Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An eminent geneticist has discovered that the average modern westerner shares at least 100% of their DNA with a vegetable!, or to be more precise, the humble Aubergine.

We were shocked by this revelation, and we decided to investigate.
We spent literally five whole minutes Googling, and came up with the interesting facts that the Aubergine (Latin name Solanum Melogena ) which is also known in America as the Eggplant (Tsk! I don't know, they always have to be different, don't they? Just look away, they're only after attention!), is closely related to the Tomato and the Potato.
We also discovered that they are those big purple things that they put in Moussaka.

This posed yet more puzzling questions. How can a vegetable be almost genetically identical to an human being?
As our brains started to virtually bleed from the effort of grappling with this conundrum, we decided that it was time to get the real story straight from the horse's mouth, as it were. 
We didn't actually get it from a horse's mouth you understand, that's just a figure of speech.
No, instead we turned to the geneticist who himself had made these bold claims himself............himself.  
None other than Dr. Werner Humboldt. BBFC. Aa. P45.

We asked Dr. Humboldt to reveal the 'science' behind his seemingly outlandish theory.
"Vot's to explain? Eet's a simple fact! After all, Aubergines are humans too, vy should zey not haff ze full compliment off human genes?!"
Did Dr. Humboldt seriously expect us to believe that human beings have evolved from plants, and not apes as we had previously have come to have been told?
"Vot are you talking about?!!"
At this point we sighed heavily and tried to put it another, more simple way.

Was it true to say that he, Dr. Werner Humboldt had indeed claimed that he, the rest of us and HRH Elizabeth II  aka 'The Queen', were in actual and very real fact related to Aubergines in a genetic manner?
"Vot?!! I don't?.............ABORIGINES!! Dummkopf!! Aborigines!! Now get out und stop vasting my time!!!"

It now seems that a small error was made in this report due to a typographical error made, not by me I hasten to add, but by Mr. Kevin Legbente, our alleged editor.
Named & shamed Kevin, named & shamed!! Yes, you know who you are. Did you hear that, Kevin Legbente? Shame on you!!!
Normal service will now be assumed............

Friday, November 21, 2008

News has just come in to the Fortean Tim office that NASA scientists examining data from the Phoenix Mars lander have made some startling new discovery, or something.
I spoke personally to NASA scientist Chuck Stayke, to find out about what they found out about what it's all about.
Chuck, what's it all about?
"What?..........Oh, the lander?!"
"You see Tim, it's like
 this. When we were analysing some images taken by the lander while it was collecting soil samples, we discovered incontrovertible evidence that there is no intelligent life on Mars."
So you claim that you have absolute proof that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no life on Mars -That's official?
"Whoa! Hold your horses there, Tim! I didn't say there wasn't any life! Just no intelligent life."
"There may well be life on Mars, we don't know that yet. But if there is, it's definitely not intelligent."
But how can you be so sure?
"Take a look at the picture, Tim."

Oh, ah............................I see. Well thankyou. There we have it, conclusive proof that there is no intelligent life on Mars, and precious little on Earth.
This has been me, Fortean Tim, doing words.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A recent study published by the Faculty of Blindingly Obvious Research at Mandelbrot University in Didcot, England, has revealed that a seemingly harmless pastime engaged in by millions of animal lovers across the globe could have previously unforeseen fatal consequences.
Mad words indeed from a man who cares.

Another Back-of-the-newspaper Doodle...

Fortean Tim is taking a bit long this week, so here is a pic while I keep you waiting!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

During recent storms off the Cornish coast, a scarcely remembered legend has once again reared it's vaguely predictable spooky head. This rugged seashore has always borne a reputation for smuggling and rum behaviour of varying descriptions.  The tale in question concerns one Captain Anton Neele, Master of the ship, 'The Strolling Belgian'. A ten gun sloop, 'The Strolling Belgian' plagued the shipping routes off Falmouth for almost four years. (I know, it doesn't sound very much, but I assure you they were long, long years full of hardship and toil and depravity and all that, so let's just leave it at that, shall we?) 
Captain Neele was born to a Mother, and very possibly a Father in 1681, in Helston.  Not much else is known about his early life, which is actually quite convenient as it means we can leave that bit out.
He was a harsh and cruel pirate with scant regard for Health & Safety regulations.
Never one to suffer fools, or indeed anyone, he was often found flogging an errant crew-member morning, noon and night, and often at weekends too.  Not even Bank Holidays could quench his fearsome desire for discipline and loyalty.
Neele's reign of terror lasted but a short time between 1714 and 1718, when he was finally brought to book, not by the authorities, but by another pirate, William Quelch-known as 'Plaidbeard The Pirate'.
Quelch had grown weary of the continual boasting of Neele.
Neele had variously claimed to have 'The Key to Davey Jones' Locker', fought 'The Mighty Kraken.', and 'a small holiday cottage on The Isle of Barra, overlooking the sea, and within easy walking distance of many convenient local amenities and tourist attractions.'
In a final, bloody battle, the 'Strolling Belgian' was sunk with all hands, and possibly some legs and feet too by Plaidbeard's vastly superior 26 gun, 3 lavatory schooner 'The Saucy Nigel'.
As Neele's ship slowly succumbed to the wet, icy metaphor of the cruel, heartless and frankly not very nice sea, he cursed Quelch and vowed to seek him out from beyond his watery grave and exact a quite unprintable revenge upon him.
It is said that every time since that day that there is a particularly convenient storm a'brewin', that the ghostly image of Neele's ship do rise from the waters with a terrible creakin' and a groanin' and a howlin' that would curdle the clotted cream on the bravest of scones!
We asked local fisherman Tom Laudable if he had heard the legend of 'The Strolling Belgian'?
"Yer." He said.
And had Mr. Laudable ever actually seen the ghostly ship?
So what did he think fuelled this enduring legend amongst the Cornish people?
"If you ask me, theym's all a bit soft in the head." He divulged.
"Either that, or theym's bin at the rum rather too much."
Wise words, from an old man who catches fish.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A retired cinematographer has finally put to rest a widely held, and misguided belief about the migrational behaviour of a well- known creature. For years it has been received wisdom that during periodical population explosions, mass herds of migrating Lemons would commit suicide by hurling themselves from Norwegian cliffs, thus committing themselves to a watery grave.
However, the recently published memoirs of renowned nature film maker Clement Weissacher have debunked this erroneous concept.
In this written account of his nearly interesting life, Weissacher claims that a 1958 'film' with which it was what he was involved in, was not - as producer Wilt Dasney maintained - "An absolutely true and accurate depiction of the life-cycle of the Lemon, that isn't faked in any way whatsoever, honest. Really, really."
Instead, Weissacher reveals that the filming of this famous natural history feature, 'What Wilderness?', actually took place in Alberta, Canada, and not in fact in Norway as it seemed in the film.
"It was completely made up!" says Clement.
"We didn't even have access to masses of Lemons," he said,
"We were only given about seven.  We had to use some pretty creative camera angles to make that one work, I can tell you!"
So, how did they manage to make it look like there were vast herds/flocks/droves, or whatever it is a large amount of Lemons are called, launching themselves off the Fjords?
"We had about nine cameramen filming in extreme close-up, and had to just sort of splice it all together. I must admit, although it was hard work, it did look kind of cool in the end."
So how did Weissacher achieve the notoriously climactic cliff-jumping sequence?
"Well, we knew we'd only have one chance to make the footage once they went over the edge, so we set up about forty or so cameras all at different angles-remember we only had seven Lemons- so it was critical that we made that shot in one take."
How did they get the Lemons to perform on cue, after all they are wild animals with little discipline or common courtesy?
"Well, there was a lot of waiting around.  At first they just milled about a bit, grazing and mating and stuff.  Then, after about six hours or so we were getting kind of fed up with it, so we sort of pushed them off with a broom."
So how did they get away with it?  When any half-intelligent person looks in any depth at this story it seems preposterous and falls apart like a cheap shirt made from damp tissues, in it's falsehood.
For a start, Lemons are not even a native species to Norway, let alone Alberta!  They don't herd, and aren't even mammals! And.....erm...............................oh.
This is an editorial announcement:
We are sorry to tell you that our correspondent for this item has obviously made a critical error in his report that was supposed to be about 'LEMMINGS!', Nigel. 'LEMMINGS!!'
Therefore we would be grateful if you would kindly disregard all of the above.  We would also like to assure you that the offending reporter has been taken out and humanely destroyed.
We attempted to contact Wilt Dasney for his thoughts, but sadly he was unavailable for comment, due to prior death.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

For years we have all accepted that cardboard boxes are an essential feature of modern life.
Mainly used for storing or transporting various items, they have become intertwined into virtually some of our everyday activities.
Until now, it was widely believed that cardboard boxes were merely a commercial commodity constructed from processed wood pulp.  However, documents recently made public under the Freedom of Information Act reveal an altogether more sinister story.
The top secret government papers reveal that the state-controlled box industry is based on the wholesale slaughter of an innocent, and to most, unknown species of animal.
It is a fact that will be shocking to some, that cardboard boxes are in fact made from cured animal hides.
The strange cuboid creatures were first described by the eminent explorer Hermann Mermann in 1863, during his never remembered expedition to the Yearyte Islands, in the sea.
Bringing home several specimens, it was immediately apparent  to Mermann that he could make himself a fortune by tapping into this abundant natural resource.  Mermann proceeded to set up a vast captive breeding programme in Britain.  Once he had amply swelled the number of his stock, he set about the slaughter of the peaceful creatures, using their left-over innards to manufacture cheap sausages.  He then dried and cured their hides to produce handy containers.
But why was this kept such a secret?
We asked Timberley Farmer, curator of the Clarkson Collection of Archives That No-one Else Has Any Interest In Whatsoever.
"I think that the government of the day, for whatever reason, just thought that the general public at the time, being a bit thick, simply weren't ready to know where their sausages and boxes came from."
She added,  "Even now, some people don't readily like to admit that the boxes that they quite happily used until a few weeks ago are in fact the hollow dried corpses of blameless creatures cruelly exploited by a cynical civilisation .  Some people are switching to alternatives such as plastic, but I can see a looming storage crisis in the near future, as people's ethics collide with expediency solutions for stopping stuff laying about."
The question that worried us, meantime was, "Are sausages still made from cardboard guts?"
Tom Aplomb, of  'The Government' was unavailable for comment, but his Aunt Edith said,
"Only budget sausages, not the good ones."
One man though, is determined to turn the tide on this tale of exploitation.
Tenniel Lambast quit the big time in the city to devote his time and energy to the preservation of these gentle creatures on his 400 acre box sanctuary somewhere in the Outer Hebrides.
The exact location is a closely guarded secret, but Tenniel invited us to take a look around.
"They're such gentle creatures." He explained.
"I can't see why anyone would ever want to hurt them."
They certainly are impressive beasts.  We observed a huge herd grazing, and were forced to ask an obvious question.  "How do they get about?"
After all, they are cubes with no legs or obvious appendages.
"They just roll over." Laughed Tenniel.
"It's quite good, as they can go in any direction. Forwards, backwards, sideways.  They're really very adaptable!" Gushed Mr. Lambast.
It has to be said that the herds of rolling boxes make an attractive and postcard worthy sight, with their pleasant green colouring which is cruelly leached from their cold, dead skin during the curing process, leaving them a pale buff imitation of their former selves.  Yet will this shocking revelation force a re-think of the world's storage solutions?  Will we see an end to cardboard boxes and cheap sausages?
The final word goes to Roger Flebbing, an innocent passer-by and serial shop-user,
"I doubt it!" He claimed.