the monarch. They aren't there to stop an act of terrorism or to prevent someone from trying to assassinate the Queen. Nope, they are there checking to see if everyone has their ankles covered. If you are found to be sockless, then you are taken to the Tower of London, imprisoned for seven years, and then taken out back where the Beefeaters take it in turns to throw squirrels at you.

What a ridiculous law. Yep, it really is ridiculous, and as such, isn't true. Back in the day, the Tudor monarchs (Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Mary I) all passed laws regulating clothing styles. In 1592, for example, the Articles for the Execution of the Statutes Apparel made it illegal for anyone to turn up at the royal court wearing shirts with "Outrageous Double Riffs" or hose of "Monstrous and Outrageous Greatness." And in 1589, Elizabeth banned anyone from spelling Zayn with an "e" and from wearing a One Direction T-Shirt without his image. Bunch of traitors. He'll always be part of the Direction of One. Yeah, I still can't believe that was the headline news story all day today.

2. It is legal to shoot a Welshman with a longbow on Sunday in the Cathedral Close in Hereford, or inside the city walls of Chester after midnight. Okay, I'm game if you're game. Let's all meet up next Sunday in Chester, at about nine-o-clock-ish. We can start by having a few pints, a nice steak, assuming they still serve hot food at that time, because if not I'm setting Jeremy Clarkson on them. We can then just chill until midnight and that's when The Hunt begins. Remember to bring your own bow and arrow and download the Spot-A-Welshman-At-50-Paces app from the Apple store.

Nope. What the heck is wrong with you people? As much as you may want to hunt down Welshman for sport on a Sunday night, or have always dreamed for the chance to shoot Tom Jones, it's illegal to shoot a Welshman anywhere, or with any type of weapon, and it doesn't matter what day of the week it is either, as that is murder. And, in case you were wondering, that goes for shooting a Scotsman within the city walls of York, too. Yep, I was disappointed to find out that was not real too. What-a-shame.

3. It is illegal for your dog to have carnal knowledge of a royal pet. This means your dog better not be caught bumping-uglies with a corgi owned by the Queen. It's off with your head, and his head, both of them, if it does the business. So you may want to reconsider helping your Great Dane with its bucket list. It's not worth it.

Nah, it isn't illegal. Although this law is associated with George I, and he wasn't even the crazy one, there are no laws relating to the doggy-style with a royal pet from any time period. Although the 1722 Criminal Law Act did make it illegal for killing deer in the royal forests. This act has since been repealed, though. So, go get some venison. It's free. Blow that deer's head off. Don't worry, you won't hang for it. WAIT. STOP. Don't kill the deer. That was a joke. What are you, a psychopath? Will no one think of little Bambi? Oh, no, here come the tears. Poor Bambi's mother. She dead. Worst childhood memory, EVER.

4. It is illegal to eat mince pies on Christmas day. This one is down to Oliver Cromwell. It's amazing how much stuff gets blamed on him. In all fairness, he does deserve it. The guy was a total git. He did a lot of bad stuff. For starters, in 1649 he killed the king. But what was even worse than killing the king? He banned the consumption of mince pies and Christmas puddings on Christmas day.

Actually this isn't true. Yes, Oliver Cromwell fought a civil war against the king, and then had the king executed. And, yes, he was a total git. However, he didn't ban the eating of mince pies and Christmas puddings on Christmas day. There was only one year that eating them on Christmas day was illegal. It was 1644, as Christmas day fell on a legally-mandated day of fasting. So you couldn't eat anything, let alone some delicious festive treats. But, the Long Parliament in 1647 did ban all celebrations of Christmas and in 1656 proposed further legislation to crack down on illicit Christmas celebrations, but it was never enacted. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, all legislation enacted before that by Cromwell's parliaments were deemed invalid. So none of them apply today. To get his revenge, Charles II, newly restored to the throne, dug up the bones of Oliver Cromwell, who had been dead a few years, and tried and executed him posthumously for treason. At his trial, hedgehogs lined the streets in their thousands to kick Oliver Cromwell in the nuts, and to shove a mince pie in his pipe hole. Santa is real!

5. It is illegal to carry a plank of wood along a pavement. So, you've bought a plank at your local Planks-R-Us and then realised your van is parked down the road. What can you do? You have to chance it and hope the Fuzz isn't around to arrest you. But, it's not your day. No sooner have the police officers finished arresting a group of four-year-olds for flying kites, than they notice you and your plank. Should you run? NO. Are you crazy? You can't run with a plank. That's not only illegal, but down right suicidal. Have you not seen the documentary on the Discovery Channel about the second highest cause of death-by-planks in the USA? It's people running with planks.

This one is actually true. It is illegal to carry a plank along a pavement. It's an offence under section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. Under the same act, it's also an offence to fly a kite, play annoying games (Such as Angry Birds and Sonic the Hedgehog), and sliding on ice or snow in the street. Yes, kids, you've been warned. Stop playing annoying games whilst sliding on ice carrying a plank of wood as you're flying a kite. You'll end up in prison for 50 years.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Chameleons

Image result for chameleons1. A chameleon is a type of lizard. They range in size from a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy 0.6 inches, and can fit on the tip of your finger (ooh, finger buffet), to the size of an elephant. Although those ones haven't been around for millions of years. Not since Jamie Oliver ate them all into extinction. Pukka. Nowadays the biggest chameleons tend to be around 30 inches. And that doesn't include the length of its tongue. That sticky gloop of squishy stuff can grow to twice the size of its body and is shot out of its mouth at a staggering billion trillion miles an hour. It can blow some very impressive raspberries, and can catch insects in mid-air before they know what disgusting sticky-ooze filled suction cup has captured them.

Image result for chameleons2. Almost half of all known species of chameleon (and there are about 160 different species) live on the island of Madagascar. A few live on cruise ships taking dance lessons and making the most of the all-you-can-eat buffet. The rest are scattered around the world in Africa, southern Europe, Sri Lanka and south Asia. They prefer to live in forests and are specifically adapted to movement through trees. But the ones that have migrated to England have been able to claim asylum and are now living in a tax-payer funded council house, claiming benefits, smoking 50 cigarettes a day and drinking a bottle and half of whiskey to get into the mood. They are also horrendous queue jumpers. A capital crime in rural England.

Image result for chameleons3. Chameleons have tiny feet. And they look so darned cute. Couldn't you just eat them? Err, nope. You don't eat them. Leave their poor cute feet alone, Sicko. Their toes are split into two groups of 2/3 toes which help them grab branches and achieve stability when walking, slowly, oh very slowly. They walk slower than a 90-year-old after a bottle and a half of whiskey. Get out of the way grandpa, hedgehog on a pogo stick coming through. And much like a 90-year-old whiskey-filled pensioner, the chameleon will use its tail to grab hold of a branch to make sure it doesn't fall off. It's true. Come on, you've never seen a pensioner fall out of a tree, have you? Nope. It's because of their tails.

Image result for chameleons4. A Chameleon's eyes are on the sides of their heads and can move independently of each other. They have a field of vision of 360 degrees, unlike that of a human teenager which has a field of vision focused totally on their smart phones. The chameleon's eyes can also look in two different directions at the same time, which makes them pretty good at pretending to read a magazine on a beach whilst actually looking at bikini-clad women. Bunch of perverts.

Image result for boy george5. If you happen to have a pet chameleon, and find it's pretty aggressive, then you should change its name to Boy George. You'll end up with a much calmer chameleon.

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Elizabeth I

1. Elizabeth-The-First-Of-Her-Name ruled all England for a Golden Age of 44 years. She became Queen on the 17th November 1558 after her big, and very ugly, sister died (big as in older, not as in bigger, although she was plump). Elizabeth reigned until she eventually kicked the bucket, which had a family of hedgehogs living inside, who also died, on the 24th March 1603. The Tudor Dynasty was at an end. Her reign was the third longest reign of a British Queen (Victoria and Elizabeth-Part-Two-Never-Gonna-Give-This-Up, being top), and the Eighth longest ruling British Monarch.

2. During Elizabeth's Elizabethan Era, she oversaw the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the introduction of tobacco and potatoes, and the still-popular tradition of giving life-sized gingerbread men to people she liked. She was a big fan of the sugar, was our virgin Queen. Oh, and she was a virgin. Sheesh, almost forgot to mention that little fact. She didn't bonk anyone. At all. Which is the official line and we're sticking to it. She did have loads of marriage proposals, though, but turned them all down in favour of a marriage with England. Makes me wanna stand up and sing God Save the Queen. Or at least Bohemian Rhapsody by the Queen. Wow, she is talented.

3. Elizabeth was crowned on the 15th January 1559 in a ceremony fit for a king. However, there were none available, so Elizabeth got the job. As we all know (and this won't happen for much longer, as legislation has all ready been passed to make boys and girls equal in the line of succession), a boy will inherit the throne before a girl. Even if the girl is older. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry-Of-The-Way-Too-Many-Numbers and Anne-The-Sod-Had-Me-Head-Chopped-Off-Boleyn. But she wasn't the eldest daughter. Nope, that went to Mary, who was the daughter of Henry-The-Eighth-Portion-Of-Steak-And-Roast-Potatoes-Didn't-Fill-Me-Up and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. So she got dibs on the throne first. Although, as boys inherit the throne before girls, it actually went to their younger half-brother, Edward-I'm-A-Prince-Not-A-Pauper, son of Henry-The-Eighth-I-Am-I-Am by his third wife, Jane Seymour. But he died. So it went to Mary. Then she died. So it went to Elizabeth.

4. Elizabeth was only a princess for the first two years of her life. After her mum died from a serious and fatal case of axe-to-neck, her father stripped the Princess Elizabeth of her royal title, demoting her to Lady Elizabeth instead. If that wasn't bad enough, she also had her iPad and iPhone confiscated and could only get access to twitter by plugging a swan into next-door's WiFi and a woodpecker into the swan. And when her big sister (who hated Elizabeth) became Queen of England, she stormed into Elizabeth's bedroom and pulled down all her One Direction posters.

5. Elizabeth was a very beautiful Queen. Well, maybe, maybe not. It's said she had black teeth from eating too much sugar, took a bath only once a month, and wore a bucket load of white make-up, not to denote her virginity, but to hide the scars from a bout of smallpox. So, kissing her would be like kissing one of the Aliens Sigourney Weaver romped about with. Yep, Elizabeth would be one helluva surprise on your blind date. Take mints. And air-freshener. And a life-sized gingerbread man.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Gunfighter

Anyone who wants to be a writer needs to watch this short film. It's brilliant and very funny. Be warned, it's rude. Very rude. Cursing, swearing, and rude things. You probably shouldn't watch it at work.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Richard III

1. Richard III became King of England in 1483, because he really, really wanted it. And nothing is going to stand in his way. Except, maybe the kid. And the other kid. But those can be dealt with. Richard's brother was King Edward IV, and when he died, Richard was named Lord Protector for Edward's twelve-year-old son, Edward V. A position Richard took seriously. Very seriously. Very, very seriously, Mwahahahaha. 

As the young Edward V travelled to London to take his place as the new King of England, Richard, ever the loving uncle, and totally serious about that Lord Protector title, met him halfway and escorted him into the capital city and then right into the Tower of London. One down, one to go. A few days later, Edward's nine-year old brother was kidnapped and imprisoned in the Tower as well. Gotcha both. Now no one can stand in my way, Mwahahaha.

2. Richard III killed the Princes in the Tower. Yep, he killed his 12-year-old nephew, Edward V, and Edward's nine-year-old younger brother, Richard, Duke of York. Well, there is no actual evidence that he did, but let's say he did. Mainly because he probably did. But also because he actually did. In June 1483, Richard declared that Edward V was not the rightful king as he was the illegitimate son of Edward IV. As was his younger brother. This cleared the way for Richard to take the throne for himself. He was crowned in July 1483. But, the two kids, or their supporters, could dispute Richard's new kingly position and mount an uprising against him. This could be a problem. Hmm, what to do? In August, the two young princes disappeared, never to be seen again. It's a mystery that has never been solved. But, obviously, Richard is innocent of the crimes and certainly didn't bury them beneath the stairs. He had no motive.

3. Richard III was hideously deformed. He resembled the monsters in the famous Alien movies, and even had a mouth-within-a-mouth that shot out so he could easily eat the brains of his enemies. This is probably how he killed the two Princes in the Tower. In fact, nope. Although it has been shown he had scoliosis of the spine, possibly making one shoulder appear higher than the other, he didn't look like a hunchbacked Alien monster. However, he did have a roundworm infection and was way over the legal drink-drive limit. How he managed to park his car, we'll never know. The guy downed about four hundred barrels of wine a day. He did love him some wine, he did. But remember, don't drink and ride hedgehogs into battle. It's illegal. 

4. Richard III was the last English King to die in battle. He died at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 after a series of serious blows to his head. Well, at least one of them was pretty serious. In fact, he had 11 wounds in total, 8 of them to the head. After his prized white hedgehog, which he rode into battles screaming, "Treason," got stuck in the mud as he charged at Henry Tudor with his lightsaber (they were fighting a war over the correct colour of a rose), Richard got struck down by a large object to the back of his head. Possibly an air-to-king missile. We'll never know for certain. 

Henry-I'm-About-To-Be-Seventh-Tudor, who was riding a Giant Panda, actually came to within a sword's length of being struck down by the Sith Lord, Darth Richard-Will-Get-A-Third-Off-His-Parking-Ticket-If-He-Pays-Within-Seven-Days. The barmy Richard was a pretty good soldier and fighter. He had all ready cut down more than a dozen-million of Henry's men to reach his replacement. But a blow to the head put an end to his reign, and his Yorkshire Terrier/White Hedgehog breeding program. Now, if Richard-Needs-Some-Aspirin had been wearing a helmet instead of his crown (what a show off) then he may have been victorious that day and William Shakespeare would never have dreamed of ridiculing the poor guy.

5. Richard-The-Third-Time-I'm-Buried-Is-The-Last was found in a Leicester car park in September 2012, begging for spare change and asking people to sign a petition banning any play written by William Shakespeare. For years, historians and archaeologists were keen to find the Church of the Grey Friars, where it was rumoured Richard III was buried. When they finally found a skeleton and an unpaid parking ticket, they rejoiced. A lot. They finally had a tourist attraction in Leicester that people would actually want to come and see. He is being reburied (again and again), shove that king in so tight he can't get out, today in ceremony attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Leicester Cathedral.

Friday, 20 March 2015

This Week In History (March 14-20th)

14th March 1757: Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad on board HMS Monarch in front of his crew, for failure to do his utmost. "It is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others." Voltaire.

15th March 44BC: Beware the Ides of March. Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome (he said it, someone else typed it), was stabbed to death by Marcus Brutus. He had been warned to Beware the Ides of March, but was a little tipsy at the time and heard, "Beware the Eyes of March," which happened to be his next door neighbour's pet hedgehog, so he popped its cute little beady eyes from its head and fed them to a butterfly. Click to read 5 Fun Facts About Julius Caesar.

17th March in an undetermined year that no one can agree on, St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Green Beer, died in a horrific skiing accident whilst skateboarding on top of roller-skates down a volcano. Click to read 5 Fun Facts About St Patrick.

18th March 948: King Edward the Marty (or Martyr) was murdered by his evil step-mother so her son, Ethelred the Unready, could claim the throne. And when he did, he was totally unprepared.

19th March 1649: The House of Commons passed an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring "It is useless and dangerous to England." And then added, so are oranges. Kill all the oranges. Destroy them. Beat them to death, build a space rocket and propel them into the sun so they can burn in hell.

20th March 1727: Sir Isaac Newton was brutally murdered by an apple in a crime of revenge for stealing its ideas on gravity. He came up with the now famous 3 Laws of Motion. Unfortunately they don't apply to the Starship Enterprise, as that baby can only go forwards they can't find reverse. Oh, rats bottoms sliding down a razor. Not going to get that StarTrekkin song out of my head now.

20th March 1413 saw the death of King Henry-The-Fourth-Be-With-You, who died in Jerusalem Chamber of Abbots house in Westminster Abbey. There was a prophecy the previous year that foretold him dying in Jerusalem. It was pretty close. We can award points to the wizard for that one.

Feel my pain with the Star Trekkin song:

Thursday, 19 March 2015

5 Fun Facts and Myths About British Laws

1. It's illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. Yep, if you were thinking of kicking the bucket in the Houses of Parliament, you should be aware that it's illegal. And, one would assume, that it's punishable by death. Or at least a stern telling off. The law was brought in because anyone who dies in the Houses of Parliament is entitled to a State Funeral (usually reserved for the reigning Monarch) and we can't have any old Tom, Dick, or Harry getting one of them.

Nope. That's a total myth. There is no evidence to support this common myth. In fact, four people are known to have died within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. Guy Fawkes and Sir Walter Raleigh were both executed there. Spencer Percival, the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated, was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons, and Sir Alfred Billson died whilst casting a vote. None were prosecuted for dying in a Royal Palace, and none were given a State Funeral.

It is, however, illegal to wear a suit of armour inside the Palace of Westminster. There is a 1313 statute that forbids members of Parliament from entering the Palace of Westminster in a suit of armour.

2. It's legal for ladies to bare their boobs in public in Liverpool, if they work in a tropical fish shop? If only this one were true. But it isn't. You wanna flash your boobs, you have to do it the old fashioned way: centre court at Wimbledon on finals day.

3. It's illegal to place a postage stamp bearing the Queen's head upside down on an envelope. This is act of treason and, until recently, an act of treason was one of only two crimes still punishable by death in the UK. The other being queue-jumping. Oh, boy, you don't want to do that in Britain. You'll either get the hangman's noose, or worse, lots of almost-silent tutting, but no actual outright protests.

Nope. There are acts of Parliament making it illegal and treasonous to do anything with the intention of deposing the Monarch, but placing a stamp upside down doesn't constitute an act of treason in the slightest. It just means you were totally hammered out of your skull on cheap lager when you applied the stamp. Or need glasses. Or both. Eww, you just licked the back of the Queen's head. You pervert.

4. It is legal for a pregnant woman to relieve herself in a policeman's helmet. Back in the day, I used to work in a local chip shop (For the American's amongst us, that's a fast food joint that serves chunky French fries and other fried items) on the night shift. The chip shop was opposite more than a few pubs and clubs, and we would often get women coming into the shop, not for chips, or battered cod, or a pukka pie, but wanting to use our toilets. No doubt this was because the toilets at the pubs were always crammed. We had to say no. It was the policy of the shop, and the staff toilets were three flights upstairs, and we couldn't spare a staff member accompanying every person needing the loo. Although, come to think of it, if we'd charged a pound a pop, we could've made a fortune. Anyways, after we told them no, they would then say they were pregnant (trust me, they weren't and if a real pregnant woman had asked, we'd have let her use the facilities), and these non-pregnant-drunk-as-skunks-clubbers often recited this law that it was illegal to refuse a pregnant woman the use of a toilet. And, in fact, they could pee anywhere, even in a policeman's helmet. It's a well-known law.

Nope. The law doesn't exist at all. So, I pointed to the coppers outside and suggested they ask for their helmets to piddle in. Not one of them went outside to suggest to the nice officers that they should relinquish their helmets for a quick rinse out.

Whilst we're on the subject of peeing in public, it's not legal for a bloke to wee-wee if they keep their right hand on their car and aim for the rear wheel. That's just another myth.

5. It is illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances. This is totally true. It's an offence under the 1986 salmon act. So, if you're thinking of touching up a salmon whilst climbing through a window, then think again. You'll get arrested. And then ridiculed when you go to prison. So, Dave, what did you get put away for? Treason? Piracy on the High Seas? Shooting a hedgehog out of a cannon within 300 yards of a house? Err, nope, Frank, none of that. I got done because of a fish finger.

More Fun Facts and Myths About British Laws next Thursday. Oh, and by the way, the bit about the hedgehog being fired out of a cannon being illegal - is actually true. It is, in fact, against the law. It's an offence under section 55 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Zeus

*Disclaimer: Whilst all facts are true, the non-facts are not and, as you may notice, are greatly over-exaggerated. Take with a pinch of salt.

1. In Greek mythology Zeus is the father of gods and men. This tag is probably down to him bumping uglies with everything in site like a horny rabbit who just discovered Viagra. As such he had a lot of children. Athena, Persephone, Heracles (Hercules), and Helen of Troy, to name but a few. He is also god of the sky and thunder and king of the hill. That hill being Mount Olympus.

2. Zeus is the youngest son of Cronus and Rhea, who liked singing as they were driving home for Christmas. He had a lucky escape as a baby and was saved from being swallowed by his father when his mother hid him. Rhea, instead of handing over a sweet little baby to Cronus, she gave him a rock wrapped in a blanket, and he swallowed that instead. Cronus had all ready swallowed Zeus' siblings, which included Hades and Poseidon, who you probably know, and Hera, Hestia, and Demeter. I swear, if they weren't the main characters in those Percy Jackson books, no one has heard of them.

3. Zeus was raised by a goat. You have goat to be kidding me? Nope, he really was raised by a goat, well, according to at least one version of events. But he could have been raised by Gaia, one of several nymphs, a shepherd's family, or even Angelina Jolie. No one is really sure. The goat and the nymph hid him from his father's all-seeing eyes by dangling him at the bottom of a rope from a tree, which some might say is pretty cruel to a baby. But it could have been worse. They kept the baby's crying from being heard by the mighty Cronus by getting a bunch of soldiers and mini-gods to dance beneath the baby clashing their swords and spears on their shields, shouting and screaming, and generally making as much noise as possible. Seems totally logical to me. That's exactly what you do to stop a baby from crying. It's a fact.

4. Zeus slashed his father's belly open with a tooth-pick. Cronus had swallowed his brothers and sisters, so when Zeus reached adulthood, he wanted to rescue them. Cronus wouldn't agree to an enema, which meant belly-slashing was the only option. With his siblings free, they defeated Cronus and the other Titans and banished them to the deepest darkest part of Tartarus. Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades then played a game of twister to see who would rule the skies, the seas, and Hades is gonna get stuck with the underworld no matter what, as he's really bad at twister. 

5. Zeus married his sister, Hera. Which is just wrong on so many levels. No wonder he played away a lot. And I do mean a lot. He fathered children with over 50 women, one goat, and a hedgehog. And he was sneaky about it, too. He made love to the Spartan Queen, Leda, as a swan, producing two sets of twins. He appeared as a horse to the hedgehog, who almost had a heart attack, until Zeus changed into something a little more manageable.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About St Patrick

1. Every year on March 17th the world goes crazy for all things Irish. It's the date when we celebrate the anniversary of the death (in AD 461, or AD493, or AD492, or AD503, or 457, or, yeah, pick a date, it'll be as close as anyone else can guess at) of the most Irish bloke of all time, yes, Terry Wogan. Oh, wait, I meant St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. And green beer. However, St Patrick wasn't Irish. He was actually British. But he became Irish after studying Riverdance under an apprenticeship with Michael Flatterlyfeet and learning to say, "To be sure, To be sure."

2. St Patrick has something in common with Julius Caesar. Like Caesar, St Patrick was kidnapped by pirates. And I don't mean the ones who illegally record movies at the cinema, or the ones who sail around the Caribbean with Johnny Depp pretending to act. We're talking real life Irish pirates. They kidnapped the young St Patrick, who was just called Patrick back then, and took him to Ireland and enslaved him in captivity for six years. Which, as it turns out, is only half the requirement for a blockbuster movie. Plus, all he pretty much did was herd sheep and learn to dance without moving a muscle in his upper body. But, as he herded sheep, he heard the voice of God, and became a Christian.

3. St Patrick didn't stay in Ireland. After escaping his enslavement, Not-A-Saint-Yet-Patrick walked 200 miles (300 less than the Proclaimers) and found a ship bound for Britain. The captain wasn't going to let him on board, but his skills at dance became invaluable, and the captain relented in exchange for teaching him the magic of the Flatterlyfeet. Patrick returned to Britain and, for some reason, he and the entire ship's company left the comfort of said ship and walked through the wilderness for four weeks. 28 days later, they were starving, dehydrated and more than a bit lethargic, some might say "Zombie-Like", and they were about to give up on poor Patrick and chew his face-off, when they came across a group of wild boars, and two guys who were trying to out-weird each other. It was a miracle. They were saved. And Patrick rejoiced. It was the will of ... oh my god what the hell are you doing to those boars? At least kill them first. Or suck a mint.

The boars were a welcome feast, to be sure, to be sure. But, they needed to be cooked. Patrick gestured at some dried wood. "Okay, Frank, you go start a fire, we'll have a barbeque. Tony, you collect some mushrooms and spices. Matt, you ... For the love of ... Frank you can't start a fire by rubbing two hedgehogs together. Use the frigging matches. Sheesh, you guys are seriously starting to make my nipples itch. I should never have returned to Britain. After continuing my studies in the Christian religion, I shall return to Ireland and convert the carp out of them. Then we can celebrate my death every year in a feast of beer and merriment."

4. The Shamrock, a three-leafed plant, is the symbol of St Patrick. He used it to teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (the girlfriend of Neo who raged against the machines, the one with the expressionless face that can't act, and also his girlfriend). The Shamrock is green. That's just a fact to link to the next one. I'm pretty sure you knew it was green. Oh, speaking of green. Although everyone celebrates St Patrick's Day by colouring everything green, whether it be beer, hair, or rivers, St Patrick's favourite colour was blue, the original colour of his vestments.

5. St Patrick had a lot in common with Samuel L Jackson. Much like the acclaimed actor, St Patrick had had enough of those bothersome snakes, who appreciated their mothers a little too much, on his flying device, which was also extremely devoted to making its mother happy. And, with a lot less swearing than Samuel L Jackson, St Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland. He then went about getting rid of any evidence there were any snakes in Ireland. There were some worms, though. But Worms On A Cliff doesn't sound as impressive as Snakes On A Plane.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sunday, 15 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

Image result for julius caesarHistorical Fun Presents: Fun Facts About Julius Caesar

1. Julius Caesar was the most famous Roman General in history, and a Dictator of Rome.

He is not, as some believe, the first Roman Emperor.

That accolade went to his nephew Octavius, who changed his name to Julius Caesar after his uncle's death, and then to Augustus Caesar when he became Emperor.

Julius Caesar, the Julius Caesar we actually know, not the other one, or two, if you read below, was a Roman General, Senator, and Consul of Rome.

He was also awarded the title of Dictator for life. Never was he an Emperor, even though he really, really wanted to be one.

2. Julius Caesar was born Gaius Julius Caesar.

He dropped the Gaius after his father, also called Julius Caesar, who was originally called Gaius Julius Caesar, died.

Wowser, that's not confusing at all.

Basically: Gaius Julius Caesar dropped the Gaius to honour his father, Julius Caesar, who had all ready dropped the name Gaius to become Julius Caesar so his son could one day be the Julius Caesar we know today as the Roman General, Julius Caesar.

But, it gets more confusing.

Julius Caesar's nephew, Gaius Octavius, changed his name to Julius Caesar after Julius Caesar died. He then changed it again to Augustus Caesar when he was made Emperor.

3) All subsequent Emperor's have used the title "Caesar" to denote "Emperor".

It's just a name, and isn't the Latin for Emperor. They used it to continue the belief they are all related to Julius Caesar (the second one, not his father. Although technically his father as well).

4. Julius Caesar was a highly-skilled soldier, general and politician.
But he was also pretty good at giving speeches and playing conkers.
Yes, speeches and conkers (remember that when you think I've made a spelling mistake).
After every victorious battle, some of which lasted for months on end, Julius Caesar gave a triumphant speech, some of which lasted for months on end.
After the battle of Zela, Caesar gave the now infamous speech, "Veni, Vidi, Vici." Which translates as, "I came. I saw. I conkered."
He had an army of 10,000 expert conker players wipe out the army of Pharnaces II, which was twice as large, in only five days.
He came. He saw. He conkered the nuts off their strings.
5. Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates.
Julius Caesar may have been one of the most awesome generals in history, but even he was no match for Disney.
In his mid-twenties, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates.
He was sailing the seas looking for mermaids when his ship was attacked by Jonny Depp aboard the Black Pearl. The pirates took Caesar and the crew prisoner.
To say that Caesar was vexed would be an understatement. He was livid. Also young and cocky.
When the pirates told him they would ask for a ransom of twenty talents, Julius Caesar said he could do three impressions and a juggling routine, and a very average rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Then he spat in their faces and promptly demanded they ask for 50 talents.
Now that's negotiating.
He also told them, in his best Liam Neeson voice,
"I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want.
If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.
But what I do have are a very particular set of skills;
skills I have acquired over a very long career.
If you let me go now, that’ll be the end of it.
If you don’t,
I will look for you,
I will find you,
and I will kill you."
6) From nothing, Julius Caesar built an army to hunt and kill those pirates.
After the ransom for his freedom was paid, Julius Caesar was set free. Instead of returning to Rome, he raised a small army of men, gathered a fleet of ships, and pursued the pirates across the country and far out to sea. And then back to land.
He caught up to the pirates, and their fleet, destroyed or captured their ships, imprisoned the men, and then systematically crucified each of them on the beaches as a warning to others.
You don't mess with the Caesar. He looked. He found. He killed.
7. Julius Caesar was a reformer.
He changed the Roman calendar system to the Julian Calendar.
It's why we have 12 months with 365 days a year in our calendar.
To honour himself, Caesar renamed the month he was born in from Quintilis to July (Hmm, that's strange. July bears no resemblance to the word Caesar).
Bonus Fact
Later, completely and utterly jealous of his uncle having a month named after him, Augustus Caesar threw a tantrum and renamed the month Sextilis to August.
Then someone pointed out that July had 31 days and all hell broke loose.
Augustus sent 100,000 of his most highly-trained soldiers on a six month forced-hike through the grim depths of July, June, May and April, before slowing down for a gentle march during the next month.
When they arrived at February, it surrendered immediately.
The month negotiated a settlement.
In return for giving one day to August as a hostage, every four years February could pretend they had it back. The army returned to August where that day has been held prisoner ever since, all so the month of August could have 31 days like Julius Caesar's month of July.

8. On the 15th day of the third month in 44BC, Julius Caesar, the Dictator of Rome, was assassinated by Marcus Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and a whole host of other Roman Senators.

Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the Ides of March (15th March) by a consortium of Roman Senators led by Caesar's friend, Marcus-I-did-Eat-Two-Brutus.
Julius Caesar had been told to Beware The Ides Of March by Gandalf, but chose to ignore the old wizard after he found out he could have just used the eagles to return the ring to the fires of Milton Keynes.
Just before Caesar passed into the shadowy world of gonna-return-as-a-zombie-and-eat-your-face-off, he looked into the eyes of his friend and whispered, "Et Tu, Brutus."
This translates into English as, "Your mamma was a snowblower."
As Evil Emperors go, Caracalla is probably one of the worst, most evil emperors you'll ever come across.
This guy was not just bad.
Not just evil.
He was:

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Liam Neeson Reads A Bedtime Story

I like this clip of Liam Neeson reading a bedtime story for a few reasons. For starters, it's Liam Neeson, and I think he's great, and second, it's my kind of humour and exactly the type of thing I could've written. If only, though. But one can dream.

So, leave me to dream of writing for successful television shows and Liam Neeson, and enjoy the story.

Friday, 13 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Noses

1. The nose isn't just to look pretty on your face and to keep your tongue from being able to lick your eyeballs, it does a lot more. For starters, it helps you to breathe. And breathing is good. And breathing through your nose at night is even better as it keeps you from snoring. Sleepers who snore generally have a problem with tiny pixies who crawl into their noses when they're asleep for a song and dance, and a game of Lick-Your-Boogers. It gets crowded in there with all those pixies, and your nostrils get restricted, forcing you to breathe through your mouth instead. And, at night, it's the sound of air smacking into the back of your mouth, along with the high-pitched singing of the pixie-booger-party, that causes you to snore. 

2. For better or worse, your nose allows you to smell. From the lovely aroma of bacon sandwiches, to the foul, disgusting stench of oranges. And although we can pick up a wide range of smells and stinks, around 10,000 different scents, we have a pretty poor sense of smell compared to most other animals. A dog, for instance, can detect smells 1000 times better than a human. It does, however, have a questionable sense of taste. Yep, talking of licking another dog's food expulsion hatch. That is disgusting. Almost as disgusting as eating an orange.

3. Your nose has an intruder alert defence in the form of sneezing, which is why you shouldn't be afraid of hedgehogs crawling up your nose when you're sunbathing in the park. At the first whiff of an irritant your nose will react and sneeze that spikey ninja at anywhere between 35 and 100mph, and to a distance of between 5 and 30 feet away. So, always cover your nose when you sneeze. You can do some serious harm to someone if they are hit by a super-sonic, nose-ejected hedgehog.

4. At least one of the following facts is true, the rest are just myths:
a) If you pick your nose, your eyes will fall out, bounce down the street, jump down a drain, and implant themselves into one of the camels living in the sewers. 
b) After you sneeze, if someone doesn't say, "Bless You," your soul escapes from your body and plays hopscotch with zombies in the local graveyard.
c) The day after you get your nose pierced, the intelligence agencies are able to pick up your thoughts via a satellite that transmits the information to an alien civilization living on Mars.
d) Men's noses are generally bigger than women's noses.
e) In an average lifetime, a person will grown seven hundred miles of nose hair.
f) The groove from your nose to your upper lip is called the philtrum. 
h) It is impossible to balance more than one Malteser on your philtrum.

Oh, who are we kidding, all those facts are true.

5. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer got his red nose due to an unfortunate accident involving Santa, a vacuum cleaner, and a large oak door that Santa put a spell on to capture peeping-toms.

Today's post was inspired by the fact it's Comic Relief (Red Nose Day) in the UK today. To find out more information on the charity and how it raises and spends donations, and to give a donation yourself, please visit the Comic Relief website:

Thursday, 12 March 2015

5 Fun Facts About Top Gear

3 men in a car: Presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James MayFun Facts About Top Gear
1. Top Gear is watched in over 100 countries and has a global audience of 350 million. It has also made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most watched factual television program ... in the world.
Yes, it even beat out Top Deer, a reality show where Rudolph gets parachuted into a lion enclosure to find out if Santa will rescue him before he gets torn to shreds and eaten.
Not going to spoil the ending of the show for you, but it seems either Santa doesn't actually exist, or he just doesn't like Rudolph very much.
2. Top Gear is filmed in an old aircraft hanger at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England.
One of the primary reasons the producers chose this location was its close proximity to several dozen restaurants and take-aways, which guaranteed a prompt and ultra-quick food delivery service.
The show also uses a temporary racing circuit which, as far fetched as it seems, was not based on a 5-year-old's drawing of a spaceship. It was, in fact, designed by Lotus.
3. When the show was re-launched in 2002, a tame-racing-driver known as The Stig was introduced.
The names of two former Stigs are known, Ben Collins and Perry McCarthy, however, speculation has it that there was more than one Stig during their time on the show.
Even Michael Schumacher was revealed to be the Stig on one show.
The identity of the current Stig is unknown. But, on his second day of filming, the current Stig spent 17 hours trying to revive three hedgehogs after hitting them with a rocket propelled milk float at 260 mph.
It was later pointed out to him that it's near impossible to give a hedgehog mouth-to-mouth resuscitation through a helmet. And that it wasn't the milk float that killed them, it was the Ping-Pong match, spicy curry, and 38 pints of lager the day before.
4. As well as all the stunts, pranks, and mostly messing around, the Top Gear team actually test drive cars.
For example: Jeremy Clarkson tested a lime green Ford Fiesta in a series of real life tests. It consisted of stunts, pranks, and mostly messing around (he was chased through a shopping mall by baddies and helped the Royal Marines with a beach assault).
For the final stunt, I mean "real life" test, they completely waterproofed the Fiesta.
When Ford of China saw the show, they began using the Ford Fiesta's waterproofing as a selling point. That was, until Ford of Europe, the party-poopers, took them out for a romantic meal and midnight dance under the stars to break the news gently that Top Gear wasn't a completely factual show.
"But, what do you mean?" said Ford of China. "It's in the Guinness Book of Records.
5. When Top Gear first aired back in 1977 it was hosted by Noel Edmunds, who later went on to have a successful career opening boxes for stupid people on Deal or No Deal (How is that show still going?
Do you have a strategy on how you will open the boxes? Err, well randomly. It doesn't actually matter).
After its revival, Top Gear was hosted by a trio of Misfits of Science (loved that film, by the way), Jeremy-Don't-Be-Late-With-My-Dinner-Clarkson, James-I-Can-Bore-The-FunStick-Off-A-Donkey-May, and Richard-I-Love-The-Smell-Of-A-Hamster-In-The-Morning-Hammond.
After a "fracas" between Jeremy Clarkson and a producer melted social media and news broadcasters, Clarkson was suspended, along with Top Gear.
After much soul searching, the BBC decided not to renew Jeremy Clarkson's contract. They obviously though the other two, May and Hammond, would continue. What they didn't count on, was the amount of money Amazon Prime would offer the three of them to make a motoring show for the online broadcaster.
Quick Facts About Top Gear
1. The Top Gear Presenters don't actually get any free cars. You'd think they would, but nope. BBC rules prohibit them from receiving gifts of such nature. They have to go buy their own cars from dealers, much like the rest of us mere mortals.
2. Jeremey Clarkson, even though he loves speed, in a car, not up his nose, doesn't have any points on his driving licence.
3. Up until the demise of the popular show, before the less popular one is transmitted with Chris Evans as presenter, Top Gear was so popular it had a two year waiting list to become part of the audience.
4. Top Gear is so popular, and the theme tune so recognisable, 78% of their audience couldn't tell you either the name of the tune or who it was by. Well, it's "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers.
5. What the presenters say about a car can actually matter. After Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the Ford Ka, sales took a nose dose. He said it "looked like a frog".
6. In contrast, after Top Gear broadcast their DB9 vs Public Transport, Aston Martin said they had taken a whole year's worth of orders in just a few days.
7. The Citroen Berlingo apparently also got a huge boost in sales thanks to the praise of Jeremy Clarkson and his fellow presenters.
8. Top Gear might be broadcast in over a hundred countries around the world, but it isn't broadcast in Mexico. The show was banned from the country a few years ago after, let's just say, some very risky and close to the bone comments were broadcast on the show.