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5,000 hedgehogs in the Outer Hebrides are to be slaughtered by Scottish National Heritage (SNH), as they are interfering with the local birdlife population. The little scamps keep climbing inside the nests of rare birds and chowing down on their unborn children. So, rather than encourage the mummy and daddy birds to get off their fat feathery behinds and stand up for themselves, the SNH have decided to teach the 'hogs a lesson.
The first step is to wall off part of the forest as a hedgehog ghetto, and get all the hedgehogs to move inside. Then, one night when they least expect it, a crack team of SNH stormtroopers will herd the little bastards to a special hedgehog death camp, where they will be stripped of their quills and placed in a special room with signs on the walls reading "PERFECTLY INNOCENT SHOWER". It is hoped by animal rights activists that the hedgehogs will each be carrying enough magic rings to survive.
Chairman of the SNH, Dr. John Marland, whose fiancee presumably ran off with a hedgehog, defended the decision. "On the face of it, culling seems cruel and moving animals to new homes on the mainland seems more humane," he said, while assembled members of the press indicated to each other that certain nails were being hit on the head. "But the issues are far more intricate than that."
Aside from the fact that no-one really relishes the prospect of spending a short sea journey surrounded by little spikey balls, the SNH's official reason for not instigating hedgehog exodus is this: half the hedgehogs would die on the way over. Don't worry, you didn't accidentally turn over two pages at once. Dr. 'Robotnik' Marland decided that, since half of them would die if they tried to take them across the sea, just killing the lot of them would be a much better idea. Hear that? That's the sound of everyone in the country slapping their foreheads.
Why, if I may be so bold, is it infinitely preferable to kill all of them on land than half of them on a boat? Is it because there's nowhere on a boat for the hedgehogs to run too and as such it's less fun? There's got to be ulterior motives, here. Either the SNH are all sadistic loonies or they've all become addicted to hedgehog pie.
It's the animal rights activists I feel sorry for. They're trying to prevent all the hedgehogs from going into SNH tummies, but if they do save the hedgehogs, then they doom millions of adorable baby birds to going on a one-way journey through a hedgehog digestive tract. How are they going to justify this?
Animal Rights Activists: Don't kill the hedgehogs!
SNH: Why not?
ARA: Because they're cute!
SNH: But they're eating all the baby birds!
ARA (furious): BUT THEY'RE CUTE!!!
What the SNH are doing, as human beings tend to do quite a lot, is interfering with the classic evolutionary tale of Survival of the Fittest. Hedgehogs are proving that they are superior animals to birds. That's perfectly natural. That sort of thing happens all the time. This is how a species evolves. The hedgehogs have become smarter, fair play to them. If the birds want to survive, they're going to have to evolve tougher eggs, or build nests a bit higher-up. Sitting back and letting Johnny Human bugger the whole process up with his big hedgehog-hitting stick isn't going to help matters.
On the other hand, perhaps we should stop the hedgehogs before they start setting their sights higher. After the birds, what then? The squirrels? The gazelles? Soon they'll have evolved a hedgehog with teeth as big as carving knives and powerful back legs that can propel the animal six feet into the air. You'll have campers running home crying and screaming tales of vampire hedgehogs leaping at their throats and drinking their blood. Hell, this is probably why the SNH couldn't just take them back to Scotland on a boat - 'cos the superhedgehogs kept punching holes in the hull.
So, in summary, I'm undecided on the whole hedgehog matter. As much as I disapprove of slaughtering cute furry animals, I don't want to wake up one morning to find a very bloated hedgehog sitting on my chest gnawing one of my severed feet.
In case you've spent the last week with your head wrapped in a scarf while sitting in a cave on the moon, allow me to point out that it will very nearly be Christmas, and wish you luck trying to buy presents at this late stage, you lunar twat. Traditionally, Christmas is a time of togetherness and giving. For the moment, let's chuck 'togetherness' in the bin and concentrate on the other aspect.
Since anyone with any discerning taste has already read my Christmas wishlist, I will not repeat any of that here. Instead, since I'm not sure whether I will commit suicide this week or next, I will let all the people who have helped to make Fully Ramblomatic what it is know what I'm going to give them.
For Chris, one of my weekend updaters, a small porcelain figurine of a pig buying a newspaper. You'll be surprised how desperate the bloke at the market stall was to get rid of it.
[UPDATE - I think I'll just get Chris a card. I don't think the stolen diamonds I found inside the figurine really go with his eyes.]
For Space Monkey, my other weekend updater, some A4 paper and a pen. It's amazing, but when you put the nib of the pen next to the paper, you can make words appear. Space Monkey could use them to write an unfunny story and frame it on his wall rather than use it to make my readership disappear.
For Chefelf, an IOU for one first-edition copy of my novel, redeemable as soon as it gets published. This will give him incentive to finish proofreading the damn thing.
For the unstoppable superbeing Kevin Warwick, I figured I'd just send him the following graphic.
For the Honey Monster, a handful of 9mm cyanide-tipped bullets. Given to him at great speed.
For my supercomputer, who has been acting very strangely lately, I will upload a crippling computer virus to his CPU in the hopes that it will destroy his sentient mind and end his ever-present threat to the human race, same as last year. Of course, his perfect databanks can neutralise a threat before it's even been detected, so this is more of a traditional gift. His proper gift this year he might have to share with the Honey Monster.
For Heccubus2501, a photo of myself autographed with the phrase "To my most rabid fan". I have a feeling he'll use it to add the finishing touch to the me-shaped meat statue he has in his bedroom. How do I know about the statue? You don't fucking want to know.
For the AGS community, another photo of me autographed with the phrase "You never deserved me anyway, you bunch of gits". I will follow this up with an internet smiley, so maybe they'll realise I mean it as a joke.
For my girlfriend Sarah, I promise that I will continue to not write about her on this site, as that pisses her off and she tends to beat me when she's pissed off.
And as for all my loyal readers up and down the world, I'm afraid all I can offer you is my continued assurance that my bitter, hateful cynical rantings will probably last well into the new year. And I suppose I could wish you a Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Don't get electrocuted or fall off any buildings or anything.
Imagine a world where the most beautiful woman in the world is 50 years old and is wanted desperately by every man on the face of the Earth. Now imagine she lives in Chicago. What you have just imagined, dear reader, is the happy little dream world in which Mary dwells.
"I understand that you appreciate that people are different and often looking for different things. A lot of men who aren't looking for the same thing that you're looking for want to correspond with you, but if you were to correspond with them, you'd have time for little else. This letter is your way of trying to receive e-mail from men who may be compatible with you and who want to meet you."
Mary rambles on in the second person for about nineteen pages, so I'll cut it down to the slightly funnier paragraphs. From the introduction above, you're probably thinking what I was at this point - Mary is completely insane. Then I realised that 'insane' is tossed around so lightly these days that the word is no longer adequate, and I am forced to go all the way up to "completely fucking batshit".
"... if I ever meet you in person, we'll have a normal conversation, and you think that, in person, I'll find you very comfortable to be with, relaxed, fun, kind, sensitive, and possessing a great sense of humor."
We're not allowed to try to e-seduce Mary in our own words, and now we're not allowed to formulate our own opinion, either. Somehow I feel her ideal man at this point would be a parrot with a vibrator strapped to its tummy.
"A lot of men would like to be phone friends, but that's not what you're looking for. If you were to spend very much time on the phone with men who may not ever meet you, you'd have little time for finding a man who wants to get to know you in person."
Mary's not allowed to have friends! It would get in the way of her quest for a mate worthy of her eggs! I'd be calling her like a shot, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to hear her voice over the sound of her blowing her own trumpet.
"I, like you, believe in total honesty within a relationship, and I won't mislead you in any way while we're getting to know each other. I can honestly say all of the following."
Uh-huh. No, I won't mislead you at all. And it just so happens that this is exactly, word-for-word the letter I would have written had I been left to do it myself.
"I know that you're in a south (sometimes called southwest) suburb of Chicago, Illinois. If things worked out between us, I could move to your area (if I'm not already in the Chicago area)."
Holy fucking shit. She's actually deluded herself into thinking that men will be quite prepared to drop everything and move house for her benefit. Where I come from, we call these men 'stalkers'. I guess Mary probably calls them 'Dad'.
"I understand that you're looking for a man who either doesn't masturbate or who doesn't condone masturbation for himself and would prefer to live without it. I fit what you're looking for in this regard."
Nice going, Mary. You go looking for men on the internet and ask this of them. You just alienated 99% of your audience, and since you obviously aren't looking for a lesbian, you lost the remaining 1%, too.
"I know that, even though you're not a virgin and even though you love sex and you're very affectionate in marriage, sex is very special to you."
Ahhh, so this is what all this has been leading up to.
"You only want to have sex with one man for the rest of your life, and you won't know who that man is until marriage ..."
Hold it right there. You won't know who I am until marriage? So, when we go on a first date, whenever I try to tell you about myself you'll plug your ears and go 'la la la la la'? How does she know I'm not going to kill her and wear her skin on the wedding night? I guess the Mary entrance exam includes a questionnaire and background check.
"I'm skinny, slender, or lean, or I can be and am not far from being so."
And a physical.
"Either my photo is attached to this e-mail or I'd like you to send me an address where I can mail you my photo. My photo is not more than two years old, and it shows at least my face, without sunglasses. I know that, if I mail you my photo and if I enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, you'll send my photo back to me."
Well, this is about as romantic as sending off for a provisional driver's licence. Why is it so important I don't wear sunglasses in my photo? Is she scared that my eyes will simply be black, empty voids? Or maybe brown-eyed men have lower quality sperm or something.
"... I know that you get a lot of prank e-mails ..."
What heartless fiend could possibly take the piss out of this charming, perfectly sane woman and her delightful site? Oh, Mary, if only you were this paranoid when the idea for putting this site up occurred to you.
And I haven't even talked about the FAQ where she teaches her retarded potential hubbies how to copy and paste. There's too much on the site to take the piss out of in one update, you've got to see it for yourself. Just remember that, if you're alive, breathing, and reading this page, you probably don't qualify for her affection.
My quest to alienate 100% of my audience continues with today's feature: some reasons to hate Star Trek! Before I begin, though, I just want to clarify a few things. Firstly, I really like Star Trek, so I may be a little biased. Secondly, I like it more than Star Wars, because five movies can't compare with nine movies and a hundred million episodes. Thirdly, I am very sensitive and flame mail tends to make me want to cut myself, and if I were to cut myself, I might not be able to update as much. Fourthly, if you do send flame mail you will sort of be betraying yourself as the biggest nerd in the world who actually think it's important that I understand the imagined merits of your favourite TV show.
Now that's over with, let's begin!
Star Trek is the most elitist show in the world. Only the senior staff get to go on away missions, and if you happen to be on one but weren't credited with a name, you might as well paint a bullseye on your stupid red shirt and put the phaser away, it's not going to help. And I guess everyone was too afraid that Kirk would try to rape them to point out that captains aren't supposed to go on away missions. This must have been pointed out to Gene Roddenberry before he came up with TNG, but he still gets all the other senior staff down onto that stupid planet. I want to know why on earth they bring the Chief Engineer on an away mission when an ordinary, uncredited engineer could do the job just as well, be ten times more expendable and you wouldn't have to hold a big funeral after his inevitable doom. They didn't learn a thing on the day their head of security was eaten by a load of tar.
It's not just away missions. No one except the senior staff and special guest actors even get to speak - just nod and smile and do what they're told. I bet if anyone else turned up to work in their pyjamas they'd cause a bit of a stir, but not Troi or Wesley. Everyone's too polite to point anything out to characters that might actually turn up in the next episode.
2. Gene Roddenberry's influence
Whenever Gene Roddenberry was involved in Star Trek, the episodes were inevitably shitty. He had George Lucas syndrome; everyone thought he was marvellous and it went to his head. Every episode of the original series involved some crappy struggle with aliens while surrounded by polystyrene rocks, and Kirk gettin' it on with some woman. The early episodes of TNG had a similar feel, with Riker replacing Kirk as the head lothario. As soon as Roddenberry was in the ground the series finally started getting good. Learn from past mistakes, sci-fi nerds; the only way to make sure Star Wars 3 doesn't suck the turds from the arses of baboons would be to assassinate Lucas immediately.
Every time - EVERY TIME - the Enterprise got into some muddle, they'd eventually find a way around it with a scheme explained with a bucketful of meaningless technobabble. A dilemma would arise, and about ten minutes before their inevitable deaths Laforge or Data would suddenly snap their fingers and go "Hey! Why don't we transfer the output of the Rickenheimer compensators to the main deflectors and reverse the polarity of the aft shields?" And Picard would exchange a few awkward glances with his other staff and say 'Make it so!'. I don't think he even listened to them. They could have been suggesting they all strip naked, paint themselves purple and wave their willies at the approaching disaster, and Picard would still pause thoughtfully and say 'Make it so!'.
While we're on the subject, why does the Enterprise have a load of families and children on board when (a) they're basically just a glorified scout party and (b) they almost get eaten by giant interstellar mealworms every other week? They should ditch all those mewling kids on the nearest moon and set course for the planet Orgy 12.
Particularly in the original series, you could tell they were trying so hard to be politically correct with their main cast. You've got Kirk and Bones, your all-American heroes, then a single person from every conceivable minority. A black woman, an Oriental bloke, a Russian bloke, a Scotsman and a Vulcan. I know they were trying to show that the people of the future are really enlightened and non-discriminatory, but hell, I would find a ship full of single white males a little more believable, at least.
5. What they did to O'Brien
Poor, poor Colm Meaney. He was in more episodes of TNG than that Tasha Yar woman but his name NEVER appeared in the title sequence; just a bit later with the guest stars. Did it never occur to anyone in the Star Trek board of directors that it wouldn't cost that much to tack him on at the end, just after Wil Wheaton? Well, at least they made it up to him in Deep Space 9, but it still seems a bit unfair, seeing as TNG was miles better.
5. What they did to Picard
Have you seen the latest movie, Insurrection? They ... they got to Picard. Hollywood got to him. They made him a wise-cracking light-hearted adventurer man. He is no such thing! He's Picard! He's the moody French person with the inexplicable English accent! He hates kids! He glares at people! You had no right! Damn you, Hollywood! DAMN YOOOOOU!
That's all I can think of. Next time I do 'reasons to hate', it'll probably be Red Dwarf. Damn you, Grant Naylor! DAMN YOOOOOU!
material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw