John Walsh: BTW (26/11/10)

Festive foodies bring out my inner Scrooge
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The Independent Online

* Good to see that the season of goodwill hasn't prompted any foolish exploitative nonsense from food manufacturers. True, the makers of Pot Noodles have invented a Christmas dinner flavour (called the Pot Noeldle) involving turkey, stuffing, parsnips and gravy (probably crackers and tinsel, too, not that you can taste any of them), and the Fire & Stone chain has brought out a Christmas pizza (turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, brie, cranberry sauce), and, if you can stand the howling pathos of it, Pret a Manger is offering a Christmas lunch sandwich (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, onions, mayo and spinach) but, thank God, that's it. Oh sorry, I forgot about Marks & Sparks, who've just shyly revealed their turkey and vegetable soup and their delicious mince pie and Christmas cheesecake. Can we stop now? Or is somebody working on Brussels sprout chewing gum?

* There's gullible, there's super-gullible, and there's Mr Joseph Jones, 73, of South Carolina, who was woken up in Motel 6, Spartanburg, by an early-morning call from the manager. Sounding agitated, he told Jones that secret cameras had been installed in the room by the previous incumbent. Could Jones help destroy them? He was told to smash the TV screen with a lavatory seat and, when it didn't break, told to throw it out the window. He was asked to smash the room's mirrors, using a wrench, and did so. He didn't smell a rat, even when advised by the bogus caller that a 4ft 3in dwarf was barricaded in the next room. Would he break through the party wall to seize him? Mr Jones set to with enthusiasm, broke the wall – and was told by staff he'd been duped. But at least he knows he has a future as a temperamental rock star.

* I'd heard that Google is planning to take over the world, but this is getting serious. According to reports from Germany, a small army of the search engine's fans is expressing annoyance with people who refuse to let their houses appear on Google Maps. About 250,000 house-owners have chosen the option to have their house fronts pixellated so they can't be seen on the Google Map camera. Many of these front doors have now become targets for eggs, tomatoes and worse, as the refuseniks are chastised for their stand-offish-ness. Woe betide an online party-pooper.