Sunday, 17 April 2011

Fact File #1: Presidents of the USA

Hello my soon-to-be-educated friends, Barry Chindouche is back! I have been on a long absence 1, but I am now back with a bang. You are now free to give me your undivided attention once more, as I take you on a journey through the world of knowledge.

I was recently contacted by a source seeking knowledge. This is not rare for me, as you can imagine. However, I feel that it is time to broaden my teaching to the world. This week, a fact file on the most powerful men to ever walk the earth: US presidents.

Obama - Black president #3
  • Contrary to popular belief, Barack Obama is in fact the third black president2. It was a strategic coup on the part of his PR team to convince the world that he is the first.
  • Abraham Lincoln was allergic to crab (a then common thickening agent). His trademark top hat concealed a state-of-the art epinephrine auto-injector.
  • William Howard Taft was never voted into power. He took a wrong turn during a public tour of the White House, ended up in the Oval Office, and took a quick nap in the comfortable chair he found there. During the time he slept, the then president (Theodore Roosevelt) choked to death on a chicken bone3. The senate consulted the constitution, and found that clause 17(ii) stated that if the Oval Office is occupied when a president dies, they assume power. Taft proved to be a terrible president and the clause was quickly dropped from the constitution.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson was so scared of balloons that he outlawed them during his presidency. 7 people were sent to the electric chair for illegally selling birthday balloons.

Just a short one today - I feel your brains need warming up after the long absence from knowledge that they have suffered.

B. Chindouche

1for more on this, see future blog post “I told you I was innocent - Chindouche fought the law, and Chindouche won”
2after George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant
3leading to the first ever pun in US news history: "President Dead - Fowl Play Suspected"

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Saint David

Hi there,
Barry Chindouche here again with more education than Europe and Asia, combined. Today, the 1st of March, is Saint David’s day. I thought I’d educate the uneducated about this holiest of figures.
Saint David
Jake Jones

Saint David was not born a saint. He was baptised Jake Jones in the year of his birth, 500AD, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. After a troublesome birth, complicated by a lack of proper sterile equipment, Jake had a fairly innocuous childhood. Aside from some petty theft from the local sweetshop1, the young Jake was rarely in trouble2.
Biblical times
Jake’s first interest in the bible came during a school visit by the Gideon society. As they handed him a small red bible, they told him that it might be full of money and so he should save it if there was ever a house fire. By a cruel twist of fate, the Jones family household did indeed burn to the ground that night. Jake grabbed his Gideon bible and dashed out into the garden3. His anger at the lack of money inside was tempered by the verse his eyes came to rest on - “For those that are holy, get riches in heaven”.
Life’s work
Jake Jones dedicated his life to trying to get into heaven. When he learnt that Saint Jake had been taken4, he changed his name to David Jones by deed poll. It was lucky that he did, as he died just 13 years later - had he not changed his name, he would never have been made a saint.
Saint David’s day

Welsh flag

St. David became the patron saint of Wales, and his feastday is celebrated on the 1st of March every year by the Welsh (and the Argentine’s). Typical celebrations include drinking Daffodil Wine, throwing the horseshoe and mud dancing.
Happy Saint David’s day everyone. And, for the welsh out there: Penblwydd hapus i chi5.

B. Chindouche

1strawberry bonbons
2which was crucial in helping him gain his Saintdom later in life
3forsaking his ailing mother, who died as a result
4Saint Jake, patron saint of whales, c. 239 - 338 AD
5for more information on the Welsh language, see future post "Three L's, two Y's and a C - a scrabble nightmare or a love spoon?"

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Mailbag #2

Welcome back dear reader. Barry Chindouche here with the latest round of letters I have received.

Dear Barry,

Could you settle an argument between me and my girlfriend? We haven’t spoken in over two weeks now - only you can help us. Which is the correct term: Cupcake or Fairy cake? Yours Desperately,  Patrick O’Dwyer

Dear Patrick,

Like everything in life, the answer is complicated. However, as with all complicated answers, you came to the right man.

The original term was cupcake. The cakes were invented in 1492. A baker by the name of Francis Cúp decided to reinvent his usual bland bread based teatime snack. In the process, he accidently knocked some contraband sugar1 into the mix, and the cúp-cake was born. Within weeks, Francis Cúp was a local celebrity.
I am sure you are well aware of the (now) infamous sugar shortages of the time. Francis had to go to extraordinary lengths to procure the vital ingredient, including murder and small time pillaging. When he was finally brought to justice, the Henry VII had him baked into a series of his own invention, and the court dined on "Cúpcakes" – he was a cruel and murderous King.
Americans continue to use the term cupcake, seemingly unaware of the bloody connection. In Britain we now use fairy cake to disassociate from the horror. So both are technically correct, but only one is correct. I’ll let you decide which.

Dear Mr Chindouche,

I love your blog, it cheers me up when I am gloomy. Can you answer a question for me? Which country is the most dangerous? Yours questioningly, Barbara Blenheim

Dear Barbara,

Your question is vague. If you meant which country contains the most danger (for instance poisonous animals) the answer is Luxembourg - where 648 deaths per 1,000 are recorded as “accidents”. Compared to this, the safest country is Malta, where only 1 death in 10,000 is attributed to a cause other than “old age”2.

If you meant which country poses the biggest threat to world peace, the answer is France. Historically, France has been involved in the most bloody conflicts on earth - and history has a nasty habit of repeating itself3.

Dear Barry,

Is intelligence inherited, or can it be learned? I am currently not very bright, I just wish I was as clever as you! Joe Strench

Dear Joe,

Sadly for you, intelligence is about 90% inherited4. I of course inherited a massive intellect, and as such you will never catch me up. However, you can do something about the 10% that you have control over by continuing to read my blog.

1sugar had been decreed illegal by Henry VII since 1485. He felt it was the devils work.
2Though the 1 in 10,000 death that ISN’T due to old age is more often than not due to spontaneous combustion - the only country on earth where this has been proven to have happened.
3for more information on French history, see future blogpost “Le Catastrophe! 101 French Mistakes.”
4for more information on inherited traits, see future blogpost “Lazy, thick and drunk - Don’t be angry, sue your parents”

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sweet Chindouche Music #1 - Cover songs

Hi there,
Barry Chindouche here with a brand new format. Many of you will know that I was the premier DJ on South Korea’s hottest radio station, Seoul FM1, from 1996 - 2003. This job exposed me to an eclectic mix of music, and through the “Sweet Chindouche Music” series, I hope to educate your aural senses.

Coldplay - Sexual Healing
A real pity this one. Featuring Chris Martin’s most blistering performance to date, the cover never saw the light of day as the video was banned for its obscene images (mainly Martin gyrating with increasingly large animals in london zoo2).

Take That - Snooker Loopy

Released as Japanese only single (it’s even illegal to own a bootleg or import in the UK). The classic Chas and Dave track was rescored as a love song (though maintained the cue-and-ball based lyrics). Jason Orange took the lead vocals (for the first last and only time), and did a very good job.
Ellie Goulding - Your Song
“I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words...”
Well, actually, I do mind Ellie. I mind very much. For one thing, you didn’t put down in words. Bernie Taupin did. You should have said “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I sang someone else’s words.”
And another thing. Elton John is gay3. When he sang “I don’t have much money, but boy if I did” it made sense. To keep the sexual orientation of the song pure, you should have changed your line to “I don’t have much money, but girl if I did”, but you were too lazy.

Goulding - Lazy
Sugababes - Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen
A year before Siobhán Donaghy’s departure came the Sugababes’ greatest artistic departure. The 2000 album entitled “We don’t need no wedding rings” was a note for note orchestrated version of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”. Clocking in at 15 hours, the 13 disc album sold particularly well in Austria. However, the ensuing court case (surrounding alleged satanic messages that could be heard if the album were played backwards) led to turmoil for the group, and Donaghy’s eventual breakdown and desertion.
Personally, I fell groups should steer well clear of the cover song. Originality is key, as was true with my 1994 dub step album “Chindouche Time”4.
Barry Chindouche.

1"The Sole Soul of Seoul" (A Chindouche original tagline)
2The giraffe scene will forever stay with those who saw it.
3Apologies to those of you who are yet to reach page 129 of "Elton John: Me, Myself and I"
4For an in depth discussion on why the album is no longer available, see future blogpost "EMI - Everyone's Money Is-ours"

Monday, 7 February 2011

Advertising campaigns that never made it

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here - twice as bright as technicolor. Today, I shall reveal to you some of the advertising tie-ins that never made it.

Niagara Falls
Back in 1999, the Niagara Falls Tourism Visitor and Convention Bureau were on the verge of signing a 2 year marketing deal. The proposal involved adding crushed Clitoria Ternatea1 to the waters, as well as freezing the falls with a complicated system of dry ice. However, the ultimate deal breaker proved to be the proposed name change to “Viagra Falls”.

Artist's impression of Viagra Falls

Haig Whisky

Famously advertised with the tag line “Don’t be vague, ask for Haig”. During the 2001 British general election2, the marketing board came up with a plan to temporarily change the products name to Hague whiskey. William Hague was asked if he would tie in to the campaign by murmuring vaguely during Prime Minister’s Questions. He declined the offer due to parliamentary constraints on private investment (though many think he still took the deal “under the table” as his incomprehensible performances during the period made almost no sense whatsoever).
Bisto gravy
The “Ahhhhhh, Bristow” campaign lasted just 2 weeks after 6 year old Andrew Shingle punctured his hand on the free set of darts added to every pack. He died the next day from blood poisoning, and the Ad was quickly pulled.

Ahhhh, Bristow
So, there you have it. Many companies want to tie in to the world of Barry Chindouche. None of them cut the mustard3.

Barry Chindouche.

1A blue plant used as food dye. Keep up.
2For more information the British election process, as well as pirates, see future post "X marks the spot - Pirates to Politics".
3especially Coleman's.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Chindouche instructs you... to meet women

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here again - improving minds since 1972. I have decided to revive an old format today, “Chindouche instructs you”. These mini-guides are perfect for printing out, slipping into your wallet, and pulling out when you need instructing most. This week, it’s my indispensable guide to meeting women1.

Rule #1 - There are only two rules.

Rule #2 - Know thy enemy

Yes, you read right, enemy. Women are a different species to men2, and you are going to need to approach them in the same way you would an enemy of any war. This, and this alone, will enable you to conquer as many women as I have3.
San Tzu - The original Casanova

Of course, the greatest war guide ever written is San Tzu’s “The Art of War”. Read this book, and you’ll have your pick of the ladies. Not got time? Lucky you. I’ve read it. Twice.

Here are some useful extracts, complete with ways to apply them to the other sex.

  • “All warfare is based on deception.” - Who says you need to be truthful? What are you aiming for, romance or a UN resolution to declare war? Say whatever she needs to hear and she’ll soon be yours.
  • “He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.” - Don’t sidle up to her nervously having been making eye contact for 10 minutes. Ambush her. Wait until she goes to the toilet, and wait outside the door. As soon as she exits, bombard her4.
  • “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” - Don’t hit her.
  • “Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.” - Have multiple women on the go is easy. Just make sure you are organised.
  • “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” - Tell her you’re ill/disabled, push the pity, then pounce.
  • “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought” - Preparation is key. For help with this, see future blog post “Dress fresh, come first.”

Gentlemen, this is all you need to know. Good luck.

B. Chindouche

1 Any women out there wanting to find out how to pick up a man, look out for future blog post “Looking available and up for it - 10 easy steps”.
2 fact.
3 32.
4 with conversation, not bombs.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Brief Histories #2: Inventions

Hi there,
Barry Chindouche here - I don’t ron ron ron, I don’t ron ron.
Here is the second in the ever popular “Brief histories” series. Today: Inventions.
The mother of all necessity
Meaden: Necessities bosom buddy
Life is full of gaps. That’s when inventions step in and say “Hello gap, consider yourself FILLED”. Before anything had ever been invented, people spent almost 90% of their day walking around, clicking their fingers and saying “oooooh, if only I had a, you know, thing.”
Then a tetchy troglodyte started bashing together some flint and created fire. He then used that fire to light a roll of tobacco leaf, and thus the world’s first invention was born: the cigarette.
Detailed cave paintings tell us that this sparked an entrepreneurial flurry. By 5,000 BC, the list of inventions had grown to include: slapstick comedy, cricket, pornography, anti-semitism, gravy, passports and dress down Fridays1.
Pre-sliced = Twice as nice

Sliced bread is the modern day yardstick for how useful inventions are. However, there have been a number of landmark inventions that, for a period of time, were held as the greatest invention ever. See figure 1 for details.

Of course, the modern day phrase is technically “The best thing since Kingsmill-sliced-50/50-bread”. White bread that’s good for you? That is off the strongest of chains.
Inventions cannot come into being without some very special people. Those special people are, in alphabetical order:
  • Richard Branson
  • Barry Chindouche2
  • Theo Paphitis
  • Alan Sugar
So there you have it. Go out and invent something. Or don't.

B. Chindouche
1Of course, these were British inventions. Cave paintings from other countries, like France, show little or no progress until around 50 BC.
2An ancient Egyptian invention.
3Don’t believe me? Just check out future blog post “My intention is invention - 50 products that B. Chindouche invented, then had stolen from him”

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Murder on the dance floor. Or indeed, any floor.

Hi there,

Your old friend Barry Chindouche here: set your synaptic connections from stun to kill – pun definitely intended1.

Murder. It isn’t very nice. Or is it?

No. It isn’t. However, I have always believed that words were invented for a reason – so as the word murder exists, I believe there needs to be some murder to justify it. Otherwise it’s a waste of letters.

Now, please stop jabbing the 9 key on your phone2, I have never murdered anyone in my life3. I just think that there are a number of notable murders throughout history that needed to happen. If you don’t believe me, scan down this list, and then tell me I’m mad. You won’t be able to. I’m always right.

  1. Queen Victoria. Victorian Britain had been going on for ages. For almost 82 years, the inhabitants of this lonely isle had put up with the worst national moniker in history: Victorians. To rhyme with chlamydia. Had Lord Jefferson Thrumpingtit not sliced her guts open, who knows? She might still be alive today – and we’d still be the bloody Victorians.
  2. Clive Anderson. Not THE Clive Anderson of course. This Clive was a door-to-door kitchen supplies salesman. He would use inane banter about "not being THE Clive Anderson!" This even led to THE Clive Anderson having a nervous breakdown and refusing to film any more shows. One customer (and avid “Whose Line is it Anyway?” fan) finally snapped and saw red. Clive was found dead in a lay-by, having had feather dusters shoved into his eyes and the words “I fucking KNOW you’re not THE Clive Anderson” written on his naked torso in faeces. A post mortem examination revealed 39 litres of bleach in his stomach. And THE Clive Anderson, thankfully, returned to the studio the very next day.
  3. Pope John Paul II. Murdered by atheist Britney Chesterfield when she slipped five electric eels into his papal bath. A necessary termination: his dying breath was reported to be “At least I never changed my stance on contraception!”
  4. Michael Jackson. The world would never have survived his come back tour. Thank you Conrad Murray.

So there you have it. Four fully justifiable murders: just please, don’t add to it. Four is enough for me.

B. Chindouche

1I always intend my puns. For help being as good as me at punnery, see future blog post “Puns? I’ve got them by the punnet load”.
2For my American readers, the emergency number in this country is 999. And that's how it should be – 911 is just confusing. Change it now please.
3but if I need to kill someone, I could and I would. And I’d make it look like an accident. So don’t mess with me.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Global warming warning

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here with another future-award winning blog post. This week, I’m going to turn up the heat with an exposé on global warming.

The first question to answer is: global warming, what is it? Well, it is all to do with the world getting warmer. A lot of people think it might be a myth, but they are plain wrong. You simply have to look at the following graph to see that the globe is hotting up.


Scientists predictions

There have been many wild predictions from scientists on both sides of the argument. Here are the few that I give credence to:

  • If global warming doesn’t stop, polar bears could be roaming British cities by 2030. And let’s be honest, nobody wants their children threatened by such a cute menace.
  • It is mainly the fault of countries with a K in them. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at the emission facts for: Burkino Faso, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea (North), Korea (South), Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukrain, and Uzbekistan. You will be blown away.
  • Global warming is actually the systematic destruction of the human race by a particularly sadistic and twisted group of extra-terrestrial life forms. Before you scoff at this open your mind and do a little reading. The ends add up to a whole (circle, presumably).
  • Water could potentially be syphoned off from the rising seas and then stored in off-shore containers. These would also have tanks of helium, negating the weight of the water and thus keeping the water levels down. Complicated, but brilliantly conceived.

What can be done?

By now, I am sure that you are freaked to the point of combustion1, and that you are desperate to know what you can do to stop the problem. Well, fear not, you are (as ever) in the best possible hands. Here are my free tips for how to get green:

  • Grow your own: vegetables. Better for the environment, better for your body.
  • Grown your own: cotton. Better for the environment, cheaper even than Primark.
  • Emigrate. Britain is currently 7th on the list of all time emissions producers. This makes your average carbon footprint higher than that of, say, a Frenchman. Move to a country with lower emissions2, and presto! your average will come down.
  • Freeze more water as ice. Not only does this take water away from the danger areas of seas/oceans, it would also give us the chance to cool the world down when it gets too hot by all getting our ice cubes out, and rubbing them on the world.
  • Drive more. Counterintuitive this one, but research put out by Honda suggests that on any journey longer than 1 mile, a car is greener than walking. This is to do with the carbon dioxide that people produce through breathing. The report suggests that this level may be much higher than previously thought.

Don't have nightmares. But do change your ways. Or we'll all be dead (hot).

B. Chindouche

1For further guidance on human combustion (spontaneous and otherwise), see future blog post: “Combustion - Come bust one”
2I wouldn’t actually recommend France. For reasons why,see future blog post: “France, good or bad? - Je ne just don’t know”

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Mailbag #1

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here. Every day, I get over 15 letters from my avid readers, seeking the answers to the biggest questions in life. I1 try my best to answer them all personally. Some answers, however, are too useful to the human race to be kept between just questioner and the questionee. Here are some of those answers.

Hi Barry,

Big fan of your blog mate, you bloody genius! I wish I knew just 1% of the things you did, then I'd show them! Got a question for you mate: Where does the phrase "There's more than one way to skin a cat" come from, and what does it mean?


Davey Quadright

Hi Davey, many thanks for your letter. Glad you are a fan - though don't call me mate. That's just presumptuous. In answer to your question, the phrase dates back to Tudor times. Britain was awash with cats and dogs (though, ironically, this is not the origin of the phrase "raining cats and dogs".) The epidemic grew worse with each year, until the cities reached (metaphorical) breaking point.

The then monarch, Henry VII, decreed that the summer of 1503 was cat hunting season (as dogs were his "fav animal").  Initially, the peasents of the time were superstitious of cats, and were too afeared to attack them. Henry published a guide called "Ye many wayes to skyne a cat". The methods listed included:

  • The Thomas á Becket: Four peasants, with drawn swords, had to lop off the top of the cats skull and scatter it's brains around the floor.
  • The King Harold: Shooting the cat through it's eye.
  • The Caesarian: Several peasants stabbing the cat. Had to be done on March 15th.
  • The stomp: Self explanatory.
Modern day usage of the phrase remains the same. There are still many ways to skin a cat.

Hi Barry,

Love you, love your blog! I have a burning question (excuse the pun!): Which religion is correct?

Yours if you want me,

Lind LaBelle

Hi Linda, glad you love my blog. Religion is a sticky subject in this post 9/11 apocalypse. However, I have studied each of the 12 major religions, and have concluded that the only rational religion would have to be an amalgamation. I'd call it Jewslamity2.

Dear Mr Chindouche,

I am an avid reader of your excellent blog. I have a question: What is love?

Grey Finchingly

Hi Grey, glad to know you are an avid reader. Your question has been considered by philosophers even greater than I. I'll leave the answer to them.

B. Chindouche

1/my wife Debby
2For further thoughts on religion, see future post "Religion. It's not just an anagram of 'I, Reg, Lion'"

Monday, 3 January 2011

Brief histories #1: Words

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here, with the first of my brief history guides. Today, I am going to give you a brief history of words.

Words are vital. So far in this post, I have used 36 words. Without those words, I would have really struggled to get this post started.

A fresh start
The actual word "English" is derived called from the Greek (engals, "angels") + (ish, "The language of"). Invented in County Durham in the 12th century, English went on to become widely adopted throughout England by 1274.

Historical records from that initial period are sketchy, but it has been suggested that the first English word was "cowardly" - a word invented to describe the attributes of the then French military leader Hercule Cowárd.

Bound for glory
The early English speakers relied on their memory to hold the language together. This meant that English would change almost daily, which would lead to terrible confusion. Communities would regularly be split between an overnight change in pronunciation. This is where the modern day dialects stem from.

The language would have degenerated into a verbal soup had it not been for one man, Samuel Johnson. He took pains to write all the words down that he knew, imposing his ideal of pronunciation1.

In many ways, you owe him your life. Imagine going in for open heart surgery. As you lie there in a literal life-or-death moment, the doctor asks for a scalpel, and the nurse hands him a hammer. Shiver inducing.

Today and tomorrow
English is enjoying something of a resurgence in the modern era - 1 in every 3 people speak it. That's the same as 1/3 or 33%. However, the future may not be so rosé.

There are now an estimated 400 languages in the world. With immigration2 at an all time high, I fear that English will be drowned in a sea of French, German and Taiwanese. We need to take steps to avoid this.

The average person speaks for 2 hours 34 minutes a day. If we all take steps to double this (even just repeating each sentence that you say), I am confident we can keep this language great and all conquering.

You owe it to Mr Johnson.

B. Chindouche.

1Although he did leave in some examples of what he called "hilarious ambiguity". Words such as 'scone'.
2See future post: "Immigration - My great shun"

Sunday, 2 January 2011

War. Some thoughts.

Hi there,

Barry Chindouche here. According to the internet, there are over 479 conflicts currently being waged across the globe. I thought I would give you, the public, some thoughts about war. Here they are, in a very particular order.

(1) War is not definitely bad
I know a lot of you will have choked on your breakfast having read the above line. Well, pull the cornflakes from your nose and open your brains. Yes, war has some negative elements. However, there are many, many positive sides to war. Such as:

  • Broad minded youths: War involves travel. Travel broadens the mind.
  • Jobs for arms manufacturers: The UN claims 212 million people are unemployed. Do we really want to add to that figure? No. War keeps people in jobs.
  • Increased ethnic diversity: Soldiers get frisky (due to a potent mix of loneliness and a perverse love of explosions). When they enter new countries, they will find love in the local women. And thus ethnic diversity is promoted.
  • Filling up rolling news channel schedules.
  • Spreading democracy.
(2) War is inevitable
Don't believe me? Well, let's ask history.

BC: Hello history, have wars always happened?
H: Yes.
BC: Thanks history.

I. Rest. My. Case.

(3) Some wars are made up
Make sure you do your research next time you hear about a war. 37% of all wars have some element of untruth to them. Statistically1, this means that at least one war will be completely faked. You have been warned.

So there you have it. War. It's raw. Try not to have nightmares.

B. Chindouche

1 For help with statistics, see future post "Statistics - 1 in 33% of people don't get it. I do.".

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New beginnings

Hi there,

My name is Barry Chindouche. Allow me to be the first to congratulate you: well done.

Well done on finding this, the internet's most indispensable guide to everything. I am a jack of all trades, and a master of all trades. I know my onions and I don't cry when I cut them.

When I post, your eyes will be opened. Fully opened.

Many people say that I am arrogant and that I should stop hanging around outside their houses late at night. They're right on precisely zero counts. Arrogance is over self-importance. If anything, I am the opposite. I am subarrogant.

So sit back, relax, and get educated.

B. Chindouche