Thursday 24 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 24

December 24th: Finale

Yes, as all intelligent people know, day 24 is the last day of any advent calendar. If you were expecting this to continue on to a twenty-fifth day, please rest assured that I am very disappointed by your massive, massive, ignorance.

Anyway, today's idea is that, if you ever set about making an advent calendar of your ideas, make sure you have more than 23 ideas. Otherwise it will end on a bit of a damp squib, if I'm honest.

Happy Christmas!

Wednesday 23 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 23

23rd December: Film stars

It's sad but it is true: sometimes the star of your film will die whilst it is still in production. Perhaps the most famous recent example was Oliver Reed passing away during the filming of Gladiator. If this ever happens, I think that it is disrespectful to the memory of the actor to just complete their scenes with lookalikes, script changes and clever camera angles. Instead, just hire a monkey. Everyone coming to see your film will already be aware that your star had shuffled off this mortal coil, so just whack a monkey in. When you see a monkey, it will give you pause to reflect upon the deceased actor's career and particular skills, and how they were much better in their final role than a monkey might have been.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 22

December 22nd: Ice clearance

A topical idea today. The UK was visited by some wintry weather at the weekend, and it seems like a lot of council authorities have been somewhat lax in their gritting duties, particularly on lesser roads and especially on pavements. My idea is for the Grit Belt. Basically a bum bag worn on your midriff, it would contain 10-20kg of road salt and a series of holes for a steady stream of gritting in front of your feet as you walk. People unable or unwilling to use the Grit Belt could also try my Tealight Wellies, which have a candle vertically mounted to the toe of the boot, to drive off the ice with its warmth.

Monday 21 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 21

December 21st: Electric toothbrushes

Electricity is quite a thing. In a matter of years, I reckon that the mere thought of making anything move that you could get some current to do for you will be laughable to the human race. I predict that within decades, the internet will have percolated down to some of the higher primates. Toothbrushes have not been spared this revolution, of course. I imagine toilet brushes will soon follow. However, if you are trying to lower your carbon footprint or are just in The Flintstones, a good alternative for an electric toothbrush is a bumblebee with its legs glued to a stick.

Sunday 20 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 20

December 20th: Urethrampons

I think someone should make minature tampons for men to stick up their urethra after urination, so as to prevent those unavoidable drips and drops.

Saturday 19 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 19

December 19th: Car rationalisation

A quick look outside will most likely confirm the fact that there are an awful lot of cars in the world. The vast majority of them look the same and perform fairly similarly to each other to boot, yet are made by different companies from around the world. This is a stupid waste of time, money and materials. My idea is for all the car companies to get together and decide who makes the best car in each of the classes - let's say, mini, small family, family saloon, large family estate, 4x4, sports saloon - and then, like the makers of Parmesan cheese, that company will alone be responsible for the construction and fabrication of all future models of that design. Some car companies will not like this idea, as it will turn out that they are made completely redundant by the fact that they are responsible for none of the best makes of car. However, my question to them would be whether or not being in the car manufacture business was really the right choice to begin with, seeing as they did not make especially good cars.

Friday 18 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 18

December 18th: Hot water hats

Thanks for the inspiration for today's idea go to internet goliath Shhexy Corin, who yesterday tweeted that "hot water bottles are the future". She is quite right. Of all the old-school things which still work better than anything modern science has devised, there's a good chance the hot water bottle stands at the top of the heap, along with the potato and the old-fashioned design of citrus fruit juicer. We should celebrate them more often, especially during the winter, of course. Also good in the winter, hats. Humans lose a lot of body heat through their head, because our large brains require a lot of juice, so a good hat is crucial to staying warm when it is cold outside. My idea is to make a hot water bottle hat. This will also have the knock-on effect of strengthening the nation's neck muscles.

Thursday 17 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 17

December 17th: Sharks

It is a well-known fact that sharks represent one of the most perfectly aerodynamic shapes known to man. It is also a well-established fact that better aerodynamics means less drag, less drag means lower fuel consumption and lower fuel consumption is good for the environment. I don't think you have to be a genius to figure out the mathematics of this equation, but in case you are particularly thick, I will nevertheless spell it out. All road vehicles should be shark-shaped.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 16

December 16th: Wine

Far be it from me to criticise our supermarkets, off licences and dedicated wine merchants, but none of them have really ever grasped the motivations of the British wine consumer. Rather than lining up their bottles in sections marked by grape variety or by country of origin, all wine should be lined up in price order; left to right and from the least to the most expensive. I can't be the only person who is fed up with spending hours on their hands and knees in Sainsbury's looking for the cheapest old gut rot cooking wine they have available for my culinary purposes. Or giving as wedding presents to my enemies.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 15

December 15th: Penguins

Birds are special within the animal kingdom, not least because many of them are of those wonderful species where it is easy to tell male and female apart at a glance. Mallard ducks, for example, have a clear and separate plumage colouration indicative of sex, and they are by far from alone amongst our feathery pals. However, some of their kind are less forgiving to the casual bird sexer, as it were. My idea is that penguins should be brought into line with the mallard. Females can retain their familiar colour scheme, but I suggest males could be negatives of that - black where the female is white and vice versa. The only downside of this scheme is that it would require armies of penguin painters to get up close and personal with our fishy chums. Hardly a chore!

Monday 14 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 14

December 14th: Pockets

Men have pockets. Women have bags. These are the general rules for carrying stuff about. Indeed, I found out recently that some commercially available women's trousers don't even HAVE pockets on them. The simple fact is that, whether they know it or not, women are missing out. My solution to society's great oversight is Nockets, which I have invented. The stick on pocket with a glue so strong you can even wear them whilst naked (hence the name). Seriously, you'd not be able to get them off again.

Sunday 13 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 13

December 13th: The rise of technology

The great irony of modern society is that the only way to publically declare that you are a Luddite is either on your blog or on Twitter. Nevertheless, the terrifying speed of development of communications and entertainment technology leaves me rather befuddled. If you'd told me, just 10 years ago, that the next mobile phone I got would most likely have the entire internet on it, I'd have told you I'd never get a mobile phone. I did, of course, such is the force for social change offered by our new trinkets. We belong to the first epoch in human history who dedicate more time to finding new ways of entertaining ourselves than we do feeding ourselves or making wheat hardier and taste like Tizer. My idea is for a moratorium to be declared on all new developments in TV, gaming and communication for five years, in order to allow people like me to catch up. Failing that, I'd like mobile phones to have a button on reading "HELP" which, when pressed, immediately dials The Samaritans and directs you to the nearest Bygones museum.

Saturday 12 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 12

December 12th: Animal names

Language is a fascinating area of study, as we all know. It can also be a barrier between us, inspiring humans to come up with various ruses such as the universal language of Esperanto. I'm not proposing anything so sweeping. However, I am well aware that in every language, there are names for all the animals and that some of them are better - more expressive of the animal in question's essence -than others. My idea, then, is to choose the best name for every animal and have a universalised set for all to use. So, the butterfly may well become a papillon (French) and the hippo could be a Flußpferd (German). However, I rather suspect that English weasels, ferrets and donkeys will remain untouched.

Friday 11 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 11

December 11th: Climate change

Climate change is very much the topic of the day for people all over the globe, so it would be remiss of me to not try and think up an elegant solution to the growing problem. However, it is fair to say that this is quite a challenge. In the past I have rather glibly suggested that a bear could eat the excess carbon, which I STILL MAINTAIN WOULD WORK. But it seems like the time has come for a more urgent and radical solution to be found. And here it is: collect all the carbon dioxide together and fire it into space. Actually, that may not work, because space rockets are quite polluting. Give everyone their own tree and a wheelbarrow to carry it round in.

Thursday 10 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 10

December 10th: Animal Fights

Here is my idea for a TV show, called Animal Fights. Every week, a contestant has to prepare for a fight with an animal on Saturday evening's live show. The twist is that they are not told what animal it is that they will be fighting. As such, the contestants will have to prepare themselves in a broad variety of ways - mental strength as well as physical, plus psychology and in-depth research. This way, be it an adder or a kodiak bear who issues forth from behind the curtain, our protagonist will be as well-prepared as possible. With its blend of reality TV, fighting, self-betterment, educational segments and animals, this programme would tick all the boxes for 21st century TV entertainment and appeal to virtually everyone.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 9

December 9th: World Cup

Football fans amongst you may have been watching the draw for the 19th FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg last Friday evening. We now know the match schedule for the 32 qualified teams in South Africa next summer. However, you will not need to be an expert on socio-political geography to know that there are some large areas of the globe who will not be represented at the tournament. A 32 team tournament not only represents a small proportion of FIFA's 208 member nations, but from a wider perspective, the failure of China or India to qualify accounts for nearly half of the world's human population being disenfranchised! As you may have guessed, my idea is to let everyone play in the World Cup. Maybe in one giant match, last team standing wins.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 8

December 8th: Aluminium foil

Christmas is quite a foily time of the year, with many delicious foodstuffs which need to be baked in a hot oven with the modicum of protection afforded by a thin piece of metal. Indeed, so high is the demand for this miracle product, you may find yourself running out at a most inopportune moment. The solution to this is simple. Take a potato peeler and whittle some slices off a nearby car. This is particularly useful for thin foods, such as snakes or gizzards.

Monday 7 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 7

December 7th: Advent calendars

You may have noticed, loyal reader of my idea advent calendar, that this calendar runs sequentially. This is one of the things which makes it better than a conventional advent calendar, which has its doors spread around without any rhyme or reason. If I were to make an advent calendar, the doors would open in neat rows from left to right and from top to bottom. No more searching for doors! Plus, it would be pleasingly uniform, like a Big D peanut board.

Sunday 6 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 6

December 6th: Pubic hair consolidation

Evolution has produced many strange things. The proboscis monkey. The duck-billed playpus. The hammerhead shark. However, perhaps its most peculiar trick to date is the fact that human beings still grow pubic hair. The purpose of this, no-one* knows. However, it can be a problem, especially to wearers of bikinis. My wish for the next million years of human evolution is that instead of lots and lots of inch-long curlers, the human pubic hair is consolidated into one, centrally-mounted hair of about 10-20 feet. This would be easier to conceal in thong panties and also could come in very handy for escaping if you are imprisoned in a tower.

* someone might know

Saturday 5 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 5

December 5th: Pet choice

It is always hard to lose a pet, as they become a part of the family. So, if you have an elderly or infirm pet who is coming to the end of their life, help keep a small part of them alive by letting them choose their successor. Simply put pictures of animals on the floor and wait for them to tread, sit, lie down or vomit on one of them. In the interests of science, the list of animals (which is entirely up to you otherwise) must include a shire horse.

Friday 4 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 4

December 4th: Vases

You never know when you're going to need a vase, but I think we all know that the need for one will always arise at some point. So, here's my idea: houses to be built with fixed vases at strategically important vase points. In fact, as a part of the house's fixtures and fittings, they could also be plumbed in to the water system and be fitted with a little tap, saving two jobs. Not only would this save hundreds of thousands of vase finding hours every year, but the rather ugly prospect of empty vases scattered around your room would see plant sales rocket and homes everywhere be filled with lovely colourful flowers and bees.

Thursday 3 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 3

December 3rd: Contact details

Our society now is more interconnected than at any time in human history, thanks to advances in electronic communications and transport technology. The majority of people in the developed world now carry with them a small box of tricks in their pocket or bag containing their entire social networks, available at the touch of a button. And yet, we still behave unspeakably to one another. Being objectionable on trains. Pushing in in line. Carving people up on the roads or with supermarket trolleys. So, here's my solution. Everyone should have their mobile phone number written on a piece of card and stuck to their front and back, like a car number plate. This would make everyone accountable to one another. Even in the worst-case scenario, it would still see annoying people spending their lives answering abusive phone calls and text messages.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 2

December 2nd: Eschatology

I grew up in turbulent and parlous times, the death-throes of the Cold War frequently producing critical moments for humanity. However, I didn't know about any of that. What I was worried about was Nostradamus. By the time we got to the fateful year 2000, I was a little more relaxed about matters. You have no time for the end of days. However, the effect the whole pre-millennium tension thing had on me as a child (and beyond, let's face it, I am an anxious oaf) has made me very mindful of the impact of end time thinking on children.

My niece will be 6 and at school in 2012, the latest in a long line of landmark dates, and I'd hate to think she'll spend a single minute worrying about Mayan doomsday prophecy theories or John Cusack. So, for anyone in that position, here's my solution. Break a mirror. This will ensure you have seven years bad luck, guaranteeing you will stumble, papercut and divorce your way to 2016 at least. When, undoubtably, there will be all sorts of new prevailing theories about dates and times of the rapture. So, get plenty of mirrors. Break a dozen.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

My idea advent calendar, day 1

This year sees my 30th advent and Christmas period. As such, I thought I would mark this anniversary with a unique advent calendar of my thoughts and ideas so as to demonstrate the extent of the wisdom that time has given me.

December 1st: Bodily collections

Recently it has occurred to me that, should I ever have a child (which may not be for the best, in view of the idea I'm about to relate), I would collect all its nail clippings, bogeys, ear wax, scabs, etc. in separate vessels. In recent years, I have often wondered what such a collection of my own sloughings would look like. But to start squirreling this stuff away now, however diligently I did it, would still represent an incomplete collection. As a parent, I would be able to provide this archive for my children once they became able to decide whether or not collecting their own bodily waste was something that interested them. Parenting is all about forward planning.


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