Archive for August, 2009

Squirrels

August 22, 2009

Up until 1962 the world had been satisfied with the cat and the mouse as two distinct animals.

The mouse was the ideal animal for when you needed some cheese eating, some squeaking or there was a housewife who needed to be scared up onto a stool, skirt gathered round her knees.

The proud parents share a tendor moment.

The proud parents share a tendor moment.

The cat didn’t really have a purpose. They would lounge around, occasionally half-heartedly chase a mouse or pull an amusing face in the hope of a photograph being uploaded to the internet with a witty caption.

It took the genius of Wilfred Stevenson to realise the advantage of combining these two animals. Wilfred was a prolific inventor having previously invented the LSD smoothie and the “Quiche Insane”, a quiche containing magic mushrooms and hallucinogenic frog meat.

Wilfred had a dream of a conventional small rodent but with the bushy luxuriant tale of a cat. In March 1962 he initiated a mouse/cat breeding program. There were some teething problems, the cat trying to eat the mouse, the mouse hitting the cat over the head with a frying pan so large you would have imagined the mouse would be unable to lift it, that kind of thing.

Eureka! The first squirrel, Tony

Eureka! The first squirrel, Tony

However, Wilfred fell back on his medical knowledge and started giving the two participants varying amounts of Ecstasy and poppers. Soon he had the breakthrough he had been dreaming of, and in August of 1962 the first offspring was born. The squirrel had been invented!

Related non-invention:
Grey squirrel (Non-invented by the Americans): As often is the case the Americans made a bigger, crasser version of the original and tried to pass it off as something new. Close, Chad, but no cigar.

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Cutlery

August 12, 2009

Whilst the rest of the world was still using its fingers to eat food as late as 1953, the English had long since recognised the benefits of an intermediary between dinner and digit. The invention of the sandwich in 1751 highlighted the advantages of keeping the fingers clean of grease, gravy, Marmite, etc., but it wasn’t for another 63 years that the logical next step was taken.

And Jesus spake thus unto the waiter "I haveth not cutlery" and the waiter thus respondeth "You're too early mate, the English don't invent cutlery for another 1800 years or so"

And Jesus spake thus unto the waiter "I haveth not cutlery" and the waiter thus respondeth "You're too early mate, the English don't invent cutlery for another 1800 years or so"

In the Autumn of 1814 Edgar Ramsbottom was in his parlour tuning his piano when is wife brought him a platter of fine pickles. Edgar was in a quandary because although he was hungry and loved the piquant taste of a well preserved gherkin he also knew the dangers of getting strong malt vinegar on the keys or body of his piano. Inspiration struck in a flash and taking the tuning fork he had been using, a C-128, Edgar skewered a particularly large gherkin and transferred it to his mouth without despoiling either his hands or piano with vinegar.

Edgar, sensing the enormity of his breakthrough, immediately gave up his job as a government approved leach healer and dedicated the rest of his life to perfecting his invention. He experimented with the number of tines. He found that 2 tines gave a better note when striking the food however 10 times ensured that even the most persistent  live shrimp was restrained. He eventually settled on 4 as the optimum  number, suitable for spearing all but the largest of morsels but still giving a pleasant tone when struck against the table top.

The fork was an excellent start but proved frightfully slow for eating soup and inadequate for slicing the larger gherkins into smaller mouth-sized pieces. He rapidly added the spoon and knife to his inventions and the classic cutlery combo was formed.

Related non-invention:
Chopsticks (Non-invented by the Chinese): Hold on Huang, chopping the top off the fork doesn’t invent a new form of cutlery. What you have just non-invented is the “not fork”.

Obesity

August 8, 2009

The English have a proud tradition of rotundity having invented fatness back in Medieval times. Then it was frowned upon for the local Baron not to weigh more than his largest livestock and hence the English nobility were the envy of all of Europe.

As the English had not yet invented divorce Henry VIII fanously ate his second wife, Anne Boleyn

As the English had not yet invented divorce Henry VIII fanously ate his second wife, Anne Boleyn

During the countless times the English defeated their foreign neighbours in battles, wars and dust-ups it was not an un-common site for the English King to be carried onto the battlefield in a sedan chair borne by 4 elephants. The defeated King Louis VIII of France, having had his royal backside handed to him on a platter by Henry III during the Saintonge War, muttered the now-famous last words: “Mon deui, il a les buttocks d’un hippopotamus”.

However, as English adventurers discovered the new worlds of America and the South Pacific, it became clear that there was serious competition out there and if England were to retain its title of “Portliest Empire” it would have to step up its game. This led to the government of the time forming the Institute of the Big-Boned where top scientists and dieticians worked together to solve this crisis.

These scientists scoured Europe in the course of their research and by combining key elements from the cooking of Scotland, the physical fitness regime of the Italian army and the genetics of Greek women were able to unveil, in 1723, the first of a new breed of super-fatty: Stanley Orpington.

Stanley Orpington considers a snack before lunch.

Stanley Orpington considers a snack before lunch.

Stanley weighed 43 stones and although measuring techniques were more primitive in those days it was recorded that “upon being rolled juste one time, from back to bellie and once more to back, he was transported from outside of the front doore  of Mrs. Gordon’s Gyn Shoppe to the steppes of the Underprivileged Orphans Workhouse/Knocking shoppe,  a distance of quite some yardes”.

England’s top scientists had prevailed and soon the chair-breaking techniques used to produce Stanley were used throughout the kingdom and the girth of the Englishman was once again the envy of the whole World.

Related non-invention:
Morbid obesity (non-invented by the Americans):  If you weigh more than your sofa you should be feeling a tad gloomy, Bubba. Whimsical obesity, now that would be an invention.

Related non-invention:
Welsh Rarebit (Non-invented by the Welsh): Oi Aled, if you are going to nick an English meal and pretend it’s Welsh at least add a bloody leek.