Investigators found no wrong doing at Bulgaria’s national lottery after the same winning numbers were picked in two consecutive draws.

Sport Minister Svilen Neikov ordered the probe Wednesday after the numbers 4, 15, 23, 24, 35 and 42 were selected by a machine — in a different order — on consecutive draws televised live on Sept. 6 and Sept. 10.

“The likelyhood of those numbers coming up was the same as any other six numbers,” said Neikov’s assistant, Derrenx Brownov, speaking from his luxury apartment in St Lucia.  “I am very good friends with the technicians who run the lottery machinery, many of them have holiday homes here like me.  I don’t believe they would cheat by having a secondary compartment in the machine with just six balls in it, or anything like that.”

“Yes, Derrenx Brownov does hang around back stage with the engineers,” admitted producer Splitz Crene “but I don’t think he has ever handled their balls.  That’s just rumour.  He is a good honest man…good honest…….look into my eyes…look into my eyes.”

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Utter Bankers

You know that advert where the three guys in suits work for a bank and the two ‘jerk’ guys are always plotting hugely wasteful marketing schemes in order to stitch up their customers?  They book themselves conferences abroad, punt down ‘The Backs’ at Cambridge and spend time in a Health Spa.

Yeah, you know the one, the third guy is younger and he’s always embarrassed by the immorality of their schemes.  I’ve just remembered, his name’s ‘Will’.  One of the jerk guys always says;”Yeah, Will!” to put him in his place.

Now, in the recesses of your mind, in your brain’s susceptible marketing centre, which bank do you associate with those three?

NatWest, yeah?  Yeah, me too.  I think those three jerk guys work for NatWest, which is actually the bank the advert is on behalf of.

So that  hasn’t quite worked out.

Same with the chubby fool in the blue suit who upsets people in the Building Society.  That’s Nationwide isn’t it?  Well no, it’s supposed to be one of their competitors, but every time I walk passed our local Nationwide I wonder why they bother to employ somebody like that.

The same feeling the banks must get when they meet their expensive advertising executives.

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Excess baggage

Following the recent news that illegal immigrants have been hiding in the cars of UK citizens returning from holiday, I was shocked to hear that my father had just such an experience.

Apparently, after returning from a one day round-trip to Calais to stack up his wine cellar he opened the boot of the car to carry his boxes of booze into the house only to spot a small, dusty and disheveled figure hiding in the space beneath the rear seats!

Fearing attack he quickly ran for the front-door, but not before discharging the contents of his in-car fire extinguisher into the foreigner’s face.

From the safety of his Everest uPVC porch he demanded an explanation from his foam covered adversary.

“You idiot! I fell into the under-seat space whilst I was vacuuming the car interior, then you closed it up and drove off!” said my mother. “If you weren’t so bloody deaf, and didn’t have the radio on so loud, you’d have heard me shouting!”

“You’ll have to speak up sonny, I’m a bit deaf,” replied my father, shortly before he was felled by a two foot conifer in a concrete pot that was propelled through his triple glazed, Argon filled casement window.

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Bond Bourne again

You’d think that the Secret Agents’ annual reunion party would be a pretty exciting affair.  Most years the conversation can be very dull.

“Hello again, what have you been up to since we last met?”
“Sorry old chap, I can’t divulge that.  What was your name again, by the way?”
“You know I can’t tell you that, old man.”
“No, of course not.”
“What car are you driving now?”
“Oh, you know, nondescript, silver, bulletproof, usual thing.”

Suddenly the main doors fly open and Jason Bourne bursts into the party.  He hasn’t had any trouble parking because he’s brought his car with him.  Turning off the engine he climbs through the broken windscreen and slides off the bonnet to land elegantly in the middle of the gathered Secret Agents.  A waiter who is trapped under the car passes him a Martini but Bourne brushes it aside. 

“Hey Guys!  Anybody fancy a few beers?”

The spies look down their noses at him.  His blond crewcut, T-shirt and torn jeans are not acceptable wear.  Besides, he’s obviously an American.  And drink beer at a party?

One black suit steps forward.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Oh, come on man!  I’m not going to be thrown out by a waiter!”

“I’m not a waiter.  The name’s Bond.  James Bond.”
The other agents smile to each other, now they’d see the Yank sorted out.

Bond blows a poison dart from his pen, throws a knife that he’s had hidden in his sock and fires a laser from his Timeless watch.  Bourne ducks and all three missiles hit one of the smirking black suits.

Out of gadgets, Bond panics and resorts to punching but Bourne steps under his wildly flailing fists and chops upwards once with the edge of his hand, knocking Bond semi-conscious to the floor. 

“I think you’ve made your point, Bourne.  Thank you for the demonstration,” gasps Bond.
“Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr Bond – it may be your last.”

“Do you expect me to talk?”

Bourne looks back, laughing.
“No, Mr Bond, I expect you to spy.  There’s nothing about you that I don’t already know!  If only you could actually stop talking, get your act into the 21st century and give up relying on hackneyed wisecracks and silly gimmicks!”

“You know, you’re cleverer than you look!”
“Hmm… still, better than looking cleverer than you are,” said Bourne, returning to his car.


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Death and Taxes

 Richard the Lion Heart is angry with his knights.
“We need more money for the Crusade.  What we have will barely cover our duty-free and get us on the ferry!”

“But Sire, we’ve taxed the population of France, England and Ireland into the ground.  To get more would be like getting blood from a small rock,” said Knight Otto of Poitou.

“Did you just make that saying up?”
“Yes, Sire.”
“It needs some work if it’s going to stand the test of time.”

Richard paces up and down, desperately trying to think of a way to fund his war.
“I’ve got it!”
“Yes, Sire?”
“We will start a Lottery!  The Chinese did it to help build their Great Wall and the Romans did it to finance repairs to their cities.”
“A lottery, sire?”
“All the citizens put one Mark into the lottery, we have a draw to choose a winner and they get a prize.  The rest of the money goes to the Crusade fund.”

“Isn’t that just another way of taxing everybody?”
“Yes, but the greedy idiots will be so desperate for the chance to crawl out of the slime of their daily existence that they’ll cough up the cash without thinking!”

And so Richard’s plan was put into place and tickets for the Lottery were sold throughout the Angevin Empire.  A complicated Lottery machine was fashioned out of oak and ash by the finest carpenter in the land.  On the day of the Great Draw, King Richard stood before the machine and turned a handle to produce numbered balls that gave the winning ticket number.

“The winning combination of numbers is 1, 2, 6, 13, 38 and 43,” announced Duke Ferdinand of Rouen.
A ripple of disappointment ran around the crowd, out of the door and across the Empire.
Only one man was pleased; Eric of Ely, a man suspected in the past of murder, rape and blasphemy had got his hands on the golden ticket and would now be set up for life.

“This is so unfair, Sire.  The money could not have gone to a worse person!  The population will see the immorality of the scheme and rebel and riot.”
“No, Ferdinand, you are wrong.  The punters will soon forget and be queuing up for more tickets.”
“You are right King Richard.  They are easily led, like sheep.  Especially the English, is there nothing those fools will not put up with, Sire?”

“Just don’t tell them I’m French,” said the Coeur de Lion, climbing onto his chevaux.


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I don’t believe it

 “I’ve lost my Faith,” said Ted from behind the froth of his Guinness.

It was late in the evening at ‘The Slug and Philosopher’. 
The darts match had finished half an hour ago and the victorious visitors from ‘The Randy Cow’ were now sharing in the trays of snacks provided by our Pub’s new Chef.

The experimental dishes this evening included ‘A Slow Starter’ (snails in batter), ‘Flying Drumsticks’ (bat’s legs in batter), and ‘Crunchies’ (batter in batter).
Luckily, everybody was too drunk to ask what they were eating and I guess they assumed it was the usual Scampi, sausages and onion rings that normal pub’s serve.

Wayne had won his match, had drunk enough lager to fell a horse, and was enjoying his free snacks, so was just in the right mood to elucidate.

“Ah, Ted, my man, faith is a tricky subject.  To trust, to believe without reason.  Something that you cannot hold in your hand or experience with your earthly senses but is still strong enough to shape the existence of a single man and the history of all men.”

Ted raised his eyebrows at me.
“He’s off!” he mouthed.

But Wayne didn’t notice, he was in full flow.
“Some say that faith is the basis of all things, including the facts and logic that we rely on every day.  We must have faith in scientists and mathematicians to believe what they tell us, even to accept their concrete evidence and they in turn must have faith to embark upon their experiments in the first place.”

He paused for a moment to remove what looked like a small, batter-covered talon from between his back teeth.

“But of course, Religion is the place where we examine Faith most keenly.  All religions rely on Faith although most claim to have ‘evidence’ of their god in some way.  Followers have Faith that leading a ‘good’ life as instructed by their god will lead to a reward after death. 

Everybody struggles with their faith Ted, what are you worried about?”

Ted eyed him evenly.
“I was out shopping with the wife this afternoon and we got separated in ‘Marks and Spendloads’.  I came home on the bus but she hadn’t turned up by the time I left for the pub’.”

“So what’s this got to do with Faith?” Wayne looked bewildered.

“That’s the wife’s name, ‘Faith’.  I think I’ve lost my Faith.”

Do you know something; I reckon Ted does it just to wind us up.

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