Monday, 5 July 2010

England celebrates 4th of July

England was engaged in a national holiday yesterday, to celebrate the anniversary of the country's independence from the minor colonial establishment now known as the United States of America.

Fireworks were released across the land, and revellers spent much of the day in a jubilant stupor, as is traditional on this day (as well as on 40-50 other days, or more in certain local areas) each year. This year marked the 234th such festival, since King George III finally managed to shake off those pesky trans-atlantic freeloaders in 1776.

As is also customary among the English on the 4th of July, nobody saw any need to be bitter or resentful about the fact that these colonies have gone on to do sort of alright without us, I suppose.

There was also a complete absence of sarcasm or irony directed at the so-called United States, in accordance with the well-known British character.

News from across the ocean has been scarce for the past couple of centuries, as the colonies very rarely write to let us know how we're doing, particularly since we asked them not to. But it seems as though they're struggling a bit at the moment financially, the poor things, and judging by how many fights they seem to keep getting into lately I think they could have fallen in with a bad crowd.

Nevertheless, as was evinced yesterday, the prevailing attitude among most of Europe is that we're doing quite well without them, thank you very much. The fact that we're fine and didn't need that stupid continent anyway was celebrated with a record 6,158 pyrotechnic-related injuries over the weekend, including 223 fatal accidents.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Holy Grail found in Bromley

The Holy Grail was discovered yesterday in a theatre in Bromley, ending centuries of speculation and mystery surrounding its fate.

The sacred object central to Christian tradition, said to be the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper, has been the subject of myth, legend, conspiracy, fable, and fantasy for nearly two millennia. Although several churches throughout the ages have claimed to possess the Grail, the truth had never been finally settled.

But now, thanks to the bravery and dedication of Arthur, King of the Britons, and his loyal knights, the Grail has at last been found, and the final chapter has closed on an epoch of enigma.

Their quest was an arduous one, and will no doubt be the subject of far greater ballads than the brief recounting I can offer here. The noble king was mocked by rude French people, withstood a bovine catapult onslaught, had "Ni" shouted at him, was politically lectured at by disgruntled peasants, did battle with a surprisingly persistent black knight, and fearlessly challenged an evil rabbit in combat.

It was after this last foe was vanquished that they at last found the clue which led them to discover the Grail, under the seat of an entirely unsuspecting and rather shaken theatre-goer.

Although of course most of the credit must lie with His Majesty the King and his bold adventurers, this man was also fortunate enough to briefly become a part of a quest for the Grail, and joined the knights as they celebrated this momentous victory.

In recognition of this honour, he was presented with a certificate acknowledging him as the Best Peasant, and a tin of spam, and was applauded by hundreds of onlookers.

(Inspired by what actually, genuinely happened to me when I went to see Spamalot at the Churchill Theatre last night. Seriously. There'll be a more straight-forwardly detailed write-up somewhere else this weekend.)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The news returns tomorrow

In the interest of remaining true to this blog's name and being half-truthful:

I have had a very exciting and eventful evening ... and ... This blog is totally going to be updated as normal with a proper entry today.

You do the maths.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tennis match wastes substantial chunk of blogger's life

A new world record was set last week when a tennis match went on for fucking ever.

Your intrepid reporter was sat in an uncomfortable plastic chair for, like, days to report on the big sporting events at Wimbledon, but it was just the same thing going on and on and on until I was seriously contemplating ways to take my own life.

Because of some stupid rule that means you can't win by only one point, or something, the last set had to keep on going until they'd played 138 games. Seriously, a hundred and thirty-eight games of tennis, just in that last set. You know how many games they'd played in the first four sets, in total? Forty-five.

You could easily get a complete match finished in well under 138 games. In fact, that's just what's happened in every tennis match that's ever been played before.

And have you seen how monotonous that game is? The ball goes over the net one way, then it goes back over the net the other way. And so on. For three days. Sometimes it'll go into the net instead, or just bounce away without being hit at all. This is the glittering variety of the sport that captures the nation every sodding summer.

Cricketers were shaking their heads with impatience by the end, unable to believe that a single sporting event could be dragged out so interminably. Fucking cricketers.

Other spectators who'd paid huge sums of money for live tickets were thrilled and enraptured by the days-long ordeal, and raved wildly about the excitement of watching the same two people do the same damn thing for three actual days before they came to any kind of resolution on the massively important issue of which one of them is fractionally better at tennis than the other.

One such spectator, Malexander Testiclave, said: nothing, because I've just made him up, because I didn't want to drag out the agony any longer by hanging around interviewing people, because fuck tennis.

I am so quitting once I've filed this. I bet they don't even read or edit it before putting it out. Fuck this place.

(inspired by this)

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Cup finishes

The world cup ended rather anti-climactically last week, as everybody just stopped playing and nobody won.

For decades, dozens of football teams from all over the world have come together every four years to compete in the biggest sporting event on the planet. But this year, once again, the tournament was ceased in mid-swing and no further football of note occurred.

The group matches were generally well received by the hundreds of millions of global football fans, and so it surprised many commentators that everyone should have simply packed up their vuvuzelas and stopped playing football completely with such suddenness, at around 6pm local time on Sunday.

"I think we've taken this thing as far as we can," said FIFA spokesman Grebthok Bedgarville. "There's no point dragging it out any longer. If we do too much now, we just won't be in the mood for another one in 2014."

When asked whether it wasn't worth continuing with the last few matches for the benefit of those fans who might be interested in the final outcome, Bedgarville responded: "Call me Anglo-centric, but does anyone really care?"

The decision to just not bother with the rest of the World Cup follows a precedent set by the cancellation of a series of other ongoing projects. These have included: not worrying about counting up all those Olympic medals; reminding everyone that the only important part of Eurovision is having a nice sing-along; and firmly insisting that there's really no need to go and check how much of the British Empire is left these days.

Monday, 28 June 2010

DHT servers attacked by hacker pirate zombie robot Nazis

The internet was plunged into chaos last week as the servers responsible for hosting The Daily Half-Truth - among other, less bullshit-oriented websites - were attacked and taken offline.

Fortunately, no information was permanently lost, and down-time was minimal during the outage, but no new information could be uploaded for several days. Little is currently known about the perpetrators of this criminal attack, but they are presumed to be a swarthy and ruthless team of hacker pirate zombie robots who are also Nazis.

Claims that they may also be French are, at this time, unconfirmed.

One of the Half-Truth's webmonkey geek lords, Jamien Bapplebrumble, witnessed the brutal cyber-attack.

"It was horrible," he said. "They sent some kind of evil, undead, sentient program across the internet and onto our website, where it persuaded the servers that they were an inferior race and must be cleansed for the benefit of the purity of cyberspace. I wish I knew more about computers, because then I might have realised that this is completely impossible and doesn't even make sense. But, as it was, it completely crippled the whole site."

Added Bapplebrumble: "And it just didn't stop until I switched it off and on again."

Our resident experts say that the problem is now largely under control, but were cagey about the possibility of another similar attack in the future.

"Who knows what nightmarish creatures might strike next time?" asked Pinder Stobbins, our head of online security who's going to be fired if he keeps asking that kind of rhetorical question. "Maybe next week we'll have to face down a pack of ferocious terrorist alien vampire raptors who want to eat all the news. There's no way to be sure."

(inspired by look I was taking a fucking holiday, give me a break)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

God declines request to clean up gulf

It was announced today that God has turned down the State of Louisiana's official request for assistance in cleaning up the oil spill that continues to devastate the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, the Louisiana State Senate had unanimously voted to petition the creator of the Universe and almighty King of Kings for assistance, and filed the formal request that afternoon. Because of his notoriously hectic schedule, nobody was expecting a reply this soon, but the response that arrived today was an unequivocal "No."

Senate spokesman Gregg McWeinstein expressed disappointment but understanding at the result.

"We were really hoping that God might see fit to providing some sort of succour in our time of need," he said. "It's a terrible situation, doing untold damage to the environment, and our own efforts so far have done little to help. The fact that everyone seems to think praying is our best option now should indicate just how desperate we are.

"Still, we're not too surprised," he went on. "I'm sure we'll all find a way to rationalise God's absence in this crisis, as in so many others. We don't seem to hold it against him that he lets millions of Africans die of AIDS every year, so it'd be a bit petty to start resenting his inactivity over something this."

God, as has often been the case on previous occasions when the Half-Truth has approached him, was not available for comment. He has not yet offered any further explanation of his decision to stay out of things and just act like he's not there.

(inspired by this)

Monday, 21 June 2010

UK Emergency budgie launched

George Osborne has described the necessity of an "emergency budgie" in order to save the UK's economy from collapse.

The Chancellor announced recently that urgently enlisting the aid of a type of Australian parrot - specifically a member of the species Melopsittacus undulatus - was the only way to prevent a serious financial meltdown in this country.

It is currently unclear exactly how Mr Osborne intends to employ a small bird in setting our nation back on the path to economic recovery, but he has insisted that he knows what he's doing, and will be setting out a four-year plan in the coming days.

Although budgies are often kept as pets, they have rarely received such high-profile acclaim as to be asked to rescue the infrastructure of an entire country. Animal sanctuary worker Patricia Fongletrot reacted to the news with particular-

Um. Hang on...

...Budget. He said an emergency budget. Fuck.

Oh, fuck.

I am so fired.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Science "not just another worldview", scientists discover

Scientists have examined evidence, analysed data, rigorously tested hypotheses, and concluded that science is not simply an alternative worldview, on an equal footing to other ideas such as religion, like some fucking hippies want to think.

Experts in understanding how things work have collaborated globally to form this theory, which they say is among the soundest of conclusions yet reached by modern science. They claim to have shown that a scientific approach to the world, unlike all that other bullshit that people buy into, is the only way to reliably come to a genuine understanding of the universe.

Professor Newbert Isaacstein - whose official title indicates that he possesses academic qualifications, and therefore probably knows what the fuck he's talking about - explained the importance of this discovery in a press conference this afternoon.

"Contrary to popular belief," he said, speaking slowly so that the people who needed this explained to them could keep up, "it's simply not the case that some aspects of the world fall under the demesne of science, and some other bits are best addressed by, I don't know, religion, or whatever other crap you've fallen for. If you're not being scientific about the way you look at something, there's no way to tell you're not full of it.

Continued Issacstein, "These are very exciting and conclusive results, which I fully expect to have absolutely no impact at all on the credulous wishy-washy idiots who want to keep believing whatever tripe they heard on Oprah."

There has already been some backlash against this announcement, but only from exactly the kind of vaguely spiritual cretins who read their horoscopes carefully every day and just go to prove the scientists' point. Alternative medicine aficionado and professional strawman Storm has already whined a reaction:

"These scientists think that they can know everything there is to know about something, and say that psychics and ghosts don't exist just because they can't find any 'evidence' for them when they look for it under so-called 'carefully controlled conditions', but they can't appreciate the unique value of personal objective experience," said the irony-free zone in response to today's announcement. It's thought that she blathered on some more after that, but nobody was really listening.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Perez Hilton explains Miley Cyrus prank

Perez Hilton has publicly come clean this week, and admitted that Miley Cyrus is in fact just a hoax.

The blogger and television personality, perhaps best known for his celebrity gossip website, stirred controversy earlier in the week by posting a picture to his Twitter feed, which allegedly depicted teen sensation Miley Cyrus not wearing underwear. This provoked widespread condemnation, with numerous online commentators outraged that Hilton would spread explicit material of an underage girl, and also that the photo was really grainy and you couldn't even see anything.

However, in a new explanatory video, Hilton has owned up to the prank, and admitted that Miley Cyrus has been a fabrication all along.

"I, like, totally got all you suckers!" he exclaimed in the clip uploaded to YouTube this afternoon. "C'mon, what were you guys thinking? Miley Cyrus? Sure, that totally sounds like a real name! Man, I had you all going for years!"

Reaction among the millions of Miley Cyrus fans worldwide has been mixed, with some expressing annoyance at their time being wasted for "a meaningless joke", while others seemed more willing to join into the spirit of the humour.

Perhaps most appreciative of the prank have been those who have worked with "Miley" in recent years, such as Hannah Montana co-star Emily Osment.

"Oh God, I laughed for like an hour when I found out," said Osment when asked for her reaction to the news. "It was amazing, I was so totally taken in. I have no idea how Perez did it.

"Seriously," she added, "the logistics just seem to make no sense. But it was so funny!"

No statement from Miley's "father", country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus, has yet been forthcoming. Sources close to the singer suggest that he was not in on the joke, and may not be taking the news as well as might have been hoped.

(inspired by this)

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Jesus statue destroyed by lightning

A 60-foot tall sculpture of Jesus Christ was struck by lightning and burned down this week, as a direct result of the wrathful vengeance of the Lord our God.

The idolatrous depiction titled King of Kings, and known colloquially as "Touchdown Jesus", was almost completely destroyed in the resulting fire, leaving the metal frame as the only remnant of this grave offence unto the Lord. God himself was unavailable for comment, and so the exact reason for his fury that led to this destructive act remains unknown.

One curious theory has been attracting some comment, however. The unusual notion has been put forward that this may have been merely a natural occurrence, and not the action of an irate deity at all.

"I believe that lightning is, in fact, an atmospheric discharge of electrical energy," said Yementine Igneous, who described himself as a 'Scientist', although no record could be found of a god named Scien or any of his worshippers ever existing. "It can occur all over the world, all the time, whenever the right meteorological conditions exist. Nature is a great and powerful force, which you and your gods would be wise to respect."

He then abruptly yelled: "Smite the believer! Drive out the inf... um... drive out the fidel!" He continued along similar lines, and began meandering away down the road.

Such crackpot theories are not taken seriously by respectable theographers, who recognise the far more parsimonious and sensible explanation - that God has expressed his displeasure with this inadequate monument to his superior might - and are hastening to act in accordance with this expression of God's wishes.

What is less generally agreed upon, however, is how the faithful should best respond to this event. Commentators are divided as to whether it should be read as a wider condemnation of all such statues, even of more modest size.

"Everyone knows that God will strike down with fire from above that which displeases him," said Christoby Vex, the resident Ineffable Professor of St. Othello's College, Cambford. "But was King of Kings the only such statue which he judged a blight on his perfect glory? Did this one sculpture simply reach too far, going beyond the bounds of where it is right for mankind to explore? Or was this merely the most symbolic target against which God chose to express his ire at all blasphemously imperfect depictions of the beauteous visage of his Son? The answer is not clear without deep prayer and contemplation. The Lord moves in mysterious ways."

Added Vex, "It's a real fucker sometimes, that."

Several other large statues of Jesus in various poses of transcendent wisdom and greatness are being dismantled all over the country, in clear obedience of God's will. There are also numerous reports of people taking down the crucifixes on the walls of their homes and burning them, but spokespeople from all the major theographical think tanks have issued reports emphasising that this is probably not necessary.

(inspired by this)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

World vuvuzela championship hots up

Sports fans the world over have been watching with keen interest the ongoing Vuvuzela World Cup this week.

The long thin instrument is known as a "stadium horn" in South Africa, where it has formed the basis of one of the most popular sports in the country. With the world championships now underway, the rest of the world has also been sitting up and taking note of its distinctive buzzing monotone.

Despite having made it to the final rounds of the World Cup, many English sports fans were only recently made aware that their home nation even had an official vuvuzela team. But there can be no doubting it now, as crowds full of players have been competing in this grand tournament to see who can vuvuzel the best.

"England are the vuzuveling kings!" slurred Garthunkel Manticore, an inebriated but dedicated England supporter, as he stumbled away from the local pub at around 2am. "We're definitely gonna play those horn thingies the loudest... or furthest... or whatever it is they're trying to do. 'Course we're the best! We're England!

"Eng-er-lund!" he added.

The competitive vuvuzeliers in South Africa are being spurred on in their attempts to cause each other's eardrums serious and permanent physical damage by a minor, barely noticed spectator sport being acted out on some nearby grass by the teams' eager mascots. But the occasional actions of these "footballers", as they are locally known, have received far less coverage than the 127-decibel, locust swarm-esque cones of noise. They're all vuvuzeling like crazy over there, and there's no stopping them.

Come on Eng-er-lund!

(inspired by this)

Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup sparks international interest in "football"

The sport of football has been receiving unprecedented news coverage recently, as a worldwide tournament began this week.

The fictional sport, invented by author J.B. Wrigglesworthy in his popular Chrimberley Jones series of children's stories, was never intended to be played in the real world. But avid devotees of the series (now seventy-three books long) began setting up informal matches, based on the rules laid out by Wrigglesworthy, and these soon attracted international success.

Games of football can last up to two or three days, and so scheduling an international competition, between teams from dozens of countries, has proved a logistical nightmare for the organisers. However, the passion felt for the sport by thousands of amateur and professional players, as well as millions of fans, has provided the World Cup project with an unstoppable momentum.

Many players of more traditional sports are supportive of the growing football movement. Professional quidditch player Jimothy Kendalmint, for instance, is an outspoken football enthusiast.

"It's a great game," he said, "and it deserves our support to help keep it going. With something like quidditch, which has been a traditional pastime in this country for centuries, you can always rely on your established fanbase. But football's still getting off the ground, so it's really inspiring to see this World Cup idea doing so well.

"Plus, with quidditch there's always the worry of it becoming too elitist. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to a magical school and learn to fly broomsticks, so there's a danger that it ends up being exclusive or inaccessible. Football's much easier for anyone to get into. You just get a ball and start kicking it around.

"In retrospect, it's surprising nobody thought of it sooner," he added.

Characters in the Chrimberley Jones series also believe in a form of reincarnation, in which those who are pure of heart are rewarded in the afterlife, by a blissful eternity in a picturesque Welsh town. The name "football" itself comes from an abbreviation of the phrase: "Focus Only On The Beauty Awaiting you when you pass from this world and are reborn in LLanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch."

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pope apologises for Catholic abuse scandal

Pope Benedict has officially apologised to God for the multiple abuses of children committed under his watch, it has been announced today.

This apology marks the beginning of an extended campaign by the Vatican, in which the head of the Catholic church has vowed to beg forgiveness in turn from each of the parties wronged by the actions of numerous Catholic officials over the past years and decades.

His Holiness has first given obeisance to God Almighty, who is no doubt mightily offended at the stain on the legacy of his holy church by the actions of thousands of child-abusing priests. His next grovelling atonement will be to all members of the Catholic church, for being unfairly tarred with the horrific association of child abuse.

Next, either later this year or in early 2011, the Pope will tell the members of all other Christian sects how terribly sorry he is for any negative repercussions they might have faced, for such horrific acts as the systematic raping of children and the ensuing cover-ups going on within the religion to which they too belong.

Further targets of heart-felt and sorrowful confessions to be issued by Pope Benedict include: his predecessors to the role of Pope, whom he feels he has let down with his actions and failed to live up to their shining examples; the journalists and media organisations who have had to repeatedly and publicly discuss this traumatic subject; the thousands of children who were raped by Catholic priests and whose lives and families were torn apart due to the actions of a horde of sick heartless bastards and the self-serving complacency of the institution behind them; Jews (on a largely unrelated matter); and God again.

Catholic commentators worldwide have praised the Pope's humility and sense of perspective at what must be a difficult time.

(inspired by this)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

iPhone version 4 released

Mere days after the much-hyped iPad hit UK stores, Apple have released a new version of the iPhone, just to fuck with you.

Consumers are struggling to keep up the frantic pace being set by our corporate overlords, but many are successfully pulling together the funds and resources needed to continue looking cool, in the never-ending race against nerd fashion.

General agreement among followers is that you ought to be out getting your new iPhone right now, if you don't want to look like a dick.

"If you're still using one of the old iPhones that was cool last week, you're going to have at least three months of everyone thinking you're a complete tool, until the next new one," said technophile and antiphilatelist Marmaduke Hislop. "Nobody's using those things any more. All those thousands of people still using their slightly older iPhones to do almost everything my new $600 advance model can do? They're nobodies.

"Wait," he added, "are you writing this down? On, like, paper? Oh, sorry, I didn't realise this interview was for a Renn Fayre quarterly."

Other followers of the grand high Lords of Apple are less enthused, though continue to profess their devotion to their glorious leaders with as much fervour as they can muster. Venetia Pufflehuff, a systems analyst from Devon, looked haggard as she tried to speak to us.

"They told me there's a new thing," she explained. "Old things not good any more. I think this one's another iPhone. Maybe it will help my children eat.

"Do you want an iPhone 3GS? I need the money for the new thing, but it's still good... I mean, it... it can still..." Ms Pufflehuff tried to continue, but broke off into incoherent sobs.

The new iPhone launches worldwide this month, and Apple are confident that the numbers of associated muggings, smash-and-grabs, riots, and suicides will all be significantly down on last time.

(inspired by this)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Special edition - Big Brother final season begins

The television show Big Brother returns to screens in the UK this week, for what Channel 4 has announced will be the last time.

Although they've tried to keep all the details carefully under wraps, the Daily Half-Truth can provide an exclusive sneak preview of exactly who will be entering the famous house tonight.

The Housemates

Mark - 31-year-old gay man. Bucks the Big Brother trend by having another facet to his personality other than being so very, very gay.

Avril - 22-year-old red-headed student from Buckinghamshire. Holds the UK record for most ping-pong balls caught in her vagina from someone else's vagina.

Lee - 28-year-old PR executive. Overtly seeking the destruction of all non-white races.

Alyss - 42-year-old level-12 witch. Heads a coven in Somerset. On the show to try to improve the public's perception and educate them about practitioners of Wicca.

Braa'tuk - 3,000-year-old Mesopotamian spirit. Currently residing in the body of a small tabby cat. Entering in conjunction with Alyss. Likes string.

Roxie - 19-year-old biochemistry PhD student. Wants to show the world that there's another side to her, and she's more than just an intelligent human being. She's also a blonde with big tits.

David - 27-year-old engineer. The token sane one.

Sarah - 29-year-old office manager. The token incredibly touchy and aggressive one.

Patrick - 54-year-old teacher. Divorced four times. Mentioned being "on a register", but not legally obliged to tell us which one. Hopes to establish a successful media career after leaving the house, possibly as a children's TV presenter.

Kiki - 33-year-old life coach. Raising awareness of the common stigma against people born without a torso. Favourite to win.

Who's your favourite? Watch tonight to see them enter the house, and find out!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rush Limbaugh to marry again

It was announced this weekend that a new breeding programme is to be instigated for conservative commentator and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

33-year-old biological researcher Kathryn Rogers proposed the scheme, after spending several years familiarising herself with the Limbaugh creature in its native environment. Hers will be the fourth attempt to assist it in producing offspring.

She faces much criticism for this move, as a growing movement has recently sought to condemn any such attempts. In 2006, a minority extremist fringe declared that any efforts to breed Rush Limbaugh, or in any way exacerbate the condition of his genetic lineage, should be criminalised and punishable by up to ten years in jail. This fringe group is now occupied by approximately 83% of the planet's adult population.

But Rogers is pressing on with her project, insisting that her personal emotional attachment to the creature is her primary motivation, and she is unmoved by the humanitarian concerns raised by the possibility of the rest of us having to put up with the offspring of this wretched beast.

"Oh... oh, dear Lord," said Benedict Wafflehaus, an exotic doorknob salesman from Baltimore, on hearing about the programme. "That is barbaric. That is an affront to God. The things I'm picturing now would make the baby Jesus cry, and then shit himself. Why would anyone want to do that?"

Mr Wafflehaus wandered off looking rather unwell before the interview could continue, saying something about watching The Human Centipede to scrub his brain clean.

Although this sickening research has been widely condemned, there are those who insist that this is no particular reason to be concerned. Donnie Cantankerank, a liberal blogger who has been scorned personally on Limbaugh's radio show, says that the breeding programme is a very minor concern when viewed in context.

"This is a guy who argued against giving emergency aid to Haiti, wants to re-introduce racial segregation, and compared the Abu Ghraib atrocities to a fraternity prank," he pointed out. "A lot of people consider this man the de facto leader of the Republican party. And we're worrying about his hideous, disgusting sex life? Please."

Whether or not these examples of Rush Limbaugh's deplorable status as a hateful excuse for a human being will, in the long-term, prove to be a more valid or entertaining source of criticism than his repulsive physical presence, remains to be seen.

(inspired by this)

Monday, 7 June 2010

14-year-old wins national spelling bee

This year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, an annual spelling competition in the United States, was won on Friday by 14-year-old Anamika Veeramani from Ohio.

Lexicographical researchers have lauded this achievement as a major advancement in the study of the spelling of English words, and highlighted the importance of Veeramani's new discoveries in this field of research. She has been offered a $30,000 grant to conduct further study.

"Ms Veeramani has already made substantial progress with her impressive body of work," said Karen Gruntfuggly-Smith, a dictionarologist with the University of Springfield, and one of the Bee's organisers. "Her award is well deserved for the discovery of the correct spelling of 'stromuhr', and we are optimistic that she will be able to uncover many more exciting spellings previously unknown to science, with access to the right funding and resources."

Professor Gruntfuggly-Smith has been involved with the Bee since 1987, when the word "staphylococci" was successfully spelt for the first time by that year's winner. "That was really special to be a part of," she recalls. "I mean, what kind of state would modern medical research be in, if dedicated spellers hadn't made that fascinating discovery?"

"An untidy and borderline illegible one," she suggested.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee continues to grip the country's attention every year, and much stock is set in its potential for future discovery. It is hoped by some that future winners might finally provide us with answers as to how to spell "flocinocinihilipillification" or "parascavedekatreaphobia" correctly, perhaps even by the end of this decade.

(inspired by this, and assisted by this)

Friday, 4 June 2010

McDonald's collectable glasses recalled

Fast food chain McDonald's has recalled millions of drinking glasses which may contain cadmium on their painted designs, it was announced today.

This latest move to deny children of the tasty chemicals they so crave has been widely criticised, particularly by the under-9s. Early polling data reveals that, following this decision, up to 72% of children agree with the assessment of McDonald's as "big meanies".

Parents are also less than impressed by the unreasonableness of this decision. Miffy Fotheringay, a bioactivimetrographist and mother of three, was dismayed at the lack of cadmium-painted drinks containers when getting lunch for her spawn earlier today.

"I think it's disgraceful the way this big corporation thinks it can shatter my children's hopes and dreams," she said. "All they've ever wanted is to drink hyper-sweetened carbonated beverages from a glass with that cartoon Scotch fellow on the side and lap up the delicious cadmium residue. They were just saying so this morning."

"And anyway," she explained, "it's in batteries. I've seen it written on the sides. So it'll give them energy. That's science. McDonald's are tyrants who want my poor babies to grow so weak and feeble they can't even fetch me my cigarettes."

A spokesman for McDonald's was not available for comment as the Half-Truth went to press, but I bet he'd have said something really horrid like: "Cry all you want, children, but I've taken away all your delicious cadmium-shakes, and you're not getting them back! Mwahahaha!"

"And Christmas is cancelled!" he would probably have added.

(inspired by this)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Gaza flotilla raid stirs international controversy

The government of Israel have responded to the seizure of an aid convoy by the Israeli navy on Monday. The convoy was carrying much-needed supplies to Gaza, and the raid resulted in the deaths of nine people aboard.

The actions of Israeli forces have caused great controversy and global discussion. But a statement made by the Israeli government earlier today has, much to everyone's surprise, acknowledged at least partial culpability, and admitted responsibility for grievous errors on behalf of the government of Israel.

Government spokesmen stressed the need for a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident, and acknowledged the very real possibility that their own country was at fault.

Officials from other governments, as well as news reporters and journalists, are still unsure of how to respond to this development, and the press room in which it was announced was filled with many uncertain exchanged glances. But a growing consensus is forming that, contrary to the commonly socially acceptable notion, it may be okay to criticise Israel this time.

This shift in tensions has been welcomed by those working toward achieving a Middle Eastern peace accord.

"This is an important landmark we've reached today," said Iris Kobblepop, Professor of Foreign Politics at the University of Liff. "Israel have acknowledged that they are not always totally above blame, and perhaps this will make it easier for others to objectively assess Israeli politics and make legitimate and rational criticisms in future, without automatically being branded as anti-Semitic."

"However much you support their right to exist, nobody should be above reproach if they act like dicks," she summarised.

Actor Lem Bigson's response was of a somewhat different tone.

"It's gratifying to see the importance of this event being recognised worldwide, and it's about time everyone started to acknowledge the role of the Jews in the conspiracy of global oppression," he said, but he was quickly shushed by several of his colleagues, and his comments were described by onlookers as "really not helping, dude".

(inspired by this - and honestly, I'm aware of how out of my depth I am and have no idea what I'm satirising or whether I'm trying to make some sort of point, so don't worry about it too much)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Al & Tipper Gore separate

Former US Vice President Al Gore has split from his wife of 40 years, according to a surprise announcement made yesterday.

The decision was originally said to be "amicable" and "a shared decision" - but today the former Democratic Presidential candidate complained bitterly that his wife was "impossible to deal with".

"That woman is never happy with anything I do," Gore told The Daily Half-Truth this morning. "You would not believe the lengths I went to, trying to earn her approval. All that environmental stuff, that was all her idea. She said she couldn't be with a man who wasn't passionately committed to the future of our planet, and kept saying how much it'd impress her if I proved how much I cared."

"Well, I won a goddamn Nobel Prize!" he continued angrily. "They don't hand those out in cereal boxes, you know! I got a big gold medallion saying that I was the best at peace that year, out of everyone. And she just sniffed and said something about how Norman Borlaug didn't need any showy jewellery to save a billion lives."

"And that's why this interview, along with all my public appearances in the future, is taking place on this petrol-driven hovercraft, on my way to my massive house where I leave the lights on all the time and keep several thousand rubber tyres constantly burning in the back yard. Because fuck it, y'know?"

Mr Gore went on to describe the many other carbon-heavy luxuries which he intends to allow himself as of today, interspersed with bursts of manic laughter and occasional muttered curses that sounded like "Norman fucking Borlaug".

In addition, just before today's Half-Truth went to press, it was reported that Gore had been seen boarding a private jet and instructing somebody to "crank up that smog". Also said to be on the plane were Gavin Henson, who recently separated from singer Charlotte Church, and Microsoft Windows, which suffered a very public humiliation this week when search engine Google terminated the pair's relationship.

(inspired by this, this, and this.)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Facebook plagued by privacy concerns

A growing campaign on the internet is demanding that Facebook declassify its closely guarded privacy policy, and allow users to read the contract which they all agree to on signing up.

Facebook has been unique among social networking sites for years, in that it makes its users agree to abide by a completely secret policy in order to create an account on the site. New registrants are presented with a large page titled "TERMS OF USAGE", several hundred lines of unreadable censored text, and a space for their digital signature at the bottom.

Although this has been an uncontroversial scheme before now, in recent weeks there has been increased concern that Facebook may be using this security black hole for nefarious purposes. Some users believe they should be given more information on what they're agreeing to, before signing a legally binding contract.

"People should be more aware of what rights they're signing away when interacting with social media," said Doctor Coryow, an oncologist and copyright puncher from Nebraska. "This secret agreement could include a promise to keep all your private information confidential, and may provide a strong ethical code of practice. Or it might be a pledge to drown a kitten every time someone accepts an invitation to join Mafia Wars. Until they introduce some transparency to the process, there's no way for us to know."

"Seriously," he added, "am I the only one who's noticed all these drowned kittens turning up lately? That can't be good."

Facebook have not yet released a statement on the subject, but a spokesman recently reassured users that any secrets Facebook felt obliged to keep confidential were "for your own good". He also suggested that, if we were using online social media to be a part of any discussion that we wouldn't want permanently stored on a CIA file or emailed directly to our mothers, then "maybe you shouldn't be using it".

(inspired by [redacted])

Monday, 31 May 2010

Oil still flooding into Gulf of Mexico

Oil company executives can't believe their luck, as a fissure in the ocean surface off the coast of Louisiana continues to pump millions of gallons of rich, sumptuous, delicious, life-giving oil directly into the ocean.

In a statement released today, BP - formerly Brutish Pedrolinum, the energy company currently leasing the oil rig situated above this fortuitous discovery - expressed their delight, and pledged to make the most of this rare opportunity.

"It's not every day that you can expect such a monumental find as this," said a spokesman earlier. "I mean, the stuff's everywhere! You can see it from space! We're going to have a tough time knowing what to do with all this oil - and as a multinational oil company, you'd think we'd be well prepared with good ideas on that front."

Nay-sayers and doom-mongers have been tediously trying to put a damper on the general atmosphere of good cheer, claiming that the sea is an inappropriate place for millions of gallons of crude oil to be. Some have even suggested that its presence might be doing some sort of harm.

"The ocean is a delicately balanced eco-system," moaned Jeanette Crispyduck, some sort of dolphin-hugging environmentophile. "Spilling up to 100,000 barrels of oil into it every day will wreak havoc on the wildlife, and could have catastrophic consequences to life on this planet."

But most people believe that this wonderful new oil supply is a bright light, ushering us into a hopeful future free of dependence on alternative fuels. BP say that as soon as they come up with a method for extracting all this newly available oily goodness from all the water unhelpfully diluting it, our troubles will definitely be over for good.

(inspired by... you should probably be able to guess this one)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Sex And The City sequel released

In a move condemned by numerous humanitarian organisations, and denounced by several world governments as "reckless", a sequel to the 2008 film Sex and the City has been released on an unsuspecting public.

Sex and the City 2 has been in production since August 2009, and while many dismissed the threats as mere posturing, New Line Cinema have gone ahead with their plans to distribute it worldwide this week. The amount of enriched uranium required to make the film active has never been disclosed.

Cinema-goers in the US have already reported nausea, vomiting, temporary blindness, PTSD, and malignant tumours, as a result of the damaging effects of the movie. Mental health activists are among those calling for government sanctions to prevent film studios from being able to wreak this kind of havoc in future.

"It was horrifying," wept Nathan Donglebrewster, who lost all the hair on 90% of his body after attending a preview screening yesterday. "I can't even think of it. Don't make me. Please don't make me go back to that place."

"The horror... the horror," he added.

The original 2008 film is estimated to have caused more than $400 million worth of devastation worldwide, and New Line Cinema are heartlessly predicting that the sequel will be an even greater blot on the history of our species.

Sex and the City 2 is released in theatres nationwide today, certificate 15.

(inspired by... actually, if you don't know, I don't want to sully you with it)

Thursday, 27 May 2010

iPad soon to launch in UK

Despite recent delays to its UK release date, the iPad is still set to take British technophiles by storm in coming weeks, meaning that yet more of the world's greatest gadget-loving minds will have a chance to try working out what it's for.

Steve Jobs, the CEO of computing and electronics giant Apple, first set American audiences this puzzle in April of this year, and it immediately captured the nation's interest and provided many happy hours of diversion as they try to figure out why the hell they'd want one of these incredibly expensive things and what it's supposed to do.

From hardcore cryptographers and cryptanalysts, down to everyday consumers who'd normally give no more thought to puzzle-solving than the occasional Su Doku, millions of brains have been kept busy with this enigma.

"I just can't figure it out," said Shane McIan, a fishmonger from Detroit who spent three hours queueing to purchase an iPad on the day of its release. "Sometimes I think I'm getting close, like when I realised I can watch movies on it - but then I remembered how many other things I can watch movies on, which either look better or are far more portable. So that seems like kind of a dead-end. I'm stumped."

"It's changed my life," he added. "It's going to revolutionise the way we do business and consume media in the 21st century. Maybe. Is that it?"

Although he has been generally coy about its solution, Jobs has suggested that some of the discussions taking place on message boards set up for iPad-puzzle enthusiasts are very near to unravelling the mystery.

"Have you tried tilting it at 45 degrees and looking at its surface in a mirror?" he asked, a knowing smile playing across his lips. "Maybe that'll do something. Or maybe you'd be better off looking for something else entirely. Did you notice how shiny it is?"

Several hundred thousand new participants are expected to purchase an iPad and join the race to discover what it's for, after it goes on sale in the UK in June.

(inspired by this)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

GMC struck off register by Mr Andrew Wakefield

The UK's General Medical Council has been removed from a list of "respectable organisations" recognised by Mr Andrew Wakefield, a press release announced today.

Mr Wakefield, a British man who was once employed as a doctor, came to this decision as the result of a formal hearing which took place this afternoon. The hearing was attended by Mr Wakefield, Mr Wakefield's ego, and a large volume of bitterness and entitlement.

In the release, Mr Wakefield describes his dismay at the "unacceptable nature of the GMC's recent behaviour and practices", which have led him to regard the regulatory body as "unprofessional, irresponsible, and really really mean".

It is speculated that the "behaviours and practices" to which Mr Wakefield refers may include the GMC's recent decision to strike him off the medical register due to serious professional misconduct.

Mr Wakefield also states he has placed the GMC on a watchlist of what he considers to be dangerous organisations "whose oppressive attempts to rein in free enquiry and expression must be stopped". In addition, they are all accused of being "really horrid and not letting me do medicine like I want to and it's not fair."

Among those previously placed on this list are The Sunday Times newspaper, BBC documentary series Horizon, and Mrs Petunia Funt, a retired primary school teacher from Somerset who refused to allow Mr Wakefield (a former student) to purchase blood samples from his classmates in 1963.

The Daily Half-Truth approach the General Medical Council for a statement earlier today, and were told the following:

The General Medical Council are soooo heartbroken and upset that we've been "struck off" by a disreputable, discredited fraud, who persists in harmfully pushing a link between vaccines and autism despite vast methodological holes in his original research and a complete lack of replication of his results. How will we ever cope, knowing that Andrew Wakefield is out there saying horrible things about us? Waaaaaahh!

[all emphasis in original]

Certain commentators are speculating that their response may contain elements of sarcasm.

(inspired by this)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

UK's coalition government still unstable

A full two weeks after David Cameron assumed the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, his coalition government has still not been deemed viable by experts.

The election of May 6th caused the country severe governmental trauma, and the nation's most capable political surgeons had to move fast to ensure that it didn't start haemorrhaging democracy and bleed out. Just as the Conservatives had predicted, the ensuing hung parliament was a disaster that nearly tore a once-great nation apart.

Thankfully, due to skilful emergency intervention, a coalition government was formed, and levels of national turmoil and dissent began to stabilise. However, it remains uncertain whether the current stitched-together arrangement will be able to hold out.

The two coalition party leaders, PM David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg, are due to return to the operating theatre tonight, where doctors will make another attempt at fusing their two bodies together while allowing them to continue to exist as a viable organism. It is hoped that this difficult sixteen-hour procedure will provide some much-needed solidity, on which the coalition can proceed to build a working government.

Critics of the "First Past The Post" electoral system have pointed out that this kind of dangerous and rarely tested surgery could be avoided completely by implementing a fairer system of voting.

But right-wing activists continue to denounce the genetic engineering processes of proportional representation as "playing God" and "tampering with forces we do not understand".

Monday, 24 May 2010

Admin post

Yep, I'm giving this another try. Check back here for contrived weirdness every weekday.

Lost: 2004 - 2010

The world watched in solemn unison last night, as the final minutes of one of the most beloved icons of our time were broadcast live across the globe.

The hit television show Lost, which first aired on ABC in September 2004, was pronounced dead by network executives yesterday. It was six seasons old.

Many have said that it had been deteriorating visibly in recent years, and its final departure did not come as a shock, as millions of close personal fans stayed with it to the last. It is said to have had a dignified exit from this world.

"It's hard to accept that it's really gone," said Bernice Moneyhonster, a molecular biologist and devotee of the show. "Even when you know it's coming, you never quite believe that the day's going to arrive. I'm glad I was there in the final moments, though. I like to think I helped provide its viewing figures with some modicum of comfort toward the end. It was so young," she sighed, "and had so many contrived and artificial plot twists yet unexplored."

"Seriously, they could've kept that shit up for decades," she added.

Lost had no children, but does leave behind several younger shows which, while not its direct offspring, were greatly influenced by its legacy. A memorial service, scheduled for mid-June, is expected to be attended by Fringe and Warehouse 13.

Tributes from the departed drama's colleagues have been pouring in. While Heroes could not be reached for comment, the Fox drama 24 is quoted as saying: "Lost is dead? No! It can't be!!"

There was then a massive nuclear explosion which devastated the city of Los Angeles.

As a mourning planet begins to move on with their lives, the atmosphere is still universally one of grief and loss, but also relief that at least everyone can stop banging on about that fucking polar bear now.