Posts Categorized: Factoid

How To Smoke A Fine, Fine Cigar

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Smoking cigars has a very old school, upper-crust, Gentleman’s club vibe about it. It’s redolent of the leather Chesterfield in the drawing room after dinner, a fine Cognac warming in a glass next to the fire as a couple of chaps puff on a pair of Havanas. But, things change and you no longer have to wait for an invite to the Groucho or for one of your friends to have a baby before indulging in a cigar. All you have to do is go to the right shop, buy one and smoke it. It’s a free world, after all. An occasional cigar is a pleasure you can’t beat, on a par with a sneaky nip of single malt at the weekend or splashing out on a special bottle of red. And like wine and whisky, there’s a little bit of specialist knowledge you’ll need to enjoy your cigar at it’s best. We take you through buying a great cigar, then offer a few tips on getting the best out of your smoke.  Go to a specialist cigar shop or club They’re becoming a rare sight on high streets full of electronic cigarette shops, but the best place to go for…

How To BS Like A Wine Expert

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“Oh, this has glorious undertones of russet.” “Goodness, you can really smell the loam.” “Sharp pangs of tangerine. I don’t even want to spit it into this bucket!” Yes, wine people. We’ve all heard them, we’ve all stood next to them, we’ve all pitied them. But what the hell they talking about? Do the things that they ramble on about actually make sense? Does that weird slobbery thing they do with their mouth before spitting actually achieve anything? Can’t we all just admit that all wine basically tastes the same? But if you wish to wrestle back the reins of wine from the connoisseurs and self-appointed sommeliers, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps and drop a number of notable buzzwords. Before you know it, you’ll be sniffing disapprovingly at a barbecue Merlot like a professional. KNOW WHAT WINE IS Sounds stupid I know, but it’s remarkable how little people actually know about wine production and how it goes from grape juice to great juice (which is what I call it. I call wine ‘great juice’). The elements that go into wine production, the region, the sugar content of the grapes (known as the ‘brix’), the weather:…

How To Get A Second (Third, Or Even Fourth!) Passport Today

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Why have one, lonely passport when you can have two passports? Having a pair of passports could come in very handy indeed… For example, if you get one nicked while you’re on holiday – the other one will be safe in the hotel’s safe. If you apply for other ID, like a driving license, you can still gallivant across the globe while the DVLA drunkenly processes your form. And applying for visas will be stress-free, knowing you’ve still got a passport you can travel on while the other’s stuck in the post. But how do you got about getting one? It might be easier than you expected… How To Get Two UK passports You can have a two UK passports at the same time. Not a lot of people know that because the Passport Office doesn’t  publicise it very well. Or at all. It’s called a “concurrent passport” and it’s fairly common for frequent business travellers to have one, for two reasons: You travel for work that requires you to apply for multiple visas You travel to “incompatible countries” The first reason’s easy enough to explain. When you travel for work, you may need to apply for a permit to work in…

How To Yodel In The Swiss Alps

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Look at you. You’re young, thrusting, hip and sensational. Of course you want to yodel. Just consider the odds – every stupid, ridiculous, embarrassing thing has made a comeback eventually whether it’s clothes from the 1990’s, Veronica Mars or scabies. This means yodelling is sure to reach the heights of fashion any day now. And when it does, we want and pray for you to be ready for it. Luckily, it’s easy to learn, fun to perform and fairly cheap to maintain. So follow this easy guide and they’ll be another reason for your neighbours to send the warden round to your flat. WHAT IS A YODELLING? Back in the day when we reared sheep for food and clothing, they were forever wandering off. The people designated with the job of looking after the animals – the sheep herds if you will – thought that screaming at the top of their lungs would encourage them to return, rather than drive them further away. So in the Alps and other hilly places, this technique of calling out using high and low notes via the voice was born. Elsewhere on the planet, such as in the Middle East and Africa, similar vocal enterprises were…

How To Grill A Steak Like An Expert

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It seems the easiest culinary task in the world. To brown both sides of a healthy slab of cow so it’s succulent, tasty and attractive. So why is it so gosh-dang difficult? The answer is, it isn’t, you’re just doing it wrong. Probably over-thinking it. All you need to do is have great, fresh ingredients and the right tools for the job. Soon you’ll be chowing down on perfect steaks like a hungry lumberjack or Ron Swanson after a difficult bout of woodworking. CUT Like many things in life: the thicker the better. If your steak is unnaturally scrawny, it will cook through too quickly and be dry and nasty inside. A nice thick cut will provide a deliciously cooked outer layer and a moist, tasty interior. Don’t be swizzed into thinking there’s just rump, sirloin and T-bone out there for you. Experiment with more unusual cuts such as point steaks, onglet and feather blade to find the perfect variety for your appetite. Cuts from the middle of the animal will need less cooking time than steaks from the front and rear of the beast. PREP Take your steaks out of the fridge a good 45 minutes before cooking and…

Who Are The Celebrity Freemasons?

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Do you know who isn’t a Freemason? The secret society that supposedly runs politics, finance and all those daytime cookery shows? No-one, that’s who isn’t. Or at least that’s the verdict of the internet which, for some reason, loves the occasional conspiracy theory. While looking into the murky world of Masonic handshakes, I discovered some startling things. Firstly, there’s no such thing as a Masonic handshake (according to the Masons). Secondly, nobody believes this, as the massive amount of evidence posted onto You Tube, showing celebrities and famous figures great and small touching each other in an unusual way, testifies. EXHIBIT #1: GORDON RAMSAY AND THE HELL’S KITCHEN GANG Wake up people! It has the word ‘hell’ right there in the title, so you know there’s something shifty going down. After a couple of mysterious ‘chefs’ dressed all in black (I think we all know why) reduce an orange to liquid using voodoo (and soundwaves) the swear-spewing cook clutches one of their hand’s in a very unusual way. Actually in quite a girly way I’d say, like he was greeting an elderly lady of note at a council function. Oh and NASA is involved. Not sure how. EXHIBIT #2: JAY-Z/NAS/KANYE…

A Brief History of Crank Calls & 0898 Numbers

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From the moment when the first caveman held a seashell up to his ear and heard the ocean and then another caveman came along and smashed him over the head with a rock and screamed ‘LOSER’ at his inert body, people have been using and misusing communication devices. Whether it’s insulting Morse code, bad walkie-talkie etiquette or erotic semaphore, as soon as technology was introduced to help in the transmission of messages, we found a way to desecrate them for amusement or menace. Here is a brief run-down of the main methods of telephone abasement and where they appear in the history of communicating. FIRST CRANK CALL Though the early history of the telephone and the pioneers behind its development is hotly disputed, we do know that on the 10th March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell used his patented device and a liquid transmitter for the first time, uttering the words, ‘Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you’. This was in fact also the first instance of a ‘crank’ or ‘nuisance’ call. Bell had been goading Watson all morning, using various methods to call him into his office only to then throw a heavy book at him. To Bell,…

The World’s 10 Weirdest Cinemas

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Going to the pictures used to mean something, you know what I mean? You would get dressed up. There would be usherettes to see you to your seat and give you free cigarettes. And you’d get seven films, a newsreel, a cartoon and a nudist documentary, all for a halfpenny. Now a child with spots pokes you with a stick as you sit in a pile of rancid Maltesers and sadness. But there are still some unique film going experiences out there. Movie palaces that proudly bear the moniker ‘weird’. Take a quick tour around the globe’s strangest and most impressive film venues. Kinema in the Woods: Lincs, UK Exuding all the best of English eccentricity, like a man with a large moustache and a pith helmet throwing cribbage pieces at a lion, this former farm building is one of the oldest cinemas in the country opening in 1922. Nestled in the village of Woodhall Spa, from the outside it resembles an enormous ski lodge gone slightly wrong, while the interior, featuring a classic crimped curtain and bountiful murals, is awesome. And there’s an organ! www.kinemainthewoods.co.uk Cinema d’Ete: Monaco You can rely on those swanky denizens of Monaco to produce…