Thursday, January 25, 2007

Squeezing out a big one

Now, I don't care how big rhinos are, but that has to hurt. Here's the full story:

Budapest - The world's first baby rhino conceived through artificial insemination has been born in Budapest Zoo, weighing in at a whopping 58 kilogrammes.

'The youngster is a little girl and very healthy,' Zoltan Hanga, spokesman for Budapest Zoo, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Wednesday.

According to Hanga, the birth was the culmination of years of work by an international team of Hungarians, Germans and Austrians.

The new mother, Lulu, was one of many rhinos involved in artificial insemination attempts, and she first fell pregnant in 2004. However, the 26-year-old white rhino miscarried in August 2005 just hours before giving birth. This time around there were no complications, but Hanga said the newborn would not be on display to the general public for 'several months' until it gained more strength.

Budapest Zoo's other rhino, Easyboy, became the sperm donor after romantic sparks failed to ignite between the couple. Hanga said that Lulu and Easyboy came to the zoo in 1983 as children, but since then no sexual frisson had developed.

'Because they were very young when they came and grew up together, they thought they were brother and sisters,' he said. 'They weren't sexually interested in each other, so we had to inseminate.'

The success of the procedure could be significant for endangered rhino species across the world, as breeding rhinos in captivity has proven to be a difficult task.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Daft stories

By way of explanation, I've been writing these spoof stories for one of the media outlets I work for. I'm too lazy to update my blog, so cutting and pasting them in here makes it look like I actually care about this blog with minimum effort.

Fidesz criticises "left-leaning" storm

Fidesz criticises "left-leaning" storm

Hungary’s main opposition party Fidesz last Friday accused the major storm that killed dozens across Europe of favouring the ruling Hungarian Socialist Party after it failed to devastate Hungary.
“We were expecting widespread destruction and the opportunity to blame the government for being unprepared,” Fidesz spokesman Taksz Bollóksz said at a press conference. “Instead this so-called storm proved it is a Socialist lackey by not exposing the government’s shocking complacency in the run-up to the projected catastrophe. Quite frankly, knocking over a few chimneys just isn’t good enough.”
The storm, which was widely expected to at the very least knock a few trees over onto parked cars and blow off a roof or two, limped into Hungary in the early hours of last Friday and caused almost no problems.
Bollóksz held the press conference in front of precarious scaffolding in the centre of Budapest to drive his message home. “Just look at this. Any self-respecting, politically-independent storm would have blown this away like matchsticks,” he said. “It would have driven steel rods through the windscreens of passing cars, reduced shop windows to shards of deadly glass and generally showed the government up for the lazy charlatans that they are.”
He also attempted to prove the storm’s bias by pointing to charts of its progress across Europe. “You can clearly see the storm took a sharp turn to the left before it entered Hungary,” he said, although he quickly put the chart away when it was pointed out he was holding it upside down.
The spokesman further claimed that the storm specifically targeted government opponents when it entered the country. “Almost all of the pathetically-small amount of damage was done to the houses of those who voted against the government at last year’s local elections,” he said. “Not only that, but it blew off the wig of a high ranking Fidesz official in a blatant attempt to embarrass the party.”
A government spokeswoman, while admitting that the cabinet had entered into “high-level” talks with the storm before it came to Hungary, refuted the charges.
“It is ridiculous to claim that a storm has any political bias,” she said. “Destructive forces of nature are renowned for their objectivity, and Kyrill was no different. Once we explained that Hungarians already have more than enough to worry about with us in charge of the country, it agreed to move along quietly.”
A prominent left-leaning daily newspaper hailed the lack of any damage as “a glorious victory for the government; proof that the Socialist Party can not only perform miracles with the economy, but can also convince major weather systems to change course through rational discourse”.
A popular right-leaning daily, however, said that the storm had its tongue so far up the government’s backside it could taste kidney and also had direct links to the former Communist regime. “We have proof that Kyrill’s wife’s grandfather’s next-door-neighbour’s dog once attempted to mount a poodle that János Kádár [Hungary’s former dictator] fed a biscuit to in a park,” it wrote. “What more evidence do you need?”

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What are you doing Mozza?

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Morrissey inspired a generation of whiny teenagers who felt they didn't have a place in the world (myself included) to become whiny teenagers who realised that their place in the world was actually to be whiny teenagers. He made us realise there was nothing wrong with considering suicide a viable response to an outbreak of spots. He was responsible for making it possible to wear national health specs and still cop off with a bird. He made it seem perfectly normal to appear on Top of the Pops with a hearing aid and a small shrub protruding from your arse cleavage.

After these great achievements, what is Morrissey doing? Considering representing the UK in the Eurovision song contest (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6244153.stm). Should he actually go ahead and do it, he will go down in the history books alongside musical luminaries such as Cliff Richard, Black Lace, Sonia, Gina G and Buck's Fizz.

Remember you always used to sing and talk about committing suicide, Morrissey? I know where you can buy a gun.

Leviticus lays down the law

I was browsing through a debate on the Guardian website this morning (the usual left-wing liberal vs. conservative debate where nobody listens to what anybody else says, instead just posting their own opinion REALLY STRIDENTLY). Anyway, this one post at least gave me a laugh. I haven't checked the passages and do not vouch for its veracity:

When someone tries to defend homosexual equality, Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice, however, regarding some of the other specific laws in the Bible and how to follow them.

1). When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord (Leviticus 1:9). The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2). I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3). I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual cleanliness (Leviticus 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.
4). I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
5). A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is a abomination of Leviticus 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
6). Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
7). Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. How should they die?
8). I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
9). My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Leviticus 24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Leviticus 20:14).

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Hungarian Dichotomy

At the risk of sounding like a moaning-faced git, which I suppose I am, I am becoming increasingly vexed with the dichotomy that I see in Hungary.

The nation seems to be split into two groups: the first is comprised of lovely, friendly and generally magnificent Hungarians, who would bend over backwards to help you out. Unfortunately they are in the minority.

Many Hungarians are, alas, miserable sods with faces akin to a bulldog chewing a wasp. And not a particularly tasty wasp at that. The fencing club Nats and I have been going to is largely populated with these po-faced twats (excluding Virginie, Csaba, Frozsi, Bianca and one or two others), and I am thoroughly sick of it. Tonight was the final straw, with some miserable teenage git seemingly unable to open her gob to politely ask me to move my fencing bag, with was encroaching on her piste by, oh, half a millimetre. If even that. Anyhoo, she virtually kicked it out of the way with a snarl.

Considering it was only in her general vicinity because she was glued to the back of the piste, hanging on by a frigging toenail, I couldn't help but feel she was being a touch unreasonable, and told her so. Yes, I do speak Hungarian you silly cow.

Cheer up, for fuck's sake.

DISCLAIMER: I am in a bit of grump, since I do love fencing and have lost my desire to do it because of the general attitude in that club. To all those Hungarians, of which there are a lot, who actually understand that facial muscles can also be used to create a smile instead of frown, and that the Hungarian language is complex enough to say a lot more than "Jaj!" repeatedly, I extend my heartfelt apologies.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Save the men

Charity calls for ethical treatment of men during January sales

Michael Logan

Men For Ethical Shopping, a recently-formed charity, on Friday called for urgent action as the January sales saw hundreds of forlorn men abandoned outside shops across Budapest while their partners searched for the perfect bargain.

“This year has been one of the worst so far,” István Orbán, the director of MFES, said at a press conference in the West End shopping centre, one of the major hotspots for abandonment. “Bargain-hunting women have gone into a frenzy and this means that there has been a significant increase in men left to fend for themselves.”

Orbán took journalists on a tour through the shopping centre, pointing to the many clusters of dishevelled, confused and often shivering men squatting outside stores or walking in aimless circles with no apparent goal. “These men have been completely forgotten,” he said. “Once their wives get an eye on that sexy off-the-shoulder number that has been slashed by 80%, their husbands no longer exist for them.”

One man said that his wife had disappeared into Mango two hours previously and had yet to emerge. “I have no idea what she’s doing in there. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I’m gasping for a cigarette, but I’m too afraid to go in and find her,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. “It’s a jungle in there.”

Orbán said that fear of entering the shop in pursuit of the wife or girlfriend was a common complaint amongst men suffering from Post Traumatic Abandonment Disorder. “Men quite simply don’t have the skills to survive in such an environment,” he said. “One victim was torn apart when he got caught up in a skirmish over the last Gucci handbag left on the sale rack. He was as helpless as a newborn.”

According to Orbán, a tragedy is waiting to happen, and he pointed to the many men leaning over railings on the upper floors of the centre. “It may look like these men are just trying to look down the tops of women passing underneath, which they probably are, but they are also considering throwing themselves off. I know. I’ve been there.”

Orbán started the charity after his wife left him outside Zara for four hours on Boxing Day while she scoured the bargain bins for designer jeans cut to at least 50% of their retail value. When she finally emerged, he was forced to carry all of the bags to the car even though severely weakened by missing out on lunch. Even now it is clearly painful for him to talk about it.

“It was horrible, like being in solitary confinement,” he said. “I had nothing to do apart from pick my nose and scratch my arse. You wouldn’t treat a dog that way. Well, you would, but at least it would get its tummy rubbed by sexy women passing by.”

Orbán is convinced that shopping centres must act now in order to prevent mass suicides, and called for the institution of a “Man Crèche”, where women can drop off their husbands and boyfriends and pick them up when they leave.

“It’s quite simple, really,” he said. “All they need is a room with two elements: a wide screen TV, preferably showing a football match or pornography, and beer. Obviously some gadgets, such as iPods and PS3s would be desirable, and a lap dancer would also help keep the men occupied. Perhaps upmarket malls could add these extra features as a selling point.”

Orbán pointed out that a Man Crèche would make financial sense for shopping centres, as it would maximise the amount of time a woman could spend shopping. “While most women are hard to distract once focused on a bargain, their partner deciding to end it all by taking a dive from the top floor and splattering his brains out in the food court can sometimes do the job,” he said. “If centre managers can prevent this from happening, it means more cash in the till.”

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year off with a barf

There is no better way to start the New Year than having to clean up a five-storey vomit cascade will struggling with a hangover. No, wait a minute, yes there is.

Thanks to intoxicated young lady who took a huey over our balcony during the party last night, leaving a rather healthy deposit on each floor beneath us, including some in an old ladies' plant pots. I particularly enjoyed discovering what she ate before excessive punch consumption led to it being dripped down the side of the building.

Anyhoo, that aside the party went very well. Congratulations to Eric, who somehow managed to mop up all the single women without trying or necessarily even being aware of it. All he had to do was stand there and look manly, if a little pissed, and they all came to him.