Farty's Fortunes

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Outrage Over Charlatanry Claims

Charlatans were outraged today over claims that Charlatanry might actually be an effective treatment for something.

"I went to see a charlatan after conventional medicine failed to cure my baldness," explained Major Buffy Cohen (retired). "The quack made me lie face-down on a couch while he played a tape of whale song, or possibly Rolf Harris playing a didgeridoo, then he waved a crystal over me for a bit and muttered some mumbo jumbo. Didn't make a blind bit of difference, of course, but when I saw the size of the bill a couple of weeks later, it completely cured my hiccups."

The British Association of Charlatans, Quacks and Snake-Oil Representatives in Europe (BACQSORE) have already issued a writ for damage caused to their reputation as complete fraudsters, even although they are not yet sure whether the alleged treatment was for a recognised phony medical condition like restless leg syndrome, having a sloping forehead or pregnancy.

"These allegations are as scurrilous as they are true," said an outraged spokesman for BACQSORE. "Our remedies are world-famous for being proven to be totally ineffective in controlled double-blind clinical trials and we are prepared to stand up in court if need be to refute these unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness using the highest-powered liars, er, lawyers that money can buy. If we could stand up. Which we can't. Bit of a bad back just now. You don't happen to have any painkillers on you, do you? I think I've pulled something. Could you call a doctor? While we're waiting, can I interest you in a couple of gallons of 100% natural snake-oil, er, bio-diesel? Sourced from free-range Guatemalan rock-pythons, guaranteed to stall your engine within 100 yards. Or bring you out in a rash. Whatever."

Simon Singh was unavailable for comment.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

In The Country

So. Back from 1960 Chillingham. Finally able to breathe again after spending three years two whole days cut off from civilisation. Ah, well, it was quiet. Click to enlarge...


We stayed in this tiny six-bedroom hovel, courtesy of the Shepherdess.

One of the several horses dotted about the place.

Can you spot all three horses in this scene?

Yup. Dead centre.

Flowers of some sort. Possibly daises.

Stoopid camera tried to brighten up this shady scene.

Geordie wheelchair. I'm here all night, folks!

Shepherdess: It would be really nice if you could get a photo of the dogs sitting together.
Dogs: What's that? You want us to run off in opposite directions?
Me: Maybe if I throw a ball for them to fetch?
Dogs: We're very good at splitting up to chase things. We're sheepdogs.
Much, much later...

Red sky at night - Windsor's alight.

I'm ready for my close-up now.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Hymen Manoeuvre

So. Just another quiet weekend at Farty Towers. Up at 7:30 on Saturday morning for a pee. Dither over whether to stay up. For about a nanosecond. Wake up again at 9:30, that's more like it. Make bacon sandwiches. You get the idea.

Blah blah blah Britain's Got Talent crap except for that little black girl blah blah.

Blah blah blah Eurovision. Denmark's attempt to clone Ronan Keating - creepy; Germany using a stripper to boost their vote - FAIL. Russia - as host, superb production values; their own entry - not so much. France - completely forgettable1. Spain sitting there all alone on nul points until neighbouring Andorra took pity and gave them twelve. Nope, not political at. all. UK could have done better if Andrew Lloyd Webber had stayed off stage.

Lloyd Webber

And well done to Alistair Darling's love-child on pulling it off for Norway.

Alistair Darling

Love Child

Anyway. Today. I've made roast chicken, parsnips, boiled potatoes, carrots, sweetcorn and gravy, nothing fancy. Mrs F compliments me on my cooking. Little Miss F has just gone outside for some fresh air. Drummer Boy 2 goes to check up on her, then comes running back inside.

"What?" asks Mrs F, "tell me what's wrong!"

Not a word comes from him, although his face has gone a funny colour.

LMF comes running in behind him, all in a panic. By this time he's bending over, facing away from us and pointing to his back. Mrs F realises what's wrong and thumps him on the back. "Has that cleared it?" He shakes his head.

This is where Mr Farty steps up to the mark, puts his nose to the grindstone and leaps into action. I ♥ mixing metaphors. Read this bit from the bottom up.


Step up behind. Hug below ribcage. Squeeze. Hard. Again. Take a bow.

So yeah, I just totally saved someone's life. Fuck me.

Having choked up the piece of chicken that was stuck in his throat, he then showed his Scotch credentials and asked for ice cream.

"Christ, how can you be thinking about pudding at a time like this?" I asked.

"Naw, it's for my sore throat," he croaked. "That bit chicken scratched it on the way up."

So Mrs F called NHS 24 and told them all about our little drama, including me giving DB the Hymen Manoeuvre to dislodge the chicken. "What? Oh, Heimlich. Right." And they asked him to drop in for a checkup.

Anyway, he's just been to A&E3 to get it checked out and they say he'll be fine. Just so long as he remembers to chew before swallowing.

1 No, really. I don't remember the French song. Was it any good?
2 I've decided to call him this at least until he marries my daughter. It's shorter than Potential Second Son-In-Law.
3 ER

Thursday, 14 May 2009

So Near Yet So Far

A short while ago, I submitted an article to top news site NewsArse. Sadly, it was crap they didn't have room to publish it, but I received this very encouraging rejection slip from Newsarse Sumissions [sic]. Hey, it's just like a real newspaper!

Hello everyone,

You are receiving this email after perviously [sic] submitting an article for consideration at Newsarse.com.

First of all, thank you for sending them in. I do read every single submission (the number of which stands at just over 300, and growing daily - so my apologies if you do not get a personal response).

Of those 300 or so submissions I have used 31 to date, some of which have been credited on the site, while others have specifically requested no mention of their name. This will give you some idea of the proportion of stories used, so please don't lose heart if I haven't used one of yours.

My reason for writing to you is to offer encouragement, as I see lots of genuinely funny material, but sometimes it's just not quite 'right' for NewsArse. So, I thought it might be helpful to offer some feedback on the specifics of what I'm looking for.

1. Topicality always takes precedence. If your article is about a well-known current news story, it has a much better chance of being used.
2. If you have an idea for a topical story, but not the time to write it up, send it in anyway. I will pass it on to a writer and you will still receive a credit if it's used.
3. Make it funny. This sounds a bit obvious, no? But think about who the target of the joke is. NewsArse is about satirising current affairs, so focus on the 'target' in your take on events. Who are you poking fun of [sic]? If something strikes you as ridiculous, ask yourself why? After reading your story, it should be blatantly obvious who the butt of the joke is.
3. It should read like a genuine news story. A good headline with a clear indication of the joke helps enormously. The first paragraph should outline the story and potentially the joke itself. Use as many fake quotes as you can. If you are looking for style guidance then look at existing NewsArse stories, or even the news.bbc.co.uk site. There is a reason I mimic their style - they do it best.
4. 200-250 words is a guideline. We've used articles as short as 170, and as long as 500. But if you're going to deviate from that 250-word guideline, it had better be good!
5. Include your preferred method of credit. Do you want me to link back to somewhere on the Internet? Use a different name? It saves me time chasing you if it's in the article already.

And now a little word on advertising. There are a couple of advertisers monitoring our traffic at the moment as they consider placing paying adverts in the next month or so. At that time I will be in a position to share any revenue earned with the authors whose material I use. Do not get too excited, as this is likely to very
small amounts at first, possibly even pennies. However, I am already able to track how many times a post is read, so it will be easy to share this information with you, the authors. Exact payment methods will be defined once the advertisers are in place, though their interest is obviously based on the continued growth of the site. In short, the more visitors the sites get, the more chance of you being
paid for a submission. So please tell all your friends about the site!

In short, keep the stories coming in and take note of the feedback above. I would dearly love to use more of your material.

Kind regards,

The Editor
Treating all news like ARSE.

PS - Feel free to use this address for submissions from now on rather than the form on the site. The form was used to stop spam emails, and none of you have offered to sell me V1agra so far...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Blue Poppies

Or something. I liked them.


Friday, 8 May 2009

Computer Terms Illustrated #28











Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Science Alert

Scienticians in California have announced that they have developed a working invisibility cloak, just in time for the latest Star Trek movie. Previous attempts used metals which absorb some of the light and so reveal the location of the cloaked object, but the current meta-materials are totally state-of-the-art.

"The cloak's design cancels out the distortion produced by the bulge of the object underneath, bending light around it - like water around a rock - and giving the illusion of a flattened surface," says the blurb on the BBC website.

See if you can guess what the hidden object is, then click on the image to see if you were right.


Typo Tuesday

If you're following me on Twitter you'll have seen this already. For the rest of you - can you guess what it is yet?


And if there's anything else you'd like to see illustrated, drop me a line.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Computer Terms Illustrated #27

Electronic Male


Uninterruptable Power Supply



Twit Pic

Jagged Array



Deep Packet Inspection

Do These People Even Read My Blog?

I've just been interviewed by the Pakistani Spectator. If I'd thought they would actually publish it, I probably would have put some more thought into it and been sensible instead of umm-ing, ah-ing, jingling my keys in my pocket and pretending not to know where Pakistan is. Ho hum.

Dear and respected, I am so glad to inform your that we have published your fine interview. I hope that it benefits you, us and the whole of blogosphere. Would you please be kind enough to mention your interview at your blog for your readers?

We would also like to exchange a link with you in the blogroll please. If you approve, please let us know so that we could include your link in our blogroll.

If you would like to introduce us some bloggers, whom we should interview, then please let us know their emails or blog address.

Please stay in touch, and guide us in our blogging journey. We really need your consistent and continuous guidance and support.

Thanks a lot from the roots of heart.

If you like, follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ghazala_khan

best regards,

Ghazala Khan
The Pakistani Spectator

So yeah. Just give them a shout if you'd like to be interviewed next. If they'll publish me, they must have very low standards highly discerning tastes. Whatever.