I WAS eating my breakfast toast the other day when I heard on the news that it might give me cancer.
Apparently the Food Standards Agency says certain foods cooked to crispiness, including toast, chips and roast potatoes, contain a substance which can make us poorly.
Naturally, I immediately read everything I could about the issue and discovered precisely no peer-reviewed scientific studies proving the substance in question is in any way harmful to humans.
Some things are proven to be harmful to humans, however.
Dodgy meat sourced from assorted filthy hellholes, for example, which is flogged as fresh by certain equally dodgy supermarkets.
Failing to lobby for the bosses of those supermarkets to be given severe deterrent punishments is also known to be pretty dangerous.
Of course, taking on the dodgy supermarkets is a tougher job than suggesting – without any real evidence – that toast could kill us, but doing so might actually save people’s lives.
Perhaps the agency should bear that in mind.
I’ve never felt so foolish in my life
I’M dreading April Fool’s Day, even though it’s not even February yet.
Every year a memo is sent round at the Adver, inviting us to come up with an idea for a gentle hoax story.
Last year, you may remember, we ran a good one about a giant May Day fair at the Magic Roundabout, complete with children dancing around a maypole in the middle.
That wasn’t my idea. They never use my ideas. They say my ideas are too silly. I submitted what I thought was a brilliant one the other day.
See what you think...
STREETLIGHTS in residential areas are to run at only 20 per cent of their usual brightness in a Swindon Borough Council money-saving scheme.
The trial measure had originally been planned to include a complete switch-off between midnight and 5am, but this has now been revised.
Lights will instead run at half brightness between 10pm and midnight, and at one-fifth brightness in the dead of night between midnight and 5am.
Critics of the idea say lives will be endangered, criminals will rule the streets, decent people will be afraid to leave their homes and Swindon will become a national laughing stock.
They insist dimming the lights by 80 per cent will be nearly as bad as extinguishing them altogether.
One horrified resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Do you have a dimmer switch in your living room? Try cranking it right down almost to nothing when your telly’s off, the curtains are closed and there are no other lights on in the house.
“Do you feel comfortable? Do you think you can get from one side of the room to the other without hurting yourself?
“Well, that’s how it’s going to be everywhere round here every night from now on.
“God alone knows how many car crashes there are going to be, or how many pedestrians and cyclists are going to be hurt or worse because drivers have less chance of spotting them in the gloom.”
Other residents feared increased crime.
“It’s going to be a bonanza for every burglar, mugger, drug dealer, thug and sex offender,” said one.
“Crime’s already going through the roof because of the police cuts. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when there are even more shadows for criminals to hide in?”
Members of the business community are also unhappy.
“I give up,” said one despairing boss. “You slog your guts out, trying to do your best for your employees and the local economy, trying to improve Swindon’s image, and then this happens.
“Sometimes when I have meetings with other business people elsewhere in the country, they make rotten jokes like, ‘I hear they switch off the street lights in Swindon at night, and roll up the pavements.’ “I usually have a witty comeback, but what am I supposed to say now?”
Everybody we spoke to readily agreed that the council had to save money because of Government cuts, but all believed there were better ways of doing it.
“I’ve got a great plan,” said a pensioner. “How about rounding up everybody who thinks this is a good idea and chucking them off the public payroll?”
Anyway, that was the story I came up with for our April Fool’s Day edition. I emailed it to my boss, only to receive a rather curt reply.
“Firstly,” the memo said, “April Fool’s Day is supposed to be about having a laugh, not terrorising our readers.
“And secondly, the council really is planning to dim the lights by 80 per cent. You’ll just have to come up with something else.”
It’s not all Trump’s fault
WHO is to blame for the horrific scenes at airports on the other side of the Atlantic?
Who is to blame when families are torn part, when law-abiding people are unable to return to their jobs, when innocent students are unable to continue their education, when foreign-born people are scared to leave the country in case they aren’t allowed back?
Some say Donald Trump is to blame, but to my mind that’s a bit like blaming a mad dog unleashed in a school playground for biting people. The real problem is that the quality of the other candidates was such that tens of millions of desperate people thought: “Might as well let the mad dog loose in the school playground, then.”
We can only hope some members of our own political establishment develop backbones instead of saying: “None of our business.”
Letting xenophobic leaders with dodgy haircuts get away with evil stuff is seldom a good idea.