Literally Incredible Facts

  • The German word ficken, from which we probably derive the popular and useful word fuck, means either to hit something or to have intercourse with it. If language defines thought, then I'm not going to bed with any Germans.
  • We all love industrial power tools. But how many of us know that these useful, friendly devices can also be deadly? In 1989 a factory worker in Stationary, Alabama caught the end of his tie in an enormous 5,000 gallon concrete mixer while working on the site of a new hydro-electric dam. The tie was dragged into the machinery and severely damaged. Emergency tailors who arrived on the scene within minutes said there was nothing they could do. Some time later the remains of the tie were retrieved from the machinery and buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

    So remember: huge industrial tools may look cute and cuddly, but when misused they can be highly dangerous. Even smaller devices like chainsaws and power sanders can hurt a child, so play safe. Babies in particular should never be allowed to use electric angle-grinders, as they can easily trip over the flex and injure themselves.

  • The nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri, is so far away that it would be impossible for you to ever walk there. You would be unable to carry enough pairs of shoes to last the journey, and by only about Pluto you'd be walking barefoot. Even in a powerful Hillman Avenger it would be unfeasible to do the round trip in one day. You would need to spend the night there in a bed & breakfast and start back fresh in the morning.
  • Ripping the piss out of minor celebrities who perhaps haven't really been on TV since the late 70s or early 80s makes a simple and effective substitute for thinking up original and humorous quips, especially when you're a bit pressed for time.
  • Cans of tuna make an hilarious and inexpensive substitute for cricket balls. Watch the batsman's perplexed face as he goes to smite your full toss for a six - and shreds of pink fish explode all over the wicket, soaking him in slightly salty water.
  • Everyone thinks of leopards as big warm cuddly fuzzy balls of polka-dotted fun. They wouldn't hurt a fly, you might think. Yet in reality, leopards are vicious bastards with great big claws and savage, ripping teeth. If a small child were to be attacked by a maddened leopard, they could easily suffer quite serious minor cuts and skin abrasions. Remember to put iodine on the cuts as leopards carry some nasty diseases, including chickenpox.
  • Sedge warblers make an attractive and tuneful addition to our country lanes and woods at this time of year. But the humble sedge warbler can also be a killer. Twelve or thirteen of these small birds jammed into a child's mouth could easily impair respiration and even lead to death. It's your duty as a citizen to round up these evil feathered songsters and beat them to death with a stick.
  • Fools often speak of 'letting sleeping dogs lie'. As we now know of course, dogs are incapable of lying, because their simple brains' symbolic processing apparatus does not have the capability to assign non-actual representations to symbols or semantic tags. This means they lack the ability which we take for granted, to misrepresent or distort the truth about our world. Also, of course, they can't talk in the first place.

    And anyway they're asleep, surely.

  • Contrary to popular opinion, oven chips are not good for you. Despite the manufacturer's attempts to persuade you that they're practically a health food, the reason oven chips cook in the oven whereas normal chips don't, is that Mr McCain soaks the oven chips in fat before putting them in the flimsy plastic bag. And this is in some way better than you soaking it in fat yourself, at home, among friends. I mean at least I know where my fat came from.
  • It's possible to lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs.
  • If you take some dried grasshoppers, powder them and roll them into a cigarette, and then smoke that cigarette, you can simulate the effects of not having any marijuana.
  • Beer makes an amusing, and effective, substitute for lemonade at tiny children's birthday parties. Watch your child's friends' parents' faces as your child starts becoming aggressive, chanting football slogans and vomiting over the furniture, and its tiny friends get into a vicious fight with Newcastle Brown bottles over whether or not one of them is 'a poof'.
  • Custard powder (indeed any fine, dry powder such as coffee whitener or cement) forms a highly inflammable and explosive suspension in air. Holding a jar high in the air and gently tapping some out, while holding a burning lighter underneath, is a great way to amuse your friends at parties. It's also a great way to lose your eyebrows, hair, the paint off your ceiling, and frequently your ceiling.
  • Those aren't really Helen Mirren's legs in that banal British Airways advert. And yes, I am concentrating in the area in front of your legs Helen, I'm a girl. (Submitted by Ruth)
  • Dropping a laser printer toner cartridge from the top deck of King's Mall Car Park in Hammersmith is a good way to make your mark. In this case, a large circular mark about thirty feet across.
  • Irritating market research operatives, religious cultists and other people who approach you in the street can be easily killed by means of a simple home-made flamethrower. This can be constructed by the laybeing in less than an hour using a tin of petrol, a bicycle pump, a candle and a length of garden hose.
  • Ethernet cable makes an amusing, and fatal, substitute for bungee rope.
  • The word 'yes' in Italian means 'no' in English. This has foxed intrepid travellers for centuries, but the first I heard of it was last night in the Royal Fish Bar in Rye Lane in Peckham. The Italian lady in charge of dispensing lard-encrusted foodstuffs asked me if I wanted any chips:

    Serving lady: You want-a cheeps?
    Me: Yes please, large chips
    Serving lady: No cheeps then?

    I was as puzzled as anything until I worked out the amusing language coincidence. She thought I was speaking Italian all the time. Either that or she was nose-crinklingly stupid.

  • You can quickly drive human beings to homicide and madness by the simple expedient of sitting behind them on a train popping bubble wrap continuously for forty minutes.
  • Safeway Savers Sausage contain up to 320% of the European Community's recommended daily allowance of lard.
  • Breakfast cereals only contain vitamins and iron because the manufacturers literally pour great vats of nutrient into the packets before shipping them. It's all a bit futile really; you might as well pour a tub of multi-vitamins over your chips and say 'Look everyone! Chips are good for you, no they are, they're full of vitamins!".
  • Childrens' Wendy houses are not practical dwelling places for a family of fully-grown adults. Seriously. Give it a go.
  • Most things that look like wood nowadays simply aren't. It's quite literally a thin veneer.
  • Internet router programming has been shown to cause vomiting and premature death in laboratory children.
  • The word 'frisnit' is not in the standard UNIX spell-checking dictionary. Try it if you don't believe me.
  • vi is better than emacs.
  • You can get a lot of shit out of a Pekinese.
  • The Spring/Summer 1997 Index Catalogue is full of overpriced tat.
  • The standard playing speed of the average cassette tape is 1 and 7/8ths of an inch per second.
  • A beermat can be a surprisingly effective weapon, if you're drunk enough. The key thing here is to hone it to a killing edge, then use it to slice the victim's cheek open. (Come down my local in Peckham one night and you can watch the experts.)
  • You can hurt yourself if you run with chainsaws.
  • Salman Rushdie devised the slogan "Naughty But Nice". (If only he'd stopped at that.)
  • Mike Nesmith out of the Monkees' mum invented Sno-Paque (not Tippex - sorry Mike Nesmith's mum). No, honestly!
  • Salman Rushdie invented the slogan 'Go to work on an egg'.
  • You can remain alive for up to 13 seconds after having your head cut off. (proof).
  • Wee Jimmy Krankie off of TV's The Krankies is not in fact a small boy. It's a WOMAN dressed up.
  • Toffee Crisp chocolate bars contain 2.1g of protein. Like, if you're stuffing your face with a great lardy Toffee Crisp you give a flying shite about how much protein it contains.
  • Remember children can choke on peanuts. (Warning on the back of a packet of peanuts)
  • Regional television tends towards the slightly amateurish and embarrassing.
  • You can hurt yourself if you run with scissors.
  • Motor racing's Murray Walker invented the phrase "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play". Apparently.
  • Betamax is better than VHS.
  • The hexadecimal machine language for the 80x86 assembler instruction TEST Byte Ptr [BX+01B3],02 is as follows:


  • Gerbils are illegal in California.
  • Motor racing's Murray Walker did not invent the phrase "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play". According to Hugh Eaton. Thanks, Hugh. I'm sleeping a lot better at night now.
  • The telephone number for the MFI furniture store in Thurston Road, Lewisham is (0181) 297 0204.

Christmas Tips

  • After an unusual adventure holiday this Christmas? Why not go to Israel, hang around with some fishermen, bless a few children and do some simple conjuring tricks, then get crucified and become the object of a pervasive and intolerant religious cult for two thousand years? Alternatively, go skiing.
  • For an original and amusing advent calendar, why not get an ordinary calendar for December, and sellotape it to a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk? Then each morning simply cut away part of the calendar with a razor blade and eat the chocolate. Alternatively, just eat the bar in one go, feel slightly sick, then go to Woolies and buy a proper advent calendar.
  • Avoid expense and relatives at Christmas by suddenly becoming a member of the B'gomu religion, practised by a number of tribes in Papua New Guinea. B'gomuans have only one religious festival, on the 10th of August, which they celebrate by wearing nipple clamps for 24 hours.
  • Cheer up your friends and horrify your postman by using plucked turkeys instead of envelopes to send your Christmas cards in this year. Imagine your friends' faces as they pull their card out of a slimy mass of giblets.
  • Cost-conscious Christmas revellers can save money on pricey Woolworths tinsel by simply opening up an old cassette with a screwdriver and extracting the tape. Each cassette contains two and a half miles of glittery tape, probably. For best results use any albums by Rick Astley, Howard Jones, Duran Duran or the cassette single of 'Wipe Out' by the Fat Boys.