Sunday, 13 April 2014

What I've Recently Been Reading (Part 6)

More reviews of books and short stories...

I've enjoyed quite a few books and short stories over the past couple of months, so here's another batch of reviews.

The Ants Are Coming by Bruce Bullock

The Ants Are Coming by Bruce Bullock - 4.8 / 5.0

The Ants Are Coming is an excellently written account of an African village where the villagers are forced to evacuate their homes due to the approach of millions of red siafu ants.   I loved this short story and I suspect that anyone with an interest in or appreciation of Africa will also thoroughly enjoy it.  The story is told in a very matter-of-fact way and this style works well as the author expertly describes the horror of nature and the response of the villagers to the oncoming threat of the siafu ants.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

7 April Fools' Day Pranks From April Fools' Day 2014

A few of the spoof stories and pranks found on the web on April Fools' Day.

Last year I rounded up some of the best online pranks played by various websites on April Fool's Day and as you'd expect there were plenty of spoofs this year as well, so here are a few of my favourites...

1) Scientists baffled by square eggs

Traditional 'egg' shaped eggs could become
a thing of the past according to 'April Fuller'.
Freedom Food Farms were reporting that one of their farms had become the first in the world to rear chickens that can lay square eggs!  Egg distribution company Hammond Eggs are already looking into the benefits of the square egg, with an obvious bonus being that eggs will now be easier to stack, and of course the square shape means that making sliced egg sandwiches will be more convenient from now on.

However, eagle eyed viewers may be able to spot a couple of 'April Fool' clues in the promotional video, such as square eggs being available in shops from April 1st, and also a more subtle clue is the name of the Hammond Eggs spokeswoman ... April Fuller.

You can watch the full video at the following link:
Chickens lay square eggs

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Subliminal Ways To Affect Book Review Ratings

Research suggests that certain 'trigger' words can influence a reader's perception of a book.

Physical and subliminal conditions
can alter a reader's perception of a book.
A recent report published by a team of pyschology scientists at the University Of Central Newcastle has revealed some interesting findings into the effects of environmental conditions on a reader's enjoyment of a book, and the results will be of interest to authors and readers alike.

The full report stretches to eighteen pages, but to briefly summarise the results of their experiment, two groups of readers were given the same selection of books to read and then asked to rate each book out of ten.  However, one subtle difference was that the second group was housed in a room where the temperature was kept five degrees higher than that of the first group.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Weird Forums Found On The Web (Part 2)

Some of the unusual subjects and questions people discuss on the internet...

A few months ago I featured a post on some of the weird forums found on the web and paid particular attention to a thread discussing pencil sharpeners.  There are many more forums discussing surprising subjects, however, so I figured it was time for another post on some more of the weird forums found on the internet...

Top advice on credit cards, mortgages
and, of course, potatoes.


As most people are aware, is a useful website to consult if you're looking for advice on how to save money when selecting such items as a credit card, bank acccount or mortgage.  However, their advice doesn't stop there.  They also offer useful advice on how to save money when buying...


Seriously, no lie ... there's a forum on MoneySavingExpert which deals with potatoes!  And incredibly, how to save money on your potatoes appears to be a very popular discussion indeed because at the time of writing it stretches to 13 pages!

In fact one particular forum user found it so helpful that they commented:

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Funny Prank Or Sly Trick

When does a joke cross the line?

Wanted for playing sly tricks!
In one scene from my book 'How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy', the main character (Eric) explains that if you go too far with a prank, then it no longer qualifies as a funny prank and instead it then becomes a sly trick.

The thing with tricks and pranks, however, is that different people draw the line at different points, so what one person considers a funny prank might be regarded as a totally sly trick by someone else.  So to investigate where the majority of people would draw the line, I've compiled a 'Funny Prank or Sly Trick' quiz, made up of various scenarios for people to vote on.

Basically it's all about where do you draw the line?  When does a good natured prank go too far and become a sly trick?  Some of the following scenarios are fairly tame whereas others are more harsh, but if anyone could spare a few moments to vote then it'd be greatly appreciated...

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Five Funny Smoking Stories For No Smoking Day

A few smoking related items...

As George Carlin once said, "A restaurant having a smoking section is a bit like a swimming pool having a peeing section."  His quote is quite topical this week, as it's No Smoking Day on Wednesday, so on that theme here's a health advisory message from the National Smoking Association...

(Original photo by - Translation provided by Charles Fudgemuffin Translation Services Ltd.)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

10 Funny Quiz Show Answers

None of the following contestants were appearing on Mastermind...

Darts, a popular game featuring a black ball.
The main character (Eric) in my 'How To Save The World' books is prone to occasionally saying some daft stuff, but just to show he's not the only one who sometimes speaks before he thinks, here are a few answers from quiz show contestants who also forgot to put their brain into gear before answering the questions.

Just to reiterate, all of the following are genuine questions and answers from TV and radio shows over the years, starting with a pretty surreal answer from one contestant...

1) Name an animal whose eggs you probably never eat for breakfast.
Answer:  Hamster

2) Of all Beatrix Potter's books, which is the only one to feature a human in the title?
Answer:  Peter Rabbit

3) Name a game that uses a black ball.
Answer:  Darts